What is invoicing?
An invoice is essentially a document sent to a buyer from a seller after a service is completed. It requests a fixed amount for payment for a defined period of work. The invoice is a record of the goods or services your company provided to your client. It is essentially a documented claim for payment and a record of a transaction.
A good invoice will include a unique invoice number for record keeping, your company name and address, the name and address of your customer, a clear description of goods and services, a due date, an invoice date, the quantity and description of the product or service provided.
To preview an example of what a good invoice should look like, go to tuaneka.com, create a free account and easily generate a free invoice sample.
Why do we need to invoice customers?
The primary reason we invoice customers is to formally request payment in a way that is professional, polite, and allows both parties to keep records of the transaction.
In the informal economy in Africa and Ghana in particular, small businesses don’t often understand or recognise the need to send out invoices or to formally and politely request payment. Invoicing is often seen as a chore and a complete waste of time. Coupled with the fact that internet access and electricity can sometimes be difficult to come by, it is extra challenging to encourage SME’s in Africa to take on invoicing which is often seen as extra work.
Tuaneka (a free invoicing tool built in Ghana), is actively trying to build a business growth community around invoicing to educate advise and share invoicing benefits and best practice in the industry. You can join the conversation about invoicing and growth on our Facebook group.
Becoming good at invoicing is crucial if you’re going to build a viable business.
What are some of the pros and cons of invoicing?
Lets start with the advantages of invoicing
Invoices prompt your customer for payment. For example when you send an invoice with Tuaneka.com, the system automatically sends reminders after three five or seven days, making it easier to get paid. This is because, most jobs especially freelance services are not paid for upfront. In Ghana it is rare to be paid for goods and services upfront before an invoice is received, with debt rarely settled without a minor scuffle.
Invoices are a very good way of keeping records for tax purposes. They are also a good way to see and to measure progress in your business.
Sending an invoice is a great way to show your clients how professional you are, and an excellent way of using that Logo you designed for free.
Efficient invoice generation and payment collection can actually improve your customer satisfaction and make your brand stand out from the crowd.
Using a web based invoicing software like Tuaneka can actually improve your customer satisfaction and retention. Tuaneka, allows you to schedule recurring invoices and regular payments automatically helping you to get paid without breaking a sweat.
What about the disadvantages of invoicing?
There are some potential downsides to using invoices, but these are mostly caused by poor management and inadequate processes:
A badly drafted poorly formatted invoice is probably worse than not sending anything at all. If you can’t be bothered with using an excel spreadsheet, or word document to do your invoicing. You should use a web based solution like Tuaneka.com that makes it easy to generate neat properly formatted invoices.
There is nothing more annoying to a customer than receiving a late invoice. Don’t be surprised if the client reflects your attitude and decides to pay you later. Try to used a web based invoicing system like Tuaneka.com, with Tuaneka you can schedule your invoice.
The Ghanaian landscape for invoicing is littered with half baked and ” white labeled solutions parading as local software design. An example of this is https://getinvoice.co – upfront it look’s like a product made for the Ghanaian market, however on closer inspection it turns out to be a “White label” product. White labeled websites are basically off the shelf software purchased from an online vendor and then rebranded to look like another brand or service. White labelling is completely legal, however for the purposes of our argument getinvoice.co does not qualify as made for the Ghanaian market as it clearly lacks many key features that would make it relevant to the market.
Built, looks and feels like a solid invoicing product however, it was difficult to determine who and what is actually behind this application. On writing this article their about us page appeared to be down, even though it looks like a credible invoicing tool. End to end it looks like its packed with features. Our only concerns with regards to using it as an invoicing tool is that its not the type of invoicing app you can just jump on to use without actually getting trained on it. Which is a shame. The user experience still leaves a lot to be desired. Plus, its not possible to collect payments on your invoices with it.
Tuaneka.com is a relative new comer to the invoicing space. It does however, have some ground breaking features that set it apart from the local invoicing competition. Tuaneka features include;
– The ability to collect payments directly from the invoice. Clients can pay for invoicing using credit or debit cards and even pay into mobile wallets.
– The ability to create and send invoices to groups
– Recurring payments
– Escrow invoices
– feedback collection and storage.
What really impresses me about Tuaneka is the customer support. Now this will not last forever but, i think its quiet cool that you can easily drop the founder a WhatsApp message and chat directly with him about features. That is remarkable in a space crowded by hidden faces and faceless business owners its nice to be able to put a face to a brand.
The Tuaneka development road map is also very encouraging.
Tuaneka will eventually have the following features;
– The ability to connect to local bank accounts in Africa and Europe
– Education specific tools like student management
– Inventory management
– Patient management for health care institutions
– Data capture and filling
– Multi currency accounting
– Purchase orders
– Pay roll
Tuaneka is one of the most credible invoicing tools outside of Europe and north America. A suitable replacement for wave and an up and coming competitor for Xero.
If you are looking for an invoicing tool in Ghana your best bet is tuaneka.com. it’s high time Ghanaians patronized their own homegrown products.