The Case Against Paper Invoices
An invoice issued on paper may be lost in transit to the customer, or (more likely) is lost within the customer - usually because it is sitting on someone's desk waiting for approval. The result can be a delayed payment that requires several collection calls to rectify.
During these reminder calls, a likely request is that the company send a replacement invoice, which could be sent by overnight mail (depending on the amount of money involved). The cost of these secondary issuances is considerable, and can run the risk of crossing paths with the original invoice, which may still be floating around somewhere at the customer location, and which could confuse the customer further.
Invoicing in PDF Format
These issues can be resolved by creating a perfect electronic image of an invoice in PDF format. This feature is available in many accounting software packages. Alternatively, you can buy Adobe Acrobat software, and then use it to set up a PDF "printer." Under this latter approach, you print a document to PDF, and an electronic PDF-formatted invoice is created.
Once created, just attach the PDF file for the invoice to an email, and send it to the customer. If the customer has Acrobat Reader installed on his or her computer (this is a free download from Adobe), then it is a simple matter to open the file and read the invoice at the customer site.
The use of PDF-formatted invoices is quite useful for instantly sending invoices to customers that are in a format from which they can authorize payments. Consequently, this solution can accelerate the cash flows related to invoices for which payment might otherwise take many days to resolve.