There are numerous viable strategies for increasing your business revenue: You can bring in more clients, upsell services, increase rates and more. But most of these are long-term and require cross-organizational communication and workflow shifts.
Encouraging your existing clients to pay their invoices faster can be a quicker and more effective approach to achieving a jump in cash flow.
Below, find our top tips for shortening the time between sending an invoice and receiving payment.
Accurate, specific invoices are a cornerstone of payment best practices. Your billing team should know how to write an invoice that encourages swift payment. The more detailed your invoice is, the lower the chance a client will question it.
Think about what constitutes a great invoice when you’re in the role of the client. Ideally, it reflects all time spent and all work completed during the billing period. Even better, it shows a breakdown of project milestones by work object.
Your team can automate client billing with comprehensive invoices that sync with tracked time, tasks and project budget usage — Accelo users are already doing it.
Many times, payment delays are unintentional and caused by easy-to-avoid mistakes. Sending an invoice to someone who’s not in the billing department or no longer with the company is a common one.
Ask clients for the correct billing contact and method in your onboarding process, then verify these details during periodic check-ins. They’ll appreciate your respect for their workflows and preferences.
Have various people sending client invoices? Reduce the risk of email blunders with the visibility provided by one of the most popular Accelo features: the Activity Stream.
It’s not just what you say but how you say it. Treating your clients like humans you value is a simple but powerful way to get them to make good on what they owe as quickly as possible.
No matter the nature of your communication, its tone should be warm, compassionate and fair. You should take extra care around a topic as sensitive as money, as your clients will appreciate that you recognize the meaning of their investment in your services and be more likely to respect your time and money, too. This can be as simple as adding “thank you” or “we appreciate you” to your invoice or email footer.
There’s no need to worry about writing the perfect email every time when you use templates. Encourage your team to personalize but keep the core message consistent.
Give your clients peace of mind by allowing them to check on your project progress whenever they want. A client portal is a window into how hard your team is working. Let them take a peek!
Secure, on-demand access to status updates, billing history, new quotes and due dates can provide clients ongoing reassurance that their money is put to good use. Thus, they’ll be more prone to respond quickly to a request for payment.
Not all client portals are created equal. Accelo’s client portal offers all the things that matter to your clients, including the critical flexibility of custom permissions.
When people anticipate a bill, they’re more ready to pay it in a timely manner. Maintaining a predictable billing cycle can ensure that your clients are poised to receive their invoices and, therefore, prepared to make on-time payments. So, keeping predictable due dates — and making sure those are clearly communicated on your invoices — can up the chances that your clients will pay attention and mark their calendars.
Eliminate the element of surprise by sending invoices automatically at the end of every billing period, even for ongoing contracts, using Accelo.
Your clients are likely to have different billing cycles depending on the range of services you provide. But even if there are unique due dates, you may see some success with changing up the day of the week or time of day when you send out invoices. Some invoicing studies show that sending invoices on weekends or early Monday morning increases the chances of getting paid.
Your client base will have their own habits, so why not do some research of your own? Set up trigger automations in Accelo to find out which patterns result in the fastest payment.
Since some methods of payment are quicker than others, you’ll want to choose wisely about which you accept. Direct transfers tend to be the fastest, especially via convenient mobile apps, although it’s best to research the fees and terms associated with each type of payment.
Accelo integrates with Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.net to allow invoice recipients to pay in just a few clicks.
Repeat customers love to be rewarded. If you’ve ever participated in loyalty programs at your favorite store or restaurant, you may understand why.
You don’t have to have a punchcard or app gamification to get your clients to express their loyalty. The professional services version can look like offering a referral bonus, giving small percentage discounts during a holiday season or creating special service packages meant for those who have been with your business for a certain period of time. The more a client appreciates your efforts at recognition, the closer attention they’ll pay to all types of communication from your team — including invoices.
Use Accelo to set up email workflows with special offers and thanks, triggered to send to only your most loyal clients.
Although clearly written invoices and client portal access should reduce confusion, your clients may still occasionally have questions. They’re unlikely to pay a balance due if they don’t understand it. Resolving issues right away will prevent payment delays.
When you manage client requests using Accelo’s request inbox, you can prioritize and assign them automatically. That way, no question goes unanswered and your team can get to each one quickly.
All of the above practices should help you mitigate the risk of late payments, but they could still be a problem. Being specific and firm about late payment policies is critical to reduce conflict and protect your business from losing even more money when overdue payments compromise your cash flow. If clients are aware you enforce a late fee, they’ll be apt to want to avoid it by paying their bill before the due date.
It’s important to put terms on each invoice, no matter which service you’re billing for. Make sure late fees are not overlooked by creating custom invoice templates in Accelo.
Instead of trying to coordinate your team to execute all the details that support on-time payments, take advantage of the power of automation. The right smart tech will be able to handle all the details for you. With minimal manual effort, you can have cash rolling in regularly from both one-time projects and recurring work.
The best billing technology seamlessly connects invoicing with every other stage of the client journey.
Try out all of these hacks with the help of a client work management platform: Schedule your Accelo demo now.