Why Use Electronic Invoices?
Business should see to it that important documents are sent on time. Using the postal service is not a very efficient way of sending invoices since they cannot always be relied upon and it is very slow and costly as well. When it is finally delivered, you need to open, distribute, and file and this also cost money. It is amazing that postal services are still being used to deliver business documents like invoices and statements.
Electronic invoicing should be considered by all businesses instead of relying on postal services which is slow and expensive. Businesses that continue with postal services think that their customers will not accept an electronic invoice. This is a baseless fear because almost everyone uses the internet these days for their needs. Today it is already rare to receive paper invoices. It might take you by surprise to realize that if you ask customers if they agree to receive an electronic invoice most of them will agree. And, you will save on expenses when you do so. You will realize that few people will not accept an electronic invoice. Convert the proactive ones first, then the traditionalists later.
The format of your electronic invoice will depend on whether you want a true ecommerce type billing or simply a cost-effective billing to your customer. Whatever format you want, you can deliver to your customers virtually with the use of output management software. The best format for electronic invoicing is PDF which is an image representation of your invoice.
Whatever your system is, you can easily implement the technology side of electronic invoicing. The first thing to do is to talk to your customers in order to find out who is willing to accept an electronic invoice and collect their email addresses. These emails can be added to your computer systems if they are able to hold them. A look up table or database can also hold these emails.
Emailing PDF invoices is a good starting point. It offers significant cost savings from day one with a little setup cost. The only problem with this is whether the customer will view the invoice of not. By sending it to a document delivery portal then this can help solve your problem. This sends the customer an email prompting them to view the invoice from a web link. The customer clicks on the link, signs in securely, and can see the new invoice alongside an archive or older ones. The sender then gets useful information on who has viewed what invoice when and even if they have not downloaded a copy. Invoices that have not been viewed can be chased by a credit controller for overdue invoices. You can resend a link if the customer has lost it.