E-mail and online invoicing are essential features of a modern company. The ability to receive invoices online is taking over from postal invoicing in a big way; and being able to offer this online invoicing service will set you apart as a modern company.
E-mail Invoicing and Online Invoicing: what is the difference?
The difference between e-mail invoicing and online invoicing is fundamentally the level of security you offer to customers when providing their invoices or statements. With e-mail invoicing the customer is sent their invoice as an e-mail attachment or as the bulk text of an e-mail as soon as it becomes available. This makes e-mail invoicing insecure because the invoice is then available immediately to a hacker who may have gained access to your customer’s e-mail account. However, this insecurity does not render e-mail invoicing redundant as an invoice does not need to contain sensitive information. Essentially, all it needs to show is what has been purchased, or the amount due for services received. The e-mail invoicing system can then offer the customer their private account details by logging on to their account via your company website.
Online invoicing may be used to send a customer a more private invoice, or a statement of some description. Online invoicing involves sending the customer an e-mail which contains a link to their invoice or statement. In order to follow this link the online invoicing system will require the customer to answer a series of security questions to verify their identity. This method of online invoicing is more secure than e-mail invoicing, but that does not necessarily give it superiority. Each of the two methods should be used where appropriate; for example, a bank statement would not be sent via e-mail invoicing. Similarly, an invoice notifying a customer that a book they have purchased online has been sent does not require the security of online invoicing.
If I Implement Online or E-mail Invoicing, do I need to stop sending Invoices by Post or Fax?
No, e-mail and online invoicing should not stop you using post or fax to send invoices; in fact, it is a good idea to continue offering these as methods of sending invoices or statements. E-mail invoicing and online invoicing may be more convenient for some, but for others, such as elderly customers they would not be appropriate. Forcing customers to use e-mail invoicing and online invoicing could lead to you losing customers. For advice on ways to balance e-mail invoicing with postal and fax invoices follow this link Netsend.