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Are you using this time to catch up with the admin you’ve been putting off? We know that of all the jobs on your long list of ‘things to do,’ this is the one that most will steer clear of until it’s absolutely necessary, which is why we’re here to offer some help and advice to make this mundane task a little more bearable.

Catching up

One of the most difficult parts of organising paperwork is just that, the paperwork. It’s common to think that every bit of paper, whether it’s a post-it note or an old bill, needs to be saved ‘just in case,’ which soon leads to an overwhelming amount of paper piling up. One of the best ways to tackle this and stay on top of all your documentation, is by transitioning to a paperless office. As well as being better for your business due to any important documents being stored safely and backed up online, reducing the amount of paper will also mean you are doing your bit for the environment.

Going paperless involves digitising your paperwork by scanning or taking photos of receipts and filing these appropriately. These can then be stored either on a physical hard drive or in an online account such as Dropbox or iCloud. Not only will this protect your important files, but it will also make them more accessible when you are out on a job, meaning you’ll always be prepared with the relevant documentation should you need it.

Although this may not be for everyone, there are a whole host of apps and other online resources to help you manage your business effectively, allowing you to stay on top of your jobs and accounts as you go.

Apps that can help

Managing your overall business: Tradify

This system will allow you to keep track of and manage individual jobs from quote to invoice and is useful whether you are working on your own or have multiple employees. With the ability to input materials, timesheets, contact information and notes all in one place, this makes streamlining your jobs easier than ever. The customisable templates can also help you to create professional documentation, with the ability to manage them all from your phone, tablet or computer, whether you’re on the job or in the office.  

Getting paid on time: SimplyPayMe

With our society seeing fewer cash transactions especially in the current climate where contactless payments are much more favourable, card payments are becoming the norm regardless of which sector you work in. However, for tradesmen, accepting cards may have a particular benefit in that it encourages swifter payments from customers. For this reason, rather than investing in a bulky card machine, the SimplyPayMe app offers military-grade encrypted transactions to allow the process of card payments simply using your phone’s camera (and it doesn’t store this information on your phone). If customers are not comfortable letting you scan their details, there is also the option to take information securely over the phone or through an email paylink, so collecting a payment is much easier.

Not only can it take payments, but its ‘accounting’ feature allows you to view all your invoices, quotes and payments in one place, so long as they were made through the app. You can then download this data as a CSV file and easily integrate the information into any Xero accounting package if this is how you manage your accounting.

Going paperless: Joist

This estimating and invoicing tool is ideal for those that like to manage their paperwork all from an app, as client contracts can be attached to online correspondence and signatures can be collected on the move, meaning no need for printing and signing.

This app also prevents repeat work through its ability to list commonly-used items, services or materials for future reference, which can then be applied to future jobs created within the system. The opportunity to attach images to both estimates and invoices also ensures you and your customer are on the same page from the beginning to the end of the job and you can easily track your customers’ payments to see how much you’re still owed. Finally, all this data can be easily exported to your favoured accounting programme, allowing you to keep your book keeping costs down.

Incorporating this into your usual work schedule

Like with most things, it’s great to use this time to get on top of your accounts while things are quiet, but as soon as work begins to pick up, it will be easy to fall back into the habit of leaving this task ‘for another day’ once again.

For this reason, it’s important to book this task into your diary like you would a job for a customer, as not only will this mean that you have time for your admin, but it will also be more likely to get done. By scheduling this time into your calendar, you can keep on top of your paperwork rather than letting it mount up, meaning the task won’t seem as daunting each time you come back to it.

If you have any handy tips and tricks for managing your admin, please share them on the VELUX Certified Installer Partnership Facebook group to help your fellow installers with their books.

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