Small business invoicing
In the world of invoicing, especially in relation to smaller businesses, the sheer number of guides offering suggestions on best practices is astounding. You wouldn’t think there would need to be so many resources all saying the same basic things. However, when you look at just one piece of advice from these guides, “Don’t Use a Paper System” it quickly becomes evident why there are so many small business invoicing guides saying the same things to readers.
Especially in the digital age, that advice seems like a no brainer. Depending on your source, the digital age started either in the 1970s or 1990s, either way, we’ve had 3-5 decades to convert business practices. Why would anyone still be using paper? Aside from the fact that many businesses are still working with paper invoices (surprisingly, it’s not just the small startups, you’ll even find paper at some fortune 500 companies), this point isn’t just about the format or the environment, but about the efficiency and security of the format.
A business can use paper invoices and keep perfect track of them, keep them properly secured and stored, track them all with astounding accuracy and get paid on all of them, but the amount of time and work hours to do so is substantial to perform those tasks with such imaginary accuracy from that format. The reality is that paper invoicing is prone to error, lost or damaged invoices, poor tracking, and late payments, in addition to more hours handling and processing these invoices.
Though these guides all focus on paper invoices, the biggest problems with paper invoices aren’t really solved by just abandoning paper. Does it really save time, or accuracy, or get on-time payment to now have a PDF scan with tracking in an Excel file? No, it’s still a very manual process and prone to most of the same errors and inefficiencies of a paper system. Our research shows that 90% of businesses are still processing invoices manually (whether they’re using paper, PDFs, Excel, Emails, ERPs, etc).
It’s no wonder that so many businesses stick to paper when the most common alternatives don’t solve the biggest issues of the format, but only shift labor hours saved into data entry instead of actually saving labor or solving the pain points of the format or practice.
While we at Crowdz believe we are uniquely positioned (with our blockchain-based platform, digital integrations, automation, and invoice exchange), there are a number of solutions out there for businesses, especially smaller businesses, to solve these pain points (labor hours, invoice creation, storage, security, tracking, payments, cash flow) and reduce the reliance on manual systems in their invoice process.
Whether a company adds digital integration into an ERP, cloud services, electronic tracking, or other services, the advice to stop using paper doesn’t go far enough. These guides should be clearer and more blatant, “Don’t Process Invoices Manually.” If they really want to help businesses, especially small businesses, succeed and improve their cash flow.