Why e-invoicing solutions are great for businesses.

May 17 2019 | Contributing writer Gene Marks, small business expert and PayPal ambassador

Learn how e-invoicing solutions helped Gene Marks, a small business owner and CPA, be more efficient in business.
Our most-valuable resources as a small business are time and effort. And one thing that helps me be more efficient is the ability to quickly create, send, and save electronic invoices. It’s a simple tool, but a powerful one. 
 
What is e-invoicing?
Almost all businesses need to invoice someone for something. So, what is an invoice? An invoice is the way we confirm to our customers that we performed a service or shipped a product, and now they owe us money. But in just the past few years, more business owners have started ditching the humble paper invoice in favor of digital invoices.1 

E-invoicing, or electronic invoicing, is a digital invoice that can be sent once or automated for regular customers. Electronic invoicing can be a big time-saver for businesses who rely on it for processing accounts payable - many find that e-invoicing can even help with things like compliance.
 
E-invoicing vs paper invoicing.
Today's e-invoice is no different than the traditional, paper ones.  It includes all the same information - from the customer's invoicing and shipping/service address to details like services performed (or products sold), pricing, quantities, descriptions, invoice number, purchase order numbers, the supplier or salesperson's identifier, and dates. It's all there.  Except it's not in physical form. It's online or even cloud-based. And we can reap benefits from an easy-to-use digital invoicing solution. 
 
Four ways an e-invoicing solution has transformed my business.
 
1. We now do data entry from nearly anywhere.  
Thanks to mobile innovations, business owners like myself have seen our lives, and our companies, transformed.  Now we can communicate, collaborate, automate, administer, and operate our businesses from wherever we are and whenever we want. I've learned from my best clients to leverage my mobile devices - phone, tablet, laptop - to get alerts, updates, reports, notifications, and other information to help me run my business - whether I'm in the office or on the road. But to get that data out of my system it was also important to integrate it into the system.

Back in the day, we would finish work for the week and my people would submit manual time sheets. Someone in my office's finance department would manually enter that information into accounting software on the computer, and then print and mail invoices. This margin for human error left us open to things like compliance issues. Now, when we perform a service, I authorize certain technicians to automatically generate an invoice at the client’s site – whether they’re in their car or walking down the street. It's had a huge impact on our productivity.  
 
2. Our cash flow has significantly improved. 
Time directly affects cash flow. Before we moved to an e-invoicing solution, days or weeks passed between the time we performed the service and invoiced the account payable on our invoice tracker. Now, as mentioned above, we're doing our processing and data entry from our mobile devices, so we’re generating e-invoices as quickly as the service is performed. More importantly, we deliver the invoice electronically so that clients have it quickly, instead of waiting days for the post office to deliver it. 
 
Speaking of saving costs, our e-invoices include PayPal as a payment option, so our clients can pay us with just a few clicks. 
 
Think about that: with a little change like adopting e-invoicing, we cut our payment processing by weeks - and significantly impacted our cash flow.
 
3. Besides cash flow, e-invoicing makes us more productive. 
That's because we're all getting our invoicing and payment data while we're on the go. We're entering this invoice data into the web-based system without delays. We're analyzing information end-to-end in almost real time. And because so much is automated, we've reduced the time spent on-boarding new employees. This has enabled me to make quicker decisions and identify potential problems (an overdue invoice, a less-than-expected billing from a supplier) before they occur. 

4. It’s also a greener alternative. 
Being an environmentally conscious company is important. Printing less paper invoices and storing our files electronically enables me to tell the world that we're doing our little part to try and make that difference.
 
As far as e-invoicing options, we decided to use PayPal Invoicing.
There are many great e-invoicing software applications to choose from.  We use PayPal Invoicing for a few reasons. 
 
For starters, it's cost-effective. PayPal invoice templates are free and the transaction fee we pay on payment is no different than what we've paid in the past when accepting credit cards.  We use the PayPal Invoicing management center as our accounts receivable ledger, so we can track invoices and payments on the go. I also like the flexibility of PayPal invoice templates and the options to attach files - like a quote or service agreement - when we need to. 
 
Great e-invoicing solutions do this.  They allow companies to accept partial payments and deposits, send out reminders, retrieve a complete history, accept country-specific payments in different currencies, and even share the invoice as a PDF.  PayPal Invoicing also gives me the ability to integrate with other applications in an ERP system and output to Microsoft Excel.

My advice: If you run a business, turn your manual processes – like invoicing – digital. Believe me, your competitors are doing this. You need to as well.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

Source: comScore, based on a survey of 1,226 US and Canadian small- and medium–sized business owners (businesses with <250 employee­­s and annual revenue of $25K to $5M), December 2017. 320 of surveyed businesses are currently using PayPal. 

Frequently asked questions.

Creating and sending the invoice is free, but when an invoice is paid online there is a fee per transaction. PayPal fees vary by country.
You can send the same invoice to up to 100 recipients.

Simply click Create Invoice and enter each recipient’s name or email address in the "Bill to" field.

We’ll send a separate invoice to each recipient. If you include only your recipient’s name, we’ll create a payable invoice. You can then print and deliver the invoice yourself or share a link to the invoice with your customer. 


See also:
Easy Invoicing with PayPal
What is an invoice?
Here's how to view the status of the PayPal invoices you send.
  1. Click Tools.
  2. Click Invoicing.
  3. Click "Manage Invoices."
Here you can see the status of all of your invoices. It may take several minutes for your invoices to appear.
Creating and sending invoices is free. Plus, there are no setup, cancellation or monthly fees. Learn more on our fees page.

To create an invoice:
  1. Go to the invoice tool on your PayPal account.
  2. Click Create invoice in the drop-down under Create.
  3. Customize your invoice and either click Send to send it right away or Save as draft.
Sending an invoice internationally?
You don’t need to do anything special to send an invoice to another country. Just create the invoice with your customer’s email address, and we’ll send it.

If your customer has a PayPal account, we’ll automatically translate the invoice and email notification in to their language. If your customer doesn’t have a PayPal account, you can specify your customer’s language by clicking your recipient’s name or email, then choose select language.


See also:
Discover More on PayPal Invoicing
Create your Invoice
Sales Invoice Template
Contractor Invoice Template
Freelancer Invoice Template
Construction Invoice Template