One of the most important aspect to running any business – big or small, privately held or public corporation - is billing. Without billing, cash flow will dry up and business will collapse.

Billing consists of three stages: invoicing, statements and collection.

Invoicing is the initial billing stage. This is where your sales order or estimate becomes an actual charge, complete with parts, labor, sales tax, shipping or any whatever charges apply to your particular business. The invoice is important to the billing process because it gives your customer the firm and final price.

A statement is the second stage to billing. The statement provides your customer with a reminder of when their bill is due, how much the bill is and any interest or other fees incurred since the date of purchase or the last billing cycle.

Unlike invoicing and statements, collections don’t necessarily require a form. Sometimes, it’s as simple as opening an envelope with a check tucked safely inside. Sometimes, it’s a matter of placing a gentle but firm phone call to the customer requesting payment or making payment arrangements that work for both the customer and your business.

Whether you have billing department or are a one man/woman show, billing is a critical part of your business and having the right forms is necessary to a successful and profitable business.