The benefits of invoice automation and why it matters?

07.3.2019

Startups and even more established companies might have inefficient processes and tools in use. Manually creating the same invoice every time with the same content is tedious and time-consuming. With the correct invoicing automation solution and processes these tasks can be automated.Automation will have great benefits:
  • Save up to 90% time spent
  • Make fewer mistakes and typos
  • Quicker cash flow
  • Better reporting

Automation brings great benefitsTo better understand the benefits, let’s go through the non-automated ways of working with invoicing.

 

The cost of doing things manually

 

Let’s go through a small business example. Lisa’s cleaning co. is a small company that sells office cleaning. Lisa is the founder and CEO. At first, she was by her self and did all the cleaning. Then she started hiring employees as more companies heard about her great service. Now she has nine cleaners and around a hundred small business customers.

Her time is split between HR, Invoicing, Selling, Marketing and some bureaucratic things. Her employees write down their cleaning gigs on to an Excel sheet. The Excel might look something like this:

Funeral Home Ohio, 2hours 15min, 8 am – 10:15am, used two wipes and 1oz of cleaning agent.

This excel will have around 40-50 lines per month. Each employee will e-mail their own sheet to Lisa. Lisa will need to go through these files in order to invoice the customer and get the total hours to pay salaries.

Here are the steps:

  1. Combine all the lines from all the excels with copy and paste
  2. Sort the file per customer
  3. Create per customer excel sheets with copy and paste
  4. Create an invoice per customer and either add “cleaning for January 756 USD + materials” and attach the excel as an attachment or copy all the lines from the excel to the invoice
  5. Add materials as well as separate products
  6. Send the invoice

Remember that Lisa has a hundred customers. So steps three to five will take some time. If she wants any sort of reporting, she would have to shift through the excel files again. She probably would like to know who is doing most hours or using the most product.

That is just the invoicing part. This will take hours each month. Something similar is needed for payroll calculations.

In this example, the basis for invoicing is time-based. It could be also a fixed monthly fee. In either case, the employees must still report used time and materials to Lisa.

Hopefully, you can understand the procedure and the shortcomings of this way of working. When companies grow, it is hard to figure out how to do automation and better processes in advance. Usually, you just start by copying and at some point, you realise a change is needed.

For this example, I would assume Lisa spends at least ten hours every month doing invoicing and reporting.

 

Bring in your whole team

 

This is not just about Lisa. Her emplyess also have bad tools at their disposal. They have no smartphone interface to directly input their hours and have to do extra work to get some sort of reporting. For instance: "how much am I going to earn this month?".

So why not have a cloud-based solution, that can be used on a computer and a smartphone? Employees can input their hours on a simple app after the gig.

We need to start thinking in a procedural way:

  1. The employee does the job
  2. Inputs details via mobile app
  3. Invoice-able data is compiled automatically
  4. Invoices are created after a simple inspection by Lisa
  5. All reporting is available in real-time without any work to everyone

By having all of this information in the same system you never have to copy and paste or retype information again. Bill Talent automates recurring billing and invoicing so you don’t have to waste your time.

 

Smarter reporting

 

What kind of reporting might a small business owner need? Here are a few examples:

  • How many billable or non-billable hours (per customer or this month etc.)
  • How much are your customers worth to you
  • What is your monthly revenue and how much will future months bring in
  • How are specific products and services selling
  • Employee work hour reporting
  • Contract valuation
  • Where does your revenue come from (invoicing breakdown)

All this reporting can be yours for real-time viewing without any labour.

Contract management and invoice automation reportingI've talked about why you should automate your invoicing. Now it’s time to dig deeper and learn about recurring invoicing and how to automate the whole process to save time and money. 

This blog post is a part of our Benefits of invoice automation -blog series. Read more about How to automate your recurring invoicing process.

 

Explore Bill Talent, our cloud based invoice automation solution!

 

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