As we’ve covered in earlier blogs, invoicing daily is vital to maintaining positive cash flow and it should be one of your main priorities - because the faster you get the invoice out the door, the faster money will come back in!
Reactive vs. Proactive
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While we all agree invoicing is important, we should also acknowledge it’s often overlooked and pushed back to make time for things that are more ‘urgent’. Let’s be fair, it’s hard to prioritise sitting at a desk preparing invoices when you’ve got a customer waiting for you to get out there and fix their burst pipe or blown fuse box…
So how can you remove the obstacles and make invoicing daily a reality - all while balancing the competing needs of running your own trades business?
Evaluate your Priorities
First, you need to change your mindset, to prioritise invoicing. It’s not a case of “we’ll try” it’s a case of “we will do it every day and nothing will stop it”. Next, you need to look at what things you need to put in place, to remove the obstacles. And finally, maybe it’s time to ask yourself: is it time to employ an office person?
To be able to invoice, many aspects need to come together, including:
- Invoice description
There’s often legitimate reasons as to why information doesn’t get loaded into the system every day, meaning these things don’t come together, but rather than getting myself worked up about it I found a solution: I hired someone to make it happen for me.
This part-time admin role included:
- Checking hours worked from the previous day
- Entering materials from suppliers onto jobs
- Marking jobs as complete
- Following up all new charge up jobs from the day before
- Following up all new invoices sent
- Following up overdue invoices
There are more duties involved, of course, but you get the idea. In total, it was about 20 hours a week. By employing someone dedicated to handling the daily tasks that have to happen internally I was able to focus on managing the customer needs and dealing with the general chaos that happens day-to-day, without burning myself out. And while my primary focus was initially improving cash flow and getting my customers to pay on time, there were improvements to the business across the board.
So, before you turn around and say “sounds good, but I can’t afford it”, think about the improvements in your business an admin person will enable, across all facets - the cost-benefit is undeniable!