← Back to Blog

How to streamline payments with creative agency billing software

minute read
Updated on:
March 10, 2024
Table of contents

Every business exists to make money. That applies to creative agencies of all shapes and sizes. You put in the time and hard work to provide clients with the services they need. Naturally, you expect to be paid a fair sum, on time and in full, as a reward for your efforts. However, sometimes the very process of being paid can feel like a challenge in and of itself.

You have to calculate costs, draw up invoices, generate reports, send the right documents to the right people, and so on. There are so many steps and stages involved, that it can feel needlessly complicated, consuming time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere. But that’s where creative agency billing software comes in.

Designed with creative agencies in mind and aimed at streamlining and simplifying payments, billing software can make a major impact on your agency’s operations. In this guide, we’ll explore what this software is, list some key features every app needs, and look at the benefits of investing in invoicing software.

An introduction to creative agency billing software

Payment Payslip Invoice Template Concept

First, the basics. You might be wondering what billing software is and how it all works. So, let’s kick things off with a simple definition. Billing software, also referred to as invoicing or payment software, is a type of software centered around the payment process. It typically offers features like invoice generation and payment reminders to help you collect cash from your clients.

There are lots of different examples of creative agency billing software out there. Some are quite basic, while others are significantly more complex. They may differ in feature lists and price points, but all have the same aim – to help agencies get paid more easily and quickly. In today’s world, this type of software is often considered an essential element of any agency stack.

Key features of the best creative agency billing software

Next, let’s dig into the details of creative agency billing software and discover exactly what it can do. As explained above, each app will vary. Some of them have much longer lists of features than others. However, the list below covers the main functions that a high-quality creative agency invoicing app should offer.

Invoice generation

Invoice generation is the backbone of pretty much every piece of creative agency billing software. Almost every app on the market offers this feature, at the very least. However, some of them do it much better than others.

A good quality billing app should be able to automatically generate invoices based on the amount of work done and your agency rates. It takes the hassle out of billing your clients. Instead of having to calculate everything manually and write out each invoice, one by one, your app does it all for you.

Automatic invoice sending

Not only can billing software for agencies generate invoices, but it’s also capable of sending them out on your behalf, too. Indeed, some of the best apps can automatically create an invoice, identify the contact details of the client, and deliver it, with only minimal manual input.

This is a serious time-saver. Usually, you’d have to spend your own time and energy finding the client’s contact details and double-checking all the relevant info before sending out an invoice. But, with a billing app, it’s all done for you.

Payment reminders

Invoice Bill Paid Payment Financial Account Concept

Many agencies have to deal with clients who are late or slow to pay from time to time. It’s often a source of frustration, but clients can have a range of reasons for not paying on time. Sometimes, they simply forget to schedule or make a payment, and need a little reminder.

Usually, that means you’d have to send them an email or give them a call to let them know about the money owed. But, once again, the right kind of billing software can do that for you. It’s capable of issuing scheduled and timely payment reminders to clients who haven’t yet paid.

Customization

Leading billing apps for creative agencies also come with a range of customization features. For example, they might allow you to customize your invoices with your agency’s own branding. This can help to deliver a positive and professional impression to clients.

Some apps go even further, letting you customize views, tables, fields, templates, and so on. They even allow you to set up customizable billing cycles for certain clients. This is very beneficial for agencies that want to retain a strong level of control over the invoicing process and do things their own way.

Financial reports and analytics

As well as making and sending invoices to your clients, the best billing apps can also track and log payment data. They’ll store detailed reports of payments that have been made, including amounts, dates, and so on.

Some even then provide analysis and insights of that data. Alternatively, they let you read through it at your leisure and make your own analysis and deductions. This can be very helpful for tracking your agency’s financial performance, measuring growth, and finding ways to potentially boost profits.

Recurring payments

Often, you’ll have clients who may pay you more than once in a relatively short period. You might be working on a long-term project for them, for example, and bill them monthly or quarterly for your services.

Manually, without the aid of software, handling recurring payments takes up large amounts of time. Fortunately, the best billing apps make this easy. They allow you to set up weekly, monthly, or quarterly payment schedules customized to suit your needs.

Support for multiple payment methods

In times gone by, the majority of payments to creative agencies were made either by card or wire transfers. But these days, there are lots of different ways clients may choose to pay you. They might use a range of different payment providers.

The more payment methods you accept, the easier it’ll be to collect. The best billing apps support numerous options, from credit and debit cards to ACH payments, PayPal, and more.

Benefits of billing software for creative agencies

We’ve seen what creative agency billing software can do. However, you might still be wondering whether or not it’s a good fit for your agency. You may even wonder if it’s truly worth investing in, or if you can simply carry on running an agency without it. To find out, let’s take a look at some of the most impactful and notable benefits of billing software.

Saving time

Gold coin in the hourglass Time is money concept

The No. 1 benefit of many of the best pieces of agency software is how much time it can save you. That goes for billing software, too. Instead of having to manually type up and send out invoices, you can count on your billing platform to take care of it for you.

The best apps also automate a range of other processes, like payment reminders and alerts. This can save you dozens of hours over the course of the average year.

Boosting productivity

Not only can billing apps save your team time, but they can boost productivity across your agency, too. With more free time at their disposal and fewer tedious tasks, workers will be able to put more time and energy into other matters.

When combined with other pieces of agency software, like scheduling apps, the potential productivity boosts are enormous.

Faster, easier payments

The whole point of billing software is to streamline and simplify payments for your agency. So, with a good quality app up and running, you should find that it’s much easier to get paid.

You’ll have far fewer delays and late payments with the aid of a billing platform. This has a range of knock-on benefits, helping you keep up with payroll obligations and manage your business budget more easily too.

Reducing the risk of mistakes

When you do things manually, there’s always a risk of human error sneaking in and causing chaos. All it takes is one digit to be incorrectly entered on an invoice or a document to have it sent to the wrong email address.

With a strong billing platform on your side, the risk of mistakes is drastically reduced. As long as your app has access to the right data, it won’t make mistakes. This ensures that every invoice is accurate and every payment is made in full.

Boosting your brand’s reputation

These days, it’s never been more important to build a strong brand reputation. Customers have countless options to choose from. They won’t tend to stick around or invest in agencies that let them down or have poor reputations.

Billing software can help with this. It allows you to put more time and energy into other areas of your business to deliver the best experiences. Plus, many clients will also be impressed by firms that are able to manage payments in a timely and professional manner.

Better customer relations

A lot of the best billing apps aren’t just designed to make your life easier. They also come with key customer-facing features to help your clients have easier and more convenient experiences, as well.

They may help you create intuitive and secure payment portals for example. Clients can then quickly and conveniently enter their card or payment details and pay for services without any hassle. That can foster customer loyalty, giving you a better chance of securing long-term clients who invest in your business again and again.

A happier workforce

Blissful african female head of marketing department posing with thumb up after hard work

It’s so important to have a happy workforce. Research and surveys have repeatedly shown that happy workers are much more likely to be productive. When people feel valued and content, they tend to put more effort into their work.

Well, investing in billing software is just one of the many ways you can make your workforce happier. Instead of having to waste their time on tedious manual payment-related tasks, workers will be able to focus on more interesting and engaging elements of their work.

Reporting and analysis

It’s important to be able to keep track of payments. You need to know how much your agency has made, which payments are still outstanding, and so on. This helps you stay on top of your agency’s finances, and understand average monthly income, profits, etc.

But managing and tracking all of that data manually isn’t easy. Fortunately, many of the best billing platforms come with reporting features built in. This makes it so simple to check your agency’s payment history and financial status with the click of a button.

What to look for in agency billing software

Evidently, agency billing software is 100% worth investing in. It offers a myriad of valuable benefits that can streamline agency operations in more ways than one. However, if you want to get the best results, you can’t just dive right in and download the first app you find. Instead, take your time, weigh up the options, and consider the following key factors.

The right set of features

Naturally, any app you choose to use needs to have the right set of features to suit your agency. Almost every creative agency will benefit from the basic features – invoice generation, payment alerts, and so on.

However, you may find that your agency also requires some of the more advanced or rare features that aren’t found in every app. Perhaps you have a lot of repeat clients, for example. In that case, pick an invoicing app that supports recurring payments.

Easy usage and implementation

The easier a piece of software is to use, the faster you can roll it out and start enjoying the benefits it brings. Conversely, when software is needlessly complex and advanced, it can take longer and be harder to implement and use.

So, think carefully about the skill set and experience levels of your team – specifically the people who will use the billing software regularly. Make sure you pick a program that fits their levels of experience and expertise.

A fair price point

Of course, you always have to take cost into account when choosing a new piece of software to add to your tech stack. This is particularly true for smaller creative agencies which may have limited budgets to work with.

So, before you pick a billing app, think about how much you’re happy to spend on it. Consider the value you get in return, and how much money you stand to save in the long run. Don’t overspend on a tool that is overpriced. But don’t underspend on something that won’t actually help you.

Seamless integration with other apps

Hands holding puzzle business problem solving concept

Billing software is far from the only piece of technology powering modern creative agencies. You might also have lots of other elements making up your agency’s stack, like a CRM, scheduling software, time tracking, etc.

Ideally, you want as many parts of your stack as possible to work well together. This allows for the free and easy flow of data from app to app. Try, therefore, to focus on a billing program that works well with other software you already use.

A scalable solution to suit a growing agency

Agencies rarely stand still. They’re always developing, often pursuing some sort of growth or expansion. In the long term, you might be hoping to transform your small startup agency into a major player in the industry.

If so, you need digital solutions that can not only fuel that growth but scale up alongside it. The best billing apps are fully scalable to continue working with your business as you gain more clients and expand.

Tips and tricks for maximizing value from agency invoicing software

If you’ve decided to go ahead with agency invoicing software, here are some useful tips to help you get the most out of it.

Compare your options

First, as touched on earlier, don’t make the mistake of rushing in and buying the first billing app you find. It might not be quite right for your agency.

Depending on the size and scope of your agency, as well as the experience and skills of your staff, other apps may be better. Look around at the options available and find one that fits your agency’s needs just right.

Train your staff to use the software effectively

It’s one thing to have the right tools for the job. But, if you don’t know how to use those tools correctly, you may struggle to get any value from them. That same logic applies to agency software.

If your staff is unsure or confused about how to use a program, it could hinder your agency's operations, rather than help. Make sure you train and onboard all staff members efficiently when setting up your new billing platform.

Consider an all-in-one package

There are two main options when picking agency billing software. On the one hand, you can opt for a standalone app and hope that it integrates well with other parts of your tech stack. Alternatively, you can select an all-in-one agency solution instead.

All-in-one packages tend to be best. They combine lots of different features, functionalities, and systems that every business needs. If you pick an all-in-one, you won’t have to worry about compatibility and integration, as every element has been designed to work fluidly together.

Automate as many processes as possible

Rpa concept with blurry hand touching screen

One of the best things about billing software (and most agency software) is its ability to automate workflows and processes. Every workflow you automate means more time saved for your staff.

So, make sure to make the most of the automation included with your chosen software. Push it to the limit and automate as many parts of the payment process as you can. This is a fantastic way to save huge amounts of time in the future and optimize your agency’s day-to-day processes.

Explore all features and functions

As touched on earlier, many of the best creative agency billing programs come with a whole host of different features. Invoice generation. Payment alerts. Recurring payment setup. These are just a few examples.

If you don’t make full use of the features on offer, you won’t truly get maximum value from your app. So, learn all about what it can do and try to make each feature work for your firm, saving you the most time and effort.

Summing up: Get paid faster and easier with creative agency billing software

No matter how big or small your creative agency happens to be, it can undoubtedly be improved with billing software. As this guide has shown, the right invoicing app makes a massive difference to agency operations. It streamlines the payment process, saving you hours. It also demystifies some of the more complex elements of the payment process, with numerous other advantages.

For maximum convenience and fast, easy payments, look no further than the all-in-one agency software from Bonsai. Featuring advanced invoicing functionality, time-saving templates, automated workflows, and so much more, it’s the perfect solution for creative agencies. Get in touch with the team today to find out how Bonsai can transform your business.

Related Articles