Most self employed are familiar with Word and Excel. After all, these two programs are arguably ‘tried and true’ having been around a long time and many people having worked with them previously whether as a student or in other jobs.
When you start your own business, it can seem to make sense that you stick with what you know. However, are they really the best options for running your business easily and reliably from anywhere?
At the end of the day, if you were to compare them to online invoicing software, they will come up short. Mainly because of the most obvious of reasons: neither Word nor Excel were created with the express purpose of creating legal, professional invoices.
Professionalism in any business
If you’re running a business, you know how important it is to create and issue invoices, however, there’s generally no need to take a course or become an expert to create this type of document.
However, there are country, industry, or even product/service specific regulations that involve invoicing that you would need to be aware of if using Word or Excel. Fortunately, online invoicing software takes care of this for you. Working in the construction industry? Activate the CIS deduction on invoices with a click. Part of the flat-rate VAT scheme? Enable it in your account. Want to show product numbers? Select that option. Features like this allow you to stay professional and compliant.
So how else can invoicing software make creating, sending, and managing invoices easier? Keep reading.
1. Invoices in other languages and currencies
If you’re invoicing customers across borders who work in another language, there are some advantages to creating an invoice in their language. Not only do you cater to the customer and provide a heightened level of service, you show that your company is used to doing business internationally.
Using Google translate could certainly be an option if you’re using Word or Excel invoice templates, but how reliable are those translations? Do you trust that Google understands your purposes and will provide the correct translations? What about exchange rates? How will you plug that in to your invoice in the event that you’re also invoicing in another currency?
Invoicing software like Debitoor has done the legwork for you. When changing your invoice to another language, the software automatically translates your invoice to that language using the correct terms. All it takes is selecting the language from a drop down menu.
The same goes for currency. Select the currency from a drop down menu to apply that day’s exchange rate and finish your invoice in minutes.
2. Invoices with a custom design
Most businesses today understand the power of branding. That is, they want their business to be memorable and one of the easiest ways to help produce this result is to have a strong visual identity. Logos and colour schemes are some of the easiest ways to start building a brand identity.
It therefore makes sense that you would want to include the elements of your business’ visual identity on your communications with customers including - you guessed it: your invoices.
But design can be intimidating for many. Especially those not in a creative field and without much interest in the branding side of things. Invoicing software aims to make this easy. Where Word & Excel do have templates, Debitoor offers templates that have adjustable layouts, fields to be included, colour schemes, fonts, and more. All with your upload logo applied automatically.
Security and avoiding invoice mistakes
It’s a nightmare situation. Losing invoices due to hardware or software issues. Not far behind that is making major errors on an invoice that might impact your tax filing. In these cases, Word and Excel can’t offer much in the way of preventative measures. Not the case with cloud-based invoicing software.
3. Invoice software that prevents data loss
It goes without saying that a major expectation or requirement, rather, when it comes to software that you use to create and manage documents crucial to running your business, is that it is reliable. You don’t want to lose documents due to software issues.
One major advantage of using cloud-based software is that it provides an extra level of security by backing up your information and documents. It also provides a higher level of security than just Word or Excel on your computer. Cloud-based software means you can always access your data from another device. Even if your computer breaks down or your mobile is lost.
It also means there’s no need to migrate data in the event that you get a new computer because with Debitoor, you can log in and access your account from anywhere with internet access.
4. Automatic VAT/GST calculation
We all make mistakes. Thank goodness for the ‘Undo’ option in Word and Excel. But while that works well for the mistakes that you catch, what about the ones that you don’t? What if those mistakes have to do with calculating tax on invoices?
And as mentioned above, what if your invoice needs to include different tax rates, or deductions, discounts, or other elements that might affect how the tax is determined not only on that invoice but in your business finances?
Online invoicing software takes care of it for you. Yes, that means no calculations, no formatting Excel formulas, and ultimately, no need for a calculator in your hand when writing invoices.
More than invoicing: quotes, delivery notes, payment receipts
Invoices are arguably the document most important to you getting paid, but many businesses work with a variety of other useful documents in the sales process. While it might be possible to create these in Word or Excel, it’s a lot of extra work. With online software like Debitoor, these documents can be created just as quickly and easily, with your logo and design as well.
5. Closing the sales process
No matter where you start with a sale, whether a quote or proforma invoice, or even if you invoice, each of these must be created separately in Word or Excel. Debitoor, however, was built with an understanding of the connection between these documents. So you can convert your quote to an invoice with a click. Same with changing a proforma to a completed invoice.
Once you’ve completed the sale and received payment, many customers want to see a receipt for payment. This is also connected to the invoice. You can send a payment receipt in two clicks. Even if you’ve entered partial payment on an invoice, the payment receipt will show the amount paid and the remaining balance.
6. Automate the creation and sending of invoices
If you regularly invoice the same customers at a consistent frequency for the same amounts (for example, if you have a subscription-based business, offer monthly memberships, or do the same amount and type of work at specified intervals), you can even set up recurring invoices to be created and sent on your specified dates, automatically.
Yes, you can also copy-paste in Word or Excel, but after a while, this process becomes tedious and inefficient. Plus, it’s up to you to stay on schedule. With Debitoor the invoices are created automatically and then can either be sent manually or also set up to be automatically emailed on the dates you need.
And accounting, too!
It’s a bit difficult to talk about invoicing without bringing up an aspect of running a business that is inevitably linked: managing the income and expenses. Staying on top of business finances can seem daunting, especially without a background in accounting.
Excel is an impressively complex software that can be useful for managing cash flow if you have the time and know-how. However, if you’re looking for something faster and more intuitive, turn to invoicing & accounting software like Debitoor.
7. Invoicing and accounting software in one
The connection between invoicing and getting paid is clear. The documents you create in the sales process are linked to payments and these are finances that are important to keep track of. With income and growth come expenses, the other side of cash flow management.
By using invoicing software like Debitoor that combines the accounting side in an equally intuitive way, you’ll be better prepared for tax filing, working with your accountant and more.
8. Reports at your fingertips
Recording payment data as you operate your business is one thing, but being able to see it in a format to better understand the financial health of your business is a different thing altogether.
While Excel can offer some automation with the correct set up of formulas and diligent manual recording of payment information, this still requires a certain amount of work on your part when it comes to tax filing, as well as gaining an overview of your business accounts.
Cloud-based software is constantly doing the work behind the scenes based on the information you add to your account. That means that it’s possible to generate financial reports such as VAT, balance sheet, and a profit & loss statement all in just a couple clicks. And the best part is that it doesn’t require any calculations on your part.