Whether through a contract or individual posting, invoices are the linking feature that enables the modern world of commerce. They are also an area in which businesses can create considerable trouble for themselves; according to Forbes, poor invoice quality, and a lack of proactivity concerning accounts receivable, is a key mistake many new business owners make. It’s easy to see how mistakes are made, given the huge range of invoicing techniques and the differences in the way businesses conduct themselves. Standardization is key, and industry practices have first started in Excel.
High-tech Excel invoicing
Microsoft Excel, and the use of a bespoke Excel invoice template, is the format that many new businesses will take when invoicing. There’s a good reason for this – most businesses and individuals use Microsoft Office, and even those that prefer open-source software will find that it largely deals with Office-originated file extensions. However, as Investopedia notes, many businesses underuse Excel, whether through a lack of expertise, effort, or both. Getting to grips with advanced invoicing templates, that deploy PivotTables and automatic filtering, is a way for business owners to quickly step up their invoicing game and ensure that the data they provide is produced in a timely and accurate fashion.
Streamlining the process
Increasingly, businesses are using tools and digital helpers to create invoices in suitable Office formats. This takes out one step in the invoice production cycle and enables business owners to have total faith in the output of the invoice generator. This is an important point; removing one step of human interaction removes a further chance for errors to occur, increasing the assurance business owners can have with regards to their data and what they are providing to the customer. This also helps to lean into the most modern of business data trends, automation, a sphere in which there is considerable progress being made with regards to invoicing.
Full scale automation
Investment magazine CrunchBase recently highlighted the $9.5 million investment in Now, which specializes in full automation of invoicing. Of course, there’s already a degree of investment invoicing in the epayments world; when a transaction is highlighted to you, you pay with your card, and the entire chain is completed in seconds. This level of alacrity has not yet reached the world of private business, however, and is an area in which huge amounts of time could be saved for business owners – time which could then be put into growth and innovation. Creating a payments system akin to what consumers enjoy every day would be a huge boon to many businesses and remove the challenges associated with poor invoicing quality and control.
With automation coming in fast, invoicing may never be the same for individual businesses. This is good news for small businesses, and especially those that are starting to scale. Standardized Excel has underpinned the foundations of invoicing and receipt for decades, and automation will take that quality and run with it