Any growing business in a fast-paced environment needs to constantly improve its relationships with customers. Optimizing the product, customer service, and overall accessibility is only the beginning of creating the perfect customer experience.
We are impatient. We want everything to be just a click away; if the payment process for your online business is too complicated or long, your customers might just turn away. Therefore, the accounting department needs to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the online world, just like the rest of the company.
Welcome to our short guide on payment automation and how to set it up for your business
Benefits of automated payment
There are many reasons why you should consider automating your payment processes. The first of many is that your competitors are most likely already doing it.
Digital payments are no longer just an option—they are a must. Millennials and Gen Z are already used to having digital payment options available to them, and you must keep up to remain competitive.
Here are other pros of automated payments:
- They are fast and efficient. While other methods of payment might take 3 to 5 business days, automated payment allows you to complete transactions with your clients in a timely manner.
- They are safer. Electronic payments reduce the risk of fraud and ensure accuracy. Automating electronic payments prevents opportunities for data manipulation.
- They enable you to optimize your finance department. Managing payments manually requires more personnel than it would if you implemented automation. By releasing the workload from the finance department, you can better manage your resources.
Let’s see how starting an automated payment system works step by step.
Step 1. Choose the right payment processing system
In order to automate the payment process, you need to find a system that provides an automated solution you are satisfied with.
Make sure to analyze your internal processes and requirements in order to choose the best billing and payment software for your line of business.
Here are some of the characteristics you should look for in payment software:
- Multichannel payments. Allow different payment methods and prevent unnecessary hassle with the customers.
- Comprehensive reports. The key to improving your financial plan is to analyze the numbers from your sales. Good billing software will offer this.
- Different payment flow options. Make sure you can set up automated payment options, recurring payments, and bulk payments without third-party software.
- Easy integrations. You should be able to connect the payment system with e-Commerce and other platforms where your clients are.
Step 2. Set up electronic invoicing
Clear invoices and smooth invoicing are one of the reasons people hire accountants in the first place. Knowing how to manage invoices is also a way for agencies to learn how to get accounting clients.
Whether you have an in-house accounting team or you outsource one, manual invoicing takes up a lot of time and resources. You should set up a system to automatically create, distribute, and monitor invoices to free up your team to focus on other priorities while reducing the risk of human error.
Within the software you choose, you need to set up:
- The invoice amounts and descriptions for regular payments
- Dates and details of the recurring invoices
- Subscription types for clients and subscription policies
- Customer payment portal—designed for a smooth user experience
- Schedule reporting system, metrics, and data type you will follow
Step 3. Schedule payment reminders
Payment automation is only efficient if you maintain a fair relationship with your clients. Invoices can, however, still be overseen by the end users. Enable notifications to make sure everyone receives an invoice, and send timely reminders to ensure they don’t miss it.
Reminder policy is important to determine. Automation can help you skip several steps: tracking overdue payments, collecting the data from the email and calendars, and writing follow-ups. Simply include your reminder policy in the automation process to remind everyone to pay on time.
There are many things to consider when setting up an automated payment process. Choosing the right software is the most essential part—some solutions are simply more flexible and you can modify them according to your needs.
User experience is important to pay attention to. Easy-to-use user dashboard and multiple payment options can help you ensure payments and increase revenue. With the rise in revenue and the costs you will cut with automation, you can free up your budget for business growth opportunities.