A full order book and a steady cash flow are two areas that define the success of a field service operation, but they’re also the two areas that are most affected when field service invoicing tasks fail. Particularly if your billing and payment methods tend to have a manual, paper-based approach.
In this article, you’ll see how automated and digital invoicing tools, coupled with Field Service Management Software, can help aid your financial woes and essentially allow businesses to improve the efficiency of their billing and invoicing tasks.
In this guide:
3 Signs Your Invoicing & Payment Methods Aren’t Working
Before deciding on the use of a field service invoicing tool, it’s important to highlight why your current methods aren’t working. Issues typically occur when field staff take a manual approach to billing customers or even when back-office staff are working with non-integrated software.
1. Customer Payments Are Taking Too Long
When job payments are taking too long, that’s a sign that something is wrong. Whether it be a speed issue with your billing process, a compatibility issue with your workers in the field, or if you’re just failing to follow up with customers.
2. Your DSO Is Increasing
A consequence of customers not paying invoices on time is an increase in DSO, or Days Sales Outstanding. This is typically the time it takes for you to receive cash for your service. There are two parts to DSO:
- The service to invoice time
- The invoice to cash time
3. You’re Seeing More and More Billing Errors
Human error is inevitable, especially if you’re using pen-and-paper or spreadsheets to track payments. Some errors can be small and harmless, but, without automated detection, these errors can snowball. When it comes to errors in your field service invoicing tasks, such as over-invoicing or detailing the wrong work order, it can be damaging to cash flow, branding, and company reputation. £98.6 billion is lost a year through human error and fraud in the UK alone.
What Is a Digital Field Service Invoicing System?
A field service invoicing system is a single solution used to automate the entire invoicing and billing process. Ultimately, it aims to streamline and optimise your financial tasks that help to eliminate errors and reduce delays. To help field service companies to achieve this, a digital invoicing tool will be equipped with features like:
- Automatic payments
- Real-time invoice and payment tracking
- Automated billing follow-ups
- Personalised template designs
- Batch invoicing
- Third-party payment integration (such as Paypal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay)
A field service invoicing system typically works via the use of an app and a mobile device, whether a smartphone or a tablet. Having the use of a mobile field service app makes billing and invoicing tasks easier and quicker for workers in the field.
Technicians, engineers, and other field staff don’t have to worry about filling out forms and taking customer details. Instead, they’ll have all the information they need on their mobile device. This speeds up the invoicing process and makes receiving payment and taking a digital signature straightforward tasks. While office staff can gauge and track a client’s payment in real-time once a service has been provided.
The Benefits of Digitising Your Billing & Payment Tasks
The key selling point of Field Service Management Software is the ability to automate your field service tasks. Whether that be automating scheduling and dispatch, digitising job sheets, or tracking workforces.
An element of the job management cycle that benefits greatly from automation is billing and invoicing.
Collect Payment On-Site With Integrated Apps
With mobile access to a field service invoicing system, field staff can generate invoices on the delivery of service. Whereas time would be wasted filling out forms and taking them back to the office, invoices can be generated with the click of a button. Allowing customer details to be picked from the original work order. Once presented to the customer, instant payment is taken via a card reader and a digital signature is collected on a touchscreen device.
Track and Issue Invoices in Real-Time
Typically, office staff will spend most of their time tracking down unpaid customer invoices. The cause of unpaid invoices ranges from incorrect payment details to field staff simply forgetting to submit them. By automating the field service invoicing process, these delays are a thing of the past. Having real-time information stored in one centralised system allows teams to see:
- When a job was complete
- When an invoice was submitted
- If you’re awaiting payment
- If payment is overdue
Field service management tools allow you to filter invoices by data and create unique fields. Alerts and notifications can also be activated to ensure billing dates are met. This gives you complete control and insight into all billing activities.
Automate Customer Payments
Field service invoicing software delivers the necessary capabilities to automate client payment collections and generate recurring invoices. If a customer’s payment details are already stored on file, you can automatically take payment when a service has been agreed upon. This reduces the need to chase payments. Whether you have a client’s PayPal or credit card details, invoices are paid within minutes of a job being completed.
Whether you’ve fallen behind on invoicing or prefer to send them all at once, batch invoicing can help. Having a batch invoicing option allows you to select the jobs that need billing and effortlessly send an invoice to all clients in just a few clicks. With customer and job details pre-loaded into your field service invoicing system, multiple invoices are ready within minutes.
2 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need a Field Service Invoicing System
52% of small businesses worry about unpaid invoices, while 44% of small business owners have highlighted how late payments are their biggest pain points.
All service providers can find ways to reduce their financial pain points with a field service invoicing system, but none more than smaller operations that rely heavily on a consistent cash flow.
1. Digital Field Service Invoicing Reduces Paperwork
An effective way to reduce billing and invoicing errors is by going paperless. Instead of sending payment forms back to the office to be filed and sorted, data is instead stored electronically. This essentially creates a digital trail that is accessible to all field staff and customers. A digital audit trail can save hours when having to search for customer payment history.
2. Use Templates to Build Brand & Speed Up Invoicing
A key factor in speeding up the invoicing process is by using software-generated templates. Invoicing templates have the necessary fields and data already stored, meaning your field workers don’t have to waste time by filling out forms and information at the end of a job. Templates can also be customised to include company branding and disclaimer messages. Making the payment process both professional and consistent across all jobs.
Summary: Why You Need Field Service Invoicing Software
When it comes to eliminating costly errors and delays in your financial processes, deploying a field service invoicing system is the obvious choice. It’s a key feature of any FSM software package that is handy to both enterprises and small businesses wanting to speed up their payment processes. Particularly as there is so much reliance on delivering an exceptional customer experience and meeting demanding customer satisfaction levels.