We’re getting close to that time of the month when many in private practice face what can be a mundane, dreaded task.
But never fear! With the right planning, foresight, and tools, invoicing can be–dare I say–fun?
Well, maybe not “fun,” but these tricks and tips below will help get you on the right path towards making invoicing loads more manageable, accessible…and possibly even somewhat pleasurable.
Schedule the Time
Having a set schedule and time dedicated for invoicing gets you ready and prepped to make sure the task gets done. It has the additional benefit of guaranteeing that you have a regular cash flow coming into your business AND it keeps you from having to catch up on months of invoicing (there’s nothing worse than that!).
It doesn’t matter whether you set aside time weekly, bimonthly, or monthly. Your circumstances will determine which is best for your business (I prefer once a month). What’s important is that you plan and schedule it.
Use Fun Software
There are some awesome online services and software programs that make invoicing easy and pain-free. For years, I used Quickbooks, which you can get either as computer software (for Mac and PC) or as a monthly online subscription service.
However, when my old computer crashed, I started to check out other possibilities and settled on my friend Jenny’s suggestion: Freshbooks. I’ve been using Freshbooks for several months now and find it super easy, inexpensive, and I highly recommend it!
Another possibility is one my friend Rachel swears by, an online service called Music Teacher’s Helper. Check out Rachel’s review here.
When picking out a program, keep in mind whether you want to snail mail your invoices or email them. Want to know which method I recommend? Then keep reading…
I hope soon to go all electronic. In fact, I plan, when I restart my private practice, to 1) only provide emailed invoices and 2) offer payments both electronically and via check.
Emailing your invoices saves you time and it saves you money. Offering the option of online payments helps make it easy for your clients.
But this requires you to have a way to accept credit cards, but how? Easy…start with Paypal. Paypal provides a secure way for you to accept credit card payments and an easy way for you to transfer that money to your bank account. They have a couple of different services they offer and you can learn more at Paypal.com.
Keep Track of Time
Many of us need to keep track of when we see clients and for how long. In order to make billing as painless as possible, it will be important for you to consistently keep a log of your hours.
As with scheduling time, it doesn’t matter how you do this. I’ve done it with pen and paper, I’ve created a timesheet on Excel, and I’ve kept a log on my calendar.
What’s important is that you keep track every day of what you did that day. It’s no fun to try and think back a couple weeks and remember who you saw and what you did (No fun!).
Recently, I’ve used Freshbooks to keep track of my time. What’s superslick about this method is that Freshbooks automatically integrates my timelog into invoices. Additionally, there is an iPhone app called Minibooks that allows me to log my hours from my phone and submit it to my online account.
Talk about making invoicing painless!
Do you have any other resources or tips to share about invoicing? If so, please leave a comment in the fields below!