A Guide to Electronic Invoices

Business should see to it that important documents are sent on time. If you use the postal service, you will find it to be slow, expensive, and very unreliable at time. And when it is finally delivered, there is a need to open, distribute and file the invoices which takes time and money too. It is amazing that postal services are still being used to deliver business documents like invoices and statements.

With the high cost and unreliability of postal services to deliver invoices on time, businesses should look at using electronic invoicing. The reason for the use of postal services is that businesses think that their customer are not ready to receive electronic invoices. 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. You will be surprised how many customers will agree to receive an electronic invoice. And, you will save on expenses when you do so. You will realize that few people will not accept an electronic invoice. Start using the electronic invoices for proactive customers and the traditionalists will be converted later.

If you are thinking about the format of your electronic invoice, this will depend on whether you are moving to a true ecommerce type scenario or simply looking to bill your customers more cost effectively. By using output management software, your documents can be delivered seamlessly to your customers in virtually any format. The best format for electronic invoicing is PDF which is an image representation of your invoice.

The technology side of e-invoicing is very easy to implement in any system. 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. If you have a system that can hold email addresses, then you can add these emails to the system. A look up table or database can also hold these emails.

You can begin by sending out PDF invoices through email. You only spend on a little start up cost and then save greatly on electronic invoices. Some customers don’t view their invoices and this is a great problem. Don’t sent it directly to the customer but through document delivery portals. This sends the customer an email prompting them to view the invoice from a web link. What the customer needs to do is to click the link, sign in securely, and then view the invoice with other invoices or an archive. Analytics will show the sender whether or not the customer has clicked the link to view the invoice or has downloaded a copy. Invoices that have not been viewed can be chased by a credit controller for overdue invoices. Links can be resent to the customer.

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