If your business uses invoices, it’s vital to manage the invoicing process effectively. Firstly, it’s a crucial part of your cash flow management process. Secondly, it builds and maintains good customer relationships. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to growing your business with Square Invoices.
An invoice must show how much is to be paid, by whom, (by) when, why and how. If your business is VAT registered, it also needs to include details set out by HMRC.
Legally, it’s still perfectly acceptable to send invoices on paper. Practically, digital invoicing is now standard even for small business invoicing. Freelancers/solopreneurs may send invoices as PDFs. They can save a lot of time by using a proper invoicing system.
The larger a business grows, the more important it becomes to use a proper invoice management system. At the very least, this reduces the scope for human error. This is a major concern with manual invoicing, especially small business invoicing. At best, it improves efficiency for the business and provides a better customer experience.
What to look for in an invoicing system
There are plenty of invoicing solutions available on the market. Find at least one that suits your needs, wants and budget. Here is a quick guide to the features to check when researching invoicing systems.
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Transparent pricing structure
Many invoicing systems have different plans with different levels of functionality. It’s vital to understand exactly what is and is not included in any plan.
For example, Square Invoices comes in free and Plus versions. The free version is likely to be more than sufficient for freelancers/solopreneurs and very small businesses. The Plus version has more advanced functionality to assist larger SMEs.
Any chargeable invoicing system should offer a free trial period for you to test it thoroughly before you commit. A week is an absolute bare minimum. Ideally, it provides one month, giving you enough time to put the software through its paces in a wide range of situations.
Also check what happens to any work you’ve created using advanced features if you choose to downgrade your plan. With Square Invoices, if you downgrade from Plus to Standard, you keep any work you’ve already completed and just stop being able to create new work using advanced features.
Invoicing systems hold both personal data and financial data. They may also provide a channel for inferring business-sensitive data. For example, if you invoice a client for a particular service, you clearly provide that service. It’s therefore vital that your invoicing system operates to the very highest levels of security.
The features mentioned so far have all been basic necessities. Ideally, use an invoicing system with value-added functionality. Here are some of the value-added features offered by Square Invoices.
Manage recurring payments
Not only can Square Invoices schedule recurring payments, it also collects payments automatically if there is a card on file. For some businesses, this functionality alone saves a huge amount of time and effort.
Send automated payment reminders
If it’s not possible to collect payment automatically, Square Invoices determines if the invoice is marked as paid by the due date. If not, Square Invoices sends automatic payment reminders.
If you’re undertaking a significant project or need to buy materials, collecting a deposit does much to protect you. With Square Invoices, it’s easy.
Contracts are key reference documents. It makes a lot of sense to keep them together with the associated invoices.
Access business reporting
Track estimates, invoices and payments in real time so you always know your actual cash position and can manage your cash flow.
All of these features save time and effort for you, freeing up time for you to spend developing and growing your business. Square Invoices Plus takes this even further, offering the same core functionality as the free package plus extra, value-added features.
Create and save custom invoices
Many businesses routinely include the same data across multiple invoices. With Square Plus, create and save invoice templates so this data is populated automatically.
Offer multiple packages in a single estimate
Sometimes potential customers aren’t sure exactly what they want, so offer them a range of options. Square Invoice Plus streamlines the work by allowing you to offer multiple packages in a single estimate.
Auto-convert estimates to invoices
With Square Invoice Plus, as soon as a customer accepts an estimate, it is automatically converted to an invoice.
Create milestone-based payment schedules
If you’re undertaking a significant project, it’s best to charge for it in stages. Bill the client whenever a significant milestone is reached. With Square Invoices Plus, set these milestones and their associated payments from within a single invoice.
Create and manage projects
Square Invoices Plus is more than just an invoicing system – it’s also a project-management tool. With it, you can manage projects effectively without having to pay for an additional project-management solution.