Written by Danny Gallagher
Nothing can be more daunting for a business of any size than trying to find the right software for its needs.
There are a seemingly endless number of brands and varieties that offer unique features and specialised implementation for all types of businesses.
Trying to find the one that fits your business can feel like a game of "Whack-a-Mole": As soon as you think you've found the right one, five more suddenly pop up into view. There are ways to find the right software that fits your invoicing needs.
1. Know Your Business
The first step to buying any critical piece of software for your business is to know what your business needs and how much or what exactly you need the software to handle.
Businesses of all sizes should find out or research exactly how big their business is and the volume of customers and average income they should expect the software to handle. They should also know the options available for their customers to pay their invoices (check, credit card, PayPal account, etc.) and the basics of their computer system, local network and internet connection. This will help the software vendor pinpoint the type of software that can meet their needs.
2. Bigger Isn't Necessarily Better
When it comes to technology, some people seem to think that buying the most advanced system, gadget or software means it can meet every need they have. This isn't necessarily the case.
Finding the right software – in any capacity or variety – means finding the one that meets your specific needs. Buying the biggest or most advanced software is overkill and can give you more than what you'll actually use to invoice your customers and vendors and that comes with a bigger price tag. If you have a relatively simple invoicing procedure or a modest customer base, a more basic package will not only save you money, it will also make it easier to learn and use on a regular basis.
3. Consult Your Accountant
Some software vendors or salesmen may have your best interests at heart, but they also run a business and need to make a buck just like anyone else. Sometimes it helps to seek an objective opinion that can step back and give you exactly what you need.
The best person to ask in these matters is a trusted accountant or someone from your business' accounting department. They constantly review and use invoicing software for their business on a daily basis and can easily point you in the right direction or to someone they trust who can set you up with the right software.
4. Know If You Should Go Online
The internet can present many obstacles when it comes to an invoicing procedure. Networks can lose their connection and if you have a software package that cannot work without the internet, you could find yourself dealing with sudden delays between your business and your clients. The internet also opens your network to destructive viruses or even curious hackers that can expose vulnerabilities and expose your business and even your customers' personal information.
These risks don't negate the positives of having an online invoicing software system but it does present other questions that should be asked before you plunk down the money for the software such as backup systems that can be used when your connection stalls or anti-virus software and internet security procedures to prevent leaks and hacks.
5. Know Your Learning Curve
Every software system takes some time to learn, no matter how computer literate you think you are. More complex systems make take some extra time to learn how to use to its fullest potential or require additional materials and training for you and your employees.
Any business owner will tell you that a little bit of preparation can go a long way and that includes choosing the right software to meet your particular needs. The key is to know what you need and what you're getting and equipping yourself with this information will lead you to the invoicing software that's right for you.
About the Author
Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer and reporter who covers a variety of topics, including invoicing software.