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Introducing Recurring Invoicing, Subscription Billing, and More

After a couple of months of hard work and tons of trial and error, we are finally rolling out the biggest update to Invoicebus yet.

We’re super excited to announce the arrival of several new features and improvements to Invoicebus:

  • Recurring Invoicing + Subscription Billing
  • New Customer Management Panel
  • New Payment Management Panel
  • Improvements in Invoices Dashboard
  • New Invoicebus Test App
  • Other Improvements

You can read more about each of these updates below.

Recurring Invoicing and Subscription Billing

Subscription Billing is a brand new feature in Invoicebus that allows you to create recurring subscription plans, automatically charge your customers for those plans, and send recurring invoices.

Recurring Plans

Subscription plans can be created on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. You can also create plans for any custom interval such as every 2 weeks, every 6 months, every 2 years, etc.

Create Subscription Plan

In order to create a subscription for a particular plan, you need to:

  • create a plan in Invoicebus;
  • create a subscription for that plan
  • [Invoicebus automatically generates a recurring invoice for this subscription]
  • send the generated invoice to your customer by email.

new-subscription

Once the customer pays the invoice, Invoicebus automatically stores their billing details in your Stripe account and lets you receive future payments without bothering the customer to enter their card info ever again. Once the customer billing details are stored in Stripe, you can create as many subscriptions as you need and let Invoicebus initiate recurring charges for them.

For each billing cycle, Invoicebus generates an appropriate invoice and sends it by email to your customer (you can disable this under Automation Settings if you like).

Invoicebus also handles failed charges automatically, so when a customer card is declined, it notifies you both (you and the customer) by email and attempts to charge the card again in a few days. You can set up to 3 retries for each failed payment, plus you can fully customize the intervals between payments attempts as well as the email notification that is sent to the customer.

Recurring Billing Settings

 

If Invoicebus reaches the maximum number of payment attempts for a particular invoice, it will apply the default rule which can be one of the following:

  • Cancel subscription
  • Mark subscription as overdue, or
  • Do nothing

For each unpaid invoice, your customer will be given the option to pay the invoice manually by clicking a “Pay” button. By paying the invoice, Invoicebus automatically updates their billing details and all future invoices continue to be charged normally (this doesn’t apply if the subscription is cancelled).

Another great thing in Invociebus’ recurring subscriptions is that they offer full support for prorated charges. So when you want to change the customer’s plan in the middle of a billing cycle (upgrade or downgrade), Invoicebus automatically calculates any used/unused credits and applies the prorated amount on the next invoice at the end of the current billing cycle.

Recurring Subscription with Prorated Amount

Currently, the recurring billing feature works only with Stripe. However, if you don’t plan to receive online payments, you can still use the recurring invoicing even without Stripe. In this case, Invoicebus will generate recurring invoices for your subscriptions and deliver them to your customers on a regular basis. Nonetheless, you need to collect payments via other means and record them manually in Invoicebus.

We also added an Export option for Subscriptions and Plans, so can easily export your data to XML, CSV, or XLS format.

Plans can be managed from the “Plans” tab, while Subscriptions can be managed from the “Subscription” tab at the top of the screen.

New Customer Panel

The new customer panel gives you a better overview of your customers and lets you manage them in a more simple and intuitive way. You can easily add, remove, or edit customers straight from this tab instead of the invoice editor.

Customer List

From here you can also quickly preview all generated invoices per customer along with their email and payment statuses.

Add New Customer

Another thing you may find useful here is the new Export/Import feature that allows you to Export the current list of customers in XML, CSV, or XLS format. Moreover, the Import feature gives you the ability to import customers in bulk from a CSV file instead of entering them manually one by one.

Import Customers

New Payment Panel

The new payment panel is a centralized place where you can track, record, or refund payments. You can access it by clicking the Payment tab at the top of the screen.

Payment List

Depending on the payment gateway you are using, every payment record shows various details related to each corresponding charge. One of the most useful things here is the “failed charge” record which shows you details about every unsuccessful payment attempt and the failure reason.

Reason for failed payment

We also added a similar record in the invoice activity history so that the customer can easily check why their payment failed.

Failed charge

Additionally, we implemented a more flexible refund feature which helps you issue full or partial refunds for each payment. We have to note here that the refund is per payment, not per invoice. That means, if you’ve received a couple of partial invoice payments, you can be flexible and issue a refund for a particular payment and not for the entire invoice amount.

Payment Refund

For each refund, you can add internal notes for your own convenience.

Improvements in the Invoices Dashboard

By introducing Recurring and earlier Automatic Invoicing, Invoicebus now generates 3 different types of invoices: manual, recurring, and auto.

Manual invoices are all invoices that are created with Invoicebus by using the “New Invoice” command. Recurring invoices are all invoices that are generated automatically by Invoicebus for each recurring subscription. Auto invoices are all invoices generated automatically by Invoicebus from your Stripe charges (these do not include Stripe charges initiated from Invoicebus for recurring or manual invoices).

For each invoice type, you can now see a small icon in the dashboard which helps you easily distinguish every invoice in the list:

  • M for manual
  • A for auto, and
  • R for recurring.

Invoice List

We also added a refresh button in the upper part of the dashboard, so you can easily retrieve the newest invoices without reloading the entire page.

Other improvements

  • Option to disable auto-generated invoices for Stripe test charges (applies to auto invoices only). Because Stripe sends live events and test events to Invoicebus simultaneously, we added an option in Automation Settings that will help you disable generating invoices for your Stripe test charges. Even though this option could work fine for quick tests, for better results, we recommend using the Invoicebus Test App (read more below).

    disable-stripe-test-charges
    If you still prefer to use this option, please note that some data from your test charges might be missing on your invoices (such as client or item details) because Invoicebus cannot retrieve all Stripe test data from its live mode. Remember, it is best to use Invoicebus Live + Stripe Live or Invoicebus Test + Stripe Test.

  • Less restrictive email validation. We improved the email validation anywhere throughout the system. For new users, this means less rejected sign ups, while for existing users it means better email validation for their outgoing emails.

New Invoicebus Test App

Many times we were asked if there’s an option to try Invoicebus under a test environment and simulate test charges. Now there is! We just launched a fully functional test version of Invoicebus and you can give it a go at https://test.invoicebus.com. The Test App is almost identical to its production counterpart and allows you do everything just as you do with your live account. Be aware that if you plan to connect your Stripe account, you can only use it with Stripe test data here.

What’s on tap?

As we speak, we’re also working on a few other new features: ACH payments, metered billing, API, and a few great integrations. While we cannot provide ETA for any of these, we work hard to complete them all by the end of the year.

 

Now it’s your turn!

What do you think of our latest updates? Is there anything we can do to make Invoicebus better for you? If there is (I’m sure it is so), we would like to hear from you in the comments below.

International Invoice Templates

Invoicebus invoice templates have gone international and now are available in 5 different languages.

International Invoice Templates

We’re happy to announce that our invoice templates are now available in more than 122 countries in 5 different languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German. Each template is fully translated and offers country-dependent settings such as various date formats, number formats, currencies, and taxes. This should ease the invoice creation process of non-English speaking merchants.

Switching the invoice language on a template is very simple. Click the language switcher at the top right of the invoice and select your desired language.

 

invoice-language-switch

Get your customers to pay you in style

When your customers owe you money, you should not have to move heaven as well as earth to gather it from them.

html invoice template banner

Outdated programs need upgrades to the recent versions to guarantee timely and full invoice settlements. Appropriate cash flow management is important and is poorly managed. Therefore, good practices are to be put in place.

What are Account Receivables?

Accounts Receivables is the outstanding or the pending invoices that your business possesses or the outstanding amounts that is owed from their clients.
The mentioned concept refers to given accounts that any individual has a given right to receive since you have delivered their product or services. Mostly, these receivables present given lines of credit that are extended by businesses and due within relatively shorter time periods that range from few days to even a year.

invoice-list-exported-excel

One of the common pieces of advice that have been uncovered in the recent periods is to think critically involving the actual wordings on the terms applied to the invoices. Being polite as well as asking for payments within 30 days appears to get customers paid quicker than words such as ‘the due on receipts’ or ‘due immediately.”

As such, the Credit Research Foundation (CRF) often conducts surveys by industries that detail the relevant statistical evidence or facts relating to domestic/internal accounts receivable performances.
General debt collection as well as recovery can sometimes be complicated as well as seem to be a costly task for most people or businesses. As such, they are often faced with varying challenges as they try to clear their books of delinquent debts as well as getting their cash flowing again, such as:

  • Arriving at cordial, out-of-court solutions.
  • Communicating and negotiating in the debtor’s language.
  • Appreciating the legislations of the land(s) where the debtors are located.
  • Handling debtors and debt collection intermediaries in several states, across numerous time zones, as well as multiple currencies
  • Finding debt collection service providers that consolidate all global commercial debt collection activities into one sufficient and effective collection operations.
  • Finding dependable and cost-effective legal counsels in the business’ debtor’s jurisdiction.

In other words, giving customers a little flex room creates a standard good-will as well as speed up payments. This is proof of an evidence of the complex psychology of money expressing itself in the account receivables process.
Businesses that know their consumers well, and understand what inspires their accounting – plus accountability – help them implement other strategies in the future to receive payments without being unfriendly.

Why is Invoicing Important to Your Business?

Invoices are commercial documents that are issued by businesses to their customers. The documents clearly represent the products quantities, as well as the agreed prices for the products and services the business have provided the customers.

Invoices show the customers their obligation to pay the business, following the payment terms. As such it is important to have invoices for the reasons that they give adequate data of the flow of operations in the organization.

Relevant evidence is to ensure the keeping of good books as well as records. However, the most important reason is to have control over the business and assessing the profitability in line with the cash-flow situations.

Therefore, this makes everyone aware of the potential challenges soon enough and make business decisions with all the available data at hand.

how to write invoice

What Happens When Your Business fails to collect its Accounts Receivables?

If organizations fail to gather and collect their accounts receivables, they can opt to take and report their debtors to court over the unsettled debts, and even outsource the debt collection activities to a suitable third party bill collector.

In other most given cases, entities can also opt for selling their accounts receivables for a profit to the factoring entity that will then collect the debts. These factoring companies usually offer some cash up-front, thereby making them attractive options for businesses that require a boost to their operating capital.

Therefore, if you report invoice/account receivables as income and fail to receive payments, it is claimed as bad debts. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) permits such an individual to subtract bad debts as income or revenue on their previous returns.

invoice template word

 

The Accounts Receivables Best Practices

It is advisable for your business not to make assumptions regarding consumers involving their purchases because it does not act as a guarantee to receive their payments.

On the other hand, slow paying customers may necessitate your company to draw down cash reserves, as well as increase the amounts of financing required to cover operations.

As the financial records get older, the probability of collecting the outstanding receivable accounts diminishes. Therefore, the more amounts or money that the company has tied up in their receivables, the lesser the money or cash is available for running their business operations.

The awareness of the accounts receivable best practices become more important small companies engaging  as well as startups which are heavily dependent on receivables.

As such the following methods can be employed in your business operations to oversee the smooth operation of accounts receivables:

1. Deliver invoices electronically – 

Rather than having a company invoicing all their clients at, for instance, the end of every one week cycle, invoicing them at just the right period to get necessary approvals for immediate payment is adopted.

For example, if clients have to allow two weeks for approval before the payments are sanctioned at a Council and Board meetings, invoicing two weeks before the Council as well as the Board meeting every period they meet can be effective.

If the board meets twice a month, then the organization can invoice twice a month. This would require separate billing dates, as well as, perhaps, first accounting approximations, for potentially every existing client, but the cash-flow improvement can be substantial.

Besides, if a job is complete, the company can invoice it immediately, regardless of what their client invoice cycles might be. Whether through electronic networks, e-mails or fax, automatic deliveries are timelier. It is important not to miss the several days it takes invoices to travel over the mail to its endpoint.

email invoice

2. Have EFT, Paypal & 2Checkout payment options in addition to Other Payment Options -

Increasing numbers of companies are currently considering paying their suppliers using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) as well as other online payment systems that are available to them.

By stating on their invoices that EFTs may make payments, organizations will enable their consumers to deposit their payment directly to the company’s bank account.

This is possible by only including on the company’s invoice their EFT banking information or Paypal or Other information. This can assist a company to achieve their objective of ensuring cash flows.

Receive Credit Card Payments via 2Checkout in Invoicebus

3. Review the Accounts Receivables Regularly is the best of all practices -

It is important for businesses to track the aging of their accounts receivables, as well as systematically follow-up on every account that has past due more than the pre-determined number of days.

As a good practice the individual responsible can run aged receivable reports from their accounting systems on a weekly basis, in addition to paying special courtesy to any account receivables that are over, for instance, 15 or even 30 days old.

follow-up sequence

4. Before the invoice is sent, call or contact those whom must agree to the invoice before the customer will pay it -

This leading call is an intelligence collecting mission as well as a quality control phase. Persons in charge should verify that the contract is faring well enough for approval in addition to discussions of any existing problems. It is important to confirm that the individual will be presented to support the invoice, as well as find out who will recommend in the person’s absence.

This is probably the most politically suitable period to call or make contact. One will receive some good things or news, like: “We have changed our process.” Therefore, it is vital to make sure that you or the company sends a copy to Accounts Person as well as the purchasing departments or even the receiving department in addition to flushing out any intentions immediately, rather than allowing any problems to arise at the 30 or 60 days past due dates.

The company will usually be glad that they or even you made this phone call and visited.

 

5. Streamline Accounts Receivables: The Invoicing Software -

The best invoices or statements embrace every relevant piece of information, including the hours billed if it involves a service and all the specifications of the product if it includes a sales business.

Being transparent with customers avoids the necessity for follow-up queries on items that might be confusing to any person who receives them, as well as that, can delay payments. Invoices ought to be a clean, straightforward documents that contain the company’s logo.

If the organization is sending out – either digitally or even on paper – more than handful invoices a week, the company should be using accounting programs such as QuickBooks. Or, if they like the style of other online money-management programs or free HTML invoice templates, they might work well with online systems such as Invoicebus, FreshBooks or Outright.

invoice-list

These invoices are made entirely with HTML5, CSS3 as well as JavaScript, plus are incredibly easy to use. Once an individual understands the involved processes as well as their benefits thoroughly, such good software can aid the company to track receivables, comprising how many bills have been sent, as well as how many bills have been received, and how many have been accounted for, plus how much remains unsettled.

The only concept to recall when a person involved automates: Before you embrace new software as well as billing processes, it is imperative to make sure the company’s clients are informed ahead of time of any existing modifications that will affect them and how they receive and pay their bill.

 

So what’s next?

Now that you have a solid understanding of the invoicing process and its importance, here is something to help you out –

A free html invoice template with auto-calculations that gets your work done in no time. Not only it has a super-elegant appearance, but it is a cakewalk to work with.

You can get rid of those word invoice files (or the boring excel invoice template) and switch to this easy html invoice template at no cost (Yes, it is completely FREE to use).

free html invoice template

 

A general thought about the Free HTML Invoice Template

This free HTML invoice template has been designed to help out most companies. With its attractive layout, it comprises of such features:

  • Plenty of white spaces
  • Well proportioned columns
  • Amazing typography

With a complete design from the use of HTML, CSS3 as well as JavaScript, these invoices are incredibly easy to use; therefore, we can at last say GOODBYE! to the clunky Word templates and the obsolete Excel invoice templates.

Just imagining how it feels if you do not have to concern yourself anymore about: calculation mistakes, the manual setups of dates and the agreeable terms in addition to the broken layouts. This HTML invoice template embraces several features making your work easier.

Features of these HTML invoice templates include:

  • Ready to fill out as well as print immediately
  • Supports various languages and currencies
  • Supports several taxes
  • Auto calculations of the subtotals, totals, taxes, in addition to discounts
  • Easily customizable with an organization’s logo and colors
  • Configurable columns, the date formats, and symbol positions (left/right)
  • Customizable rows with easy drag and drop actions
  • Created with HTML5, CSS3, and JS applications (so say goodbye to Word & Excel programs)
  • Operates directly in any web browser on local computers (PC, Mac, Linux)
  • No setup is required. Just click and you are ready to go
  • Lifetime support as well as updates

So grab it right now when it is still free for you. In addition to that, if you want to take your invoicing story to the next level, here is a compilation of some attractive html invoice templates.

Invoicebus is in the Top 10 Billing & Invoicing Software for 2016 for Q1

Top Billing & Invoicing Software 2016

We are deeply humbled and honored to be selected as one of the top 10 billing & invoicing software for the first quarter of 2016 by Cloudswave.

The Cloudswave Awards is a seasonal ranking of the Top 10 business applications across several categories. They rank the software based on the cloudswave score, which they refer to as “Metacritic’s Metascore” for business software. This actually is the weighted average score that captures the essence of multiple independent critic reviews into one number.

We should admit we were a bit stunned when we learned about this. Without false modesty, we feel that we owe this award to our exceptional customers who constantly help us improve Invoicebus. Also, we want to express our gratitude to the entire Cloudswave team. Thank you!

By the way, the email we received from Cloudswave was one of the most heartwarming emails we’ve got this year. I’m sharing it with you:

CLoudswave email

Introducing Invoicebus’ Affiliate Program

Invoicebus affiliate program is a reward based program designed to help you generate income in exchange for referring new customers to Invoicebus

We’ve been working on this for quite a while, and finally it is ready. We cannot hide the excitement behind it because everyone who’s been involved in spreading the word for Invoicebus, will finally get a chance to receive a “proper thanks” from us.

Unlike the old Invoicebus in-app referral program which offered app credits only, the affiliate program offers generous monetary rewards for every new customer you refer to Invoicebus. The commission structure is designed in a way that gives you the opportunity to earn twice:

  • $5 per free signup (US leads only)
  • $50 per paying plan purchase

For example, if a referred user signs-up for a free trial (no credit card required) you receive $5. If they later decide to purchase a plan, you receive additional $50. Sounds interesting? Apply now!

How the affiliate program works?

Very simple. When you become an affiliate, we’ll provide you with an affiliate tracking code. Then:

  1. You link to Invoicebus by placing either a tracking text link or a banner on your website (or email, e-book, social profile, etc.)
  2. People follow your links to Invoicebus
  3. We pay you each time a referred user signs up and/or purchases a paying plan.

Given the fact that Invoicebus is a powerful, yet affordable product, you’ll have the chance to earn big without being too pushy.

Who’s in charge for the affiliate program?

In order to provide a top-notch affiliate program, we teamed up with AM Navigator, a leading affiliate management company run by Geno Prussakov. With over 15 years of experience in digital marketing, AM Navigator has worked with hundreds of companies from Forbes, Skype, ForexClub to smaller businesses to build, manage, and grow their online presence. We feel really privileged to have the chance to work with these guys. Geno and his team will be helping us to create a sustainable affiliate network which should take Invoicebus to new heights.

Stay in the loop

Like with anything else in startups, we believe there will blood, sweat, and tears during this affiliate journey. Awesome or awful, we’ll be sharing everything along the way on this blog. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted. Promise!

You can join or learn more about our affiliate program at: https://invoicebus.com/affiliate/

Custom columns display

Another feature you requested frequently was the option to disable/hide columns in the items table, and we just finished it.

We had several workarounds to hide the columns, but they all were little “hacks” that didn’t fulfil the real need, so we decided to do the real thing, and here’s what we got.

Now, below the items table you’ll notice the “Configure Columns” link. Once clicked, the menu will be shown where you can disable/enable one column. The change will be immediately applied in the items table and the corresponding column will be hidden/shown.

For example, in the table below the “Discount” and “Tax” columns are unchecked so they won’t be displayed in the editor and in the final invoice.

Custom Column Display

Like this? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to use custom fields in your invoices

The long awaited feature to add custom fields to your invoices and quotes has finally arrived

Invoicebus Invoice Custom Fields

You wanted this, we wanted this, so here it is. The document custom fields give you the flexibility to include additional data to the document besides the data that Invoicebus supports by default.  For example, this feature allows you adding various custom fields such as: project description, tax details, client contact details, shipping info, etc, and displaying them anywhere you need throughout the document.

Adding a custom field to your invoice is easy. All you need to do is:

  1. Define a custom field in the invoice editor
  2. Apply the custom field to the HTML invoice template

1. Defining custom fields in the invoice editor

To make it even more flexible, we separated the document data from the client data, thus when you add a client to a specific invoice, all custom fields associated with the client will be applied to the invoice as well. Now let’s see how to add your first custom field.

Adding custom fields to the documents

The document custom fields should first be added within the invoice editor (see section “Document Custom Fields”). In the left column enter the field name (this is a unique identifier which will later be used as a placeholder in yout html template), and in the right column enter the field value.

Invoice Custom Fields

You can notice the middle column with the values “Constant” or “Variable”. So what this means? If you choose “Constant”, the value of the custom field will be saved for future re-use. That way when you create a new invoice this value will be pre-populated automatically. In the image above, the tax number is considered to be permanent for all future invoices, thus it is set to “Constant”.

And if you choose “Variable”, the value won’t be saved so when you create a new invoice the value field will be left empty (you should manually populate it). In the previous example, the project name and the project description are considered to be invoice specific, thus they are set to “Variable”.

Note: Document custom fields can be applied to both – invoices and quotes.

Adding custom fields for the clients

Adding a custom fields for the client is almost identical. All you need to do is click the “Manage Client Custom Fields” link within the client section.

Invoice Add Client

A new window will pop up where you can add client custom fields:

Client Custom Fields

The values entered in the client custom fields will be always saved for future re-use, so there’s no need of specifying “Constant” or “Variable”. In the example above, you can see we’ve specified the client’s shipping address.

2. Applying custom fields to the HTML invoice template

So you’ve added your custom fields, and now you should tell Invoicebus where you would like this information to be displayed in your final document. For this, you’ll need to edit your HTML invoice template. The easiest way to do this is to:

  • download your current invoice template (within the template window click download template),
  • extract it from the archive,
  • edit the template.html file with any text editor,
  • add your custom fields to the HTML template as described below,
  • zip the modified template and re-upload it again to Invoicebus.

Adding custom fields to the HTML template

Probably you’ve noticed that the names of the custom fields are in the form {document_custom_[name]} and {client_custom_[name]}. So these are the actual placeholders you should use in your HTML template, where [name] is your custom name for the placeholder. You can find more info on how to edit or create your own invoice template here.

From our previous example, the custom fields define the following placeholders:

  • {document_custom_project_name}
  • {document_custom_project_desc}
  • {document_custom_tax_number}

And the custom client placeholder:

  • {client_custom_shipping_address}

In the final invoice, these placeholders will be replaced with actual values you enter in the invoice editor.

And don’t forget! If you need any help with the template customization you can always contact our support.

What’s on tap for our next update?

We think it would be great if you’d be able to use any invoice field (including custom ones) as a placeholder in your default email templates + your default terms & notes. Currently, the terms & notes section doesn’t support placeholders while the email/reminder/thank-you templates support only pre-defined placeholders such as {client_name}, {doc_number}, {total_price}, {paid_sum}, etc.

By giving you the flexibility to use any placeholder, you can easily create more specific terms & notes and write even more personal emails (for example, you can add a contact person and then address him by his first name only).

We haven’t officially started developing this feature as we first wanted to hear what you think about it. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

New payment gateway: 2Checkout

It all begun with PayPal then came Stripe and now we’ve integrated 2Checkout to ease the payments for your invoices

Receive Credit Card Payments via 2Checkout in Invoicebus

We already have quite positive experience with 2Checkout so we decided to integrate it in Invoicebus. Available in 197 countries, with 26 currencies supported, 2Checkout for sure is one of the best options for accepting payments online today. So if you love 2Checkout like we do, here’s how to set it up in Invoicebus.

Setup Guide

I. Setup in 2Checkout

First thing, of course, is to get a 2Checkout account if you don’t already have one. Once you activate it you need to configure several things to make sure it works properly with Invoicebus.

1) Login to your 2Checkout account, and from the top menu navigate to “Account”, then “Site Management”. Here in the section “Direct Return” select “Header Return (Your URL)” and in the “Approved URL” text field enter this URL: https://invoicebus.com/webhooks/2checkout/. Be careful to enter it exactly as displayed here, with lower case letters and trailing slash at the end, otherwise the invoice payments process might not work as expected.

2Checkout Return URL

2) After you set the return process, you need to set the notification URLs. From the top menu click the “Notifications” button, the circle located on the right. On this page click on the green “Enable All Notifications” link to mark all notification events. In the “Global Settings” section for the “Global URL” enter the same URL from above: https://invoicebus.com/webhooks/2checkout/ and click on the “Apply” button.

2Checkout Notifications

This will copy the global URL to all notification events text fields. And don’t forget to save the setting at the end. With these notifications, Invoicebus will know if any payments are made to your invoices.

II. Setup in Invoicebus

1) To set it up in Invoicebus, the first thing you need to do is enter your 2Checkout “Seller Id” (also known as Account Number) and “Secret Word” in the Invoicebus “Settings” section.

2Checkout Invoicebu Settings

If you wonder why we need the “Secret Word”, it’s because we use it to verify whether the payments for your invoices are legit or not. We store all your info encrypted in our database so you can sleep tight when using the 2Checkout payments with Invoicebus.

2) Next thing you need to do is to create (or edit) an invoice where you can enable 2Checkout payments for that invoice. As you already know all payments are enabled per invoice.

2Checkout Invoice Online Payments

If you already have connected Stripe than you can choose which payment gateway you’ll use for processing credit card payments for that particular invoice. We’ll even give you the estimated fees charged by 2Checkout just like we do for PayPal and Stripe.

After enabling 2Checkout payments for the invoice, a button will be shown to the client invoice preview page, similar to Stripe and PayPal.

2Checkout Invoice Preview

When clicking on “Pay with Credit Card” button, the 2Checkout pop-up will be shown (see image below), where your clients will need to enter their credit card or PayPal details in order to pay the invoice.

2Checkout Direct Payment Form

Note: Due to 2Checkout rules the Inline Form (called Direct Checkout) is shown only if all details for the client are prepopulated in the invoice. Otherwise, the client will be redirected to the standard checkout page where he’ll need to fill out any missing info.

To avoid this redirection, you should follow these rules when entering a client in Invoicebus:

  • Full name (first and last) or full company name for the client
  • Complete client address
  • City, State, Zip, Country (in this order comma separated)
  • Phone (and/or Fax, comma separated)
  • Valid email address

If your client address doesn’t have a State/Province then you can exclude that info and enter just “City, Zip, Country”. And if you prefer, you can use a semicolon (;) for separating the “City; State; Zip; Country” and the “Phone; Fax” information.

Example:

Fred Flintstone
220 Rocky Way
Bedrock, 30321, CO, US
+1 7 123-5555; +1 7 100-5454
fred@slaterockgravel.bed

When entering the country we suggest you use the standardized 2-Letter or 3-Letter Country Codes to make sure 2Checkout accepts them properly. Same applies for the states in the USA and the provinces in Canada.

If you need further assistance with setting up 2Checkout payments in Invoicebus, contact our support at support@invoicebus.com.

Partial payments in Invoicebus

The all new partial payments have finally arrived.

Partial payments

This was a feature that many of you have requested, but we didn’t want to rush it and gave it some time to mature enough before we started with the implementation. As you already know partial payments could be made in Invoicebus only if the invoice payment was manually recorded within the app.

But this wasn’t the case with the online payments. If you wanted to receive online payments, your client needed to pay the whole invoice amount. We knew sometimes this can make your clients feel uncomfortable, and sometimes even frustrated. So we wanted to make the online payments more flexible and decided to introduce the partial online payments.

The best part is, with the partial online payments, it will be easier for your clients to pay you back. This will for sure incentivize the client to pay you promptly and iInstead of paying one big amount they can split it in a more comfortable smaller amounts. Yay to building great client relationships.

Enabling partial payments

The partial online payments are enabled on per invoice basis. As you can see now in the invoice editor, in the “Payment Options” section at the bottom you’ll notice the “Enable partial payments” checkbox. To enable partial payments, the only thing you need to do is, check this box and save your invoice. Ta-da, now you can receive partial payments for that invoice.

Invoicebus enable partial payments

And this is what your clients will see when they’ll click on the payment buttons on the invoice preview page. For convinience here’s displayed the basic info about the invoice, the payee (your company name) and the total, paid and due amounts.

Invoicebus partial payments window

Note that the partial payments functionality is unified and work for both Credit Card and PayPal payments. After entering the amount, the payment flow continues same as before.

We know this is one more step in the payment process, so if you don’t need partial payments you can go back to the old payment way, which requires payment of the whole amount. You can even combine the two of them for different invoices.

Bonus: Improved payments reversal

The way the old payment reversal worked was by removing the payment record without any prompting. And if you undo some payment it will be gone for good. This is a serious operation, so to prevent accidents we added a new layer of protection with a confirmation dialog box.

Also instead of removing the payment record we decided to keep it and added a new “Reversed payment” note for that invoice.

Invoicebus reversed payment

This way you can keep complete payments log for your invoices, see how much is paid and how much is reversed.

Next, we have some interesting ideas for Invoicebus on our minds, but let that be a surprise.

Top photo credit: Got Credit

New Email Infrastructure

Lately, email deliverability has become one of the biggest pains in Invoicebus, so we had to change the way we handle emails.

Important notice: Your “From” address for sending emails through Invoicebus will be changed to “yourname@mail.invoicebus.com“. The change takes effect on July 13, 2015 (Monday).  No action on your part is required, yet we recommend reading this post as there are few more things you should know.

It’s one thing to send email but another thing to actually deliver email. Given the fact that more than 90% of all daily emails are spam, Email Service Providers are constantly changing their policies. A small deviation from the ESP rules can easily throw completely legitimate email into the spam folder.

As the email is core functionality in Invoicebus, we have to be on top of the game to ensure your emails always land in the right inbox.

In the past few years, many popular ESPs like Yahoo, Hotmail, and others, have imposed extra restrictions to lower the spam they get. New types of email authentication and verification like DMARC policies were set in place. These rules started to cause email deliverability issues in Invoicebus.

Problem

Few years ago, Invoicebus was sending emails on behalf of our customers by specifying their original email address in the “From” field. This was working well until many ESPs decided to adopt the DMARC policy. Simply put, DMARC policy doesn’t permit the address in the “From” field to be on a different domain than the sending server domain:

Example:

From: peter.griffin@yahoo.com
Reply-To: peter.griffin@yahoo.com
Server: invoicebus.com

To solve this, we implemented a small hack – instead of putting the customer’s original email address into the “From” field we specified a permanent email address registered under our domain (notifications@invoicebus.com). As the customer’s original email address was specified into the “Reply-To” field, all email replies would go to the right inbox without a problem.

Example:

From: notifications@invoicebus.com
Reply-To: peter.griffin@yahoo.com
Server: invoicebus.com

This was working quite well until we started receiving complaints from customers that some of their emails are mistakenly marked as spam.

The problem became even more serious when a few customers reported that their emails are not delivered at all. We weren’t sure what’s happening because Invoicebus was receiving delivery confirmations from the remote servers, yet the emails were somehow dropped by their internal mechanisms. After an exhaustive investigation, we found out that this was caused by a new spam rule introduced by the popular spam software SpamAssasin. The rule requires the addresses specified into the “From” and “Reply-To” field to be on the same domain as the sending server domain. Who would have thought? Just solved one problem another one appears.

Solution

There was no quick solution nor any possible workarounds to this. We had to completely migrate our email infrastructure and the way Invoicebus handles emails. This resulted in developing two new features for handling emails:

  • dedicated Invoicebus mailbox for each customer (for example username@mail.invoicebus.com)
  • optional setting that allows specifying custom SMTP server

1. Dedicated Invoicebus mailbox (default option)

Note: All customers will receive a dedicated Invoicebus mailbox automatically.

Invoicebus will generate a unique email address from your original address and set it as a default “from/reply-to” address for all outgoing emails you send. For example, if your login email is peter.griffin@yahoo.com your Invoicebus email will be peter.griffin@mail.invoicebus.com. The username before the @mail.invoicebus.com part is required, and you can change it to whatever you like (if available).

Example:

From: peter.griffin@mail.invoicebus.com
Reply-To: peter.griffin@mail.invoicebus.com
Server: mail.invoicebus.com

This ensures any messages sent via Invoicebus to pass even the most restrictive spam filters.

Your clients can also directly reply to any email you send. Invoicebus catches the replies and automatically forward them to your original email address. If the conversation relates to a document, the entire message thread will be saved under the document’s activity history as an incoming email (depends on the plan). This way you can keep all your important conversations in one central place (see image below).

New Activity History Invoicebus

2. Custom SMTP email server

Specifying a custom SMTP (depends on your plan) gives you the flexibility to send emails via your own email server/mailbox. This way your clients will get emails from your original email address (or address on your domain), rather than the one assigned by Invoicebus.

Email settings - Invoicebus

Please note that if you specify custom SMTP server, Invoicebus won’t be able to track any email events such as delivered, bounced and opened (“opened” is a new event that shows when an email is opened by the client. This is different from “document opened”, which fires only when an online document is opened).

Last but not least is the customization of your Display (From) Name, where you can specify the name your client sees when they get an email from you (see image below). If you leave this empty it will default to the last saved company name.

Received Email

The new infrastructure should significantly improve the email deliverability. It should also give you a better insight of what’s going on with your emails almost in real-time. The easiest way to keep track of your emails is to take a look at the dashboard and see the status of each email, reminder, and thank-you note. Here’s a quick reference:

Email tracking statuses