A sales representative enters your office and places a contract in front of you. He proudly announces: "That's it, company Y has finally signed". Congratulations! This is great news for your company. But for sales administration, the work is far from over! It has only just begun …
Add to the possible complexity of the order and the related invoicing the thousand and one small unforeseen events that will slow down invoicing:
- the name of the contact who has not been correctly filled in by the sales representative,
- approximate wording,
- an mistake in the payment terms, etc.
So how can it be avoid to do it over and over again? By giving all its importance to your very first order entry in the ERP software.
1/ Be precise to secure invoicing
There is no harm in restating the obvious: when you enter a command in your software, the final version must reflect very accurately the document that has been provided to you. In other words, the transition from a physical to a dematerialized format in the ERP software must not result in data loss or label changes.
Why is this important? Because it is the order that generates the invoice. However, a customer will never pay an invoice which content he does not recognize, not to mention that a billing error rarely gives a good image of your company! This first entry of the order therefore conditions the generation and payment of a whole series of invoices. Take good care of it.
2/ Check the quotation to ensure that you have the right data
To begin with, you need to have been provided with the right data. Check the estimate entered in the ERP software system carefully: the sales representative did not necessarily complete it with the utmost rigour ... If you have a good ERP software in front of you, you only need to enter the information once so that it can be permanently integrated into the system, so you might as well not make a mistake the first time!
3/ Respond to specific billing terms and conditions
Not all invoices are the same. The entry of your first order for customer Y must therefore include the associated invoicing procedures. Services may be paid on a flat-rate basis or at various times (e.g. 50% upon signature and 50% upon delivery of a deliverable), direct labour services may be provided, travel costs may have to be considered, or invoicing may be recurring in the case of a subscription. Don't ask yourself these questions when it is too late: make them a priority the first time you enter an order.
4/ Integrate analytical breakdown
It is a less visible, but equally crucial issue. If the project with customer Y is complex, you will need to segment your order to follow different analytical axes defined by the company. This breakdown will enable:
- to estimate certain costs;
- to have a detailed vision of each activity;
- to compare profitability of each type of service (e. g. fixed price vs. managed service);
- but also that of each phase of the project, if it includes several phases.
Each line of the order must respect the analytical structure of the company, so that the dashboards thus completed allow easy management control.
5/ Anticipate to save time on invoicing
The first order entry is crucial: making efforts today saves valuable time tomorrow. Carefully preparing your order and billing schedule will streamline your processes and greatly reduce the amount of work required at the end of the week or month. All you have to do is press a button to generate a perfect invoice that will be validated without any problems by the customer!
The order book is the fuel of any commercial company - provided that invoicing follows. That's where you come in. Take the time to enter your first order with all diligent accuracy, and simplify the entire invoicing process. A minute invested today is an hour saved tomorrow!