When we need to figure out the total project bill for a client, there are a lot of different factors that need to be accounted for. Software as a Service (SaaS) can keep all of your relevant project data, including billable hours and everything else related to billing, in one cloud-based system and easily accessible when needed. Almost everything can be done within the cloud-based system, and it can be done from anywhere, not just the office. If one of the creatives has an idea while out of the office, they can throw it up on the project board right away, instead of trying to remember it until they return to work. Collaboration made simple.
Another benefit of using the cloud is the flexibility and reliability of the system itself. SaaS is becoming more and more the common choice for use in business. Since SaaS is updated automatically, you don’t have to budget for capital improvements or expenses, just for the operating costs. With streamlined time tracking and everything required for billing within the same system, SaaS makes client billing simple.
Here’s a few ways that you can use SaaS to your advantage:
1. Make it Easy for Everyone
If you have a complicated system, you invite user error or even complete avoidance. On the other hand, if you have a simple system, you can expect that your employees will not only buy in to the billable data entry, but will make an honest effort to maintain accuracy.
SaaS that is available anywhere, including from a mobile device, encourages prompt use. And the sooner data is entered, the less chance there is that poor memory will introduce error into the equation.
2. Ditch the Spreadsheets and Paper When Tracking Hours
Paper-based tracking has long been an antiquated method. And using spreadsheets to track your billables can quickly become a tedious and complicated task. A new sheet for every project, multiple managers that need to sign off on records, and waiting for each team member to submit information can all lead to issues. There are too many opportunities for error within both of these systems.
Instead, using a time reporting system based in the cloud will help eliminate errors and vastly expedite the process. All of the information is in one place, time is so much easier to track, and the variables are well under control.
3. Generate Invoices From Current Data
It’s hard to provide an accurate bill to a client with data that is not up to date. With billable hours and expenses kept in real time as your project team enters data, whenever you bill the client you can be confident that it reflects everything in the system.
If your clients have questions about the billing, you won’t have to hunt around for answers either. And since the time tracking is easy and consolidated, your chance of encountering errors and omissions is low.
4. Keep Your Data Safe and Secure
There are many skeptics about SaaS, both in and out of the creative field. The main hang-up most have about cloud-based computing is data security. You need to make sure that your data is secure, so that when you need to review project billing data you can be confident that it reflects reality. This extends further than the billing as well, but can definitely wreak havoc with client billing if an issue does arise. Stop problems before they start by selecting a SaaS solution with a proven track record for security awareness and data protection.
5. Keep Project Oversight and Reporting Simple
Just like you want to make sure your system is easy for your project groups, you don’t want it to be any more difficult for yourself. When you need to make changes to billable rates, it shouldn’t be buried in a submenu that has nothing to do with billing. And if you want to run a custom report based on a handful of parameters, that shouldn’t require much effort to perform either. Simplicity is best, and having the ability to check the status of a project in real-time is essential.
What other strategies have you used to simplify your client billing process?