How Synergist transforms invoicing

 |  By: Steve Johnson In: Financial reporting

Do you dread your monthly invoice process?

Invoicing production can be a tiresome and stressful time if you’re in a busy project-based business.

There’s so much detail to track down, clarify, check, summarise and send. And there’s so much at stake. Everybody knows that delayed invoices result in late payments. And mistakes in invoices are costly because the customer will use it as an excuse – perhaps validly – to delay payment. And the pressure is on because poor cash flow can put a business at serious risk.

It all amounts to a mad scramble for information at month-end to get the invoices out. It’s disruptive and stressful for all concerned, not only the hapless finance team tasked with getting it done but the team members they have to harangue to get crucial information about it.

So what’s the answer?

One surprising solution is to do away with the month-end crunch completely. Another is to take the responsibility of invoice production away from the finance team. Seems impossible? Let me explain how this is done.

Removing the stressful month-end battle

To make invoicing work smoothly, it needs to be one continuous process from start to finish. It works like this. A system that has everything in the business connected up together means that billable time, as well as the purchases, costs and expenses are all on the same system, as are billing plans and job and client details. So all activities are part of the natural process of managing the projects day to day. In that type of operation, the drafting of the invoice is suddenly easy – it flows.

Each project manager sees all the elements of their own projects laid out on their screen in front of them. So they can become the person creating the draft invoice for their own particular clients. This draft then gets forwarded to their line manager (if appropriate) and then the finance team, who don’t have to spend days creating it all from scratch, searching for data or cajoling people to fill in their details – they simply use the smart approvals process to verify the drafts coming to them. Such a process ensures that no one person becomes a bottleneck. When Finance are satisfied all is OK, they then convert them into real invoices and send them out.

This all saves huge amounts of time. Said the financial controller at one Synergist user:

The drafting of invoices is now quickly produced by the project managers.

Invoice system checklist: things to look for

  1. Error reduction. When everything’s connected up, things can’t get overlooked because there’s a thread attached to everything. Each user is intelligently prompted throughout, saving a great deal of time over the life of the project.
  2. You don’t even have to wait until the month-end to send the invoice. You can invoice at the end of the job instead.
  3. Even though the invoices are fully itemised, there’s never any need to enter any details twice. Details from quotes, for example, can be carried forward.
  4. Invoices can be beautifully branded. They can also be printed, emailed, or sent electronically.
  5. Multi-currency can be accommodated, as can multiple jobs on one invoice.
  6. Direct links to your accounts system further saves time and reduces errors.
  7. Your team can access their information from wherever they are, by web browser or phone, encouraging them to enter details while it’s all fresh in their mind.
  8. Finding invoice-related details is made much easier because related notes, images, documents and emails are right there.
  9. Your clients receive prompt, accurate, professional invoices, instead of being frustrated with errors and slow responses to queries.
  10. You can see if an invoice hasn't been paid and chase it before it becomes an issue.

People don’t choose Synergist just for its invoicing capabilities. They get it to pull everything together to give them visibility of all the key elements of their business in real time, informing their decisions. With such a system, you can create efficiencies and help drive profitability and growth.

But the invoicing is a remarkable spin-off that users always comment on. For the first time, you start to realise how expensive the old methods were to your business.

So, these benefits simply can't be achieved via spreadsheets, invoice apps or online invoice systems. Invoice software, bill trackers and billing software apps simply don’t have anything like the level of integration you need for the big payoff. You can’t gain system-wide intelligence via disconnected parts.

Synergist is end-to-end. All the above benefits come standard with it. So that’s why we say that it transforms invoicing. And as for the dreaded month-end panics? The Finance Directors of two companies using Synergist told us:

“This has saved an enormous amount of time within our accounts department since they do not actually have to produce invoices now.”

“We get monthly invoices sent out by the 2nd of the month.”