A Guide to Electronic Invoices
Business should see to it that important documents are sent on time. Using the postal service is not a very efficient way of sending invoices since they cannot always be relied upon and it is very slow and costly as well. It is also time-consuming and costly to receive your mail, open the envelope, distribute and file the contents. In this highly digital world we are in, we are surprised to see many businesses still using postal services to deliver invoices.
Using electronic invoicing is worth looking at with the high cost and unreliability of postal services. Businesses that continue with postal services think that their customers will not accept an electronic invoice. There is lack of basis in that explanation since the internet is where most people are today. Paper invoices are supposed to be a thing of the past. It might take you by surprise to realize that if you ask customers if they agree to receive an electronic invoice most of them will agree. And, you will save on expenses when you do so. You will realize that few people will not accept an electronic invoice. Convert the proactive ones first, then the traditionalists later.
If you want your billing to be a true ecommerce type or if you simply want a cost-effective way to bill your customers, then this will decide the format of your electronic invoice. If you use output management software, you can take any document output from your business system and seamlessly deliver to your customer virtually any format. PDF files or the image representation of your invoice is the best format you can use.
The technology side of e-invoicing is very easy to implement in any system. You need to collect the email addresses of customers who want to receive an electronic invoice. These emails can be added to your computer systems if they are able to hold them. A look up table or database can also hold these emails.
Start by sending PDF invoices. This will give your business huge cost savings with only a little startup cost. if the customer does not open the email, then he cannot check the invoice. By sending it to a document delivery portal then this can help solve your problem. This sends the customer an email prompting them to view the invoice from a web link. The customer clicks on the link, signs in securely, and can see the new invoice alongside an archive or older ones. Analytics will show the sender whether or not the customer has clicked the link to view the invoice or has downloaded a copy. Invoices that have not been viewed can be chased by a credit controller for overdue invoices. The customer can ask for another email for the link.