If you currently work with field service businesses or are interested in making an entry into this industry, it’s important to specialise your accounting practice so you can be a trusted partner. Explore where accounting and field service intersect, as well as the challenges you can address to make life easier for you and for your clients.
Where field service and accounting collide
Every business wants to accurately quote and be paid on time for their work. With field service businesses, tasks such as organising billing processes, sending invoices, and managing financials often become unorganised or mismanaged which leads to several other issues in the growth of the business. That’s where you come in. As the accounting consultant for a field service business, you have the opportunity to not only provide advisory services, but you can also be a trusted partner with industry insights to help your trade clients succeed.
So, what are some of those key pain points you can solve for your field service clients?
- Lack of visibility: If your trade clients don’t have field service management software or reporting tools, it is highly likely that they don’t have much visibility into the financials or the operations of their business. Suggest reporting tools to help your clients gain that needed insight into what’s really going on.
- Keeping cash flow positive: Again, without the proper tools in place, it is almost impossible to send out invoices on time, track those invoices, or even accurately bill clients. The better organised your clients' finances, the easier your job becomes. Again, provide tools for proper invoicing and billing management, so that information is easily located and handled in a timely manner.
- Financial accuracy: Your trade clients have access to financial information, but is that information accurate? Without the right information, businesses can’t make well-informed decisions. In addition to helping your clients gain visibility and better manage cash flow, provide consulting and tools that lead to accurate information. This in turn means better business decisions for your clients and better insights for you.
Add value to your field service relationships
If you truly want to differentiate yourself as a consultant with the ability to work with trade businesses, it’s important to build that foundation so you can present yourself as an industry expert and create more trust with your field service relationships. How can you add value to your relationships with trade clients?
Show that you understand the field service workflow and their challenges. Do your clients work mainly on projects, service jobs, recurring maintenance work, or all of the above? Do you see your trade clients as just another business, or do you have an understanding of the work they do and how different projects or service jobs yield different financial results or may be measured in a different manner?
When you have that deep understanding of how your field service clients operate, you can provide better financial advice and even advise on software and other technology that can solve trade business challenges. You’ll also make your job easier by recommending software solutions that integrate seamlessly with Xero and other accounting tools you use. With field service management software, your trade clients will have better control over operations management and task automation to make processes more streamlined and efficient. This means better organised information for you to work with as well as better business performance for your clients.
“Any serious accountant will want to partner with simPRO. They provide great value for the cost, and are proven to help field service businesses run efficiently and scale in a controlled manner,”
says Co-Founder of Appacus, Matt Flanagan.
“From my experience, I have seen business owners go from being apprehensive to use the cloud to completely blown away by the visibility, control, and efficiency that simPRO will provide their business. Also, they will begin to see the accounting software, like Xero, as the supporting software for their business rather than just an extra tool.”
A strong field service management system will not only make business more streamlined, but it will also make basic accounting processes more simple for your clients, which in turn makes your job easier. Software tools automate the processes for billing, allow clients to more easily share invoices, streamline payment processing efforts, and provide further insight into financial status.
You can also work with your clients to use field service management software that has detailed reporting tools for customer insights. In simPRO, our BI Reporting is a business intelligence tool with automated insights based on the data entered into the system. Armed with information from detailed reporting, you can position yourself as not only an expert for your clients’ books, but a trusted resource for business success. Like all business owners, your clients want to increase profits and improve cash flow. Are you simply managing the books, or are you providing the means for your clients to truly excel?
Be a trusted partner for the trades. As previously mentioned, you are there to help with the financials, but if you want to be a true partner and stand out from the crowd of accounting consultants, show that you understand and care about all areas of your clients’ trade business. The more niche you are within the field service industry, the more credibility you create with your trade clients.
Learn more about how you can help your field service clients succeed by becoming a simPRO partner:
Article original published in XU Magazine Issue 22 on 2nd March 2020.