In the continued movement to make payments between businesses faster and more reliable — and to leap beyond the vagaries of making and tracking transactions with paper — mobile devices seem an obvious arrow in the quiver.
For invoicing, the process remains a tedious one, dominated by stamps, envelopes and staggered or elongated cash flow cycles. That’s especially true with small to midsized enterprises, where technology may be deemed too expensive to adopt or may be treated as an afterthought.
Viewpost, which offers applications to help businesses facilitate invoicing to speed payment and approvals, is getting into the mobile game, having announced Viewpost Invoice, geared toward small business owners.
Through Viewpost Invoice, the company has said, invoices can be created and sent, via phone, to suppliers and other business partners, along with the ability to track invoices as they are received and paid. The invoicing system, which can operate across email, PDFs or SNS, integrates with Viewpost’s electronic payments service so that SMBs can view an invoice online through a mobile device and opt to pay it then and there through business bank accounts (or can also accept credit card payments using Stripe). The app is available for free through Apple’s App Store.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Max Eliscu, founder and chief executive officer of Viewpost, said that sophisticated invoicing systems that are nonetheless “easy to use should not be only available to bigger companies with millions of dollars at their disposal,” adding that for smaller companies, especially in the case of, say, smaller proprietorships, paying a service for invoicing capability may be a stretch “if they have to pay $20, $40 or $90 a month to deliver PDFs” or a pictorial form of an invoice. “In that case,” he noted, “the only alternative is an invoice that is done on paper,” with all the inefficiencies that entails.
By offering Viewpost Invoice entirely free, said Eliscu, the wheels are set in motion to help SMBs accelerate getting rid of paper and improve connectivity with their trading partners, while electronic payments, of course, help cash flow; through the Viewpost payments offering, funds move the same day. Generally speaking, said Eliscu, the push toward faster invoicing and electronic payments can help shave the cash cycle by at least several days.
For the smallest of operations and businesses — such as painters, electricians or designers — whose work may take them to far-flung locations, perhaps on a single job, mobile presents an effective way to invoice, said Eliscu. He offered the hypothetical scenario of a plumber who comes to a client’s office to fix a leak; on site, the invoice can be created, sent and tracked, even while the job is freshly finished to satisfaction — and possibly even paid that moment. “This is a more efficient way of doing business, done on a real-time basis, where the customer takes action while you are there, and that is a good time to get paid,” said Eliscu. Larger businesses, the executive added, that use QuickBooks, Oracle or other programs can integrate with Viewpost in order to get suppliers and other businesses paid (and accept payments as well).
With upcoming releases of the mobile app, Eliscu projected, features will include dashboards, which will help users “understand the intricacies of their cash flows” in graphical forms, and notifications will also be able to be sent in a “push” manner, that can alert businesses on each side of the transaction as to when invoices are sent, received, opened and paid. At a glance, users may also be able to settle early payment requests, with attendant discounting, and create invoices with scheduled delivery dates.