4 Tips to Make Receiving Payments Easier

Carl Coe
Posted by Carl Coe on Jul 19, 2022 11:22:34 AM

Payments are the foundation of many accounting and bookkeeping businesses that exist to help other companies with their finances. Understanding where payments are going and how often they are coming in is an important part of running any business, especially if your company helps others manage their own books.

Despite the central role of payments in most accounting businesses, we still see many clients dealing with their own payments with inefficient processes that are heavy on manual effort. Even worse, this approach to payments tends to be off-putting to clients, giving them another task on their to-do lists.

With the right accounting practice management software, your business can use payments as a competitive advantage, collecting and making them efficiently while impressing your clients and making their lives easier. Here are a few key suggestions for a better payment experience and how accounting practice management software can bring them to your business.

 

Allow self-service

Even within the course of a typical nine-to-five business day, everyone has different schedule preferences. Some professionals like to handle emails to vendors (such as accounting firms) first thing in the morning or late at night, after dealing with the main obligations of their businesses. Still others might prefer to handle these items on weekends or during their lunch or dinner breaks.

It’s tough to predict when your clients will answer your emails or send over payments you’re owed. Instead of trying to reach them with a payment link or phone call when they are receptive to it, self-service lets your clients access your invoices and render payment whenever they’d like, right from their personal or work devices.

Make invoice generation part of your processes

One of the biggest errors we see in accounting businesses is the separation of completing a client task and generating a corresponding invoice. Too many accountants do the work first, then handle the invoicing at a later date, sometimes in batches with similar types of work.

While batching invoices after the fact might be an effective system for some, it’s faster and more efficient to have an invoice created as soon as work is carried out. If your firm has the right time and billing software, you can use automation to create invoices from a standardized template immediately after or even before work is carried out for your clients. There’s no need to worry about a team member forgetting to send an invoice, or scrambling to send a bill to a client long after work has already been completed.

Send reminders

Your clients are (probably) reasonable people. They aren’t intentionally looking to get accounting services without paying for them. But everyone is busy these days – we’re all trying to get more out of every hour of our work day.

One of the best ways you can help your clients who are genuinely forgetful or busy is to send them email reminders. With the right accounting practice management software, you’ll be able to send them without any manual effort. You can even create a customized template that answers questions clients may have or provides contact information in case they have concerns about what they owe.

Automate payment recordkeeping

Whether it’s calculating a total amount owed based on different services rendered, carrying over past balances onto a new invoice, or any other type of operations process related to payments, you want to minimize the human factor as much as possible. The more times someone at your firm has to complete a process to help collect a payment, the more likely it is that a mistake will happen that costs you money and affects your reputation with clients.

With an automated process for handling payments, you can cut down on this factor. Of course, you should always have an actual person on your team taking a quick look at invoices, billing statements and other documents produced by automation. You never want to blindly trust software to take care of a client-facing task. But if used properly, it can help your team get back a lot of time in their day while also cutting down on the prevalence of errors.

Conclusion

A lot of accounting businesses do a great job managing their clients’ payments, but don’t have the same high standards and efficient processes for their own books. Many accounting firm owners come to view payments as a simple afterthought that should get done in the easiest way possible at any given moment.

Unfortunately, this approach can lead to excess time and money spent on generating invoices, transmitting files to clients, and other important payment-related tasks that need to get done. Even if you have a solid manual process for payments, you should consider leveraging the power of modern accounting practice management software automation. With the right tools deployed properly in your business, you and your team can get hours back in your schedule, reduce mistakes in the invoicing and payment collection process, and satisfy your clients with convenient payment options that can fit their needs and schedules.

Topics: Practice Management


 

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