5 Ways to Nail the Right Invoicing Software
Written by Danny Gallagher
Nothing can be more daunting for a business of any size than trying to find the right software for its needs.
There are a seemingly endless number of brands and varieties that offer unique features and specialised implementation for all types of businesses.
Trying to find the one that fits your business can feel like a game of "Whack-a-Mole": As soon as you think you've found the right one, five more suddenly pop up into view. There are ways to find the right software that fits your invoicing needs.
1. Know Your Business
The first step to buying any critical piece of software for your business is to know what your business needs and how much or what exactly you need the software to handle.
Businesses of all sizes should find out or research exactly how big their business is and the volume of customers and average income they should expect the software to handle. They should also know the options available for their customers to pay their invoices (check, credit card, PayPal account, etc.) and the basics of their computer system, local network and internet connection. This will help the software vendor pinpoint the type of software that can meet their needs.
2. Bigger Isn't Necessarily Better
When it comes to technology, some people seem to think that buying the most advanced system, gadget or software means it can meet every need they have. This isn't necessarily the case.
Finding the right software – in any capacity or variety – means finding the one that meets your specific needs. Buying the biggest or most advanced software is overkill and can give you more than what you'll actually use to invoice your customers and vendors and that comes with a bigger price tag. If you have a relatively simple invoicing procedure or a modest customer base, a more basic package will not only save you money, it will also make it easier to learn and use on a regular basis.
3. Consult Your Accountant
Some software vendors or salesmen may have your best interests at heart, but they also run a business and need to make a buck just like anyone else. Sometimes it helps to seek an objective opinion that can step back and give you exactly what you need.
The best person to ask in these matters is a trusted accountant or someone from your business' accounting department. They constantly review and use invoicing software for their business on a daily basis and can easily point you in the right direction or to someone they trust who can set you up with the right software.
4. Know If You Should Go Online
The internet can present many obstacles when it comes to an invoicing procedure. Networks can lose their connection and if you have a software package that cannot work without the internet, you could find yourself dealing with sudden delays between your business and your clients. The internet also opens your network to destructive viruses or even curious hackers that can expose vulnerabilities and expose your business and even your customers' personal information.
These risks don't negate the positives of having an online invoicing software system but it does present other questions that should be asked before you plunk down the money for the software such as backup systems that can be used when your connection stalls or anti-virus software and internet security procedures to prevent leaks and hacks.
5. Know Your Learning Curve
Every software system takes some time to learn, no matter how computer literate you think you are. More complex systems make take some extra time to learn how to use to its fullest potential or require additional materials and training for you and your employees.
Any business owner will tell you that a little bit of preparation can go a long way and that includes choosing the right software to meet your particular needs. The key is to know what you need and what you're getting and equipping yourself with this information will lead you to the invoicing software that's right for you.
About the Author
Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer and reporter who covers a variety of topics, including invoicing software.
Why Alibaba Cloud is doubling down in Southeast Asia
Alibaba has announced expansion of its cloud business within Southeast Asia, with the introduction of a digital upskilling programme for locals alongside acceleration of its data centre openings.
This doubling down of its cloud business in Southeast Asia comes as the company faces stiff competition at home in China from rivals including Pinduoduo Inc and Tencent and seeks to up its game in a region considered to be the fastest-growing in cloud adoption to compete with leading global cloud providers AWS, Google and Microsoft.
Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and second biggest revenue driver after its core e-commerce business, finally turned profitable for the first time in the December 2020 following 11 years of operation, thanks largely to the pandemic which has spurred businesses and consumers to get online.
Southeast Asia growing demand for cloud
In 2020, there was a noticeable increase in interest towards cloud in SE Asia, with the population embracing digital transformation during the pandemic and SMEs across the region showing increased demand for cloud computing.
Such demand has led to the expectation that Southeast Asia is now the fastest-growing adopter of cloud computing with the cloud market expected to reach US$40.32bn in Southeast Asia by 2025 according to IDC.
And there are plenty of players vying for a slice of the cloud pie. While AWS, the cloud arm of Amazon, is the leading player in Southeast Asia (and across all of APAC apart from China), Microsoft and Google are the next two most dominant players in Southeast Asia with Alibaba coming in fourth.
“There is no doubt that during the past year we have seen the acceleration of digital transformation efforts across all industries,” explains Ahmed Mazhari, President, Microsoft Asia. “Asia now accounts for 60% of the world’s growth and is leading the global recovery with the digitalization of business models and economies. Cloud will continue to be a core foundation empowering the realization of Asia’s ambitions, enabling co-innovation across industries, government and community, to drive inclusive societal progress.”
Alibaba’s commitment to Southeast Asia
At its annual Alibaba Cloud Summit, the Chinese company announced Project AsiaForward, an initiative designed to upskill local developers, small-to-medium-sized companies and connect businesses with venture capital. Alibaba said it would set aside US$1bn over the next three years to develop digital skills in the region, with the aim of helping to develop 100,000 developers and to help grow 100,000 tech startups.
But that’s not all. The company, which recently opened its third data centre in Indonesia, serving customers with offerings across database, security, network, machine learning and data analytics services, also announced it would unveil its first data centre in the Philippines by the end of 2021.
Furthermore, that it would establish its first international innovation centre, located in Malaysia, offering a one-stop shop platform for Malaysian SMEs, startups and developers to innovate in emerging technologies.
“We are seeing a strong demand for cloud-native technologies in emerging verticals across the region, from e-commerce and logistics platforms to FinTech and online entertainment. As the leading cloud service provider and trusted partner in APAC, we are committed to bettering the region’s cloud ecosystem and enhancing its digital infrastructure,” says Jeff Zhang, President, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
What other cloud providers are pledging in the region
This pledge by Alibaba to upskill both individuals and businesses follows Microsoft’s announcement in April that it was planning to upskill Malaysia’s population and would invest US$1bn over the next five years to build a new data centre centre in Malaysia.
This is the latest in a long line of pledges to the region by the US tech giant, which is fast accelerating the growth of its cloud datacenter footprint in Asia, expanding form seven 11 markets, and recently adding three new markets across Asia – Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan. Back in February, it announced plans to establish its first datacenter region in Indonesia and to skill an additional 3 million Indonesians to achieve its goal of empowering over 24 million Indonesians by the end of 2021.
And recent research by IDC shows that Microsoft’s most recent datacenter expansions in Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan alone are set to generate more than US$21bn in new revenues and will create 100,000 new jobs in the next four years.
Also last month, Tencent announced it has launched internet data centres in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo to add to its second availability zone opened in Korea last year and plans to add an internet data center in Indonesia, and Google has also been pushing into the enterprise space in Southeast Asia for several years now.
Expanding data centers allows cloud providers to boost their capacity in certain countries or regions.