Q: I’m using a simple but archaic invoicing process:
I type up invoice in Word, save it as a pdf and send to my clients on the first of every month. I keep an Excel spreadsheet to track invoices and payments. My projects range from $1,200 to $25,000. Monthly invoices for some clients are the same amount every month and for others, differ by work completed the prior month. I don’t (lucky me!) have any problems collecting payment but wonder if their is online system or something you recommend to streamline my process?
A: I like your approach here. It’s not archaic. It’s simple, you understand it, and it tells you what you need to know.
Who owes you? And how much? And when it comes time to do your taxes and year-end books, you can figure pretty quickly who paid you, and how much. Yes, there is some fiddling and figuring to do.
My guess is, you could go for years like this and be just fine. There is no big reason to complicate things.
There are online services, such as Freshbooks.com and blinksale.com that might save you, I don’t know, maybe 90 minutes’ work per month. They let you render an invoice with somewhat less typing. And, they automatically generate reports on what is outstanding. And what every client has paid you so far this year. And maybe let your clients pay with credit cards if that’s helpful.
But there’s a monthly charge. And you do have to spend a little time figuring it all out.
If you are nerdy about paperwork, you may find such services fun and helpful. Especially if you have to generate a lot of invoices each month.
Otherwise, keep doing what you’re doing. Until it becomes an utter pain in the ass. In which case, you will be making a ton of money, and paying for an online service makes more sense.