Tuesday, May 28, 2024

7 Ways Savvy Financial Advisors Can Streamline Their Invoicing Process

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We get it; invoicing isn’t exactly the most thrilling part of running your own business. Still, it is essential for you to get your bills paid and keep things ticking over nicely as you build and grow your customer base. You’ll need to have a good process for sending out, chasing and collecting payments on invoices if you want to be successful in your practice as a financial advisor. After all, it only makes sense that you should understand and act on the best principles of financial management if you’re going to be advising others on their own financial health.

Invoicing can pose a bit of a headache even to the most financially savvy business owners. Aside from chasing up clients who are slow or unwilling to pay, you’ll also need a good system in place for allocating the money received and keeping everything in order. You must keep a good handle on keeping up with your invoices, so you can be sure they will be paid on time and in full.

Choose The Right Invoice Method

There are two primary ways to invoice clients for your services: digital and mail. Increasingly, businesses are opting to use digital invoicing as it makes them easier and cheaper to send and chase. Mail invoicing can also be slower, and there’s the risk of invoices getting lost in the post. You could use both methods, but that could just end up adding to your workload necessarily. The simplest way of invoicing your clients is usually by attaching a digital invoice to an email.

Offer Various Payment Options

A common cause of late payments can result from clients being unfamiliar with or unwilling to use the payment methods you prefer. While you can’t please everyone, it is still a good idea to accept as broad a range of payment methods as possible, including:

  • PayPal
  • Cash
  • Check
  • Bank transfer 
  • Credit or debit card payments

If you think there is a demand for it, you could even accept more specialized payment methods like cryptocurrency. You should also allow payment plans for customers who are struggling to make the full payment in one go. This can be an excellent show of good faith on your part, allowing customers to pay their invoices over time and without financial hardship.

Use Quality Accounting Software

You’ll need some quality accounting software to run any business, and the software you use should truly shine when it comes to invoicing. The accounting software you use should have fully integrated invoicing sections that allow you to monitor which clients have outstanding invoices due and how much they are for. You should also ensure that your software is kept updated when you receive payment to avoid unnecessary and potentially distressing payment chasers being sent to clients who are paid up.

Keep Digital Documents Secure

When sending out invoices that contain sensitive information, like your business banking details and client addresses, it is vital to keep data safe. Not only is this essential from a practical standpoint, but it is also a legal requirement in most jurisdictions, including the EU. When you’re creating digital invoices, it is best to use software that allows you to add in many layers of protection to that document. PDF is often preferable, and there are many PDF tools you can use to help you manage and enhance the security of the data you’re sharing. Pdftools are an excellent business to partner with who can help you generate your PDF invoices effortlessly and with robust security features included.

Create Invoice Templates

Making templates for the different services you offer can be an excellent way to make invoicing faster and simpler. Many services provided by a financial advisor can be easily allocated into separate invoice types, including financial reporting, investment advice, mortgage advice and overall financial health checks. You should always amend each invoice to reflect the range of work done and ensure that all details included on the invoice are correct. You could also make templates that can be easily amended for bespoke or unusual services, so no matter what you do, you have a quick and easy template to send out.

Be Upfront About The Cost Of Your Services

No one likes to feel like they’ve been charged hidden fees or had the wool pulled over their eyes in some way. You might not even realize you’ve done something like this by not being clear from the outset about the cost of your financial advisory services. Of course, sometimes even that will not be enough for the most recalcitrant clients, but there are always hiccups to be expected for businesses that work one-to-one with clients. You should ensure your prices are available to review on your website and send out a reminder of the cost of each session before an appointment goes ahead. This can eliminate a large portion of late or disputed fees.

Follow Up With Missed Invoice Payments

If your chasing process hasn’t yielded payment, it may be time to contact the customer over the phone or using a different email – automated email chasers can be helpful, but they can also get automatically sorted into a client’s spam folder by mistake. If you know this to be an issue, you could advise your clients when you meet with them. Following up with all missed payments can be time-consuming and could be a task you assign for your assistant if you have one. Still, it is worth the effort to ensure your clients are aware of their obligations and the ways they can pay you.

Conclusion

Invoicing can be time-consuming and, at times, daunting, but it is crucial for the smooth running of your financial advisor business. You should aim to be fair but firm when dealing with clients, giving them some leeway if they need to make payment over time without compromising on the price you charge for your services. Being open and honest about the cost of your services is also crucial for making sure your invoices are paid on time. Accounting software and digital records can also be an incredible way to ensure your invoicing system is streamlined and fit for purpose.

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