Having well structured and timed invoices is essential to getting your invoices paid (and paid on time).

Here at Debtor Daddy, we have been conducting a survey around peoples’ invoice preferences and why people generally don’t pay their bills. And while the results weren’t surprising, it’s always good to have a bit of validation – often that’s the key to getting yourself motivated into doing what you need to do. Team this up with a bit of research around bills, customers and companies, and I’ve compiled a list of things to contemplate when designing your invoice processes:

Send the invoice promptly

Currently, 49% of respondents place a high importance on receiving their bill on time, seems obvious, right? But it’s so easy to get caught up in your core business activities, that unless you have an automated system, invoices can fall by the wayside. But consider the fact that if you don’t send your invoices in a timely manner, your customers have very little motivation to pay in a timely manner. Lead by example.

Ensure the invoice is correct

When thinking about times that they have not paid their bills, a whopping 28% of people said that it was because the invoice items or amounts were incorrect. That is almost a third of people who have at some stage experienced being invoiced incorrectly – in other words, far too many. If you aren’t billing people correctly, they have very little motivation to chase you down and tell you what’s wrong; given the choice to pay or not to pay, people want to hang onto their money.

Make customers satisfied

Not directly related to your invoices but still vitally important. Your intention is never to create dissatisfied customers – but sometimes it’s tricky to prioritise ensuring that your current customers are happy over bringing in new ones. However, you need to think about the benefit of keeping your customers beyond satisfied – free sales people. There’s a saying “happy wife, happy life” and while there isn’t a rhyming quip I can use here, the same principle applies; when your most important asset is satisfied, you can be content. Don’t forget that a simple “Thank you for your payment” email has the potential to make a world of difference for your customers.