This is the seventh article in a nine part series about the role that software plays in the field service industry. It’s focus is on double entry and how software can help you run a better service business by eliminating double entry and automating your business processes in general. We’re passionate about software and the service industry, and we want to help you find the right software for your business, whether it’s our product or a competitor’s.You’ll receive the next white paper in the series next week, but if you can’t wait we encourage you to use the links at the bottom of the page to read the rest of the series now.
How Can Software Eliminate Double Entry and Automate Business Processes For The Service Industry?
Double entry can plague many different areas of your business. The list below names some of the most common areas that suffer from double entry in the absence of good service management software:
- Pushing work orders to your accounting software for invoicing
- Converting leads into customers
- Opening new work orders for a customer
- Recurring work orders not being saved or automated
- Distributing work order information and scheduling information to all relevant parties
- Printing hard copies
- Status changes on work orders or invoices
- Converting a proposal into a work order
- Converting a purchase order into received inventory items
- Adding new contacts or locations to a customer account
- Time tracking and payroll processes
- Any handwritten notes, work orders, etc that must be re-entered into an electronic database
Pushing work orders to your accounting software for invoicing
- Good service management software will either come equipped with an accounting module that works seamlessly with your work order management module or it will integrate with your accounting software, whether it’s QuickBooks, Sage or something else.
- One-click accounting integration saves you time and prevents transcription errors that come about due to double entry and re-keying information
Converting leads into customers
- Good service management software will allow you to track leads and customers separately to stay organized but can convert a lead to a customer with the click of a button. All of the lead information is automatically pushed to the corresponding customer record, so you don’t have to re-enter any info.
Opening new work orders for a customer
- To open a new work order you should be able to select a customer to tie the order to and then have the customer contact info, site address and more automatically pre-filled on the work order. Changing the contact or other info should be as simple as selecting your choice from a drop down menu that is tied to your CRM system.
Recurring work orders not being saved or automated
- Software will allow you to design recurring order templates and save them to be used again on an automated basis at set intervals or with the click of your mouse whenever you need them.
Distributing work order information and scheduling information to all relevant parties
- A good enterprise software system will automatically update information for all users in real time. Technicians in the field can access the same information using mobile apps on their smart phones or tablets. That way there is no need to print, email or write down information more than once. It’s always available to everyone and it’s constantly updated.
Printing hard copies
- While not technically being classified as double entry, printing documents can be a tremendous waste of time and resources. Good software will offer you the option to email professional work orders, invoices, schedules, and other reports with standard templates specially designed with service businesses in mind. All of those reports can be automatically generated with the click of a mouse, whether it’s a single work order or a yearly snapshot of a customer account.
Status changes on work orders and invoices
- Rather than relying on phones, email or word of mouth you should use software to keep all relevant personnel abreast of status changes that way all order statuses are immediately updated and available. No need for office personnel to manually change the status of an order when the technician in charge can change it from the field.
Converting a proposal into a work order
- If you’ve sent a proposal to a lead or a customer and they accept it, software should allow you to automatically convert that to a work order that pulls in all of the proposal details, material and services requested. Then you can simply assign a technician, schedule it and get started on the order.
Converting a purchase order into received inventory items
- When you receive items you should be able to automatically mark them as received in your inventory module and close the purchase order. Item quantities and warehouse records should be automatically updated when a purchase order is received. Bar coding capabilities that integrate with your software make this especially effective.
Adding new contacts and locations to a customer record
- When you get in touch with a new contact at a company you do business with you should add them to your rolodex. Good CRM software will auto-fill the address of that contact with the company’s main address, and the same is true for the phone number. Likewise, if a customer branches out to a new location it should be easy to add that to their record. The same is true for parent-child relationships in your customer database. All CRM processes should be automated, use pre-filled info when possible and streamline the task of updating data.
Time tracking and payroll processes
- Paper time sheets are a huge source of double entry inefficiencies in a service business. Businesses that utilize paper time sheets probably waste a significant amount of time re-entering paper time sheet data into their electronic accounting system or employee records. This not only wastes time but it can also cause significant re-keying errors. Plus it can be difficult to track down employees who forget to hand in their time sheets. Doing payroll electronically saves time and prevents errors.
Any handwritten notes, work orders, etc that must be re-entered into an electronic database
- Sales notes, technician site notes, services requested and performed, paper work orders and more are all examples of things that some businesses keep track of on paper that may need to be re-entered into their electronic records. It can be a significant source of double entry inefficiencies that can be alleviated using software that stores all of that info electronically from the start.
We hope our software helps eliminate your inefficiencies caused by double entry since we’ve been designing software specifically for the service industry for over 25 years, but we’re quick to acknowledge when the fit isn’t right and we’d be glad to point you to one of our competitors who might suit your needs better. If you have any questions about double entry or automation and how they relate to your specific business processes please feel free to give us a call at 360-293-3000.
This article is the seventh in a nine part series of white papers designed to inform you about the role that software plays in the field service industry. You’ll receive the next article in the series next week, but if you can’t wait until then we encourage you to check out the entire series using the links below. Thanks for reading!
The Team at High 5 Software