Over the last decade, remote work has gradually increased. According to GetApp's recent research, remote work has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. Remote employment has become the new normal for many people because of the COVID-19 situation. This change may be permanent; according to a recent Gartner poll, 74% of CFOs aim to permanently transfer certain staff to remote work.
As a business owner, your biggest concern regarding remote work may be staff productivity. The good news is that you can do a lot to help kids be productive. If you provide them with the tools, they need to perform their regular responsibilities successfully while working remotely, they are more likely to demonstrate the level of productivity you seek.
This is especially true for receivable accounts, which is an area where many businesses end up using Excel for invoicing. According to a 2017 Wakefield Research and Concur report, 69 percent of small firms rely on spreadsheets to handle invoicing and spending. The reasons are self-evident: Excel is good with numbers. Calculations are straightforward, and slight mistakes, such as incorrectly entered item values, are easily corrected manually.
However, for an invoicing team to perform remotely, more than just a calculator is required. Team members must be able to submit estimates and bills, collect payments, readily exchange ideas and information, and, most importantly, keep current. This is where spreadsheets fall short, and online invoicing systems can help.
In this blog, we'll look at the different parts of the invoicing process as well as how online invoicing systems outperform Excel for remote work.
A lot of information is communicated in a conventional office setting during face-to-face conversations. Because this is impossible with remote work, you must guarantee that your team members can still cooperate and keep the show running.
If communications about financial transactions are shared using collaboration tools such as a chat group or an email thread, they are not associated with the relevant transactions. As a result, your team members must switch back and forth between messaging and invoicing activities to obtain the necessary information.
Because online invoicing technologies are created for a multi-user environment, they enable your team members to communicate in an area that is relevant to their work. Users can enter critical facts about invoices or estimations as comments that other users in the business can access.
It's difficult to provide your team members access to the information they need while keeping sensitive financial information secure in Excel. Online invoicing systems, on the other hand, enable you to provide users with particular role-based access—you can specify what they can and cannot see or change.
Collaboration is more than just having a talk; it also entails keeping everyone informed. You may plan for sales and other information to be automatically delivered to your team members using online invoicing solutions. This allows them to keep track of the team's activities no matter where they are.
If your business uses Excel for invoicing, each invoice must be prepared in its own file for recordkeeping and mailing to the customer. Separate files for each invoice create a lot of nested folders, making it difficult to retrieve the specific files afterward. A better approach would be to create a centralized repository where all invoices are saved, searchable, and accessible to your team members anytime they are required.
Because online invoicing systems are cloud-based, all transactions are kept on secure servers, and team members with authorization to access them may search and access them instantly.
Maintaining a record of invoice numbers
Invoice number duplication may be a major and very costly burden for your business. Not only makes matching up incoming payments difficult, but it may also generate uncertainty at the conclusion of the fiscal year and during tax season.
Keeping track of invoice numbers becomes even more difficult during remote work since staff works less closely together. You can minimize duplication by assigning number batches to separate staff members, but this adds an extra layer of human coordination and increases the likelihood of invoice number gaps (this makes it more difficult to check for duplication).
By centralizing the invoice numbering scheme, online invoicing systems eliminate this issue. Once you've determined how you want your invoices to be numbered, the program guarantees that all of your invoice numbers are unique and continuous, even if numerous users are producing invoices at the same time. This removes gaps and duplication, allowing you to easily discover and match transactions.
Excel, no matter how amazing it is for calculations, cannot keep track of your customers or things. These facts are generally taken from other sources, such as emails or past transactions, when you make invoices in a spreadsheet. Errors are common throughout the copy-paste procedure, especially if you have a large number of invoices. If you discover one error, you might tell your team members to be extra cautious. However, if you see these issues frequently, it may be time to call the tool into question!
You may keep your client and item data independently from the particular invoice using online invoicing systems. This implies that while making invoices, you only need to choose the appropriate client and goods from a list. This prevents many of the mistakes that might occur when manually entering these facts.
Furthermore, if specific fields on all of your invoices must be filled in, an online invoicing system allows you to make them necessary. In short, you are establishing guidelines to ensure that everything runs well. This assures that your invoices are error-free when they reach the consumer, even if they are not reviewed by a second staff person.
If you discover an issue in one of your previously sent invoices, it may have already triggered a ripple effect, resulting in inaccuracies in other invoices as well. It's tough to determine whose invoices have been altered when Excel is used for invoicing. Tracking down the impacted invoices is time-consuming at best, and you may not even succeed in discovering them all if you can't search your files for the exact issue implicated in the error.
Because online invoicing systems retain a time-stamped history for each transaction you generate and keep everything in a single area, you have a lot more alternatives when it comes to tracking down an issue. When you identify an issue in a transaction, you may cross-reference it with other transactions that were produced around the same time, utilizing the same new product, addressed to the same customer, created by a certain user, or anything else that may have been involved in the problem. Because online invoicing platforms feature elastic search functionality, you may refine your search based on any of these characteristics.
Many businesses have a procedure in place for authorizing sales transactions before they are finalized. For example, the individual who prepares an invoice may send it to their supervisor, then to the sales manager, and finally to the customer.
In businesses that utilize Excel for invoicing, these approvals are typically handled by email, which can take a long time even under normal circumstances. In a remote work setting, when team members are unable to follow up on these emails with face-to-face conversations, delayed invoices and even delayed payments can occur.
An online invoicing system allows you to set your approval hierarchy and have all of your invoices automatically emailed to the next authorized signatory. The sender and approver are updated about the status of the invoice at each stage of the approval process, thereby avoiding the need for follow-up calls and emails.
Invoicing for projects
Excel invoicing gets more difficult if you charge clients depending on the time you spend on their projects. Each project employee must log their time and transmit it to the AR team, who will apply the right hourly rate and issue an invoice. This entire procedure rests on one person for consultants who prepare their own invoices; in larger companies, it may be spread out across so many staff members that it becomes another communication barrier. Manual computations present an additional chance for inaccuracy in both scenarios.
The majority of online invoicing systems provide sophisticated time-tracking capabilities. If you use temporary labor or independent contractors, you may grant them access only to report their time and not view any client or project information. You may utilize role-based access to provide your on-staff workers in leadership roles the ability to examine and control the time entries of other individuals working on the project.
Time captured in your invoicing system may then be converted to an invoice using a much easier approach that does not require any human computations. Furthermore, any chargeable expenditures incurred throughout the project may be immediately included in the invoice.
Overall, your online invoicing platform may serve as a single point for project information and ensure that project billing runs smoothly.
How many times have you gotten calls from clients or colleagues with inquiries regarding invoices and payments when you were not at your desk? Keeping all of your invoicing data in Excel necessitates the use of a laptop or PC to access even the most basic information. A mobile-friendly solution may be useful because remote work increases the likelihood that someone in your business may be away from their work computer.
Most online invoicing systems have a mobile version. Though they don't have all of the functionality of the desktop version, they allow your team members to execute many simple tasks on the move, such as sharing a payment link, recording payment for an invoice, or seeing last month's sales report. Or by simply using a mobile web browser to access the online invoicing platform.
If you want your invoicing staff to remain productive while working remotely, having an online invoicing system in place is one of the important things you can do. This consolidates all of your invoicing data into a single application, reducing the need for hundreds of distinct files. It also keeps everyone informed without the need for distracting and back-and-forth email discussions.
On top of that, you can try a simple and straightforward online invoicing solution like Blinksale to automate everything for your invoicing needs and get paid fast.