As the owner of a busy electrical contracting business, getting paid on time is nearly always the biggest bug bear. Late payments, or worse, missing payments can have serious consequences on cash flow, and has even been responsible for the demise of small businesses.
When we speak to electrical contractors, about the challenges of running a business, eliminating or reducing the paperwork is on the wish list of every business owner. In fact, the paperwork can be such a challenge that any non-essential paperwork can quickly become lost or passed around from pillar to post in the hope that someone will deal with it.
The issuing of invoices is one such problem. Electricians are telling us that invoice problems range from no sending one at all (no invoice, no payment!) to not chasing up late payers and having no system in place to make sure payments are received on time.
Cut out some of the paperwork, cut your printing and postage costs and send your invoices electronically. A system that works well in the electrical industry is to send the invoice to the customer upon completion of the job. It takes just a few clicks of a button to email the invoice straight to the customer before driving away from the job. This ensures that invoices are sent on time and is not down to one person to find time every month to send each and every invoice manually.
When managing a remote workforce it is important that an effective invoicing software program is in use to make sure employees actually use it – the two basic functions will be usability and speed.
What to look for in invoicing software
A simple reliable system that is easy to use is vital. It needs to be easily accessible by all your employees so that they actually use it. Never be tempted into free downloads. Not only are these rarely updated, but they can be full of bugs and errors and can actually cause more harm than good.
You need to make sure the software that you chose to use is supported and does what you need it to do without any costly useless features. Look out for:
A Customer database – so you can easily find customer details – no more searching for email addresses on scraps of paper!
Autofill features – sending documents should be possible in a few clicks
Integration with an accounting platform – to save time on HMRC returns
Alerts to flag late payers so that the appropriate chase up methods can be deployed.
Streamlining your invoicing function makes sense and will save hours of manually completing book-keeping statements.
Above everything else it will save you money and improve workforce management.
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