A growing field management service business needs to keep track of all its financial data. Whether you’re a small two-man operation or an established company with dozens of engineers, keeping track of every customer, job, and invoice is never easy. How to manage everything, you ask? Read on to find out!
The bigger and more successful your business gets, the harder it will be to record everything and make sure that the right information is sent to the right people at the right time - all the time. There is no room for mistakes when it comes to financial data or it comes out of your profit line at the end.
Imagine you did a job for a customer and everything went well. The necessary parts were available and ordered, the installation was successful, and they were happy with the process. The hardest part is over now. However, perhaps the engineer forgot to write down all the details or due to the amount of work resting on the shoulders of the person responsible for managing the office, this customer does not receive an invoice listing the owed sum.
Payment is thus delayed. Even worse, when the invoice is ready, it reaches the wrong person. By the time everything settles and the errors are smoothed out, the original customer has forgotten all about the great job and only thinks now about the mismanagement that led to them receiving a unexpected bill for something that was done weeks or even months ago.
Does this sound like a nightmare scenario? Luckily, it can easily be avoided. Simply keeping a spreadsheet on your computer is sometimes a solution that will help you manage your jobs better, especially if you’re a small operation. However, things get more complicated once your business takes off and, in order to satisfy customers, you need something more professional. Account software for field service management is, essentially, your first line of battle against missed or late invoices, errors, and general office chaos.
There is a myth circulating that a good accounting software is expensive and only for very large companies dealing with thousands of employees. But the truth is that there are many options and most companies providing accounting software for field service management also offer different packages based on how many users the software would have to support.
So if you only have one or two people as users, you don’t need to pay large enterprise fees. Therefore good accounting software is affordable for small businesses as well, leaving no excuse for poor management. Deciding which one to choose - now that’s the difficult part. You can’t say that there is only one best small business accounting software - one to rule them all. Rather, the best software will be the one that fits most of your needs.
Your job is to make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for. As for us, we’ve rounded up 8 options for you to choose from, while keeping in mind that Commusoft integrates seamlessly with all of them. What better resolution for 2019 than to upgrade your business?
Starts at £10/month
Xero accounting software is an adaptive solution that can help small businesses in the field service industry. Its automatic, secure back-ups and unlimited user access is ideal for a field service business looking to grow. Its base package offers 5 quotes, 5 bills, 20 bank transactions (per month) as well as managing VAT which would most likely fit a sole trader or a small two-man operation best.
However, the good thing about Xero is its flexibility where you can easily customise your package with the add-ons that you need. Say you’d like to manage payroll as well but you don’t need all the other options of the next package. You can add this feature individually for an extra fee. Additionally, Xero offers a 1 month free trial for all its options therefore you can try what is available and choose the best accounting software your business needs.
Starts at £20/month
Sage 50cloud is a desktop-only version with a cloud-based backing system meaning that after every action you take in the software, it automatically saves it to a cloud account - a digital database that will help you if you forget to save your progress or something happens to your office computers and you lose your saved data.
This version offers to manage your cashflow, income, expenses, and payments, as well as ensuring secure cloud access and backups. This is ideal for established businesses that need the power of desktop accounting with the freedom and security of the cloud. So if you feel that you’ve outgrown the previous option, this is a familiar one that you can look forward to updating to.
Starts at £8/month
QuickBooks Online has an extensive array of options for any business size, offering a comprehensive list even with its base package. From HMRC self-assessments to sorting business and personal transactions (very useful tool when you’re the owner of the business) to an on-the-go mobile version and receipt storage as the minimum, in addition to what we’ve come to expect of accounting software in general (invoices, tax payments, etc.).
The software is more than capable to grow with your business and sustain much larger enterprises with its payroll option, employee time tracking, and budgeting features. QuickBooks Online tailors its list according to whether you’re a sole trader (freelancer, independent contractors, and the generally self-employed count as well) or a VAT registered small to medium business.
Starts at £24 + VAT/month
QuickBooks Desktop, works in a similar way to its online counterpart mentioned above, but caters to businesses that have scaled up. For larger field service companies, this desktop version offers more options and a system that is optimised to work with a larger number of employees and transactions.
With a Pro (£24 + VAT/month) and Premier (£47 + VAT/month) version, QuickBooks aims to tackle the challenges of importing data, batch invoicing, and flexible pricing. Furthermore, these versions also offer telephone support in order to help you set up. A comprehensive guide is available on how to switch from spreadsheets to this digital solution when looking for the best accounting software for your field service business.
FREE for the base package
ClearBooks is a great option for those looking to start out with a free accounting software, see how it goes, and take it from there. If the only things you need are invoice tracking, bill tracking, and a bank transaction list, then this option is for you.
A great element to consider about ClearBooks is its ability to grow with you. This way, you can always upgrade your package if you feel like you’re still swamped by admin tasks or that your field service business has outgrown your current version of an accounting software.
Starts at £9.5/month for the first 6 months, then £19/month
Sole traders and micro-business owners might be feeling a bit left out but FreeAgent makes sure that they have the option of a good accounting software as well. After all, when you’re so busy growing your business, you can’t be expected to juggle every single activity on your own.
Field service management software is your best friend here and accounting is just one side of it. FreeAgent promises no more chaos since it will store all your invoicing and expenses in one place, a dashboard where you can “survey your kingdom” so to speak - have an overview of how your financial data is looking, as well as automatic tax forecasts and reminders. Moreover, since it caters to very small businesses, FreeAgent also promises to either help you find an accountant or instruct you on how to do it yourself.
Starts at £8/month
From quoting and invoicing to getting paid on time, the KashFlow accounting software aims to help small and medium businesses to convert to a fully digital management strategy. Available on desktop and mobile, KashFlow offers unlimited quotes and 10 invoices with its base package as well as up to 25 bank transfers (per month).
Upgrading to a higher package is easy and you can eventually have access to unlimited quotes, invoices, and bank transactions, as well as multiple users. Additionally, KashFlow offers a Payroll package and an HR software that work seamlessly in with their base accounting software.
A business with multiple engineers and office staff should most likely look into one of these options as it would suit them better while a small company can benefit from the low cost and easier implementation of a simple, basic package.
Now that you’ve got your accounting under control, how to you integrate it with all your other operations? You know, scheduling your engineers, tracking your jobs, registering your customers, and sending them reminders. If you still have to take care of these tasks but don’t have a centralised system to manage them, you’ll be happy to know that Commusoft can do all that for you and more.
As previously mentioned, these accounting options are all fully integrated with the Commusoft software and will automatically import your data and help you make the most out of it. For example, once an invoice is generated, the accounting software has done its job, but Commusoft takes it from there and keeps track of it.
Perhaps a customer has an outstanding debt. You wouldn’t want to book another job with them until this issue is settled, would you? Since we integrate with Outlook and MailChimp as well, you can always send them a gentle reminder. With the addition of our other integrations like naturalForms and payment solutions, you can do all of this in a matter of minutes. Your customers gets the invoice, signs and pays, while your office admin receives all the info in real time therefore reducing wasted time and errors significantly.
Choosing the best accounting software is a personal decision which only you can make since you’re the one who knows your business best. However, it’s important to make sure that once you’re on the right track to becoming a paperless business, you don’t stop halfway. Watch the Commusoft demo and find out more!
Do you feel like we missed out on something? Are you fond of an accounting software for small field service businesses that we didn’t mention? Just let us know with a quick email or on social media, using the buttons below, and we’ll look into it. Commusoft is always evolving and we add new features on a regular basis. To keep up with all the updates or get familiar with what Commusoft can do, check out our Product Blog.