Category: Finance

Why You Need Online Invoicing Software

Many businesses start with doing their invoicing using some sort of computer software such as Word or Excel, not online invoicing software. Perhaps keeping a list of clients in a spreadsheet and laboriously generating a new invoice with every sale or service provided. And there are established businesses that are also spending unwarranted amounts of time with this type of quote and invoicing system.
Online Invoicing Software
You can easily end up with hundreds of files and be so bogged down in the admin that it is difficult to see and keep up with what quotes have been sent or received; what invoices are paid or overdue. Often the latter require another file. This admin is boring, time-consuming, at times confusing and a real chore. Not to mention if you are writing quotes and invoices by hand! You may need to hire someone just to sort out all of the paper work and capture details. You are not in the business of quoting and invoicing, so don’t make it a key element of your time spend. There are businesses where hours are spent daily on quoting and invoicing. There is no time to follow-up or really use the details and information gathered from your clients for business intelligence. So, how do you make this task simpler and faster? You use online invoicing software. Now you can go for an accounting package but, often this is more than what you require, is complicated, is usually slow and revolves around invoices and not clients or customers. So, unless you are going to use it to its full extent, rather go with a simple invoice software, such as our PocketSME Invoice online software. So, what is this quotes and invoicing software going to do for you?  
  • Reduce time spent on quotes and invoices.
    • you can maintain a database of your clients’ details so that you don’t need to enter them or copy them over each time you create a new quote or invoice.
    • You can draw up a list of your products and services including prices so that when you are doing a quote or an invoice, you can easily select it and have it “filled in” immediately.
    • Convert a quote to an invoice with the click of a button.
    • Create template emails for quick and easy invoice, quote and receipt emails.
    • Set up your company details and logo so that it is added to each quote or invoice automatically.
    • Easy capturing of payments.
    • Create your quotes and invoices immediately whilst you are still with your client and get quick responses.
    • No need to spend the evening catching up on quotes and invoices.
  • Organisation and manageability
    • Keep quotes, invoices, contacts in one ordered place.
    • Easily track quotes and invoices so that you can follow-up if required.
  • Professionalism
    • Sending invoices and quotes from a “proper” system with standardized emails and consistent item information increases the professional look of your business. It is a logical step in the growth of a business.
  • Reduce costs
    • If you’re doing your quotes and invoices yourself, you will know how time-consuming it is. How much is an hour of your time worth? Is spending that time on quoting and invoicing worth it?
    • If you employ someone to assist with quoting and invoicing, you can reduce the number of hours that they need to work and thereby save on administration costs.
  • Increase payments
    • Our online invoicing software will easily enable you to see what payments are outstanding and you can send reminder invoices at the click of a button.
    • Add online credit card facilities – the more payment options there are, the better.
    • See whether invoice emails have been opened AND whether the actual invoices have been viewed.
    • Doing on-the-spot business means clients receive invoices immediately after your transaction and pay faster.
  • Follow up on quotes
    • Quotes often “slip through the cracks”. It is difficult to keep track of them if you don’t have an ordered system. Just by following up on quotes you can increase your business.
  • Multiple client contact methods
    • With PocketSME Invoice not only can you send clients’ notifications via email, but also texting. You can truly be “in their pocket.”
  • Free up your time for more important things
    • By reducing your time spent on admin significantly, you will have more time to spend on the important aspects of your business, such as marketing.
  • Manage your business from anywhere with PocketSME Invoice
    • Add new clients, follow-up on invoices etc. from the comfort of your lounge, or a coffee shop, travelling on a bus or even whilst on holiday!
    • The software is responsive so it is easy to use on your phone.
    • Impress clients with immediate quotes and information.
  • Quick access to contacts in the PocketSME customer database.
    • Click-to-call and direct client email functionality.
    • GPS co-ordinates of address is calculated and can be automatically inserted into Google or Apple Maps for directions.
  • Data storage and back-up.
    • Have all of your important client and financial information in one place with safe and secure storage and back-up facilities.
    • You don’t need to worry about your phone being stolen or your computer hard-drive crashing.
  • Increase your customer base
All-in-all, using PocketSME Invoice is a logical step in the growth of your business. If you are not using online invoicing software, then it is advisable that you investigate switching over to an electronic system straight away. If you already are using a quote and invoice program, check that it is the best invoice software for you!

Reasons for Using Client-Interactive Quotes

Client-interactive quotesClient-interactive quotes can be created using responsive quote design. With a responsive quote design, the quote is essentially a web page. The client clicks on a link in an email and is taken to a web page with the quote. As a web page, we can add more information to the view than just the contents of the quote. And, the client can interact with this information i.e. click on links, watch videos, download files etc.

Client-interactive Quotes and Sales

Your quote “page” can also serve as a summary of your sales pitch. Your client will know about your service or products before you send a quote – perhaps from a call, or advertising or your website etc. Client-interactive quotes provide a second layer of marketing where the client can see the costs and benefits alongside one another. Display videos showing how things work, add in testimonials, give more details on the specifications, highlight the main benefits etc. For example, if your quote is quite technical, you may want to link to explanations or images of the items. You could link to a video showing how to use the product. Or, perhaps have a list of top 10 benefits of your service or products.

Client-interactive Quotes and Advertising

With caution, one can also use the space to include some advertising of other complimentary products or services. It is also an opportunity for upsells i.e. enticing clients to purchase upgrades, more expensive items, add-ons in order to increase sales value. We say “with caution” as you do not want to overwhelm the prospective client by giving them too many options and focus on items that are not directly related to the transaction at hand. As an example, a photographer could advertising having the client’s photographs printed on canvas. Healthcare professionals could include details on medicines or vitamins for their client’s problems. You are sending some flowers – would you like to include some chocolates with that?

Tracking

Anytime a viewer clicks on something on a web page, this can recorded. As such, you can monitor a client’s actions on your quote page. What information are they interested in? Are people investigating the up-sell options? Client behaviour can tell you a great deal and direct you with respect to what sells the product and what up-sells are popular and should be pushed more actively. You can use the results to improve the content of your quotes. In summary, Responsive quotes provide you with an additional chance to market the products you are selling (and possibly up-sells). Connect with your client again before they make their decision.

The Benefits of Client-Interactive Invoices

Client-interactive InvoicesFirstly, what are client-interactive invoices? Once we are using responsive invoices, the next step in harnessing their power is to add additional information to the invoice. Remember that, with a responsive format, the invoice opens on a web page. This can be customized as any normal web page. Customized, not only in terms of format, but also in terms of content. The page can start with the invoice and then, below this (or even within the invoice) one can add relevant information – images, text, links to articles or videos etc. These provide “post-purchase” benefit to the client. You can create a “conversation” with the client through the links and details.

Client-interactive Invoices and Additional Information

Your invoice “page” is the ideal place to add in any instructions or information on the services you have rendered or the products that the client has bought. For example, as a doctor, you may want to include some links to information (articles, videos etc.) about the condition that the patient is dealing with or a summary of the advice that you have given the patient. The client’s invoice becomes their resource too. If you are a lawyer and providing legal services, provide links to documents or videos relevant to the client’s case e.g. process details or country laws or a “what’s next” section.

Client-interactive Invoices and Advertising

A responsive invoice is also a place to advertise additional services / products that the client may find relevant – possibly based on their requirements thus far. Make these more attractive with discounts and preferential treatment for previous clients. A pre-school could include details on their after-care services or the extramural programmes that they are involved with. An insurance company could showcase their list of offerings. It is there, “in the invoice”. No extra documents or emails need to be opened and read. You are there, in their pocket.

User Tracking

Actions that the user takes on a website page can be tracked. You can monitor what other elements of your invoice “resource” are clicked on and viewed or downloaded. This information is powerful. Was the client interested in some of your other services or products that you advertised? What next steps can you take to market those to your client?

The Bottom Line

So, we can see that responsive invoices take invoicing beyond just a means of making payment. They allow for additional connection with your client. Cementing the relationship that has been established, and taking it forward to the next level.

The Value of Responsive Quotes and Invoices

Quotes and InvoicesIn most cases, a business will send quotes and invoices as  pdf-files attached to an email or perhaps a copy is handed directly to the client – in some cases it could even be handwritten. I think we would all recognize the inconveniences of handwritten invoices: time taken to write, any data required in your electronic systems needs manual input, the administration requirements of a paper-based system etc.  Electronic invoices are definitely easier to manage. But, what is the value of having responsive quotes and invoices? In other words, quotes and invoices that, when opened, are adjusted to fit the size of the screen on which they are being viewed. How does this responsive technology surpass the usual pdf when it comes to invoicing?  

Responsive Quotes and Invoices Create True Immediacy

One of the aims of a business is to “be in the client’s pocket”. And that is achieved fabulously by means of Smartphones. Smartphones are fast becoming the main devices used for interacting with the web. That is why responsive web design is currently such an important topic: your website needs to look good and be easy to use on any type of device – from a small phone screen to a large desk-top monitor. Using our PocketSME software it is easy for you to send a quote as soon as you have assessed the work required or an invoice as soon as the services have been rendered or goods handed over. Send it from your phone, laptop, IPad etc. And the client receives it immediately. Scenario 1: You send an email with a pdf invoice attachment. The client opens the email and then perhaps the pdf. But, the pdf is not responsive (it cannot be made responsive). A pdf document is not resized so that it is user-friendly on any device. If the client wants to view the invoice properly, he or she must scroll up and down, left and right, resizing etc. It takes time, it’s irritating, let’s do it later when I’m in front of a computer. The same applies for a quote sent in pdf format. Scenario 2: The client receives an email from you which contains a link to the invoice. When he or she clicks on the link it opens a web page – a responsive web page that is – containing their invoice. The benefits? It is easy to read and follow, in other words, it is user-friendly. Again, the same applies to quotes. When a quote or invoice is user-friendly, you are overcoming barriers to taking action i.e. accepting the quote or paying the invoice. This immediacy of responsive invoices increases the speed with which payment is made. People are more likely to make payment immediately if the invoice is received (and viewed) as soon as the services have been carried out.  

In-quote and In-invoice Functionality

If you are “sending” your clients to a web page you can provide them direct payment options such as immediate online credit card payment, or EFT options. They can settle their account or pay their deposit at the click of a button. Again, reducing obstacles increases positive outcome i.e. fast payment. In the case of a quote, you could also have “accept” and “decline” buttons for easy and quick response-time. We are creating client-interactive quotes as well as engaging invoices.  

User Tracking

Opening an email can be tracked. So, you can know if a client has opened your quote or invoice email, but you can’t track whether they have actually opened any attached documents. When you send an email with a link to the quote or invoice, you can track each time the link is clicked by the client i.e. each time the quote or invoice is viewed by the client. This ability to track user behaviour and actions is exceptionally powerful. You can follow-up on invoices that have not been viewed within, say 24 hours, and track for faster payments. Also, you can follow-up on unread quotes (or even viewed quotes) in order to keep the client interested in using you as the service provider.  

So,

the value of responsive quotes and invoices is clear: propel your business process with user-friendly interfaces. Oh, and the client wants a pdf? Well, that can be downloaded if they choose.   Read more about the benefits of client-interactive invoicing and quoting that you can achieve with responsive design.