This article covers the most sensitive and down-to-earth part of running a successful coworking business, assuming that you are striving to be profitable. I am talking about invoicing and billing as well as the best payment software to automate it.
The main idea of the blog post is to show you how to create a well-performing billing and invoicing mechanism to free yourself from unnecessary complications.
Ideally, you should provide your members with the possibility of self-service so that they could view, download and manage their payments.
Automating everything including billing and invoicing to boost coworking space efficiency is one of the coworking trends to follow. Let's discuss a couple of practical ways to do it.
You can establish a point of sales station right at the reception of your coworking space. The gadget doesn't matter here, it can be a desktop computer, a tablet, or some mobile device. Its purpose is to enable community managers to capture charges and manage accounts easily.
Enabling payments via a POS terminal is a way to keep invoices accurate while offering flexibility to coworking space residents. I mean you can input discounts and ad-hoc charges while collecting payments for workspace and services. It's utterly important to get the invoicing correct right from the start to avoid invoice runs, invoicing queries fixes, and revenue losses in the future.
Speaking about the point of sale, it is a good alternative to the outdated methods of payment processing—a notepad, an excel spreadsheet, a voice memo on your mobile device, etc. Everything that requires input information more than once does not fit.
Some of the POS station benefits include:
To enjoy the advantages of an accurate online system your coworking space needs to have a fully-fledged online presence. So, launch a nice, user-friendly website enabling members not only to overview your services but actually purchase them via your website or your coworking space management software.
The main benefit of running an online coworking resource with an activated payment system is easy members' access not only to the comprehensive info about your workspace, its perks and amenities, membership plans, and pricing but also in a revenue increase for you, plus you capture accurate data and get rid of human errors.
So, what you need to do is give members and prospective customers access to an online marketplace offering your services. There, they will select a service they need and buy it paying with a bank card, credits, or company invoice.
Be consistent and automate your invoicing. Your members will love an option to include booking, event, and service payments into a company or individual invoice. Then, company managers will get a single bill that includes all variable and workspace rent fees and pay it through the same app in just a few taps. The system can even charge payments for invoices automatically making payment collection effortless.
Don't overwhelm your community manager busy with other significant tasks with setting up the accounts from a sign-up sheet or credit card authorization form. Start using an automated payment and billing system for absolute accuracy.
The online payment platform cuts down your invoice run and makes it smooth. When the system is introduced, you just bill for monthly memberships, booking, services and avoid credit notes that annoy members with adjustments and aggravate UX (user experience).
To understand how helpful the automation of invoicing is for running your coworking space remember how many hours you spend fixing the account should an error occur.
Payment software that integrates each step of the coworking space cycle and automates data capture and invoice generating saves you from busy work.
There are lots of online payment services out there. Some of them are used worldwide, some are popular in particular countries.
Exclusively for Ukrainian coworking space operators and their members we built the integration of our application with WayForPay payment service.
As I have already mentioned above, the integration of your coworking management app and payment system saves you a lot of time and effort through automating a bunch of routines associated with billing and invoicing.
Though, not every coworking space management platform allows you and your members to use professional payment software you are already familiar with. Some systems are often not flexible enough to demonstrate the individual approach and build integration with some local payment system for their customers operating in a specific country.
Stripe is a reliable software platform for processing your coworking payments online. Headquartered in San Francisco, Stripe has 14 global offices. It powers millions of businesses in 100+ countries and across nearly every industry.
You can use Stripe to enable online payments at your coworking space or a flexible office. Managers don't need to remind members about membership fees, bookings, and invoices anymore. Customers easily pay for your coworking space services through your apps.
Here’s a brief list of andcards-Stripe integration capabilities managers will love:
Recurly is a subscription management platform founded in 2009 with headquarters in San Francisco, California, and the United States.
Here are some points the tool can help you with:
Chargebee is a subscription management platform that lets you to:
QuickBooks is accounting software for small and medium-size coworking businesses. You don't need to be an accounting expert, QuickBooks makes it easy to keep everything organized in one place.
QuickBooks enables you to import transactions from your bank, spend management software, and other third-party apps. The app will auto-update it all. No more manual data entry.
You will enjoy QuickBooks data exporting, powerful invoicing with custom reminders, tracking, and direct deposit puts less time between you and your money."
Btw, expenses are sorted into tax categories, which makes you prepared for tax time.
Everybody knows PayPal, it's an American company operating a worldwide online payment system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like checks and money orders.
Zoho invoice is invoicing software that lets you send professional invoices, automate payment reminders, and accept card payments online fast.
Speaking about payment systems for coworking spaces I can't help mentioning meeting room booking credits. They replace virtual currency at a coworking space.
1 credit equals 1-hour meeting room booking.
Meeting room booking credits enable a coworking space to decide what conversion rate they have. It's super flexible. I would say that credits are more like prepaid accounts. Coworking spaces can sell credits to members and save on payment system fees because they fully control the credit issuance.
Besides, instead of just giving hours to members for free, you can give them booking credits (as a reward, once a month, when they sign up, when they continue the subscription, as an additional argument to seal the deal.) Members can use available credits whenever they wish.
Members can have individual, as well as team shared credit balances. You can add a touch of gamification and select a custom emoji symbol for your credits.
Introduce a meeting room credit system in your coworking space and observe how it will help you address the following issues:
Recently one of the easiest ways to transfer money throughout the world has become cryptocurrency payments. There are tons of platforms like crypto wallets and exchanges / best Bitcoin wallets, that are accessible worldwide. People mostly prefer to pay through exchanges as it's much more comfortable and user-friendly. Binance exchange is one of the biggest crypto platforms, which has all the functionality one needs. One can easily make the payments through crypto coins, saving time and paying only a small commission.
I advise you to use an invoicing system built into your coworking space software as this is the simplest, most cost-efficient, and hassle-free way to automate payments at a workspace. In case you need some accounting monster, integrate it with your main coworking space app to levy charges.
Just think about how credible you look for your members if they not only pay for the products they consume via coworking app on their smartphone but see the charges and rates flow in real-time. And you even don't need to export usage data from another system and import it into a separate invoicing system. I bet your members will be likely to expand the bandwidth as there is no risk of being overcharged.
Here is a simple example for you. Everybody uses Google Calendar. It's a great resource, however, if it doesn’t integrate with your billing systems you are going to miss out on capturing booking charges, which will cause revenue leakage.
With an in-app invoicing system or the accounting system linked to coworking space management software community managers have access to real-time bank feed, they have full visibility of members' financial information without special permissions to your accounting system.
This is important as you protect the privacy, security, and integrity of your accounting data along with private information entrusted to you by members. It's safe to delegate billing and invoicing tasks to employees.
Choosing innovative coworking technology with an invoicing system inside will simplify your and your accountant's lives.
Here is an example for you
You don’t need to use spreadsheets and formulas. This saves not only time but the money that you don't pay to an accountant for the same task. Members are invoiced automatically both for rent and additional services they use. Members use familiar ways to pay their bills inside the same app they use for bookings, which makes their experience with your brand excellent.
Summing up everything said above, we can conclude that software integration is the key. By using an in-app invoicing system or integrating coworking space management and professional accounting solution you will optimize the billing and invoicing for services your center renders to members. This automation will save you money, resources, and time you usually spend on tiresome administrative tasks. Isn't it better to concentrate your efforts on members and the community?