Polish Your Image: Customizing Accounting Forms
What do you think when you get an invoice with no logo, no personal message, and a lot of excess blank fields? It doesn’t inspire confidence, does it? You may not think that the company is on the verge of collapse, but the unadorned, just-the-facts approach can give you an unflattering mental image as you look at it.
With a little bit of effort, you can ensure that your customers and suppliers don’t have that same reaction. The invoices, purchase orders, receipts, etc. hat you send out should have a consistent appearance if at all possible. So when business associates receive sales or purchase forms from you, they start to recognize them without even seeing your company name.
Your accounting forms should reinforce your brand identity. Cloud-based accounting applications make this possible by including a variety of customization tools. Some are easy to use, like choosing an image file from your local or online storage folders. Others take a bit of design skill.
Here are some of the ways that you can turn your financial transactions into subtle marketing vehicles:
Include your professionally-designed logo. This is so obvious that it hardly bears mentioning, but the emphasis here is on professionally-designed. Your logo is the linchpin of your corporate identity, and you’re obviously hoping that your customers and suppliers will see it frequently. You don’t have to pay an agency hundreds of dollars to take this on for you. There are professional designers who will create an original logo for your business for as little as $5 at sites like fiverr.
The size and placement of your logo on financial forms is almost as important as the image itself. Don’t let it overwhelm the form nor make its audience squint to see it.
Choose a background theme. This can be anything from your corporate color scheme to additional graphics elements that you incorporate in other customer and supplier materials to faded-out images in the background. Some accounting sites are limited in this area, but others allow more sophisticated customization.
Use familiar, friendly language. Everyone knows what words like “estimate” and “receipt” mean. But web-based accounting solutions let you call forms by other names. You can also change the labels for individual fields and columns in the body of the documents.
Remove unnecessary verbiage and fields. Nothing says “I’m too busy to fix this” like a transaction form that has a lot of strange-sounding words and phrases, and empty data-entry boxes that are rarely used. Tighten up your documents. Cloud-based accounting solutions often let you save multiple versions of your forms for use with different types of business associates.
Add a message. There is always a message field on accounting forms where you can display a default greeting. You can usually override these and write more personal notes.
Finally, balance everything. You’ll get paid and/or be able to order inventory items even if you send financial forms that are as plain as a tax return. But you want every customer and supplier “touch” – even an invoice for a pipe wrench and some lug nuts — to be professional, polished, and recognizable as your unique brand.