There are a lot of great reasons why people love running a small business (flexibility and freedom are two that come to mind). However, there are also some less fun responsibilities that come with the job. And one of those is managing the painful process of getting paid.
The billing process is a time sink, from compiling invoices and sending them out, to collecting (and sometimes chasing down) the money. Hours are spent punching numbers into spreadsheets and fielding client questions before the payment is even sent. There are more productive things you can, and should, be doing with your time, even if that’s just resting.
If you are billing hourly you should be using time tracking software. Spreadsheets are fine for some tasks, but they will turn time tracking and billing into a cumbersome and laborious process. When it comes time to do your billing, time tracking software will make the process far less painful. Here’s how.
Without good record keeping in the day to day, it’s going to be a real challenge generating accurate invoices at the end of a billing cycle. Whether that be a week or a month long billing cycle, trying to account for every billable hour based on paper timesheets or excel spreadsheets is going to result in understated invoices. In other words, you’ll get paid less.
Time tracking software gives your team a structured system for capturing and recording billable time on a daily basis. And once the data is in, it only takes a few clicks to generate an accurate and detailed report. Look for time tracking software that includes timers and weekly timesheets to capture every billable hour as you work.
The time spent creating invoices is time that can’t be recouped or billed. Reducing the amount of time spent invoicing will increase profitability and productivity because it will free you up to do more without requiring more of your time. Or, use that newfound free time to relax (you deserve it).
Because its recording your billable hours, time tracking software can also generate invoices. This is a huge time saver. A process that used to take hours will now take minutes. And it will produce cleaner, more detailed invoices. Try to find time tracking tools that include invoicing functionality, which will save you time and get you paid sooner.
While the primary purpose of client billing is to get paid, there is an important secondary reason to be thorough. The invoice is a record of the billable work that was performed under the client contract. And if the invoice is not detailed enough the client is going to have questions about their bill, which is only going to prolong your getting paid.
A complete and detailed invoice is a gesture of transparency that preemptively answers questions and builds trust with your client. And, a good invoice provides a feedback loop detailing the time and effort required to complete each billable work request. All of this equates to a strong client relationship based on a mutual respect for each other’s time.