Far too many offices and business fail to recognize the importance of strict time and billing management. This is especially true for small businesses, sometimes made up of only one person, selling a service. If you take a look at your office and see that billing has become lax, now is the time to get it back on track. Lost billing time is lost money, pure and simple. You need to implement changes right away, and watch how much more efficient and profitable your office becomes. Stress the importance of proper billing to all of your employees, and most of all, learn it for yourself. If you are not sure of the best way to go about changing or improving your billing system, read on for some tips. These strategies and programs have been used by some of the most efficient companies in the world to turn their time into money.
By The Hour
Different companies use different methods of billing for their time. If you are the type of office or self contained company that charges by the hour, billing should not be much of a problem. It is just a matter of keeping strict control over the amount of time that is being worked, and then collating that into a format in which you can charge correctly for that time.
There is robust software that can do this for you, and the best programs are not that expensive, so you should not hesitate to pick them up and install them. After all, the amount of money you will save being free from billing errors will undoubtedly pay for the software many times over. There is even some web based software that is free and does a pretty good job of handling hours billed. Once you get to the end of the month, you only have to transfer your billing information into your invoice program and everything else will take care of itself. You do have an invoicing program, right?
Charging by the Day
The software we discussed before can also help you out if you are charging by the day, or the half day rather than by the hour. Some companies find this a much more efficient way of billing, and even offer their clients discounts for accepting this type of billing system. The great thing about billing by the day or half day is that you can keep track of it using a spreadsheet program that is most likely already installed on your computer. If that program has been gathering dust for some time, now is the time to bring it out of the mothballs and put it to use. All you need to do is set up a spreadsheet for each client and keep track of the days worked, and how much this should bring to bear in the billing cycle. You can use this same spreadsheet to keep track of any expenses you’ve incurred for each client as well.
If you find it would be less efficient or wise for you to handle your own billing, there is good news! There are many freelance billing specialists that can help you collate your billing system, and will not cost you an arm and a leg in the process. In addition to individual freelancers, there are established companies that do the same thing. These companies will likely charge you more, but you may have more peace of mind as to who you’re handing your records over to and entrusting the proper billing be done.
In order to choose the best company to do your billing, take the time to research and find out a bit about their practices. Make sure they have handled billing of your type in the past. If possible, get some references. In fact, if you have friends in the industry, it might be better to get a recommendation than to try to pick a company out of the phone book. If you decide to go with a freelancer, references are doubly essential. Talk to people and find out what the median pay is for these types of services so that you don’t wind up getting taken for a ride. On the other hand, you don’t want to hire someone who will do it for dirt cheap. There’s always a reason why someone is undervaluing themselves.
Whether you choose to do it yourself or outsource, billing and time management does not have to be an impossible mission. If you’re having trouble keeping everything tidy and on schedule, At-A-Glance makes quality desk and wall calendars you can use to get organized. Follow the steps above, and you’ll find that your company will soon be making the money it deserves.