Finding the Right Billing Software for Your Small Business
Billing software is a smart choice for any small business that has steady clients. Not only is it better for you, it will give your customers a sense of professionalism.
Billing software allows you to track customers, sales, outstanding balances, inventory, all previous invoices, purchase orders, previous years sales and more. Of course, there are many different kinds of billing software packages.
Before you purchase, make a list of priorities. Writing them down will help crystallize your understanding of your needs. Divide your list into must-haves, needs and wants.
Some of the things you will want to think about and prioritize include:Basic Customer Records
This can vary widely from one business to another, but this is one of the essential aspects of billing software: a record of each customers history, as well as the basic information such as their contact information.Reports Variability
You want the software to produce as many different kinds of reports as you need. On one hand, you do not want to spend too much money for a lot of bells and whistles you will never use. Overall, its better to err on the side of over-ability. The capability of rendering a quick summary of different business metrics and figures can be much handier than you first realize. Of course, you want the standard reports offered by the software to be a good match with your particular business.Budget
Wed be remiss if we underestimated the importance of this for you. Buy at the top end of a reasonable budget.Backup
Ouch! The last thing you want to lose is all the data youve taken so much time to record.Other Options
Some billing software allows you to do other things, but beware of course. Many people will argue that software that promises to do everything does none of those things well. Still, if you want billing software that doubles as an inventory manager, there are billing software packages out there that will do this perfectly well.Customizability
Of course, the software has to be customizable but how customizable it is might be more important than you realize. If you do not know how much your business might change over the next year or two, you might want to purchase a program that will allow you to make changes as you go along.Variable Tax Rates
This is more important if you deal with clients from different states or countries, of course.Search Capability
The software should have a robust and meaningful search capacity that allows you to quickly find and access the exact bit of information you want to review.Support
As a general rule, the more offline help that you get with a piece of software the more you are going to pay. You need to decide or know up front how much help you are going to need and how good that help is going to be.Information Solicitation from Customers
Ever had a good customer tell you about Mr. Xyz that also might be interested in your services and you forgot to write it down? Isn't that lousy when that happens? Any good billing software should allow you to add information like this, even if it has nothing to do with billing per se.Log All Information
With both of the above categories, it can be good for business to log all communication from your customers. If they mention their son Joey being sick and you remember that next time you talk to them, they'll be impressed.Customer Communications
Any reasonably robust software will also allow you to record notes such as customer preferences and feedback. You can also use this to record information that will help maintain your relationship such as discounts and other incentives.