Tracking time, invoices, and payments -- it seems simple when you first start using Excel.
Until it isn't.
A lot of small (and some medium-sized) businesses start off using Excel because it's seen as a professional tool.
While it comes with features that help organize things, it doesn't pan out to be an ideal long-term platform.
So why start here if it won't end here?
If you're already using Excel and are wondering if it's time to upgrade to an invoicing platform, then we have to give you a resounding YES!
You Have to Know Your Stuff
How many business owners also wear the hat of an accountant?
But how many of them are skilled in using office software like Excel?
Not so many.
Excel isn't just something you can dive into right away. There's a lot to learn and figure out without the proper training.
This means you have to spend time educating yourself on how to use this one platform. That's time wasted that could've gone to something more productive -- like earning money for your business.
Then if you finally hire someone to handle your finances, you have to determine whether or not they're familiar with Excel.
Without the proper knowledge, the learning curve can be costly.
Human Errors Are a Great Possibility
Whether you're learning as you go or already have knowledge about the software, there's still the possibility of errors.
Excel requires you to insert values manually. When an error happens, finding it can take a long time.
This takes away from productivity and can potentially hurt your bottom line if the inaccuracy also appears in an invoice.
Customization Can Hurt More than it Helps
One of the features of Excel is that you can customize the sheets. Here's the issue.
Let's say you hire someone new who is an Excel power user. She makes changes to your pivot tables, formulas, VBA scripts, and macros.
Now, what is the chance that others will know how to operate the sheet?
When scenarios like this happen, it can turn your business upside down, especially if that person leaves the company without training the next person.
Trying to reboot or restore your excel sheets can be a complete nightmare.
And this brings us to the next point.
There's Insufficient Version Control
In a typical day, Excel spreadsheets are shared and updated among a team of workers. This means that by the time it gets back to you, there are new billable hours added by each member.
But what do you do if there's a major mistake?
In this scenario, you have several options. First, you can restore the sheet back to a previous version.
But this means your peers will lose all of their work and will have to do it all over again.
Another option is to manually update the Excel sheet, which will take away from your productivity for the day.
Or you can add both versions of the Excel sheet -- a previous version and the current version. But as you'd imagine, this will create some level of confusion.
Honestly, none of these options sound like great ideas.
It Lacks Flexibility
Businesses change and evolve over time. So it's good to have tools that can scale with you.
For example, if you wanted to switch over from hourly rates to project rates, you'll run into numerous problems in Excel. This is because you'll have to change whatever formulas you have in place.
Then how will the spreadsheet update without causing errors? Who will be accountable for the update and avoiding costly mistakes?
There's No Time Tracking
If you bill by the hour, then you should have a platform that will automate the calculation of time spent working. By using Excel, you limit yourself to biases that can lead to inaccurate reporting.
Let's say someone keeps rounding down by five or 10 minutes. This will quickly equate to hours of unbilled work.
A Lack of Consistency
Excel templates aren't standardized, which can cause inconsistency throughout your spreadsheets.
You don't want to have spreadsheets that are all over the place and confusing.
A Lack of Mobility
It's quite rare for any business professional to open large Excel files on their smartphone or tablet to update their billable hours.
This is for obvious reasons like -- their mobile device can't handle it and trying to work on a small screen is too much of a hassle.
Data Collected, Data Wasted
There's a lot you can learn from your invoices and spreadsheets. But if there are no standardized reports, then you're left playing the guessing game.
And then if you try to sit there and figure it all out, you'll waste valuable time.
Having a system that can generate sales and expense reports can help you see in real-time how your business finances are faring.
The Better Solution to Excel
Now that we covered the pitfalls of using Excel, it's time to empower you with tips for finding a better solution.
You'll find that there are tools on the market that are 10x better than Excel, especially when it comes to running business finances.
Here's what you should look for.
Ease of Use
The invoicing platform you purchase should come with a user-friendly dashboard and functions. This is why many businesses sign up for Invoicely.
The faster you can learn the software, the quicker you can operate it and get back to running your business.
Easily Track Billable Hours
No need to manually track your billable hours. Instead, you can use the platform's timer to keep track of it for you.
Then you can insert the time you clock in within your invoice so you're paid for it promptly.
Protect Your Business from Costly Errors
Human errors happen, but it shouldn't be at an abundance. Select a platform that uses templates, so all you have to do is insert data.
It's simple, fast, and accurate.
Plus, you can rest easy knowing everyone will be paid according to the hours they clock in.
Transfer Data to a Professional Invoice
What makes invoicely stand out is that it helps with both tracking time and getting paid. Once you're ready to bill your hours, you can create an invoice using a template.
This way, you can quickly create a professional-looking invoice.
Bill Clients Hourly or By the Project
The invoicing tool you use should come with the ability to bill by the hour or by the task on the same invoice. This way, you can send one invoice that shows everything the client owes.
Having this flexibility makes it easier for everyone to track and get paid for their projects.
Get Paid Through the Platform
To make billing even easier, you can choose a platform that allows you to receive payments online. With invoicely, you're able to send invoices to the emails of your clients.
Then they can open and pay the invoice by either using a credit or debit card or a payment platform like Mollie, PayPal, WePay, and Stripe.
Offering this flexibility to your clients will make it easier and faster to receive payments.
Track Other Business Expenses
With the right tool, you should be able to track billable hours, along with other expenses you usually charge a client for. For instance, if you drive your vehicle for business purposes, you can add the cost for gas and mileage.
On invoicely, you can easily add these charges and bill your clients within minutes.
Version Control is Simpler
Online invoicing tools make it simple to keep track of versions. Everything's updated in real-time so no more back and forth spreadsheets.
This will save you a ton of time and prevent confusion among your team members.
Access Your Invoices from Anywhere
All the data you insert into your invoicing tool should be accessible through the cloud. This way, you're able to access any of the files without having to download anything.
You can view it from your desktop, smartphone, or tablet. Plus, you can easily update your hours in real-time.
The same goes for all your teammates. They can access the timesheets and invoices from wherever they have an internet connection.
Ready to Switch from Excel to a Cloud-Based Platform?
Then join the countless other businesses also making the switch. Having a cloud-based billing platform makes life easier for everyone.
You don't have to worry about customizing spreadsheets using massively long formulas. And you can lessen the chances of human errors.
Every business should have a platform they can use to make time-tracking and billing seamless.
So check out invoicely today to create your first invoice for free.
Thinking about switching from Excel (or other spreadsheet tools)? Then let us know in the comments about your transformation!