Increasingly, small business owners are doing their invoicing online, and not without reason: As with so many other areas of business operation, cloud-based tools have simply made it much easier to automate and to systematize. In short, online invoicing helps business owners fulfill this necessary business competency without it draining too much of their time—leaving them free to focus on other areas of business strategy and growth.
But in adopting the perks and the benefits of online invoicing—whether with invoice software, an online invoice generator, or whatever else—have small business owners lost out on some of the advantages of paper invoicing? Does online invoicing come with drawbacks that more traditional models didn’t possess?
It’s worth thinking about and reflecting on. Small business owners want to avail themselves of the latest and greatest technology, but they don’t want to adopt new methodologies just for the sake of it. Below, we’ll outline some of the pros and cons of snail mail invoicing versus online invoicing.
Online Invoicing vs. Snail Mail invoicing
Let it be said from the get-go that, while the very term “snail mail invoicing” may sound hopelessly out of date, there are some advantages to invoicing sans the use of online invoicing software. To begin with, any business transaction necessitates that hard copies be kept on file, and old-fashioned invoicing lends itself well to this.
One could also argue that hard copy, snail-mailed invoices convey greater urgency and professionalism. Most of us receive comparatively little physical mail these days, and what we get in our mailboxes we are more likely to read more or less immediately. By contrast, an e-mailed invoice could easily be lost in the shuffle, sent to a spam folder, or simply marked to be read at a much later date.
Then again, it is hard to classify snail mail invoicing as more “urgent” when a snail mail invoice will always take a couple of days to arrive at its destination. Snail mail invoicing requires a lot more work, and while some customers may prefer it, many will not: An online invoice makes it easier to click a PayPal or credit card link and pay the tab immediately, no small comfort.
Online Invoicing: What are the Advantages?
As for the use of time saving and money saving invoicing apps, there are obviously some big perks over snail mail. While snail mail invoices will take a few days to reach the customer, online ones can be sent and received almost immediately. Additionally, the entire process can be automated: Using an app like BizXpert, entrepreneurs can invoice from their phone, tablet, or computer, call upon existing customer records and invoice templates, and complete and send a new invoice in as little as a minute’s time.
The automation does not stop there. Business owners who invoice online can use their invoicing software to stay up to date with appointments and inventory management, as well—effectively using their invoicing program as a small business solutions center.
And sending invoices online makes it easy for customers to pay in whatever way is convenient for them. You can include your company contact information at the top of each invoice but also offer easy online payment links. When you make payment convenient, you tend to see payments made more promptly.
Snail mail invoicing has obviously not gone the way of the dinosaur just yet, and some small business owners may still prefer it. Its merits are certain, yet the growth of online invoicing is just as certain, and for many entrepreneurs its pros will far outweigh its cons.