Best Practices for Getting Paid

Getting paid is important.

Hopefully it is stating the obvious, but getting paid is important. Predictable collected revenue is the key to a productive and healthy business. It enables a company to make confident spending decisions whether that be on office space, head count, technology or whatever is important. It’s also crucial in other critical business operations like knowing when to raise money, taxes, etc.

There’s a few things to note about the phrase “predictable collected revenue.” First off, the word “collected” is thrown in there as revenue that was never collected (i.e. an overdue invoice) can be very detrimental. Not only is it not money you can use, but you’ve also likely spent resources on that customer who may never pay. Double whammy.

The second thing to note is that “predictable” does not imply on-time payment. Unfortunately, in the invoicing world, many do not pay on time. The good news is that in many business-to-business companies, invoices are typically paid, though sometimes late. The key here is to be able to predict your revenue well enough to make business decisions. We have some advice on how to get your accounts receivable to a place where that is possible.

3 things you can do to get paid:

1. Send reminders intelligently.

When invoicing, there are four types of customers:

Type 1: Customers who pay on time.

Customers paying on time is something you should encourage and be happy about. Maybe even try getting them to pay earlier if cash flow is critical to your business.

Type 2: Customers who cannot pay.

This issue can be addressed by having a good credit approval process. Invoicing with net terms is effectively extending a line of credit to people. If someone has not paid a previous invoice, you should think long and hard about extending them more credit (i.e. another invoice for more services).

Type 3: Customers who do not want to pay.

The most common reason people don’t want to pay is that from their perspective cash is more valuable in their hands than yours. But, customers not wanting to pay is a bit more complex than first glance. You can further divide this group into two buckets: those who don’t want to pay now but still want to pay on time and those who will push your boundaries, paying as late as they can.

It’s important to discourage the latter by at least threatening penalties. The first group of those who intend to pay on time will more often than not eventually fall into the 4th group below.

Type 4: Customers who forget to pay.

Behind the “customer” is a person who is very likely to forget to pay your invoice if it’s not easy or something they want to do immediately. It is easily the number one reason we’ve seen invoices go overdue in the B2B invoicing world. The key here is to send reminders, and send them intelligently. Customize your reminder schedule based on your customer, their industry and the terms of the invoice.

Here’s our suggestion for a minimal reminder schedule:

  • When the invoice is issued.
  • About halfway between when the invoice was issued an when it is due.
  • The week the invoice is due.
  • The day before the invoice is due.
  • The day the invoice is due.
  • The first day the invoice goes overdue.
  • Some regular interval after the invoice goes overdue.

Reminders are critical as you have to remember that in most cases, there is a human on the other side. If their goal is to keep cash as long as possible without penalty, they set the invoice aside and say “I need to remember to pay this in 29 days.”, which really translates to “I hope I remember to pay this in 29 days.”

Have a good system for reminders and understand the different types of customers with whom you need to communicate. This strategy alone can greatly increase your on-time payments.

2. Make it easy to pay.

Another simple way to increase on-time payments is to make it easy to pay. The best way to do this is to offer multiple payment methods where possible so that a customer doesn’t have to figure out how to get a check cut from their AP department, find a corporate credit card, figure out their Paypal account password, etc.

The best way to do this is to have electronic invoicing (a.k.a. a mini website that acts as a digital invoice). Advanced eInvoicing software will also allow you to collect payments right from the web page. If you’re mailing paper invoices, go ahead and also create an eInvoice. Either include a short URL on the invoice or encourage them to log in to your system where you list unpaid invoices. This is all to make it easy for the customer to go online and pay.

Saving payment details (credit cards, bank accounts, etc.) and getting approval to debit accounts can also help you get paid on time. Be sure that your customers agree to being debited and that they always understand exactly when and for what they will be paying.

Make it easy for people to pay by going digital and offering multiple payment methods.

3. Accuracy & Fast Resolution

Be descriptive and accurate on your invoices. Each line item should be clearly understood by your customer (not just your company). If you’re using eInvoicing, you could consider using links out to products or pages that describe the services performed in more detail.

Invoices that are cryptic or unclear often get push-back. And here’s the kicker, sometimes a customer has no idea how to push back. So be sure to include contact information for the person at your company who can help customers resolve any discrepancies. Have a process in place with how to handle any issues with invoices. Know who needs to be involved in the process. And if it’s a complaint resulting from something confusing on the invoice, consider updating your language to make it clearer on future invoices.

Be transparent and accurate on all invoices to reduce any back and forth. But even with perfect descriptions, you will still see some push-back so have a clear process in place to quickly and easily resolve any issues.

Or don’t think about it…

I’d be remiss as the CEO of Paid if I didn’t make a small plug for my company. Paid is the easiest, most scalable Accounts Receivable team you will ever have. All of the complexities I mentioned above (which to be honest is a small slice of the pie) you get out of the box with Paid.

Don’t worry about designing complex billing solutions or intricate invoicing analysis. We have years of experience that will help you get a robust billing experience set up in hours as opposed to weeks, months or years (or never).

Check us out at www.paidlabs.com.

Invoicing is complex.

Invoicing is a deceptively complex process for any company, even ours (Yes, we invoice our customers too!). As mentioned, there is complexity in the type of customer you are invoicing, the amount of credit you are willing to extend, the predictability of your revenue and your processes put in place to not only send invoices but to handle getting them paid and resolve any issues.

We always recommend that companies think about how they want to invoice and the effects that process will have on their business. Think about the number of people you’ll need involved (i.e. those to create invoices, send them, send reminders, collect payments, reconcile payments, mark invoices as paid, generate reports, etc.). Think about the analysis you’ll regularly perform to determine your collected revenue and how you can improve the on-time payment rate.

Tweaks can always be made to the process, but it’s much easier (and cost effective) to get it right from the start. That’s why we tell companies to design first and build second.

Questions?

Whether you are a Paid customer or not, we are happy to answer any questions about the content above or Accounts Receivable in general. Shoot us a message at hello@paidlabs.com!

Check Lockbox Turn Around

What you can expect

When we receive the check in our lockbox, we will match the check to the invoice and reminder emails will be stopped. Paid guarantees a 7 day deposit turn around, however usually will reconcile and deposit within 24 hours.

Issues that could hinder a 24 hour turn around include:

* Incorrect invoice reference numbers
* Over/Under payments
* No identifiable information
* Check bounces
* The mail taking a long time

Sending an Invoice

Step by step to get you paid!

From the home dashboard, navigate to the menu => invoices => new invoice

Next, click the \”select a customer\” dropdown. Either select a customer or create a new one.

Now it is time to add transactions. Note: you can select previously created transactions or create new ones.

Now click \”save invoice\” — If you would like to preview your invoice, click \”view invoice.\” Once you are ready to send, click \”issue invoice\”

What\’s next? Learn how Paid helps you track your outstanding invoices.

Release 3/24

Templates, PDF Attachments, Check Service Improvements

We know it\’s been quiet, but it doesn\’t mean we haven\’t been busy!

Paid has been working behind the scenes to make improvements to our architecture. That means faster, more reliable invoicing for you. We\’ve also made some great improvements to our Check Service (see more below)!

Finally, we\’re working tirelessly on a new dashboard! We\’re getting close to releasing a beta version to a few select customers. If you\’d like to help us kick the tires with a new UI, shoot us an email at hello@paidlabs.com.

Here\’s what\’s been updated on Paid these past couple weeks:

Handlebar Templates in Invoice Summaries (beta)
Paid wants to make sure you can customize your customer\’s experience. We are releasing a beta version of handlebars.js templating. \”Templating\” gives you the ability to pull in data from other sources. For example, you can reference transactions and their metadata in your invoice summaries. You could create a single template that looks different on each invoice because it\’s using different data.

This feature is our first stab at templatizing. Expect more in the future! We\’ll be releasing guides for this as the beta continues, but we\’re happy to help you implement today! So if you want in on the beta, give us a shout at hello@paidlabs.com.

Attaching PDFs to Invoice Issue Emails (beta)
You asked. We delivered. Now you have the option to enable (on a customer level) the \”Attach PDFs to Emails\” feature. Right now, it only works for Issue emails. You can also turn this setting on by default in your account settings.

A few things to keep in mind though:

  • If you issue an invoice with a PDF attachment and then you update that invoice in Paid, the PDF is now \”stale.\” You should let your customers know that the most accurate version of the invoice is on paidlabs.com.
  • Issue emails will take longer to send. It takes time to generate PDFs, so bare with us and we\’ll make sure it gets out ASAP. (We\’re talking generally a few seconds delay from normal.)

Check Service Improvements
Did you know Paid can receive, reconcile and deposit checks for you? That\’s right. We take those pesky pieces of paper and those annoying trips to the bank off your hands!

While that\’s not news to some of you, what is news is we have made some internal improvement greatly increasing our throughput (meaning even faster deposit times!).

If you haven\’t already signed up for our check service, give us a shout today by emailing hello@paidlabs.com. We\’d love to tell you more!

Release 02-25-16

Payments, metadata, communications improvements

Payments

When viewing an invoice on the dashboard you will now see a section listing the payments associated with this invoice

\"payments-dashboard\"

After your customer initiates a payment that you need to manually clear you will see it on the invoice page of the dashboard with options to mark the payment as paid, failed, or cancel the payment.

\"Pending_Payment_Actions\"
NOTE: These actions are not available for payments made via Stripe, EasyACH, or Paypal, as we will automatically update their status once the payment has cleared.

When a customer views a paid or pending invoice they will now see a section listing their payments along with the status.
\"payments-invoice\"

Metadata

Metadata for invoices is now displayed on the dashboard. Find it on an invoice page below \’Communications\’
\"Metadata\"

Communication Failed Notices

Previously, there was \’clicked\’, \’delivered\’, and \’opened\’ statuses on Communcations. Now we have added \’failed\’ and \’retrying\’ for when communications do not send properly.

Importing Customers, Transactions, and Plans

Now you can import customers, transactions, and plan data directly do your Paid account. Using CSVs in the correct format, this process is very quick and can greatly ease onboarding. To start, go to Account => Importers from the top bar. Here is a list of all previous imports. To create a new import click \”New Import\”.

Formatting is cruicial to the import. Please make sure that your file is a CSV. It must have a row called \’type\’ that refers to the type of entry on the row (either customer, transaction, or plan). It is also important that there is only one type per file. Currently you CANNOT import both customers and transactions at the same time. All of the accepted attibutes for customers, transactions, and plans are listed on the new importers page.

Redesigned Invoice Emails

We have updated styling for our invoice summary emails that you recieve when issuing an invoice or a reminder. Take a look!

\"Screenshot

Zapier and Paid

Send your data to any application using Zapier!

Today we are releasing a beta with Zapier! We support the following triggers from Paid to any other Zapier compatible app:

  • New Customer Created
  • New Transaction Created
  • New Invoice Generated

On the flipside, we support the following actions triggered from another Zapier compatible app to Paid:

  • Generate Invoice
  • Create Customer
  • Create Transaction

If you are interested in being a part of our Zapier Beta, please email hello@paidlabs.com

Note: We\’re adding new triggers and actions (i.e. customer.updated) based on customer feedback. So let us know if we\’re missing something, and we\’ll add it for you!

New Domain PaidLabs.com

We have a new home!

We\’re excited to announce that Paid has moved to a new domain: paidlabs.com! From the beginning, Paid has been focused on helping companies manage, scale and ultimately automate their accounts receivable. We started as a simple API that has grown into many new and exciting areas.

The Paid team has begun to build a number of tools on top our APIs that make it easy for anyone, technical or non-technical, to use our product. Paid is also working on some fancy accounts payable tools as well (more on that later).

Our switch to paidlabs.com symbolizes our commitment to helping every company and every person therein (engineer or otherwise) get paid. So watch out for emails from a new address, and as always, you can reach us 24/7 at hello@paidlabs.com!

P.S. Our old emails and urls will still work for a while. We\’ll help everyone transition their API to the new domain (i.e. https://api.paidlabs.com).

Release January 14, 2016

Zipped PDFs for Rolled Up Communications

Rolling up communications allows your customer to receive a single email when you are issuing them multiple invoices at one time. Now this email includes a link to download an archive of all invoice PDFs. Simply click the link at the bottom of the email and follow the instructions. Please note we do our best to make sure the PDFs are accurate, but the most up-to-date information can be found at the URL specified in each PDF.

Reports Improvement

Now you when you generate a one-off report, you can select the start and end time of the report (rather than just a time window from now).
Read more

Communications Section in Invoice

We have replaced the Reminders section with Communications at the bottom right of an invoice in the Dashboard. This section now includes additional items like issue notices and card errors.

New Look for Account Emails

The weekly digest now includes useful metrics and actionable next steps to take on your account. Let us know if there is any other info you would like to see in this email.

Revamped Webhooks (Beta)

Now you are able to create multiple webhooks per account. Webhooks are useful for knowing when certain events happen in paid (i.e. transaction.created, invoice.issued, etc.)
Read more

Release December 12th, 2015

Major

Auto Generate Invoices

If you want Paid to automatically create an invoice for each new transaction, enable “Auto Generate” for a customer. Now when you create a transaction through the dashboard or the API, we’ll go ahead and attach it to a new invoice. Note that the invoice will not be issued unless you have also enabled “Auto Issue” for that customer.
Read more

Auto Issue Invoices

You can enable “Auto Issue” in your customer’s settings. When enabled, any new invoice that is generated will automatically be issued. If the invoice or customer is set as “Charge Now,” Paid will charge the customers card. Otherwise, the invoice will be sent to the customer for the normal invoicing workflow.
Read more

Defaults

Paid allows you to easily manage settings by allowing you to have account-wide and customer-wide defaults. All account-wide settings (editable in your account settings) will be copied down to any new customer. Likewise, any customer-wide settings will be copied down to each newly created invoice for that customer.
Read more

Minor

Auto Issue Clarity

We changed the language when generating an invoice in the UI to let you know when it will also be issued (a.k.a. the customer has Auto Issue enabled).

Release: December 9th, 2015

Major

Roll Up Communications

Customer communications sent on the same day can be bundled into one message. With this option selected all future communications, sent on the same day, will be automatically rolled up together into one message.
Read more

Issue Multiple Invoices at Once

When multiple invoices are issueable, we offer the option of issuing all of them at one time. This is done right from the invoice index menu. By issuing all your invoices at once, it is essentially the same as precessing issue now on each individual invoice.
Read more

Reminder Status, Creation, and Deletion

Create reminders to be sent out today. View a reminder status to better guage customer interaction. Delete reminders to create a more custom schedule. This allows them to differ from the default schedule provided by Paid
Read more

Revamp Reminders

Track what emails each reminder sent, expand reminders to track issuing, see when emails were opened/received/bounced. Tracking reminder statuses are: processed, delivered, opened, clicked. You can also create or delete reminders

New Help Center

Visit our new Help Center to find more information on how best to use Paid. Learn how to completely automate your workflow, customize your invoices, and more.
Read more

Marketing Pages Redesign

Redesigned all of our marketing pages and created new style guide for our frontend

Group By for Invoice Generation

Adds a group_by field that when generate_invoice is called, it generates as many invoices as there are unique group_by values

Minor

Add Favicon to all Dashboard Pages

Add charge_now override to invoices

Adds a charge_now field to invoices which copies whether or not the customer is billing_type=charge or not. Allows accounts to change the charge_now boolean up until the invoice is issued to determine whether or not it should be automatically charged

Manual credit card retry

Event types added to docs

Reference for various event types have been added to docs under Events section

Bug

Cleaned up PDF Formatting

Disallow charging invoices less than 50 cents to Stripe

Stripe requires transactions to be greater than 50 cents in order to process

End of month timezone bug

When calling Transaction.current_month it does not consider the transaction accounts timezone which was set to non-utc. Now we use the accounts time_zone attribute in queries for transactions of the current month

Bank name missing on page after inputting

Fix Signup page in Safari

Some small front end fixes for Safari browser