New technology is leading to major changes in the accounting and bookkeeping industry.
Choosing the right invoice management software from all the new options isn’t an easy task. There are a lot of software packages out there, each promising different services.
So to help you out, we’ve compiled a checklist of things you need to consider before making a final decision.
Hopefully, this will act as a good guide as to which new invoice management software you should pick!
What Does Your Invoice Management Software Cost?
Since we’re talking about managing money, let’s get straight to the point. How much will your new invoice management software cost you?
There are many pieces of software out there, and some are far more competitively priced than others. Make sure you scope out the market to get the best deal.
Of course, the old saying is true – you generally get what you pay for. So make sure any software with a cheap price tag also provides all the services you need.
These vary widely across the market. There are some products which are so basic you’ll have to do most of the work yourself.
Take a free product tour and ask for a demo if you’re unsure about the features.
Recording and Sharing Data in Real Time
Good invoice management software should allow you to record a wide range of data. This includes customer data – names, addresses, websites – as well as data on your own staff, like who made the sale.
You might also want it to track marketing data. For example, you might want to record where they heard about your business, for marketing reports.
You should pick software that lets you share your data with colleagues in real time. This helps keep everyone updated on how well the company is performing against key performance indicators.
Not only this, but it should integrate with other software used by your business for maximum efficiency. For example, this might be with your payment processing systems.
Or it might pair up with an inventory management system. This could help both your accounts team and stock controllers verify their work by cross-checking data in those areas of your business.
It may even automatically order stock after creating purchase orders so that your stock controller has fewer jobs to carry out manually.
Let’s say you’ve been collecting data in your invoicing software for a few years now. How are you going to dig out specific invoices from, say, 2014?
It’s extremely important that you’re able to search through all the data with ease.
Decent invoice management software will feature very advanced search facilities. These should allow you to track down invoices by fields such as name, date range, the value of the work undertaken, and more.
It should also be easy to retrieve additional data recorded alongside the invoices, like contact and contract details.
The last thing anyone (even an accountant!) wants to do is painstakingly carry out manual accounting tasks. Especially when it consists of repeating the same small, tedious task over and over.
Repetitive jobs are boring, and with boredom comes a loss of concentration. When concentration slips, errors happen.
So choose invoice management software that can automatically produce recurring invoices. Look for the ability to produce quotes for customers in just a few clicks.
The more you can automate, the better, as it will lead to fewer mistakes. Any mistakes that do occur will be due to the figures input by humans, and will at least be systematic.
So you should identify them with ease.
Support For Multiple Business’ Revenue Streams
It’s quite possible that you own, or run, more than one business. Or you may have a business structure where one ‘umbrella’ company sits above several constituent companies.
In these cases, you’ll want to choose invoice management software that will let you keep books for multiple businesses without an extra charge.
Otherwise, you’ll end up paying several times for the same piece of software even if it’s ultimately all used by one person working across several businesses.
Which certainly seems like an unnecessary expense.
Have Invoices Been Viewed?
Ever wonder if a client is intentionally being difficult and holding out on an invoice?
No matter your suspicions, it’s normally impossible to tell. For all you know, they may have quite genuinely missed it in their inbox.
So pick software that’ll let you check up on your invoices, and see if they’ve been opened and read.
If you can tell that an invoice has, or hasn’t been read, it makes it easier to know what approach to take when chasing late payments.
If your client hasn’t opened it, at the end, make sure to attach a copy with your follow-up email.
Alerts for Late Payments
Identifying late payments and chasing them can be extremely time-consuming. In 2016, 93% of participants in an industry barometer across NAFTA and Brazil reported late payment from B2B customers.
That’s a huge number of late invoices being chased. How about invoice management software that delivers alerts on late payers?
The data it supplies should be more than enough to quickly fill in a template letter to the company holding an outstanding invoice.
One day, perhaps we’ll even see automated ‘chaser’ emails going out to clients in order to follow up on late invoices.
It’s not unusual to work across geographical borders these days. As such, it may be the case that there are a number of different tax regimes you need to take into account when billing clients.
Your invoice management software needs to support various tax rates for orders. And it should definitely be able to calculate tax automatically when you’re compiling invoices.
Ideally, you should be able to choose which tax rates to use, depending on what’s appropriate for each individual order.
Plus, it’ll need to handle different currency formats. Billing foreign clients in US dollars is unlikely to go smoothly. It could also cause major confusion in other countries whose currency is also the dollar (of a different sort), like Australia or New Zealand.
Customizable Access Rights
Other members of staff will want access to the invoice management software from time to time.
Depending on who they are, there may be some things you don’t particularly want them to see, or things you don’t want them to be able to do without the oversight of your finance team.
Which means your accounts team needs a different level of user access. Their access, in turn, might be tiered depending on their seniority.
So it’s crucial that your invoice management software allows you to fully customize user access rights. This ensures that inexperienced people aren’t doing things you don’t want them to do, and keeps your senior accountants in full control of the books.
Working remotely is becoming ever more popular as time goes on. Plus, there’s always the chance you’ll need to dip into the books from a different location, even if you’re normally office-based.
But working remotely or in the cloud is not without its dangers. You’re potentially putting critical business data at risk if the security set-up is not 100% right.
The last thing you want is cybercriminals getting hold of this data. The damage to your finances and your reputation could spell the end of your business.
So you need to know that your invoice management software is well guarded and that its protocols follow up-to-date security guidelines.
Remember that online-based services might have ongoing subscription fees. Factor these into your assessment of overall cost.
When using new software, you may need to ask questions or have teething technical troubles.
Whichever program you pick, you should make sure that it has a strong support network sitting behind it.
Try phoning around a few companies and see how their customer service responds to your questions. Really test their knowledge if you want to – you deserve to have all the support you need to make a success of the program.
Beyond solving technical problems, what else is offered?
Are There Any Extras?
It’s often nice to have an all-in-one package.
So consider whether there are any extras beyond what you’d normally expect in invoice management software, like running payroll or controlling payments.
These are nice to have alongside the core services of an invoice manager and can help your accounts team keep track of everything at once.
A New Way to Manage Accounts and Finance
ScaleFactor’s invoice management software helps you to get paid faster, and also to manage your own bills.
We are dedicated to helping you save time and money.
Our intuitive automated software will make accounting, tax and finance tasks one of the easiest part of your job.
Which will give you extra time to spend growing your business, so you can delight your clients.
Find out more about us, or call us today to see what our expertise and innovative accounting can do for your business.