Technology is the fuel for an MSP business. IT not only allows providers to satisfy a variety of their SMB clients’ strategic and tactical needs, from basic computing to the most advanced solutions of the day, but it automates their operations, as well.
In other words, technology is not just the primary source of revenue for MSPs but valued tools that, when properly designed and implemented, can make life (and work) easier for you and your team members. The trick for busy providers is setting aside the time to ensure the right systems are in place and fully operational.
Unfortunately, MSP owners often have so many responsibilities that their own businesses get the least amount of attention. Between closing prospects, onboarding new clients, overseeing and training the technical staff, and putting out the inevitable client and workplace fires, there’s not much left in the tank at the end of the day for strategic planning.
On the IT side of the house, MSPs’ best resources are usually focused on managing systems for the top clients and handling major issues. Internal improvements frequently get delayed or forgotten. The saying ‘the Cobbler’s children have no shoes’ perfectly captures the situation of most IT services firms: they often put off making internal improvements until addressing all their clients’ needs first.
To be successful in a rapidly changing industry, MSPs have to break from that norm and invest more in the systems that can boost productivity and profitability in their businesses. The best way to ensure your IT services firm can support its clients for generations to come is by strengthening its long-term financial capabilities. Automation tools that boost cash flow should be a big part of that strategy.
Simplify and automate payments and collections
Some of the biggest time-wasting processes in an MSP business involve billing. From collecting information and generating invoices to accepting credit card payments days, weeks, or even months later, the payroll costs some companies incur to get paid for the services they deliver can be astronomical.
The reality is that few MSPs ever calculate the hours and total expense of their collections process. Some providers keep following the same methodology month after month until they experience a significant financial event, or their AR number gets so far out of whack that it becomes hard to ignore.
Automation can alleviate much of that pain. Owners, technicians, accountants, and other high-dollar resources can spend endless hours handling various aspects of the billing and collections process every month‒ mundane manual tasks that could be completed by a low-cost application.
In an industry facing extreme shortages of skilled labor, MSPs must leverage technology to create the greatest efficiencies possible in their operations. Providers need to streamline internal processes and automate as much of their business as possible. As with any organization, unless owners and other stakeholders take the time and make a concerted effort to implement those types of improvements, things will never change.
Get these three ‘must-have’ MSP billing software options to automate collections
One area where providers can make the quickest, largest, and perhaps most crucial impact on their business is on the financial side of their operations. In most cases, MSPs allow their clients to take far too long to pay their bills, robbing providers of the cash flow needed to fuel their growth.
Without a firm collections plan, enforcement procedures, and the vital pieces of technology in place, your IT team may end up spending more of their valuable time chasing down payments than doing their actual jobs. MSPs are not banks.
As with your clients’ businesses, technology is the equalizer. The right tools can streamline the process, from invoice creation and delivery to enabling easy payments, making life a lot easier for you and your employees.
What software should an MSP implement to automate client collections? These three essential solutions will help you get paid faster and reduce those error-prone mundane manual tasks that drive up payroll costs each month:
1. Professional Services Automation (PSA): the brain of an MSP business, these platforms typically collect all the information needed for billing and can generate invoices based on recurring contracts as well as ancillary support and hardware procurement costs. No manual calculations or accounting requirements. MSPs can create a seamless collections process by integrating ConnectWise, Autotask (Datto), and other PSAs with channel-friendly accounting and secure payment platforms.
2. Accounting package: these systems no longer just calculate the Xs and Os, but through various integrations with other MSP tools, share key information to help automate billing and collections. QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics GP, and Xero are MSPs’ financial databanks. These systems can automatically pay invoices based on a one-time fee or recurring charges, and then reconcile those details across integrated solutions. Today’s online packages also provide owners, accountants, and other decision-makers with on-demand reporting options so they can monitor business metrics and alter collections strategies as needed.
3. Secure payment platform: generating invoices is the easy part; getting your clients to pay those bills in a timely fashion is considerably harder. Collections policies only go so far. SMBs need clear direction, including a firm time window, for paying their managed services bills and automation to ensure this mindless task happens each month. Platforms like ConnectBooster give your customers the ability to manage their credit card and ACH information and access current and past invoices in a secure online portal. Integrations with PSA and accounting tools ensure everything updates across all your systems in real-time, saving you a lot of time and headaches while strengthening your MSP business’ cash flow.
Additional ways to automate the invoicing and collections process
Of course, those three solutions aren’t the only options IT services providers can employ to boost their financial capabilities. Automation and integration opportunities for the channel continue to grow, making it easier than ever for you to save time, energy, and money with various processes.
For example, MSPs can create a highly efficient billing and collections platform by integrating quoting tools like ConnectWise Sell and QuoteWerks to simplify the billing process for new client projects. You can connect the GreatAmerica app to readily transfer equipment leasing information and add remittance payments to invoices.
These are fantastic options for automating any MSP business. Have you optimized your billing and collections processes with the latest tools? Adding and integrating a few key tools can save your team valuable time and a lot of headaches. Check out all the labor-saving ConnectBooster financial platform options today.