Freelancer Tips for Managing Invoices
Invoicing clients is a crucial step in keeping your freelance business afloat. After all, where would you be without a paycheck? For many creative folks, the administrative work of running your own business is less than thrilling, leading to procrastination and disorganization. Luckily, plenty of great tools are available to help make invoicing simple and easy for anyone who works remotely.
Benefits of Online Invoicing Tools
The basics of invoicing clients couldn’t be more simple. You can do everything you need to with the software most people already have installed on their computers. First, create a simple invoice template in Word -- be sure to include your logo, mailing address and contact information, the issue date, the due date, an invoice number, the project, and how to pay. Then track invoices sent and payments received in a spreadsheet, either in Word or Excel.
The more clients you get and the more jobs you do, the more complicated and time-consuming this system becomes. You’re manually inputting all the data. You alone keep up with who has paid and hasn’t, and files can only be accessed from your personal computer.
The best way to manage to invoice remotely for freelancers, contract workers, or anyone not in an office is to use an online invoice tool. While the features vary from one program to the next, all invoice tracking tools offer at least these minimum benefits:
Record-keeping and invoicing all in one place
Easily create and track invoice numbers
Mobility - you can access files from anywhere, and some even have mobile versions
Accurate records, for reporting to clients as well as the IRS
Ability to collaborate and share with others
Choose the Right Tool for Your Business
There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to online invoicing tools. Some offer various limited services for free, while others charge a monthly fee or take a percentage of each monetary transaction. The good thing is that even if you need the products and services that cost money, every bit of that is tax-deductible. Ask yourself the following questions before signing up for a free trial or taking the plunge on a specific payment plan.
1. How many clients do I service? 2. How do most of my clients prefer to pay? 3. Does this program include a mobile app? And if so, is it available on Android, iPhone, or both?
4. Will other people need access? 5. Do I need a time tracker along with my invoicing program? 6. Do I need other accounting features?
Once you have the answers, it’s time to go shopping. Some invoicing tools accept payments, and of those that do, the types of payments accepted vary, from strictly ACH and credit to up to 81 different currencies. Pricing plans might differ according to how many clients you invoice or how many invoices you send per month. And extra features such as time-tracking and compatibility with tax filing software are appealing to those who like all their administrative tasks completed in one place.
Finding the right tool to manage invoices can save you time that’s better spent doing billable work. And that’s what every freelancer needs to have a successful, growing business.