For those of us who have our own businesses, financial management often tends to be one of the more dreaded but necessary functions we face. Unless you have a background in this domain, bookkeeping could very well be the bane of your existence as an entrepreneur.
Well, we’re here to make it all a little less painful for you. We’ll provide pointers particularly on how to make invoicing customers as pain-free as possible, and in addition, how to make the whole process of business accounting far easier.
Get software that will help you invoice. Bookkeeping software like that of QuickBooks will help to automate a lot of the processes that you might otherwise be doing by hand. There is a very nice-looking invoice template that you can customize within QuickBooks with your company’s logo and other information.
You have the ability to auto-calculate totals instead of having to use your calculator, and QuickBooks or some other similar accounting software offers extensive reporting. You can review accounts receivable (who still owes you?), whom you haven’t yet invoiced, what your sales numbers look like for the month, and the overall P&L.
Invoice with a cadence. Plan to send your invoice as soon as you ship your product or complete your service for the customer. Send it when you have your shipping tracking information for the customer.
Just have a plan for sending the invoices with a particular cadence so that it becomes a regular part of your process with customers. That way you don’t forget to do it or leave a big stack of work for the end of the month. Customers will also learn when to expect their invoice so you won’t have the additional level of administrative work in responding to requests as to when an invoice will be sent.
Review your accounts receivable regularly to be sure customers are paying. You don’t want to have to send multiple versions of an invoice to remind customers to pay. With the right bookkeeping setup, your system will automatically email customers when their terms are up. For example, if your terms with a customer are 30 days, your system can automatically email them to remind them that their invoice is due.
The short of it is that accounting software is one of the better investments a small business or startup can make, as it can really help you to stay organized and be efficient with your time. With templates for all of the necessary documents like invoices and purchase orders that auto-calculate (no more calculators), and extensive reporting for everything you want to know about the health of your business, bookkeeping software will help you feel on your financial game.
It also helps to take the guesswork out of accounting in general, as software like Quickbooks will really hold your hand through the process of both the day-to-day financial work and when it comes time to do your taxes.
Have great bookkeeping software to recommend? We want to know about it!
Cara Aley is a freelance writer who writes about everything from matters of online reputation protection to business strategies for entrepreneurs.