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Top 5 Common Mistakes Faced by Small Business Owners in Invoicing

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Invoice problems can crumble your business foundation, as invoicing facilitates cash flow and sets the tone for every customer transaction. And it becomes even more critical during tax audits. Did you know that 49% of invoices generated by US businesses become overdue, as per PYMNTS and Beanworks’ report on AP Automation Tracker? 

Mistakes are unavoidable in manual processing, so relying on a stack of papers or spreadsheets to create invoices isn’t a solution. As someone who knows the importance of invoices, you need a way to avoid invoice problems. The good news is you are not the first to have this problem, and there is a better solution than relying on manual paperwork. 

Field service management software (FSM) is the answer to addressing the shortcomings of your manual invoicing process. In this article, we will show you how automation and digitization tools in FSM software ease problems with invoicing. 

Invoice problems faced by businesses

Regardless of their industry or size, field service businesses encounter invoice problems when they rely on outdated tools like paperwork and spreadsheets. Even obsolete ERP tools that include invoicing modules offer little assistance in resolving invoice problems. Listed below are some of the common problems associated with manual invoicing.

1. Inconsistent invoicing and a long creation process

Managing cash flow and payment manually takes a lot of work, and by its nature, the human element paves the way for data entry errors and inconsistencies. Even if the invoicing is performed correctly, superficial mistakes like mismatching font sizes and spacing can leave a terrible impression. Relying on manual processes will inevitably lead to unhappy customers. 

2. A mismatch between estimates and invoices   

A common invoicing mistake is a mismatch between the quoted price and the invoice. A quote or estimate is the pricing details of materials, labor costs, taxes, and discounts that are first agreed upon by the customer. If the invoice value differs from the estimate, it may cause confusion and customer dissatisfaction, which would ultimately prolong the payment cycle.

3. Manual invoicing and document storage 

With a manual process, there is no ability to save invoice data for future reference. Having a clear record of cash flow is essential, but paper invoices are easily lost. By using a digital invoice, you eliminate these shortcomings and gain the benefit of something that is not only flexible and easily accessible but also shareable. 

4. Missing or inaccurate data

In manual processing, it is easy to miss data such as:

  • Invoice date and unique ID
  • Tax identification number (TIN)
  • Payment terms
  • Customer service address
  • Service lists and line items
  • And more

These are the backbone of an invoice. Most importantly, the invoice should be updated if there are any changes made to the estimate. If your invoice misses any of these, it is a problem for the business—and you need to fix it.

5. Manual follow-ups and reminders  

Manual follow-ups like phone calls are tiring and time-consuming. But it is important to remind your customers of payment deadlines. Other times, customers might have paid, but they may be yet to receive a message confirming this. Knowing if the payment was successful can be frustrating. These are just two examples of how manual invoicing handling can cause problems. 

FSM software features that automate invoicing

1. Customizable inbuilt template

The built-in invoice template in the “invoice” module is ready to use and can be sent to customers quickly. You don’t have to worry about fonts, spacing, and size. You can customize the template to suit your business’s particular needs and send multiple copies if required. 

2. Share digital invoices and improve visibility

Once created, the invoice can be shared as a PDF and sent electronically. Using these digital invoices, both parties can see transaction details. With real-time visibility, businesses can make informed decisions, identify bottlenecks, and track invoice status.

3. Make corrections through adjustable custom details 

When you use a customizable FSM platform like Zuper, you can adjust the settings and information displayed as and when required. Let’s say there are changes to the original quoted price due to additional parts and services. An updated version of the invoice will need to be created. With custom fields in the Zuper FSM software—that can be changed to your needs—creating accurate invoices is easier than ever before. 

4. Convert quote to invoice automatically

You can convert quotes to invoices automatically with FSM software. This helps businesses overcome invoicing problems and improve their operations’ overall efficiency. Not just financially but also with respect to accuracy and security—all by switching to automatic invoicing. 

5. Invoice history and detailed tracking

FSM software displays a clear history of the invoice and acts as a platform for tracking all previous invoice data. With a comprehensive history, you can check for approvals at each stage of the invoice processing lifecycle and see if the invoice has been duplicated.

6. Accurate tax breakup

With digitization, the most important task of invoicing is solved. Automation of invoices with FSM software facilitates maintaining accurate tax information. You can see a clear breakdown of tax details, such as CGST and GST, on the invoice template.

7. Online payment options 

There is a lot of flexibility for payments in FSM software through its integration with popular digital payment apps like Stripe. For instance, Zuper enables hassle-free card or cardless payments through seamless integration with third-party payment processors like Stripe, Square, and more.

Besides, digitization of payments allows customers to pay in part or in full and even opt for a financing facility. Whatever mode of payment the customer chooses, online payment collection and processing can be done in a hassle-free way.

8. Automated reminders

FSM software sends automated notifications when an invoice is complete and the payment is successful. Not only that, but customers also receive periodic emails when their payments become overdue, which minimizes the number of invoices that remain unpaid for a long period of time.

How has Zuper helped US energy solutions eliminate their invoicing bottleneck?

US energy solutions is a sustainable energy provider based in South Carolina. Their business was significantly impacted by problems with estimates, invoices, and payments. They spent a lot of time writing down manual estimates, which paved the way for miscommunication. They did not have the tools necessary to generate invoices automatically. Manual processing is prone to errors. Billing and payment collection are not much better. Because of their lack of digital payment options, they often found they needed more time for customer payments. 

Simply put, they relied on time-consuming manual processes, which led to errors and miscommunication. Thankfully they learned about the Zuper Field Service Management Platform. 

Zuper FSM platform put an end to their problems by automating digital estimates, helping their customers understand what they were being charged for, then automatically generating invoices. The invoice is available both as a preview and as a downloadable PDF. Finally, Zuper’s integration with Stripe enabled them to accept digital payments. Using this, the customers made payments immediately, expediting the process for both them and your business. 

Conclusion

You spend a great deal of time manually processing estimates, invoices, and payments. This manual approach consumes time and negatively affects the productivity of your company. You can solve this problem by using FSM software like Zuper, which has a highly customizable digital invoicing system. 

Zuper’s invoicing software enriches your experience with the automation of estimates and invoices. Automation prevents manual mistakes from corrupting otherwise accurate data. It assists businesses in gaining insights into their finances, allowing them to understand their cash flow better and make informed decisions. Zuper’s integration with third-party payment processors makes it more convenient for FSM businesses to collect payments.

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