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Xero has really made it easy for service type industries. Often these businesses invoices monthly packages to the clients on a repeating basis. Here is how to set it up once and let Xero generate it every month…
Create Recurring Invoice
Go to Accounts, then Sales
Call on drop down next to Next button and click on Repeating Invoice
Fill the information into required fields:
- Repeat this transaction every - sets frequency at which invoice can be issued, it can be done in a very flexible way, here is how:
- Weekly - 1 Week
- Fortnightly - 2 Weeks
- Monthly - 1 Month
- Quarterly - 3 Months
- Annually - 12 Months
- Invoice date - the date you want the invoices to start generating from. Note that if the date is is the past or today, when you click save it will generate the invoices up to this date but it won’t send them to the client even if you have set up to automatically send. In these cases you need to do that manually. If you are running recurring debit, set it two-three days before you are intending to withdraw money from customers account / credit card.
- Due Date - set your terms when you would consider the invoice to be due. If you are running recurring debit in conjunction with recurring invoices, set the due date to the day the money is going to be withdrawn. That will alert you if the payment has been declined, as the invoice will be overdue.
- End Date - (optional) you can leave it blank if the contract is open ended, until further notice.
- You have an option to attach files (like signed contract, terms and conditions), if you want to.
- There are three options how your newly generated invoices are going to be treated:
- Save as Draft - generates the invoice which you need to approve and send manually later
- Approve - will generate an approved invoice that you will have to send manually later
- Approve for Sending - this is the recommended option as the system is going to email your customers with the invoice on a regular basis
- Invoice to - entity you are issuing invoice to.
- Reference. Use this opportunity to generate meaningful reference, it will help you to manage here are few things that are always good to be mentioned in the reference:
- Short description, even abbreviation (eg. website invoice can have a short version of WS)
- Insert placeholder to indicate exact period for which you are going to charge (eg. [Month Year] to indicate that the bill has been charged for current month year or [Month-1] [Year] for the charger for previous month)
- Again, if you are running direct debit, at the very front you could put two digits of the date of the month when you are intending to withdraw the money to help you forecast cash injections
- Branding. Choose the most appropriate template for your recurring invoice.
- All other fields are the same as your regular invoice. One little tip: try to use Items for your set Pricing Plans, it will save you a lot of time, in addition use placeholder within the description to specify the period for which your are charging (eg. “Fees for the month of [Month Year]”)
- Click Save.
Edit Recurring Email
When you choose the option ‘Approve for Sending’, a light window will pop up with light window to edit recurring email template.
- To. If in Invoice to field you chose existing customer card with contact name and email, this field will be populated with address of the primary contact. Otherwise you can populate the field manually. (You can also add additional recipients in this field)
- Email template. You can edit set templates in Xero Settings / Email Settings.
- Subject & Message. Make sure that your message is correct.
- I personally would not recommend ticking Include PDF attached, as it will defeat the purpose of accurately tracking if your customer has opened the invoice.
- Leave Mark as sent ticked if you chose Approved for Sending. Then you can manage it accurately.
- You can choose to send yourself a copy. However, just remember, if you click on the link in the email, Xero will flag it as an invoice has been viewed by the customer.
- Click Save.
Manage your recurring invoices
In order to access your recurring invoice templates go to Accounts, then Sales.
Click on Repeating
Here you can see all your repeating invoices templates:
Unfortunately, Xero does not have any Repeating invoices reports, so this screen is the best way to manage your subscriptions. As you can see here you have few options to organise your repeating invoices:
- Sorting all your templates by:
- Reference. This is were putting the date when you withdraw money can be handy.
- Next Invoice Date.
- End Date.
- Invoice Will Be.
- Using Search Option to narrow down list to a particular Reference, Contact Name, Date, Start Date or End Date.
And as usual using the browser capability to search on the page always helps.
Ctrl + F (for PC), Command + F (for Mac).
Search bar will appear on the top right hand side on Chrome, bottom left on FireFox.
If you need to pull more information, I found found a workaround to export repeating invoices to csv or excel readable file.