Are you billing it right the first time?

Invoice for Martin M while at school, England 1846

Especially in professional services, billing can get a little complicated: each client wants a different level of detail, team members enter their own time and notes on their timesheets, and we are all human.

When mistakes on invoices make it to the client, it creates a world of problems. An invoice that’s been produced can’t be changed. It needs to be credited and re-created.

You need a process.

It’s not just about having a process for invoicing. It’s about having a process for everything from time sheets to the delivery of the invoices.

  1. Time sheets should be approved by the project manager or the account manager for that client. This helps detect errors right from the start. If someone has accidentally billed their time to the wrong client, the approver will see it and get it corrected before it gets to billing.
  2. Invoices should follow a standardized format, where constant element are always there, such as taxes, payment terms, contract or purchase numbers, etc. This avoids looking unprofessional to the client by providing a stable “frame” to the invoice.
  3. Invoices should be approved before they leave the draft stage. Approving invoices is usually done by the project manager or account manager. It’s our last chance to find potential mistakes.

This 3-step process creates accountability for all actors: team members who fill out their time sheets, project managers and account managers who know best what should and should not be billed, and the administration team, who keeps everything neat and professional.

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