No matter what industry your business operates in or how big or small it is, time is among your most valuable assets. It’s also among the scarcest. Since the primary activity in any business is the production of the product or delivery of the service in question, this is obviously the area where you’ll want to focus the majority of your time.
Another business resource that is limited is energy—yours and that of anyone else involved in your enterprise. As with time, energy is most profitably utilized in conducting your primary business function.
The unfortunate truth is that so much of the average business’s time and energy is taken up with extraneous, yet unavoidable, administrative tasks. This is why so many companies are embracing digital transformation and adopting business automation tools to streamline processes and ramp up productivity.
Invoice automation, also referred to as electronic invoicing, is one of the most popular business automation strategies today. E-invoicing software automates invoice creation and other related tasks so you have more time to focus on the business at hand.
Here are five ways that you can automate your invoicing process to save time and maximize your output.
1. Start By Updating Your Billing Processes
Clearly, the most effective way to streamline your billing process is to modernize it. In other words, go digital. If you’re still manually entering all your data line by line into an accounting program, the odds that mistakes are slipping through the cracks are high. This is especially true if you’re regularly processing a large number of payments within a short turnaround time.
The best way to work around this is to use an online invoicing tool or accounts payable software (i.e. electronic invoicing) to manage your billing process. This software facilitates the generation and submission of invoices, and so much more. Also, e-invoicing platforms allow you to quickly and easily add new clients, send out payment reminders, and further automate the billing process to help reduce the amount of time you spend on such tasks.
2. Set Up Recurring Automated Billing
Manually entering invoices into accounting software is a huge waste of time for yourself or your bookkeeper. Especially if you’re repeating the same process for the same client every month. Side-step this by incorporating automatic billing into your e-invoicing system.
This way, you don’t have to worry about manually entering the same customer’s payment details into the software every month. If you’re using the right tools, you can also set up automatic email reminders for when payment is due. Again, this allows you to spend less time communicating with customers and more time working on your actual business.
3. Add Artificial Intelligence To Your E-Invoicing Arsenal
If you’re interested in taking things to the next level with automation, consider investing in artificial intelligence (AI) software. This type of software is designed to further automate processes and can save even more time and energy. AI differs considerably from standard (robotic) process automation because it actually interprets and understands data. This means it can learn and adjust to your particular way of invoicing while digitizing underlying documents and extracting and entering the relevant data.
When looking for AI automation software, be sure to pick something that is easy to integrate into your business. For example, if you have an income statement template or utilize specific invoicing templates, you need to ensure that the AI software you select can easily extract this data without you having to rework all your financial documents. This will make implementation much easier and give you more control over how it works.
4. Use Virtual Assistants For B2C Invoicing
If you work directly with the public, you are a business-to-customer (B2C) enterprise. For B2C companies, it’s especially important to generate invoices that include everything your customers need to know. This includes how much they owe you, how they should pay you, and your contact information. In this way, you can ensure that your customers have everything they need to make their payments and stay in touch. With B2C invoicing, you can use visual tools like an online platform or a mobile app to create invoices. This allows you to create an invoice with a few clicks and get it over to your clients quickly.
For these reasons, informal virtual assistants (VAs) are excellent tools for automated B2C invoicing. As their name suggests, virtual assistants are AI programs that perform daily, repetitive business tasks on an automated basis. VA-generated invoices can be as detailed as you require and are virtually invulnerable to error. You can either outsource this function to an external VA company or use a platform that features an integrated VA.
5. Use Chatbots For B2B Invoicing
Companies that interact primarily with other companies (like distributors) are referred to as business-to-business (B2B) enterprises. B2B invoicing differs somewhat from B2C invoicing, so it might be best to use a different approach. B2B invoices generally need to look more professional and are more likely to be processed on a recurring basis, so an AI system suited to these purposes is best. You don’t want to create an invoice that looks unprofessional, since it may not get taken seriously.
Chatbots may be your answer. Chatbots are AI and natural language processing (NLP) computer programs with preset responses to user queries. They are less informal than VAs and are well suited to integration with user forms where customers can input their details once to generate detailed invoices on a recurring basis.
The Bottom Line
The best practice for any business is to automate as many processes as possible, especially the ones that consume the most time and energy. Invoice management is one of these processes, so it’s important to find ways to streamline it and save as much time as possible.
With the right automation tools, you can easily make billing faster, easier, and more efficient. You can also make it more consistent, which is vital to retaining customers and growing your business. Customer retention equals improved profits and growth equals money, so the case for automation is clear.
Meta Title: How To Utilize Invoice Automation To Boost Efficiency | Press Farm
Description: Business automation for invoicing is key for every entity, big or small. Here are 5 ways to save time and double your output using e-invoicing.