If you work at a small accounting firm or law practice, the time billing process can be one of the most stressful parts of the job. Filling out invoices is tedious and time-consuming, and even after sending them out, there’s no guarantee of on-time payment. That’s why it’s important for small businesses to have an efficient invoicing system in place which can streamline the process and remind clients about upcoming deadlines. Below are some ways to make your time and billing process easier.
Set your terms up front
Before you start working with a new client, you should both sit down agree on a set of terms concerning billing and payment. Draft up a document that clearly states your decisions on the following terms:
- Whether you will bill hourly or by the project
- Your fee, and any additional fees
- The project’s due date
- The types of payments you will accept
- The timeframe in which the client is expected to pay the invoice
- The penalties that will be charged to the client if the bill is past-due
Establishing these terms in the beginning of your client-accountant (or client-attorney) relationship sets the foundation for a successful experience going forward, and increases your chances of getting paid on time.
Minimize billing errors
Considering how important bills are, you’d think that people pay close attention when writing them and never make any mistakes. However, invoicing errors are all too common in the accounting, legal, and medical industries. Since invoicing errors can cause mistrust and confusion between you and your clients, it’s important to mitigate them as much as possible. The best way to do this is using an efficient time and billing software that can automatically compile costs and quotes, track billable time, and generate invoices from other saved information. When the time tracking process is streamlined in this way, it reduces the number of people necessary to produce quotes, thereby reducing the chance for human error.
Automate, automate, automate
If your clients can automatically pay their bills with a few clicks, you’re far more likely to get paid on time. Look for a time and billing software with automatic payment features, like:
- Recurring payment option: Allows you to automatically charge any recurring fees
- Automatic invoice reminders: Immediately notifies clients when their accounts are past due
- Credit card processing: Allows clients to pay online via credit card or another option
- Flexible billing options: Create and send different types of invoices based on different criteria
- Sample invoices: Provides free templates which you can fill out quickly and easily
Now that we are almost entering a brand new decade, automatic billing technology is no longer optional—and it can save you a significant amount of time and money!
Create simple, yet detailed, invoices
Some basic invoice management can save you a lot of time and headaches. Firstly, all invoices should be clearly labeled as such. They should each be numbered and dated, and each item being billed should be clearly written alongside the corresponding price, a brief description, and the total balance. Invoices should also include your contact number and important billing terms (most notably the due date.) If you must use technical terms, jargon, or acronyms on the invoice, you may consider including definitions in the footer of the document. One great way to make sure that your invoices always include the necessary information is by using an invoice template.
ImagineTime: Time and Billing Software for CPAs and Professionals
A good time and billing software will save your company countless hours by eliminating manual data entry and constant follow-ups. If you’re looking for a billing solution for your legal firm, accounting firm, medical practice, or similar hourly-billing business, ImagineTime can help. Our efficient time and billing software was created to help make your practice management as easy as possible. Learn more about ImagineTime here!