Invoicing Problems faced by Field Services Companies

 


Background

You know your company is doing excellent work for customers. Your field staff is dedicated in delivering service excellence and you have a great customer base. Your admin staff has all the tools to serve company staff and customers alike. However, if your invoicing function is not performing properly, your company will not be in business for long.

Incorrect invoices will result in late payments or no payments at all. This has detrimental effect on your cashflow when overheads cannot be paid. Consistent invoice problems may also result in reputational damage for the company.

 

And unfortunately, until an invoice has been settled, the client has the financial upper hand.

Invoice related problems

Problems with invoices come in many shapes and sizes. Experience resulting from working with field services companies have shown the following areas as problematic for invoice processes:

1.     Missing invoices – invoices not reaching their intended recipients are not going to get paid. If there is no confirmation of receiving an invoice, more time will be lost before payment could be concluded. Besides the negative impact on cashflow, there might be a need to repeat the invoicing process.

2.     Missing or incorrect line data – accuracy is the key catchphrase. Missing or inaccurate line data might influence the processing of the invoice for payment.

3.     Confusing invoices – customers would be very reluctant to pay an invoice which they do not understand what it is for. Links up with the previous point.

4.     Recurring invoice mistakes – incorrect pricing, inaccurate math and missing payment due dates will lead to payment delays. Pricing and other costing items which are not updated centrally will enhance this problem.

5.     Tax arrears due to incorrect invoices – things tend to get awfully expensive when invoices do not meet VAT requirements.

6.     Invoice sending strategies – waiting to send an invoice to a customer serves no purpose at all. Many businesses tend to not contact customers to follow up if an invoice has been received. Invoices send via snail-mail has a higher probability to get lost. eMail addresses on the other hand are prone to spelling mistakes and is no guarantee to reach the intended recipient. Correct customer information is of vital importance.

7.     Quotes and invoices do not match up – an invoice delivered that do not match up to a client accepted quote will ensure delayed payment and serious reputational damage.

8.     Complex correction process for incorrect invoices – the more manual the process of invoice processing is, the greater the number of possible mistakes.  

Accurate Invoices

An accurate ideal invoice that has the best chance of getting paid will normally include the following items:

·        The client and company contact information

·        A clear title with the wording “Tax Invoice”

·        Invoice number, issue date and payment due date

·        Itemized description of services rendered  products used with the associated costs

·        Before and after photos where ever possible

·        Client signatures for “Work to be completed” and “Work completed”

·        Total amount due, inclusive of VAT and applicable discounts

·        Payment terms

·        Personal note

Suggested solution

Using a paper-based invoice process is inefficient with a high cost for paper, copying and storing of documents. Retrieving customer records is difficult and paper documents can only be handled by a single person at a time.

Replacing a paper-based invoice system with a digitized system makes sense in this technological age we are living in.

 Digitizing invoices should not be the end goal. The process of digitizing should empower technical field staff to issue the invoice at the point-of-service. The client should be shown all the relevant documentation on the smart device of the field technician and the client should accept the invoice electronically on the smart device. That way there will be no dispute as to the work that was concluded, the line items on the invoice will be acceptable to the client and all will be supported by “before-and-after” pictures. A logical conclusion would be the field technician receiving payment, electronically or in cash, from the client. However, if multiple payments are required, the clients’ signature will be on the acceptance documentation as support when documents are mailed.  

The process for effective invoicing processes can be achieved with the aid of a mobile workforce solution. With such a solution the accuracy of invoice can be greatly enhanced without a delay in delivering the invoice to the client. Invoice costing items such as prices and rates can be maintained centrally in the database, removing a burden from field technicians.

But the mobile workforce solution is more than just a platform for enhancing invoices. The solution can keep track of the customer service history which is important to ensure maximum customer service. The solution can also keep track of invoices and their respective statuses, service contracts for repeat customer business and maintenance agreements. Invoices can be created with the press of a button from either work orders, sales orders, or quotes / estimations.

 Being mobile translates to being paperless which is a huge saving on operational costs.

Invitation

We would like to invite you to contact us at LionGate Solutions for a no commitment conversation on the operational challenges your field services company are facing.

We would like to provide you with a free 14-day trial of our solution before you consider taking the next step.

Pieter Coetzer


 

pieter@liongatesolution.co.za

 

 

https://liongatesolution.co.za

 


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