This post, written by Aprio Cloud, was created for Xero's blog and can be read in its entirety here.
2020 proved to be a year of change. While some of
that change was difficult, there were some positive changes worth reflecting on. For many reading this, your morning commute may start with shutting off your alarm clock, making a pit stop for coffee in the kitchen while on your way to your desk (which may or may not also be located in the classroom you share with your kids). Although this is a big change for some, if you’ve ever started a business or known someone that has, then you know that many times it starts with an idea that evolves into a product that is built in a garage or drawn out on a kitchen table.
For these new businesses, workflow and finance aren’t always the first things on the list when an idea is coming to life. You’re happy just to have a product to create an invoice for, and seeing that first deposit in the bank is exciting in itself. This is the story our team has heard from many clients. It may start with one invoice, but soon enough someone is up at midnight trying to format invoices to send to new customers. Then comes the flow of deposits from the bank. Someone has to match each of those deposits to an invoice or multiple invoices. It’s a good problem to have until it starts stealing time from the dream you are trying to make into a reality.
Turning dreams into reality
Aprio Cloud advisors specialize in helping businesses achieve their goals at every stage, whether it’s a start-up or a multi-generation business looking to expand overseas. When a client comes to us overwhelmed with the idea of formatting one more invoice manually, one of our first solutions is to get the client invoicing from Xero. This was the case with a recent client that had to format invoices differently for each customer. If each invoice wasn’t submitted with the exact formatting required, it wouldn’t get paid, and the client wouldn’t necessarily find out right away. This could have led to substantial delays in receiving payments that were crucial to continuing operations.
Xero allows users to create simple invoices with a standard layout and the company’s logo. Users also have the option to download docx files that they can format much more extensively, and companies can have a number of custom layouts. The custom layouts give users the option to show discounts, display currency conversions, add different shipping and billing addresses, create packing slips, and so on. This customization can also be expanded to quotes, statements, purchase orders, and credit notes.
Customized invoicing that makes getting paid easier
This customization gets rid of the manual work required to request payment from customers. Xero takes this a step further by adding the ability to schedule repeating invoices that will automatically be emailed to your customers on the date you choose. Invoices can include a ‘Pay Now’ option, giving customers the ability to pay instantly using a debit or credit card. Additionally, Stripe, Veem and GoCardless can all be integrated on invoices. Making it easy to pay means invoices are more likely to get paid and get paid faster, which is an essential need for businesses relying on a monthly, or even weekly cash flow.
One Aprio Cloud client switched to emailing invoices directly from Xero and, utilizing the Veem payment link, sent over one hundred invoices on the first day. Two customers paid within hours, and one of the invoices was over a year overdue. Close to twenty other overdue accounts were paid within the first 24 hours!
In addition to emailing the invoices, Xero users can also turn on automatic email reminders. Everyone knows it’s easy to see an email and say to yourself, I’ll come back to that later. Later is easily interrupted by kids asking for help to access online classes, dogs needing to be let outside, or someone ringing the doorbell. Our clients don’t need to worry about resending that invoice in two weeks to remind the customer to pay. Xero completely removes that manual process by reminding customers at the interval of their choice.
To make invoicing even easier, businesses can choose to offer auto-payment. Stripe and Veem are two of Aprio Cloud’s suggested payment integrations with the Xero platform. Stripe allows customers to pay via debit and credit cards or Apple Pay. This works for recurring payments as well as one-time invoices. Not only does this make accepting payments easier for invoicing, but Stripe also integrates as a bank feed within Xero. This means you can reconcile payments directly with invoices that were created in Xero, taking the guesswork out of the process.
Veem also provides a ‘Pay Now’ option and allows clients to accept international payments with no subscription fees as well as the added benefit of preferred foreign exchange rates. Veem is a great way to accept payments, but Aprio Cloud clients also use Veem to pay bills. Businesses can customize their payment approvals process, which enables either one-click approvals or even multi-level payment approvals. Veem saves time on both invoicing and billing by keeping everything within one platform.
What this means for you
If your business is still manually creating invoices, sending reminders and taking payments, Aprio Cloud can help you automate this process so you have more time to focus on growing your business. Having the ability to customize invoices gives businesses the ease of creating invoices on the go, and adding auto-reminders means higher likelihood of payment collection. These features combined with payment links on invoices and auto pay features from partners like Stripe and Veem makes it that much easier for customers to make timely payments. Businesses are still feeling the effects of COVID-19, and Aprio Cloud can help advise your business on best practices that include using a platform like Xero to make invoicing more efficient.