Mega-Trend: How Mobile Business Solutions are Revolutionizing Construction
From smartphones to tablets – technology is not only changing how businesses communicate, connect and discover, it is disrupting entire industries.
The construction industry is by no means isolated from this revolution. Early adopters are investing now in more innovative mobile solutions to outperform their peers and become more efficient in every way. The mobile mega-trend is driving business innovation at a rapid pace as more and more construction businesses are reaping the rewards every day – don’t get left behind!
Thinking strategically about an approach to on-site estimate and invoice management is one element of this shift. It is no longer necessary to be tied to a desk in order to carry out administrative or back-office tasks. A Site Manager can be onsite responding to emails, checking in on the latest project updates and creating customer estimates and invoices on the spot.
Mobile invoicing specifically is a small step that goes a long way in helping businesses to increase efficiency, reduce payment errors and drastically improve their cashflow.
What is mobile invoicing all about, and what are the fundamental benefits for those in the construction industry?
1. Create invoices, estimates and sales orders from the construction site
Mobile invoicing solutions transform mobile devices into powerful business management tools, increasing the efficiency of teams in the field enabling them to effectively take their office with them, wherever they go.
2. Instant billing and faster payment
Unsurprisingly, the faster an invoice is sent, the quicker a business will receive payment. Mobile invoicing enables businesses to create and send an invoice the second the job is done, thus cutting out the need for the customer to wait days for this to (hopefully) turn up in the mail.
3. Cloud storage – one central location for all information that can be accessed on any device.
By storing all estimates and invoices in the cloud, every single document can be accessed and edited on a mobile device or computer whether staff are out in the field or back at the office.
Using a mobile platform also means that staff working onsite are able to input customer data directly into the invoicing software using their phone or tablet, and it will update everywhere.
4. Integration with accounting software
A mobile invoicing solution is great as a standalone but it also needs to work in sync with accounting software.
Thankfully, there are some great mobile invoicing solutions out there that integrate fully with major accounting platforms which eliminate the risk of double entries, enabling smoother and more accurate financial management.
5. Capture signatures
With touchscreen technology, clients can sign with a finger or stylus on a mobile device. This can be especially useful for receiving approval on an estimate or for businesses who need to add a signature to an invoice before sending to the client for payment. Signature capture on mobile devices can also be cloud-stored securely with the signed document.
6. Attach photos easily to show proof of work
Showing proof of work is a common requirement for construction pros. Using a mobile invoicing app, means businesses can easily attach before and after photos to estimates and invoices without the need to be switching between devices or sending photos as separate attachments.
7. Big cost savings
By cutting out manual payment processes, and speeding up the payment cycle, businesses are realizing big cost savings. A 2012 global e-invoicing study stated that 56 percent of businesses experience a reduced cost of invoice processing when using more sophisticated technology in comparison to using more rudimentary processes.
Cloud-computing and mobile technology are transforming construction, period.
When it comes to accounting technology, it’s not a question of ‘if’ businesses in the sector will adopt, but ‘when’. The forward thinking-companies who adopt these new ways of financial management will be the ones who get ahead.
Photo credit: © TommL, istockphoto.com
About the Author
Paul Hoeper is CEO and Founder of InvoiceASAP, the first fully integrated mobile invoicing and payments platform. He is an industry expert in mobile commerce and business software solutions.