Handling Invoices that Recur Each Month, Quarter or Year
We are regularly asked for best practices to handle recurring invoices, and how we handle this ourselves. Although fp. does not currently have a mechanism to automate invoices that recur, the system does offer configuration options which can be used to help make recurring invoicing easier.
Please review this article to learn some recommended steps to take in your own fp. system to manage recurring invoices.
Establish an Invoicing Plan
Invoicing your clients may well be the most important step in your workflow - apart from actually getting paid of course! Before you get too far into invoicing, we advise that you first establish a consistent, cross-company invoicing plan - ask yourselves the important questions - use the examples above as a start.
Once you establish your plan, endevor to keep this plan the same for all your clients, for all scenarios. Your time is too valuable to be trying to maintain different billing routines for each client, or depending on the kind of work, or who you used as a vendor, etc.
Add Job Category Options
The field called Category display as an optional field when creating or editing Estimates and Jobs. The default options in your system for this field will be Fixed Price, Time & Materials, and Retainer.
In the List Maintenance area you can control the content of the majority of dropdown menus within the system.
- Select the list called Job Category,
- Click the Add New button.
- Enter in additional options, adjusting naming as you see fit - for example: Monthly Recurring, Quarterly Recurring, or Yearly Recurring.
- Make sure rows you want to use in the main system are marked as Active.
Click Save to keep any changes.
Our new options are now available. Let's say for this client/ job we will invoice each month, I'll pick Monthly Billing for the Category.
I can then approximate the hours needed to complete the work. As I plan to invoice monthly, and have agreed with the client to invoice to estimated values (rather than actuals), I'm estimating time per month, not for the whole year.
I can click Add Job to turn this Estimate into live, time trackable work.
And for the sake of accurate forecasting reports, I'll also build a quick Revenue Schedule. Noting what amount I expect to get paid each month, for the year ahead.
Repeat these steps as you create other Estimates/ Jobs for clients you will invoice each month. Do the same for Estimates/ Jobs you invoice quarterly, or yearly, picking those Categories when adding those Estimates.
Time to Invoice? - Pull the Appropriate List of Jobs
When you are ready to make invoices for the month, find all the appropriate jobs for that category. From the main navigation bar, hover over Jobs and choose Find Job.
You will land on the Job Find screen. Here, we want to search for jobs that are in open states (this may be one or multiple Status options), with the appropriate Category (ie. Monthly Recurring). Further narrow down your results as needed, using any of the available fields.
Click Find Jobs when ready.
Create a Batch Invoice
Once you hit Find Job, you will move to a resulting list view. The Jobs listed will match the criteria on the find page. From this list, you can use the Add Invoice button to create a stand-alone invoice for each or a selection of the Jobs listed.
Click Add Invoice Add to begin.
You will land on the Add Invoice page. Required fields are marked in blue.
- Choose to make this Batch up of Interim, or Final Invoice(s). Note that making the Invoices Final will in turn close all the Jobs included in the Batch, and prevent further time-tracking.
- Enter a Batch Name of your choosing. If you will be adding Batch Invoices regularly, and want to be able to easily find them and identify them again easily, you might want to establish a company-wide naming convention.
- Choose to change the date that should appear on the Batch Invoice. Changing the date may influence the data that pulls to the Batch.
- Determine what the invoice values are calculated from - Estimated values, Actual values, Remainder from Actuals, or Remainder from Estimated.
- Choose to enter a percentage of the "calculated from" field to use on the Invoice - for example type in "50" to charge 50% of the Estimated amounts.
- Choose an applicable Tax Group as needed.
Click Add Batch Invoice when ready.
You will move to the Add Batch Wizard. The one required field is marked in blue. On this first page, you can make adjustments to information such as the Batch Name, add in any Payment Notes, Payment Terms, or change/ add a Batch Description.
When ready, click the Add Jobs to Batch button.
You can now choose to Add All Jobs to the Batch - with the Add All button - or just a selection of Jobs - with the "+" icons on each job row.
As you add Invoices, you will see the option to edit these Invoices individually (pencil icon) or remove them from the Batch (X icon). Click Finish Adding to Batch when ready.
The Batch has now been created. You will land on the Basic Info tab for the first Invoice within the Batch. Edit any data here as needed, or move to the Batch tab to view and edit other Invoices within the Batch.
From the Batch tab you can also choose to Post and Export the invoices as a Batch or individually.
Printing Up the Batch
Because a Batch is made up of individual invoices, you may wish to print each one to send to your clients, and/ or for your own records. The fastest method for printing is via the Invoices module. From the main navigation bar choose Invoices > Find Invoice.
Begin to enter the name of the batch into the Batch Name field. The system will complete the name for you, or provide you with suitable options to choose from. Click Find Invoices when ready.
From the resulting list view, there is a Print All option. If you have created your own versions of the single Invoice printout, those options will be available to choose from here.
The series of PDFs will download as a .zip file to your machine.
Repeat as Needed
Repeat these steps by marking new work with the appropriate Category, and by invoicing in batches based on the Category.