Cloud Versus Template: Which Invoicing Option is Right for Your Small Business?

by Emily Retherford

2 min read

Small businesses that utilize the Microsoft Office software package have a variety of invoice templates available at no additional cost. While these forms might seem reliable and efficient, the era of cloud-based computing provides a broader range of options. While many accounting software packages include basic invoicing capabilities, discrete invoicing software provides an expanded range of invoicing features. Cloud-based invoicing platforms deliver a more convenient and secure means for small businesses to expedite their billing processes.

Using an Office Invoice Template

Microsoft Office includes 21 invoicing templates, 20 of which are included in Excel and one in Word. The user can download and install these templates to a computer or server and prepare bills for transmission via email or postal mail. Use of an Office template generally involves a good deal of manual input and transposition of data from other software platforms, such as accounting software. Businesses that rely on a system utilizing Office invoice templates must determine when payment reminders are necessary, in addition to preparing and sending those reminders.

Security Advantages of Cloud-Based Invoice Systems

Use of a cloud-based invoicing system brings an extra level of security beyond that available from systems that require you to send invoices via email. According to a survey conducted by Software Advice of Houston, Texas, the number of small businesses in the United States, using cloud-based accounting software nearly doubled in 2015, to 30%. While 22% of small businesses were still using manual methods during that year, 43% were utilizing on-premise, installed software.Most cloud-based platforms send data to and from the cloud in an encrypted format, unlike most email. When selecting a cloud-based accounting or invoicing system, make sure that it uses encryption. When you store important invoicing data on your office computer, you experience the risk of losing that information in the event of a virus attack or a hardware system breakdown. Theft of your server or billing computer would cause a loss of crucial data and compromise confidential client information, such as bank account numbers.Most cloud-based platforms conduct frequent backups of all system data and provide security updates. For example, QuickBooks Online accounting software offers cloud-based invoicing, and the system makes data backups on a daily basis.

Cloud-Based Invoice Systems Boost Your Cash Flow

Cloud-based invoicing systems automatically send customizable payment reminders to your customers. These reminders can include gateways for making immediate credit card payments. You can automate recurring monthly charges to customers, with any unpaid balance reflected in the total due. This avoids manual input of the outstanding balance, as is often necessary when using installed invoice templates.There is no need to make duplicate entries when you augment your QuickBooks Online accounting software with FreshBooks invoicing software, because the information is shared between the two platforms on the cloud. Invoiced, another cloud-based invoicing platform, seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks Online. Invoiced also accepts bitcoin payments.

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