Most businesses think of invoicing as the process for bringing in owed money. However, invoicing done poorly can cost companies too. A benchmark study found the price of processing vendor payments ranges from $5 all the way up to $26 per invoice. The largest contributing factor to such high costs: inefficiency. Only 25% of invoices arrive through a fully automated electronic process. More than one-third still travel via mail. Estimates show that 3.6% of all invoices contain an error. For those in paper form, mistakes cost an average of $53.50 to fix.
In a survey conducted by PYMTS.com, businesses did not cite collections as their primary stress in accounts receivable. Operating costs, manual processes, speed, and errors all topped the list instead. Clearly businesses see an opportunity for improvement. Salesforce invoicing offers one of the best. Following are the top five reasons why.
#1 – A 360° Customer View
Perhaps the most compelling reason to bring invoicing inside Salesforce is the quote-to-cash transparency it provides. Salesforce creates a shared ecosystem offering a complete view of the customer. That means the information needs of various departments like accounting, sales, and customer service reside in one place rather than a set of disparate systems. Instead of waiting for data to sync, all teams gain access to real-time customer information. Salesforce captures this data in dashboards and reports offering valuable analytics to teams. Companies easily generate and monitor key performance indicators such as days sales outstanding (DSO), revised invoice percentage, customer value, and turnover ratio.
#2 – Flexibility
Many major accounting systems lack custom objects, meaning configuring the software to a business’s unique needs is challenging or impossible. They usually require the business to conform to the platform. Salesforce supports custom objects and data fields. Therefore, an invoice generated through Salesforce can include any information pertinent to the customer that the company deems important. Adding rules, filters, and flows makes the system even more sophisticated in how and when invoices are sent, as well as what information accompanies them. Salesforce supports full customization rather than the one-size-fits-all approach of most accounting systems.
#3 – Efficiency and Automation
One of the major contributing factors to delayed invoices and errors is manual work. Staff often must key in data between systems, especially for order management and accounts receivable. Salesforce offers native accounting systems or integrates with external accounting programs. Regardless of where the general ledger resides, customer data lives in Salesforce. This allows fields to pre-populate on the invoice without manual input. With a simple click, sales reps can instantly send one-off invoices via email to the customer.
Automation rules make the process even faster. Organizations can set up customized triggers that determine when invoices go out. Rather than waiting for traditional batches, the system can automatically email invoices based on predetermined business rules at any time. That cuts down on time waiting to invoice and helps companies collect faster. In fact, the platform can generate an automated invoice the instant a customer owes money.
When managing invoices inside Salesforce, other opportunities for automation abound. Create a process for sales rep notifications when customer invoices are generated or paid. Automatically update account statuses in the pipeline. Establish a rule preventing new quotes for accounts with outstanding invoices above a certain threshold. Prompt marketing and sales intervention when an account stops buying. The possibilities are endless.
Salesforce helps companies dedicate less labor toward invoicing and expedites the process all while reducing costs and improving cash flow.
#4 – Improved Accuracy
The risk of errors skyrocket anytime work is performed by hand. Salesforce fully digitizes the invoicing process eliminating most of the steps that cause problems. No manually entering transactions or payment data. No printing and mailing invoices. For the roughly 30% of companies still using paper invoices, this is a gamechanger. Invoicing ties directly to customer quotes ensuring billing accuracy from start to finish. The connection limits time spent reviewing invoices before sending them out the door. Salesforce also supports prorated billing without manual calculations left to the sales or AR teams. If a mistake is made on any invoice, Salesforce allows for a quick update and reissues a new one immediately. Having all customer data located in one place also makes tracking down errors and fixing them much easier.
#5 – Better Customer Experience
Salesforce’s invoicing efficiencies also improve the customer experience. Companies easily can add a “pay now” button to their invoices. Customers can pay by credit card or direct debit avoiding the hassle of printing and mailing a check. Salesforce also supports a self-service billing and payments portal. So, not only are invoices issued more quickly, but they prompt faster payment as well.
Salesforce’s 360° view also benefits the customer. When a client calls in, teams can access the customer’s details and offer support, including viewing and resending invoices. An agent can create a customer support case connected directly to the invoice in question. The customization of invoices gives customers all the information they need to quickly pay a bill. Improved accuracy saves customers the hassle of inquiring about invoices. Plus, transparent KPIs help teams proactively work with clients on receivables to avoid contentious collection battles.
Salesforce Invoicing: Integrate or Migrate?
Salesforce’s invoicing function is a powerful tool with significant cost savings and cash flow benefits. But what does that mean for companies already using a platform like QuickBooks, Peoplesoft, or Sage? Salesforce is still a great option. The platform can integrate with most major accounting systems allowing for data sharing. That helps eliminate manual processes, allows for better data transparency, and supports shared KPIs across teams. Integration limitations include delayed data versus real-time data and a significant amount of customization to get platforms working together. However, companies seeking to avoid a full system migration and wanting to retain some legacy workflows may prefer this option.
For those looking for a closed-loop process with one billing center for the front and back office, moving accounting inside Salesforce makes sense. Salesforce offers multiple options with FinancialForce, CPQ and Billing, or third-party software through the AppExchange. Working totally inside Salesforce eliminates the need for maintaining legacy systems, avoids integration costs, and creates one master customer record. A well-defined data migration process makes moving information over easy. Once companies make the switch, Salesforce grows with them.
Galvin Supports Invoice Innovation
Looking for a better invoice process? When it comes to accounting, a “we’ve always done it this way” mindset often hides possibilities for improvement. The Galvin Technologies team conducts a discovery process that identifies challenges and recommends new opportunities. We consider budget and resources to create a scope of work that meets each client’s unique needs. Our team manages configuration, integration, and data migration. We help with training too. When it comes to streamlining invoicing, we know how to help companies cash in.