Cash Flow: How TSPs and MSPs Can Get Paid Faster

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Do you find yourself struggling to get timely payments from clients, or do you struggle to create invoices in the first place? These are challenges a lot of technology solution providers (TSPs) face, and they all want the same thing—to get paid (faster). You might be surprised to find out that one of your biggest roadblocks to cash flow is you and how you conduct the payment process. Here are four action tips to help you overcome those obstacles to improve your accounts receivables process and gain a better financial positioning.

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1. Collect the Right Data to Invoice

April Taylor, vice president, ConnectWise
Author: April Taylor, senior product manager, ConnectWise

We all know the saying, “Time is money,” and that’s especially true when it comes to billing your clients. Simply determining what you need to bill and then going through various systems, notes, and portals to collect the data is time-consuming and drains profitability. Take a look at these numbers—according to analysts, 90% of manual invoice processing stems from labor, and the average cost to prepare a single invoice can be as high as $11.50 or more. Doing the quick math, a company producing 1000 invoices a month costs $138,000 per year.

On top of all that, for usage-based products, any time usage changes, or users change, it’s another manual process to go in and update the records. As the TSP, now you have to reconcile monthly bills from each cloud vendor by individually adding and removing products, updating quantities, and setting change order dates in the company’s billing platform. These manual minutes and hours add up quickly, costing you profitability.

You need to collect the right data quickly to invoice, and with accounts receivables automation, you can bring the cost closer to the best level at around $0.71 per invoice, that’s 17 times less costly at only $8,520 per year. According to a commissioned Forrester Consulting Total Economic Study of the ConnectWise platform, automated billing and improved efficiency can reduce revenue loss, potentially save $238,798 over three years, and increase finance team’s productivity by 25%.

How ConnectWise Can Help

  • Automated Billing Process: Capture the products and services that you provide and automate the billing with ConnectWise Manage Agreements. You’ll be able to easily track the hours that your clients are using on their contracts accurately to gain a better view of customer cash flow and your monthly contracts. Before using ConnectWise, a US-based TSP lost 75% of the outstanding revenue billed due to delayed invoicing. After a full rollout of ConnectWise, the organization started billing daily, thus closing the gap between the time the work was done and invoicing.
  • RMM Integration: Easily add information from your RMM to your agreement and billing. You’ll gain the ability to track time to be applied to the agreement, as well as the devices.
  • Manage Billing for Cloud Products: Simplify the billing of cloud products and eliminate disparate portals and invoices with one billing engine that allows you to focus on supporting customers. You’ll be able to combine Microsoft Office 365 and Azure, and Cisco solutions, including Cisco Meraki, Cisco Webex Teams, Cisco Umbrella, and Stealthwatch Cloud.
  • ConnectWise Sell: Ensure the accuracy of billing information from the very beginning with ConnectWise Sell®. You’ll be able to pull the products and services sold into ConnectWise Manage to gain peace of mind that what appears on the invoice is what was actually quoted.

2. Create a Clear Invoice That's Easy to Pay

Your clients can’t pay you if you don’t send an invoice. It sounds simple enough, but we’ve spoken to many TSPs who’ve delayed their invoicing because creating one is too time-consuming and felt that they’d missed the opportunity to send anything without embarrassment.

Another obstacle is if you hand over a bill that’s unclear or confusing. Many clients will end up questioning the invoice, which can lead to on-going back and forth conversations that slow down the payment process. Even worse, the client might decide not to pay the invoice at all. Unclear invoices can damage your credibility and your relationships with your partners; plus, it’s likely that once a client questions an invoice, they’ll scrutinize all future invoices too.

When something is difficult or cumbersome to do, human nature is to avoid it. You need a way to create timely and consistent invoices that are receptive to your clients. Remember that if you make it hard for your customers to pay you, you’re the one lengthening your accounts receivables time.

How ConnectWise Can Help

  • One Connected System: Keep everyone on the same page with automatic workflows using ConnectWise Manage. Automate the entire invoice process with the ability to set your or your client’s preferred timely billing like monthly or quarterly. By streamlining your process with accounts receivables automation, you not only eliminate direct costs with online invoices, but you’ll also remove many of the indirect hidden costs that sneak up on your cashflow.
  • Billing Accountability: Get billing right the first time by creating processes and accountability within ConnectWise Manage. By controlling settings like billing after tickets have been closed and requiring timesheets to be reviewed and approved, you’ll gain confidence that you’ve fully billed for all the work you’ve done. Managers are also able to confirm time against timesheets are accurate and up to date.
  • Customer Portal: Discover a fully brandable, online portal that your clients can submit tickets and check statuses to review and pay invoices. With the new Customer Portal, time is linked directly to the ticket so your clients can dig into their invoices to understand time and charges at their leisure. ConnectBooster’s integration with ConnectWise Sell also gives clients the ability to set up automated payments.
  • Simple, Defined Invoices: Benefit from clear invoices that minimize questions and speed up the accounts receivable process to improve cash flow. The new invoice creation feature in the Customer Portal gives you a better view for more clarity over your customers to reduce billing disputes.
  • Secure Payments: Give clients the ability to securely make payments, or submit down payments, with just a few clicks using ConnectBooster within the Customer Portal to eliminate associate credit card fees. Your clients will enjoy the simplicity of having all the information they need in one place to easily pay you, which will then shorten your accounts receivables time.

3. Streamline Reconciliation Efforts

How often do you have outstanding invoices for the same customer? Once you do receive a payment, it can be challenging—and time-consuming—to reconcile your invoices to determine which one was paid.

Sometimes it’s easier for your clients to pay you on time if they have a little tap on the shoulder reminder or an alert to know when invoices are past due. These reminders also serve as a way for clients to be held accountable for their bills.

How ConnectWise Can Help

  • Workflow Rules: Set up workflow rules in ConnectWise Manage to automatically notify clients when invoices are past due. Your finance team will be able to easily track and see these items with an accounts receivables board and can place a company on credit hold depending on their status.

4. Develop Improved Visibility

Think of how many clients you have, now multiply that by the approximate number of invoices you send to each one. That final number is a lot to manage. You have invoices being sent out and payments coming in, and it’s easy to lose track of everything if you don’t have a defined process to manage it all.

You need a quick and easy view of everything that needs to be sent out, what has been billed, and what is delinquent. This information will simplify the accounts receivables process to make sure everything is organized and that you’re paid for everything that you’re invoicing.

How ConnectWise Can Help

  • BrightGauge, a ConnectWise solution: Get an at-a-glance view to see what’s waiting to be invoiced, what’s billed, and what’s late with BrightGauge Dashboards. You can also set up a table that shows where you’re positioned against certain thresholds so you can better manage invoicing and the collections process.

Bottom Line

As many TSPs struggle to find their footing when it comes to good financial positioning, what you need to realize the most is that you’re in control to speed up the accounts receivables process. Contact us today to request a demo and learn more about the feature within the ConnectWise platform can help you get paid faster.

Interested in seeing how ConnectWise can help? Explore the platform >>

Author April Taylor is senior product manager at ConnectWise. Read more guest blogs from ConnectWise here.