What Is Digital Invoicing & How It Can Ease Billing For Small Field Service Companies

52% of small business owners continuously worry about unpaid invoices, while 44% have highlighted how late payments are their biggest pain point when issuing service invoices to customers.

Time spent chasing payments has a negative knock-on effect throughout an operation, resulting in a loss of money and a backlog of work. Businesses also see a 37% drop in workplace productivity when payments are delayed or invoices are unpaid.

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 invoicing troubles arise.

Challenges are common in businesses that opt for a more manual, paper-based approach to billing and payment. This is why the e-invoicing market share (20.4%) continues to grow through the adoption of digital and automated service invoice systems.

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What Is Digital and Automated Service Invoicing?

Digital invoicing is the process of creating and issuing service invoices to customers through the use of an invoice processing system. Invoicing tools are typically found in Field Service Management Software solutions or mobile apps and help businesses to:

  • Process and issue customer payments faster
  • Provide accurate work order descriptions on invoices (including the price, job comments, technician details, date, etc.)
  • Avoid errors in information
  • Reduce delays between job completion and invoicing
  • Set up batch and recurring invoice payments

Automated invoicing is also a form of digital invoicing, the difference being each invoice is generated automatically using artificial intelligence. This means a service invoice can be automatically constructed to include all the details of a job as soon as a job is completed on-site.

How Does an E-Invoicing System Work?

Electronic invoicing – or e-invoicing – digitises the manual process of creating and sending service invoices. This allows field workers to fill out invoices on a tablet or mobile device while at a job location and issue it to the customer.

In a 2022 report, on-time customer payments fell to 41.5% in the UK, which correlated with an uptick in e-invoicing and a forecasted 80% growth rate.

Digital field service systems aim to replace the long-winded approach of manual invoicing with tools that encourage the use of e-invoicing processes. Typically, the manual task of billing goes something like this:

  1. A field worker completes a job at an off-site location
  2. They drive back to the on-site office
  3. When at the office, they input all details regarding the job on the invoice template
  4. Once complete, the invoice is printed out
  5. The paper invoice is then sealed in an envelope and posted to the customer, which they will receive over the next few days

Instead, this process is completely digitalised with the use of a field service management system and a tablet or mobile device. Now, the digital task of billing looks like this:

  1. A field worker completes the job at an off-site location
  2. An invoice is filled out using both auto-generated and manual data entry
  3. The Invoice is sent to the customer via email and a digital signature is required

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Why Small Field Service Businesses Should Automate Their Invoice Processing

For self-employed or small field service operations, successfully receiving payment on time is a factor that is prioritised higher than anything else. Without payment, purchasing supplies are restricted, pending jobs build up, and cash flow problems begin to mount. Remarkably, all of these risks can be kept under control by digitising invoicing protocols.

There are three signs that your service operation requires digital intervention;

  • Prolonged wait time for customer payments
  • An increase in DSO (Days sales outstanding)
  • A build-up of billing errors

By utilising mobile features, operations such as landscaping and carpentry can improve the delivery of their services. Digitising billing and payments is just one of several benefits that small businesses can reap when using a field service management system.

Collect Payment On-Site With Integrated Apps

With mobile access to a field service invoicing system, workers can generate invoices on the job. 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.

Small business field service software with mobile features

Automate Customer Payments

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. If you have a client’s PayPal or credit card details, invoices are paid within minutes of a job being completed.

Utilise Batch Invoicing

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.

Reduce 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 staff and customers. A digital audit trail can save hours when having to search for customer payment history.

Use Templates to Build Brand & Speed

A key factor in speeding up the invoicing process is by using already-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.


What Is a Service Invoice?

A service invoice is the payment document a field service organisation will send to a customer when they have completed a job. This will include information like job description, price request, date completed, time taken to complete the job, client details, and business address.

What Is an E-Invoice?

An e-invoice – or electronic invoice – is a digitalised form of billing that is sent from a service provider to a customer electronically, typically via email or SMS.