Spending Too Much Time Waiting for Payments?

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This is a guest post by Craig Keolanui of SmBizWinningTips.

According to a recent survey, over 50% of small businesses find collecting payments and late-paying customers to be the most challenging aspects of managing their cash flow and payment activities. And particularly for businesses running on low margins, late payments can be a huge setback.iStock_000019620208XSmall

Late payments can cripple a small business with cash flow problems!

Late payments not only reduce your revenue, but they also have you paying for goods (components of a sale) or services (payroll) while waiting for payments to come in. If your sales are increasing, but late payments are also taking off, you will have a revenue shortfall when you start paying your bills.

If you are not completely on top of your books, this can sneak up on you right when things start getting consistently busy. The joy of increasing sales can quickly be extinguished by the angst of having to call for payments when it comes time to pay for supplies or payroll. You have to do whatever you can to encourage early payments while deterring late payments.

There are several steps to take to encourage early payments. Invoicing in a timely manner goes a long way, but you can also try:

  1. Invoicing twice a month. Some companies cut checks on certain dates and you might receive half of the usual monthly activity a little early. Keep this in mind also for accounts that are getting bigger or keeping more money tied up.
  2. Make sure to establish contact with accounting departments at any of the businesses with delinquent account activity and send them email reminders after mailing each statement.
  3. Encourage paying off invoices as opposed to waiting for monthly statements.
  4. Give a credit on the next statement for any early payment. You can also set up a rewards program or discount for companies that pay before 15 or 20 days.
  5. When setting up accounts, give some kind of one-time credit or discount for any accounts that are set up with purchase cards (credit cards!). Accepting them eats into your margin, but you set a firm hook and make it easier to process orders and get paid in full.

Discouraging late payments can also help speed things up.  Here are some techniques to use:

  1. Charge the dreaded late fee. Make sure you spell things out and if you are just starting to establish late fees, be very specific about “invoice dates” vs. “statement dates”.
  2. Try calling clients who actually place orders to inform them of any issues getting payments out of accounting. Sometimes peer pressure will work better than any call you could make.
  3. Put up a list of delinquent accounts for staff members to act on if those customers place an order.
  4. Set yourself up to process electronic payments.  Many of these customers can be steered that direction and you can start offering it to others.

Increased sales is a good thing, but making sure you get paid for your sales is critical to keeping the cash flowing and avoiding coming up short.

Simplify Getting Paid With Braintree

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BraintreeWe have been on an integration spree since the beginning of this year. After the first two successful integration with Stripe and 2Checkout, Braintree is the latest payment gateway to be integrated to Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books.

If you haven’t begun accepting online payments from your customers, now is a good time to get started. Not only is creating a merchant account in Braintree is quick and painless, but also configuring it to Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books is easy.

Braintree supports multiple currencies and if your customers are across the globe, then it is a great payment gateway option to invest your money. Also, Braintree charges no monthly fee or minimums and charges you only for the transactions that have occurred (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction).

Awesome right? If you want to find out more,  head straight to our documentation for detailed information on how to set it up. We’ve got plenty more in store for you this year. Meanwhile,  share your feedback right here in the comments.

Go Global – Check out 2Checkout!

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We have now made it really easy for you to receive online payments from your customers – from even the ones who are not in the same geographical area. Zoho Books and Zoho Invoice recently integrated with 2Checkout Payment Gateway. Apart from supporting multiple currencies, it is also multi-lingual. Transacting in global currency and getting paid has never been this easy.

2Checkout offers up to 15 languages that your customer can choose from during the payment process, thus giving them a better online payment experience. And great experiences lead to happy customers which means prompt payments always.

It takes only a few simple steps to configure your 2Checkout account in Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books. All you need is the 2Checkout Account Number and the ‘Secret Word’ (word you see in the site management section under Accounts). To know exactly how to configure 2Checkout account, just follow the steps given in our documentation.

With Stripe and 2Checkout added this year, we now have SIX payment gateways that you can choose from to accept online payments from your customers.

Would you want to hear some more good news?

For those who are eager to sell international, quickly sign up for a free 2Checkout account and enter the promo code ‘ZOHO2CO’ for a waiver on your application service fee (a savings of $10.99).

Like it?! Give 2Checkout a try and tell us how it worked for you!

Get Paid Online With Stripe!

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accept-payment-through-stripe-gatewayYour customer has a credit card and as a freelancer or small business owner, you would like to make the payment process as simple as possible. Our solution to you – Stripe.

Zoho Books and Zoho Invoice is now integrated with Stripe online payment gateway. A feature which was much requested by our customers is now available for users in US and Canada.

 

Integrating with Stripe was a bliss in itself, thanks to their extensive documentation and well thought out simple API. Configuring Stripe to receive payments for your invoice is straightforward and absolutely painless.

  • Head over to the Settings section (Zoho Books and Zoho Invoice)
  • Click open the ‘Online Payment gateways’.
  • Choose the currency and mention the ‘live secret key’ from your Stripe account.
  • Click Setup and you are good to go.

Accept online payment with Stripe

We are hoping this addition is going to bring our customers one step closer to getting paid faster. With Stripe on board, our invoicing software and accounting software now allow customers to receive online payment through five different payment gateways.

If you haven’t tried the online payment option yet, this is a good time to send out your first invoice with the online payment link. Then sit back and enjoy the Benjamins rolling in.

Just In: Read-Only Mode for Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books

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Continuing from where we left off on the Read-Only mode update for Zoho services, we are happy to announce that Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books services too are now running in read-only mode from our secondary data center in the New York metro region. You can access the services via the below mentioned URL’s.

Zoho Invoice: https://invoice-ro.zoho.com

Zoho Books : https://books-ro.zoho.com

What you’ll see here is an exact replica of your data which is stored in our secondary data center. If an unexpected outage renders the primary data center inaccessible, you’ll still be able to access the read-only mode of your account.

What you can do : Search any record you want,  run unlimited reports and also export various entities like the invoices list, estimates list, Items list etc.,

What you can’t do: As this is a read-only mode, you will not be able to add, edit or delete any record. Integration with other applications like Zoho CRM or Zoho Project is also not possible as it involves adding or modifying records.

We understand the importance of having access to your data all the time, therefore we wanted to kick in the read-only mode to our customers as soon as possible. Go ahead and bookmark (Ctrl+D) the website links and access it anytime you want.

Import Bank Statements into Zoho Books in 3 Quick Steps

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In our last post, we had announced feeds from more than 2000 banks in Zoho Books and we’ve been getting some great feedback from our customers. For those who still haven’t been able to enjoy the benefits of automatic bank feeds, you can still reduce data entry to a considerable extent by importing your bank statements directly into our accounting software.

All you have to do is ‘Select’, ‘Map’ and ‘Import.’
Import Bank Statements in accounting softwareSelect: Your first step, requires you to select the ‘statement’. Begin your journey by getting hold of an electronic format of your bank or credit card statement (CSV or TSV file) and feed it into Zoho Books. Choose your preferred amount column format, so your withdrawals and deposits may be arranged by Zoho Books in the right manner.

Map: Your next pit stop is the ‘Map Fields‘. Here you get to match the bank statement column headers to Zoho Books headers. If you plan to import statements frequently, then a quick tip to save time would be to click on ‘save your selection’ as shown in the image below. Next time you import, fields will be automatically mapped.

 

Save selection while mapping fields

Import: Your final step in this short journey ends with Zoho Books letting you know if the mission was accomplished, by giving you an import summary. Once you click the ‘Import’ button, all your transactions will be available in Zoho Book.

Take a look at out help document for more information on importing statements. This feature considerably reduces the time to reconcile your bank and credit card accounts. We hope you like it. Send us your feedback in the comment section below.

Zoho Books: Get Bank Feeds from Wells Fargo, Chase and many more

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In March, we had announced the release of the Bank Feeds in Zoho Books. Last week, we added more than 2000 banks from which you can get feeds. Now, a lot more of you can automatically fetch your bank, credit card and PayPal transactions right into your Zoho Books account. It means that you have instant access to real-time update of your accounts and your days of manually feeding transactions into your accounting software are almost over.

Bank Feeds in Zoho Books

Bank Feeds were already available for banks such as Chase, Bank of America, Wachovia and many more. This update, includes banks which require a second level of security clearance, which is something more than your username and password. Security could be in the form of an answer to the question provided to the bank or a token sent to you, which you need to provide for further access to the data. Such banks are clubbed together as banks with MFA or Multi-Factor Authentication. Some of the top banks included in the list are

  • Wells Fargo – United States
  • Regions Bank – United States
  • The Bank of New York Mellon – United States

There’s many more!

Quickly log into our accounting software to activate your bank feeds and let us know how it worked for you. This update was much awaited and we hope this information will prove to be of much use to our users. For those of you, who still haven’t activated your bank feeds, please go through our help documentation for more information.

Stay tuned for more updates on bank feeds.