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A Guide to Electronic Invoices
The timely delivery of documents is very important to businesses. Postal services cannot be relied upon with these important documents since they are slow, expensive, and sometimes unreliable. And when it is finally delivered, there is a need to open, distribute and file the invoices which takes time and money too. In this highly digital world we are in, we are surprised to see many businesses still using postal services to deliver invoices.
With the high cost and unreliability of postal services to deliver invoices on time, businesses should look at using electronic invoicing. 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. You should no longer receive paper invoices today. 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. You will have great savings if you do this. Don’t be moved by a very few die hard customers who refuse to accept this. Convert the proactive ones first, then the traditionalists 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. PDF files or the image representation of your invoice is the best format you can use.
The technology side of e-invoicing is very easy to implement in any system. To start, collect the email addresses of you customers who agree to receive an electronic invoice regularly. These emails can be added to your computer systems if they are able to hold them. Or you can hold it in a separate look-up table or database.
Start by sending PDF invoices. This will give your business huge cost savings with only a little startup cost. if the customer does not open the email, then he cannot check the invoice. This can be solved through document delivery portals instead of sending it directly to the customer. In the email of the customer he will find a link that he need to click in order to view his invoice. In order to view the invoice the customer needs to click on the link and login using a secure sign in and then he will find his invoice together with past invoices. 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. Links can be resent to the customer.