Quick Tip: Old-Fashioned Invoice Tracking

Alisa BonsignoreI track my invoices in a spreadsheet.

It’s nothing fancy, but it’s an easy way to see when I invoiced the client, and quickly run end-of-year tallies to compare the client’s 1099 to actual money received. The latter is the more important feature; you’d be shocked and horrified to realize how often corporate accounting departments get it wrong, and by how much.

But I also do something so old-fashioned that it almost seemed ridiculous… right up until the moment where my invoice-tracking file got corrupted. Now it seems like absolute genius.

Whenever my check comes in, I staple the check stubs or EFT confirmation emails onto the paper invoices. It’s my sanity check and paper backup of every invoice I’ve ever submitted. At the end of the year, I stuff them into a large envelope and toss them in an archive drawer, there for referencing if my friendly local Internal Revenue agent ever decides to have a chat with me. Or if my spreadsheet decides to give up the ghost.

Do you have any old-fashioned business practices that still work for your business?

BTW: This manual system can work well with whatever electronic system you have in place. Another writer/guest blogger, Deidre Rienzo, loves how easy FreshBooks makes her invoicing so much she wrote a “Love Letter to Freshbooks.”

3 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Old-Fashioned Invoice Tracking

  1. Magazine Design

    Ha! This made me chuckle, in a good way. My invoicing system sounds VERY similar to yours. Another thing I do that harkens back to the 2000s is a nightly DVD backup of all my in-progress client work and essential files. We also have very large archive drives in the office and duplicate drives at the bank, but hey, hard drives crash and power surges from time to time — and more often than any of us would like to think. I know a RAID system would probably make more sense time-wise, but I still have a hard time putting all my eggs in that particular basket.

  2. lidia varesco design

    Alisa, my system is also very similar to yours. I track my invoices in a spreadsheet and keep a binder with sections for open invoices, paid invoices and completed timesheets. At the end of the year, I file away the contents of the binder for future reference.

    I’ve tried using computer-based time trackers and timesheets, but I always go back to my old-fashioned paper system. There seems to be less room for error (i.e. application crashes) and I like having the visual reference. Plus, seeing too many almost-empty calendar pages is a good reminder to amp up the marketing efforts! (or a welcome relief after a busy period)

  3. Edwina@FASHION + ART

    I’ve never taken the time to learn how to use Quicken or any other time-tracking software. I keep a running yellow note on my desktop where I log in and out for hourly production work (my punch clock), my numbered and dated invoices in a digital folder, and check stubs in a labeled envelope, per client, in the shoe box.

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