Every day, you should look at your projects, contracts and work orders and ask, “What can I bill today?” Of course, that’s hard if your current system doesn’t indicate what you should be billing for. And that is why having a field service software is important, as it can tell you what to bill and when to bill. And it can do all of that automatically with field service automation.
Getting paid is often a challenge in the service industry. With field service automation tools, however, you will make getting invoices out easier and faster. Your field service software and integration to accounting systems will manage the load. It’s all built into a system that is designed to optimize the field service experience. And that means getting work orders from the field turned into invoices that can be in your customer’s hands the same day.
Tip 1: Get the contract signed
Getting faster invoices starts with getting the contracts signed. For preventative maintenance contracts and projects, the terms of payment are important pieces. That’s because these terms will be built into your field service software and become a part of the contract and projects success. What a signed contract does is give you and your customer the knowledge of what the billing terms will be. It also says what should be expected from both parties.
With integration to an accounting system like Microsoft GP, NetSuite, and QuickBooks, you’re harnessing the power of two systems. For field service automation to work, you need to ensure the proper items, parts and customer information are built into each system and shared across the integration. A new customer has to be entered, new expense items created, and service rates built for that customer. So, it’s important to get those contracts signed to get all the information you will need to make the automation as smooth as possible.
How will this make invoicing faster today:
- Sets out your expectations
- Allows you to collect the important information needed for field service automation
- Ables you to build the services and products into your field service software, ready to use
Tip 2: Make a schedule in your field service software
If you never want to miss an invoice, you need to make a schedule. The problem is, manual schedules written in emails, Outlook and on whiteboards can easily be overlooked. What you need is your field service software to do the invoicing for you. Or at the very least, get the process started and remind you it needs to be done.
A level of field service automation built into field service software gives you control over the billing schedule. On contracts, you will define the billing date and interval in which it happens. Take the schedule you had your customer sign on the contract and turn it into a fully automated scheduled task that is completed by your field service software. If you never want to miss a scheduled invoice, then schedule it in your field service software and let the field service automation tools, including integration with accounting systems, handle the process.
On projects, you can also build flexible billing triggers for a variety of different scenarios. Want invoices to go out when you reach a certain phase of competition for a project? Or is your invoicing being done on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule throughout the project? Whatever the case may be, flexible billing triggers can be designed into your projects so that when it needs to be invoiced today, you can guarantee the invoice will go out.
Over the life of your project you can:
- Keep your project’s budget solid and margins positive
- Have invoices generated automatically based on billing triggers
- Bill for time and labor, competition percentage, have holdbacks and initial deposits
- Keep cash flow solid as your project continues to the end
Tip 3: Send the invoice early in the process
Field service invoicing has many moving parts. First, complete the work order in the field. Then it moves into the accounting stage. The problem is if your organization is still doing things manually, you have to get that paper-based work order from the field to someone’s desk for processing. And then account for labor time, parts used, and expenses. And that doesn’t even take into consideration how quickly the work order is returned from the field. After all, you could have technicians in different cities or states who need to mail work orders in, putting you even further behind.
With field service software, technicians complete work orders on a mobile app. No paper-based work orders need to be sent back for processing, as field service automation takes care of that. With applied service rates and integrations to CRM, ERP and accounting systems, parts and labor rates are applied and an invoice can be generated quickly. How quickly? We said get your invoicing completed today and that is what can happen. In fact, you could have an invoice to your customer before your technician leaves the job site. Depending on your level of field service automation, once the technician closes the call, an invoice can be sent directly to the customer.
No wait times for invoices and no processing time to get invoices out the door. Field service software gets your invoices to your customers early when they are still thinking of the service your technician just performed. That will increase your ability to collect and get paid, as the service call is still fresh in their mind.
You can use field service automation to:
- Have invoices generated instantly as soon as your technicians collect a signature and close a call
- Integrations with accounting and ERP software will instantly calculate rates, percentages and taxes on parts and labor
- Processing time is removed, and you can set the level of review for invoices before they are generated
Stay Automated with Field Service Software
Businesses need a flexible billing system to set up terms and conditions right after the sale. That way they can build billing schedules based on each customer’s need and contract term. If your systems are integrated with your financials, collections and month-end reporting is a snap. If you want easier and faster invoicing today, you need a field service software that has field service automation at its heart. Let field service software drive your invoicing. Focus on completing service, meeting contract demands and finishing projects. And let field service software take care of the invoicing problem for you.