Doing something 100 times, when you can just do it once, is the definition of insanity.
...what’s that? It isn't?
Well, even if that quote isn't quite right, I’m sure you’d agree it is madness to be doing more work than you actually need to, especially when time-saving solutions are already available within your software.
There’s no doubt that some tasks should always be given a good deal of time and attention and, in particular, taking care of your finances falls into that category. That’s especially true for your ever-growing fire & security business (or any other awesome field service business, for that matter).
However, just because your finances require your attention, it doesn’t mean the task of doing so has to be tedious! This week, join us to take a look at invoicing features that can lend a massive helping hand, in a little more detail:
- Group invoices, but lose none of the detail
- Automate your invoicing process
- Consider contract invoicing
These days, convenience is the gateway to success : if you make things easy for customers, they’ll love your business for it. It’s also why when it comes to the repetitive (but critical) task of invoicing—especially for commercial projects—that your entire business stands to benefit from a whole lot more convenience.
That’s where consolidated invoicing comes in.
After all, why would you invoice one customer for 100 jobs individually (madness!) when you could send a single breakdown instead?
1. Group invoices, but lose none of the detail
Invoicing a job should be the easiest part of the customer journey.
No one wants to get frustrated when it comes to money and besides: you’ve done the job, the customer is happy that you’ve knocked it out of the park, and so it’s right that you get paid easily and on time.
If this were as simple as that, every time, then you probably wouldn’t be reading articles like this though, would you?
As you know, the field service industry can be a notoriously tricky place to be when it comes to dealing with non-paying customers, or debt-chasing after the fact.
While there’s a lot you can do to mitigate risk with things like automated reminders and integrations with your paperless finance software, if you can create an even more straightforward solution to invoicing so that it’s easy, clear, and precise, then the struggles you face can be reduced significantly.
If we’ve not stressed it enough in our other posts (particularly if you’re a regular reader) then I’ll say it again—convenience for you and your customers is king and there’s no worse time to make things inconvenient than when it comes to getting paid.
As a fire and security business (or any type of service that deals with large contract jobs), you’re likely doing a whole lot of planned preventive maintenance work for your clients. In many cases, this means a whole lot of individual jobs to complete on their behalf. Whether it’s checking the alarms or other safety equipment designed to keep tenants safe, it’s important to get this done accurately, but also that you’re paid properly, too.
Of course, when checks are being done routinely, it means working many days, weeks, or even months, which means multiple invoices will be running through your system, every day. While ticking off each as you go is not a bad option, it’s not the most convenient way to do things, especially if you’re completing 1000s of jobs each month.
It is tedious to have admin tasks pinging every second, especially if there’s no great rush to get paid. Fortunately, if you’re using the more advanced invoicing tools available within your job management software, you can mitigate these pains dramatically by consolidating single invoices into a group invoice that a customer can then pay in one go!
Whether it’s monthly, bi-monthly, or how-ever-many-monthly—it means that instead of sending constant notifications for each and every job, you can set specific times to group together invoices in a way that's less disruptive. At the same time, it’s still incredibly easy to present the details that customers want and need in order to make sure they’re paying the right amount, without all the effort.
Being able to easily break down a consolidated invoice is valuable because at the end of the day, no one wants to receive a bill for a lump sum of £10,000 and have only a vague idea why!
With a proper breakdown, it’s like a shopping receipt: a client can easily see the sum-total, but, at the same time, they’re able to rationalise the overall expenditure based on the job you’ve completed.
This also makes sense from a bookkeeping perspective since it helps maintain oversight. Once happy, thanks to other integrations like a secure payment portal, a customer can click on through and make a single bulk payment with all the confidence they need.
📚 Learn more from the experts:
2. Automate your invoicing process
This neatly links on to the automation side of invoicing.
As a manager, you shouldn’t have to deal with slow payments choking up the business, but your methods of collecting payment should still prize customer experience above all else.
If you can make it easier to invoice a customer, then everyone stands to benefit. For example, not all staff members (in your company) need to know the price of the job, so if your software can lend a helping hand when it comes to checking prices, and confirming the correct costs to create an invoice, you’d surely want to benefit from that, right?
After all, debt chasing or correcting a mistaken invoice is rarely exciting and often not at all fun with the seemingly endless back-and-forth over email—or even tetchy phone-calls. A software that allows for automatic workflows is much better suited because it does all that repetitive work in the background, leaving admin staff and Operations Managers to do more complex work than composing increasingly passive-aggressive emails.
With an automatic workflow, linked to established amounts—thanks to detailed job descriptions—you can send accurate invoices, distinct to the customer and job-types. This gets done by adding rules that are dependent on the customer type i.e. private customer, private company.
That’s then placed automatically into an email that will invoice the customer with minimal manual interaction on your part. However, if you don’t feel 100% confident in this automated solution (which is pretty close to self-service) and you want to check the details before sending, you can still benefit from saving time. If your software can take care of the tedious work for you, even including with a manual final review, it’s still a great chunk of time saved!
Thanks to this level of detailed automation, you can get invoices to be completed rapidly, but most importantly: accurately!
3. Why not consider contract invoicing?
Another great tool that can help fire and security businesses in particular is contract Invoicing.
With a solution in place that lets you consolidate invoices into a single, yearly invoice, you can easily set up a system that lets you benefit from monitoring and even auto-renew contracts for you.
Additionally, clients can still be notified, as they will probably want to make sure their yearly payment is accurate, but with contract invoicing, it can give you peace of mind that the work you’re doing continues to get paid properly. It's another way that your database helps your business keep afloat.
For a more in-depth look at consolidated invoicing, take a look at what we offer at Commusoft, here, as well as out other invoicing functionalities.
As we sum up, let’s reconsider the often misquoted phrase that inspired the start of this article (or at least the one that’s incorrectly attributed to Einstein). The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.
While the attribution may be incorrect, there’s a kernel of truth in the message and based on what we’ve covered here, I’m sure you’d agree: it would be crazy to make work more time-consuming than it needs to be when the alternative—to invoice in a tidier way, efficient way, that doesn’t skimp on details—creates happy customers, a happy workforce, and gets your cash flow running smoothly.
With awesome invoicing tools, it’s another step toward ensuring that your invoices get paid accurately and on-time! Speaking of which, it helps to remember that the way you request payment can make all the difference too...