A cloud is a digital tool of almost unlimited power, and business leaders are finally beginning to understand just how many applications they can move into this near-infinite digital space. Especially as more and more employees and organizations transition to a decentralized model, the cloud is becoming an essential resource for coordinating and communicating. Even critical components of business operations are moving to the cloud — like invoicing.
Invoices are a constant concern for most businesses, which need to stay on top of their accounts payable and ensure that they are receiving their own due payments from their clients and customers. Cloud invoicing can be exceedingly powerful, but before business leaders make any changes to their existing invoice system, they might consider the pros and cons of invoicing in the cloud.
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Pros of Cloud Invoicing
To those without much cloud computing experience, invoicing in the cloud might seem like a mystical process, but in truth, it is not terribly different from the manual invoicing processes that most business leaders have long been accustomed to. Cloud invoicing works through software, which allows business teams to generate invoices and notify customers via email. Then, customers can view the invoice via their own digital devices and make digital payments immediately — if a business has online payments enabled. As one might expect, there are significant advantages to a cloud-based invoicing system, to include:
Traditional invoice systems require communication through postal mail, which can require days for the information to be sent back and forth. If there are any errors within an invoice, it could take weeks for them to be fixed and months before payments can be deposited in business accounts. Because cloud invoices are immediately accessible by customers, businesses can swiftly make necessary changes to invoices and receive payments at a much more rapid pace.
Many invoices are identical and require little more than a change of record number and due date to be ready for payment. Most cloud invoicing systems allow businesses to automate their invoicing process, which makes it even faster and easier to create an invoice and receive payment. In fact, some of the most advanced cloud invoicing systems use AI to capture valuable data about invoicing patterns and improve the automated processes of invoicing even further.
A century ago, a well-organized records room was the closest a company could come to conveniently searchable files, but today, digital systems make searching invoice records essentially effortless. Cloud invoicing systems store old invoices alongside information about payment dates and methods. Thus, cloud invoicing makes auditing a much simpler and more straightforward process, so business leaders can gain a full picture of their accounting history.
Cons of Cloud Invoicing
Cloud invoicing is undeniably an advancement to old invoicing processes, but not all businesses need to constantly chase the latest and greatest digital craze. Some industries necessitate the maintenance of hard copies of critical information like invoices, in which case the benefits of the cloud are somewhat moot. What’s more, many old-school business leaders believe that physical invoices convey a greater sense of professionalism, so businesses that tend to work with a large number of old, established organizations might find physical invoices more effective in generating payments.
While most disadvantages of cloud invoicing are conditional, there are three that all business leaders should pay attention to:
With practice, the cloud becomes an intuitive business tool, but many business leaders lack the underlying technical expertise to leverage the benefits of cloud invoicing effectively. If an organization is not already somewhat digitally mature, it might need to undergo a transformation before cloud invoicing is a viable strategy.
Any new software tool needs to integrate effectively into a business’s existing digital architecture. Business leaders need to work with their IT teams to determine how cloud invoicing might impact existing digital systems. They might also consider how cloud invoicing would interact with the digital systems of their customers and business partners, as interoperability is key for fast payment.
The number of digital attacks on businesses is increasing, and payment information is particularly choice data for cybercriminals to accrue. Business leaders need to be careful to secure confidential information, such as the location of financial accounts and payment data from customers and B2B partners. Though the cloud tends to be more secure than on-premises digital systems, organizations do need to consider their cybersecurity strategies before integrating another digital tool.
More and more business leaders are making the wise financial decision to move complex and critical business processes to the cloud. By thinking ahead about the advantages of services like cloud invoicing, business leaders can build a strong organization supported by efficient digital systems.