Last editedMay 20222 min read
If you’re working in the HVAC sector, your priority should be to deliver your best service to your customers. Accounting should be something that just happens seamlessly in the background.
This raises the question of whether you should look for HVAC accounting software (or HVAC contractor accounting software), use general accounting software or just manage invoices manually. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know.
HVAC accounting software
The advantage of HVAC accounting software (or HVAC contractor accounting software) is that it is tailored specifically to the HVAC industry. In fact, HVAC accounting software isn’t accounting software in the traditional sense – it’s an all-in-one solution that just happens to be a good fit for accounting.
For example, typical HVAC accounting software will include the ability to create quotes, track jobs and manage communications (with clients, partners/subcontractors and suppliers). What’s more, it’s increasingly likely they’ll do it from one place. They may even do it on the go.
There are two main downsides to traditional HVAC accounting software (or HVAC contractor accounting software). The first is that all-around solutions tend to be less effective at each function than specialist solutions. Of course, in the real world, how much this matters depends on how much functionality you need.
The second is arguably a result of the first. HVAC accounting software tends to have limited options for taking payment. It’s very common for them only to support payment by card, which can be very restricting.
General accounting software
Traditional accounting software has developed to a point where it’s essentially financial-management software. This means its functionality goes way beyond just sending and reconciling invoices. It is, however, still more specialist than HVAC accounting software. This means that its various functions tend to be more polished.
Modern accounting software tends to be designed to handle anything the end-to-end payment flow. It will typically allow you to create and send estimates, follow through with invoices and then reconcile them (generally automatically).
On the flip side, it will usually allow you to track your own expenses, create useful reports for you and your accountant and make it easier for you to prepare, file and pay your tax returns. Some accountancy packages even include time-tracking software.
Most importantly of all, modern accounting software packages typically support modern payment methods such as GoCardless.
Why your payment method is important
The first reason your payment method is important is trust. Accepting established, secure payment methods establishes your professionality. It’s also more convenient and safer for both parties. Cash simply raises too many security issues, and it also raises hygiene issues. Cheques and bank transfers are only slightly more secure.
The main non-cash payment methods are payment cards, e-wallets and direct debits. All are vastly more secure and convenient than cash (and cheques and bank transfers). Payment cards and e-wallets do, however, come with high transaction costs. Direct debits through GoCardless, by contrast, are very cost-effective.
Direct debits are pull-based transactions, which means once your customer’s authorisation is in place, you are in control of the transaction. You just create your invoice showing who will be charged what and when – GoCardless will take care of the rest.
Processing invoices manually
If you’re only processing a low number of invoices, it might be practical for you to create and send them manually. If you’re registered for VAT, you’ll need to follow the guidelines on the HMRC website. You could then create a one-off payment to charge your customers through the GoCardless dashboard.
You might also want to use the GoCardless dashboard to create a payment if you need to collect payment as quickly as possible. The GoCardless Instant Bank Pay service, allows you to collect next, or even same-day, payments from customers in the UK and Germany. Gocardless is working on expanding this service and integrating it with partner software.
We can help
GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments. GoCardless also lets companies collect invoice payments directly from customer accounts, saving time and money. Companies can get paid up to twice as fast by accepting GoCardless payments on their online invoices.