Field service is booming. But not all businesses enjoy financial success, despite having their order books full. 

The 2021 State of Small Business Cash Flow report reveals that 60% of small businesses face cash flow issues. About 44% of small business owners see late payments as their biggest obstacle. One out of every three small business owners gets paid only after 30 days.

Delayed payments are telltale signs of something wrong with the invoicing system of the business. Enterprises that suffer from such issues invariably have manual methods or non-integrated software. For example, a typical small business uses job management software to track jobs, accounting software for invoicing, and third-party apps to collect payment. Such a setup causes several inefficiencies.

Manual or disjointed systems:

  • Increase cost, as the staff has to repeat many tasks and duplicate data entry.
  • Cause delays. The system does not sync and update in real-time. If the field crew who completes the work cannot generate or access invoices, there is a delay in sending invoices. Payments likewise get delayed.
  • Create confusion. Many-a-time, customer support, field agents, and others act on outdated information. They end up committing blunders such as calling customers who have already paid.
  • Cause errors: Errors in invoicing are much more than an embarrassment. Over-invoicing or not honoring discounts, even inadvertently, leads to loss of reputation. It erodes the customer’s trust, often irrevocably under-invoicing hemorrhages money, with the business soon running into losses.

The solution to such ills is optimizing invoicing and payment processes. An integrated field management suite automates invoicing and optimizes the process. Chasing payments sucks the energy of the business, better deployed on more productive tasks. ReachOut allows employees to focus on core business functions. Employees need not waste their time on non-value adding administrative functions.

Here is how an integrated field service management suite streamlines invoicing.

Centralize Information

The basic prerequisite for accurate invoicing is centralizing information. For example, consider a scenario when customer support offered a discount to a customer on accepting the work. If the field executive or the accounts team does not have access to such information, this discount will not reflect in the invoice. Such a huge gaffe can destroy the credibility of the business.

Conversely, consider a situation where invoicing is manual or through disjointed systems. The special offer message may indeed reach the accounts team preparing the invoice. But the field agent, in a hurry, might forget to record all the tasks done or add the cost of the parts used. Such omissions cause revenue loss.

  • Deploy comprehensive operations management software. Have quotes, scheduling, work order management, invoicing, and payment functionalities in the suite.
  • Use APIs and connectors to pull in data from external sources. For instance, integrate field management software to CRM so that everyone knows of any rates or discounts offered to the customer. Integrate inventory-management suite to bill customers for parts used during service.

Automate the tasks

The best field service suite automates invoice management and related tasks.

The field crew updates their status on their field service app when they start and complete the work. The geofencing capabilities of the smartphone app validate that the crew worked at the designated location.

When the field crew marks work as complete, the field service suite auto-generates invoices. They may also collect the client’s electronic signature in the app as proof of work completion.

The integrated suite:

  • Refers to the customer’s last invoice and picks up from where it ends.
  • Pulls in information from all relevant sources. For instance, it collects the client details from the CRM, details of work from the work order management system, and the number of hours worked from the field agents app. It applies the preset rates, tax, and applicable discounts and generates the invoice.
  • Send the invoice to the customer’s email or WhatsApp.

Integrate Payment Collection

Integration of the field service platform with third-party payment apps streamlines the workflow. It ensures the business gets paid quickly for their work. 

Integration with payment portals such as PayPal enables customers to pay invoices instantly. The field agent may collect the payment before leaving the client premises.

Integration with accounting suites streamlines accounting and payroll.

Such integrated systems:

  • Accepts incoming payments from clients and issues receipts.
  • Updates databases automatically. The invoice details get populated to the accounting ledgers and vouchers. The CRM updates likewise, pre-empting customer support teams to make follow-up calls to customers who have already paid.
  • Auto-generates list of pending payments when customers do not pay instantly. Customer support executives may track and follow up on such payments easily.

How ReachOut helps

Most businesses underestimate the value of a professional approach to invoicing. Poorly designed invoices and shoddy collection efforts cause frustration to the client. As a result, they will probably go elsewhere next time. Conversely, most clients appreciate businesses doing their job with a professional touch. They will return and also give valuable referrals.

ReachOut enables businesses to generate invoices and collect payments professionally. The suite offers powerful functions such as:

  • Recording check-in and check out of field agents, automating timesheets.
  • Verify work hours using geolocation capabilities.
  • Auto-email invoices and job reports to the customer
  • Access invoice in the field through the agent’s smartphone app.
  • Ability to generate and edit invoices in the field.
  • Option to download ready-made templates or upload custom templates.
  • Ability to integrate information from external databases such as inventory and CRM.
  • Export invoices to the integrated accounting tool, with seamless integration to the accounting system. 
  • Seamless integration with payment platforms. 
  • Ability to generate dynamic reports.
  • Capability to track the status of invoices and make follow-ups.

Technology changes fast. What works well now may become redundant or obsolete in a few months. A cloud-based field service suite such as ReachOut keeps updating constantly. The suite co-opts the latest technology and enhances functionality regularly. ReachOut offers end-to-end visibility and automates key processes, including invoicing. It delivers great efficiency enhancements and future-proof the enterprise.

Connect with our team to explore and experience the ReachOut suite and its unique features.

Digitize your field service operations from scheduling to invoicing with ReachOut. Connect your technicians with the companion mobile app to execute jobs and reduce paperwork in the field. Try ReachOut now and give your customers the fast and quality service they deserve.

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Ashmitha Chatterjee

Ashmitha works with ReachOut Suite as a creative writer. She collaborates with the Digital Marketing team to deliver engaging, informative, and SEO friendly business collaterals. Being passionate about writing, Ashmitha frequently engages in blogging and creating fiction. Besides writing, Ashmitha indulges in exploring effective content marketing strategies.

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