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Boost your invoicing

We are determined to make invoicing easier and more effective. In this morning’s huge release we have a bunch of hotly requested features to that end – email templates, payments terms and outstanding statements. This is all about improving communications with your customers and getting paid faster.

We’ve also rounded out this month’s new developments with individual remittance advice emailing and terminology changes to dashboards. Here’s the breakdown:

Email templates – you can now customize the messages you use when emailing documents to your clients from Xero. This is great news if you send out a lot of emails each month or for standardising the information you want to include.

You can build email templates for invoices, statements, remittance advices and credit notes. For each type of template you can create multiple versions, for example, you could create a standard email template to use when first sending out invoices, and another template, with a different “tone” perhaps, to use if you have to resend, or chase up unpaid invoices!

Each template can contain a number of placeholders for things like due date, invoice amount, client details, and your online invoice link – all very handy.

Worth noting that we are working on another email related feature to let you control the sender address of emails (number one feature request!) that are sent from Xero – at the moment the logged-in user is set as the sender of several emails – we’re going to let you nominate any email address and even remove this sort of email impersonation if your emails are getting blocked by spam filters. More on this early next year.

Payment terms – you can now define payment terms to automatically set the due date on sales invoices and bills. Terms can be set globally for your organisation and set for an individual contact.

Outstanding statements – a new type of statement that includes only outstanding invoices at a given date. This is in addition to the existing Activity Statement that shows all invoice activity within a given period. You can find out more about Statements in our help centre.

Remittance advice on individual payments – we supported sending remittance advice emails as part of the batch payments workflow a few weeks ago. Today, we’ve rounded this out to enable the same emails to be sent when creating single invoice payments.

Social links for Online Invoicing – you can now add Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn to your Online Invoices, providing more opportunity for deepen your relationship with your customers. I’m even receiving online invoices that look so professional they are almost a pleasure to pay!  The email template changes mentioned above give you full control as to whether you use Online Invoices and where the link is positioned in your email.

Sales & purchases dashboards – we gave a preview of the new dashboards last month and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, which is great. There are two key aspects to this change – the new dashboards themselves and the change in terminology from accounts receivables/payables to sales and purchases – and a corresponding change to sales invoices and bills. Check them out in our full overview video (this version is for the US):

So there you have it – a bumper of a release that we hope you enjoy. To find out all about this release and some of the other smaller updates, read our full release notes. Remember also to cast your votes – as you can see it does make a difference!

 

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59 comments

Anton Gerner
10 December 2012 #

Email templates! YES!!! Thank you team Xero!

Campbell
10 December 2012 #

Email Templates – great. Can’t have ‘logged in user’ as a placeholder – not so great. Are templates organisation wide or unique to person? The latter solves my first problem but makes it more difficult to manage for consistency.

Adele Wardley
10 December 2012 #

Fantastic release, especially love the payment terms feature.

Can’t wait to log in and see the other changes – even on my day off.

Thanks Xero.

Chris
10 December 2012 #

This whole release has been absolutely fantastic – so many excellent features. Christmas has come early.

Chris
10 December 2012 #

I’m going to risk looking like a sycophant (especially because I can’t edit my comment above), but as I’m reading through the release notes again I’m feeling better and better about this release.

Highlights include:
– The new Sales dashboard is designed beautifully – all the necessary information in one spot. Attractive and functional.
– Payment terms – this is going to go down extremely well with many of my clients.
– Outstanding statements – yay.
– Hidden away in the release notes: “In a future release, the new dashboards will be launchpads for Quotes and Purchase Orders”. I’m hoping sooner rather than later, but I’m extremely pleased this is on your radar.

Peter McCarroll
10 December 2012 #

Excellent job Xero team – Christmas has indeed come early. Thanks for bundling so many user-requested features into this release.

Richard Phillips
10 December 2012 #

@Campbell templates are organisation wide. Interested to know how you’d like to use the logged in user placeholder – lets catch up in Xero Community on this thread: https://community.xero.com/business/discussion/52251/

Claudia
10 December 2012 #

Great to have the email templates … as above are these organisation wide?? Also, it would be great to have the ability to have an email signature with proper logos etc. We don’t often send emails from Xero because they don’t look as professional as if we send from our own email account which has logos as part of our email signature. If Xero has this feature it would save us so much time and we would always email directly out of Xero!!

Scott Barrington
10 December 2012 #

Great release. The new dashboard is perfect.

James R
10 December 2012 #

Holy Crap. Fantastic release. High Five team.

Richard Phillips
10 December 2012 #

@Claudia, email signatures and rich editing are on the radar. We love seeing beautiful invoices come out of Xero so working hard to make the email that accompanies them just as good.

Mukesh Bajaj
10 December 2012 #

Email Templates! Great work. Yes idea of having signature is great.

Campbell
10 December 2012 #

Agree @Claudia email signatures request would solve my issue.
BTW the other features are fantastic, a massive number of time savers in there!

Steph Hinds
10 December 2012 #

Boo Yeah! Awesome work Xero. Thanks for the early xmas present :)

Graham
10 December 2012 #

Outstanding Statements!!!! Finally!!! Great end to the year.

Roger
10 December 2012 #

This is really fantastic. Nice work! Now, I hate to be ‘that guy’ but, is there any way the ‘reference’ field could be added as one of the placeholder texts?

Regardless, these new templates are going to save me hours per week. Down with Quickbooks!

Andrew Cowan
10 December 2012 #

Appreciate the improvements guys, but in the UK we really do not use the term “Bill”. It should be “Invoice” imo. A bill is something we get from a utility provider or a mobile phone company :(

I’m happy – this is going to speed up our credit control work for our clients no end. Keep it up Xero xx

PeterLondon
10 December 2012 #

Nice work! Thanks. Things take time, and you guys are not churning-out new features. But we know that to get it right is not easy, and with an accounting program you MUST get it right first time. So thanks again for these great new features.

Jennie Smith
10 December 2012 #

Good updates. two issues. Coming soon for purchase orders – when is soon ????? Also what the. Where have number of unreconciled feeds and comments gone on My Xero. Gone. Its just Gone. I don’t understand.

phyllis
10 December 2012 #

what happened to the my xero page feature of being able to see which company had unreconciled stuff to do, now i have to click into each company to see, painful? , i see jennie smith has commented on this as well ???

phyllis
10 December 2012 #

more feedback, that unreconciled on the my xero page was the feature i used the most,

Charles
10 December 2012 #

There seems to be LESS information on the new sales/purchases dashboard, not more like the marketing email from xero states. Where’s the draft invoices tab? Oh ok, I have to click on the ALL tab, and then the old view appears and I can find drafts. Two emails from clients already asking me about draft invoices … Thanks for the heads up Xero ….

Also a small bug on your email templates page, when you click the drop down placeholder button, but don’t select anything, the drop down stays there even when I click somewhere else and start typing in the text box etc…. Why doesn’t the drop down box disappear?

Richard Phillips
10 December 2012 #

@Roger we’ll be adding more placeholders in future releases and we’re keen to know what everyone wants included so keep the suggestions coming.

@Andrew appreciate the feedback. We’re very conscious of the differences in language used in all regions so wanted to get a feel for how this change would be received by posting a blog before we launched (http://blog.xero.com/2012/11/new-dashboards-for-sales-and-purchases/). The intention is to use language that our day-to-day users (business owners) understand. Feedback in the scoping phase was that using the generic term “invoice” made it hard for users to differentiate the purchase side from sales. We’ll continue to monitor so again, thanks for letting us know.

@Jennie – hoping to have PO’s out early in the new year but things can shift with the schedule which make it hard to give an exact date. Unreconciled items and comments missing is a known issue but hang tight – we’re working on getting them back asap.

Elizabeth Salter
10 December 2012 #

There’s some very useful ones in there. Thanks! Keep up the good work. :)

Garry
10 December 2012 #

great work, will save a lot of time cut & paste. Think you should have [first name] option, Txs

Owen Evans
10 December 2012 #

@Jennie and @phyllis the unreconciled count will be back. We’re aware of what’s caused this to disappear and will be fixing this as soon as possible, we’re sorry for the inconvenience and we’ll let you know as soon as we have it fixed.

Richard Phillips
10 December 2012 #

@Charles you can get straight to draft invoices from the Sales dashboard by clicking on the ‘Draft’ section next to ‘Awaiting Approval’.

Jan Clogg
10 December 2012 #

Excellent release!! Well done and thank you – makes debtor collection a breeze. Love the statements and email templates. Look forward to what 2013 can bring, Xero keeps getting better.

Jan Clogg
10 December 2012 #

only one complaint….as 2 above have also..My Xero page, it is really useful to view number of unreconciled transactions on this page? Not sure of the reason for this feature to disappear but request it back , please!

Christopher Grindal
10 December 2012 #

The inclusion of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn placeholders are great, but perhaps some notes on how to easily add these for clients would be appreciated.

Richard Phillips
10 December 2012 #

@Christopher good idea – we’ll include this in our next update to the video on the Sales Invoices page: http://www.xero.com/accounting-software/invoicing/

Nick Bartlett
10 December 2012 #

Thanks Xero. Templates and Default due dates. Santa has come early.

Derek
10 December 2012 #

I think the templates are a great idea but the ‘Contact Name’ should be the contact person not the company name. How many companies actually send out invoices saying Hi ABC Limited?

It is not very personal and surely it can’t be that hard to pull the contact persons name form the Contacts record in Xero.

In your Help Centre it states the Contact Name is “the name of the contact” not the company you are billing.

Our contact is Sam not ABC Limited!

Richard Phillips
10 December 2012 #

@Derek we’re continuing to add more placeholders so will add this to the list – thanks.

Understand you’re already talking to our Customer Care team about the confusion in naming conventions.

Kim Wykes
10 December 2012 #

Love it all! Thanks Xero.Just one thing though – I second (or third) the question about the “Unreconciled Items and Comments” info that used to show on our My Xero page for each user. Its disappeared!

Rod Drury
10 December 2012 #

@jan, @kim, the missing counters in MyXero is a bug. Hopefully have them restored in the next day. We try not to take features away! Our apologies.

Claire Broadley
10 December 2012 #

When I try to delete lines of text from the body of email templates (using Chrome on a Mac), the entire field disappears. Anyone else getting this?

Adam Wilson
11 December 2012 #

Email templates have been long awaited – thank you!
As others have noted above, there are some obvious [placeholders] we’d like to see added, like:
[invoice reference]
[contact first name]
[contact last name]
[contact email]

Keep up the great work xero team!

Adam Wilson
11 December 2012 #

…just to clarify my request above for the [contact email] placeholder. This would be good for repeating invoices if we could add this placeholder to the ‘email to’ field, so if the contact person is updated in the contacts database it will flow through to any repeating template automatically.

Charles Klvana
11 December 2012 #

Hi Xero, not sure why newer updates are not consistent with the look, feel & brand of the rest of your product. It’s very jarring going from the Sales dashboard, to clicking on awaiting payments and you see the old dashboard again. Similar going from the new sales dashboard to bank reconciliations screen.
There’s a different font used for the buttons, the old buttons seemed to be a little more bolder in text. It’s like you’ve got two different programming teams that refuse to talk to each other to keep their styles the same.
It’s almost like I’m using two different programs sometimes.
C’mon guys, I used to love the whole “Beautiful Accounting Software” of Xero, but now it’s looking like frankenstein with two different product looks stitched together.
I realise you’re probably slowly moving through re-branding the look/feel, but surely it can be done via skins so that updates still have the old look & feel or something. This interim period is killing me!

Nathan Kedwell
11 December 2012 #

Hey Xero. Great update which will help with smoother processing.

One issue with the terms though. Why isn’t there an option “X Days from End of Month”? This is a very common term, especially in the building industry which has a lot of small sub-contractors no doubt keen to work with your solution. We have large customers on 45 Days from the end of the month in which the invoice was raised i.e. it could be 75 Days at worst and 45 Days at best depending on when in the month the invoice was raised. As I can see it we cannot enter that with the current options and would be a great addition.

Allan
11 December 2012 #

Where can I access the social links for the online invoicing?

Philip Fierlinger
11 December 2012 #

@Charles – you’re right. From the very start, we’ve always intentionally evolved and improved our UI design with every product update.

We’ve always taken the view that we don’t want to delay feature updates and new features in order to keep the design perfectly up-to-date across the entire app. It’s more important to make constant improvements than to attempt to make it perfect – software that’s perfect never ships. However, as you suggest, we’re always working on ways to engineer the product so that it’s faster and easier for us to deploy new design elements across the app.

I’m happy you noticed and I’m happy you’re pushing for design improvements to go deeper. It means the design has improved for you and you want us to keep pushing it.

Cheers.
Philip

Richard Phillips
11 December 2012 #

@Nathan – this is something we’ve looked at but isn’t currently on the radar for the near future. Something the team would be keen to look at in the new year though.

Doug Sleeter
11 December 2012 #

Hey Xero team. Looks like a great bunch of new features! Congrats.

David Kime
11 December 2012 #

Any news on when the VAT online filing will be here? Will is also include EC sales lists and pretty pretty please with sugar on top can it have intrastate reports as well

Nigel
12 December 2012 #

This is all great – thank you! Two requests:

- Please can amounts be shown as £100 not 100 GBP. No-one would write that in day-to-day use here.

- Please can we customise the online invoice landing page.

On the landing page I mainly need to write something to compensate for the labelling on your buttons which confuses customers who have called me about it. Some (many?) customers want to save the invoice on to their computer, for which they need to press the PDF button not the SAVE button.

Labelling that describes what the links actually do would be.

PDF – ‘save as PDF’
CSV – ‘save as CSV’
SAVE – ‘Register to see your full account with us’

I know you are trying to get more sign ups, but please don’t confuse my customers in the process…!

Tom
12 December 2012 #

Great new functionality, but the new wording bugs me. I understand you want to appeal to non-accounting business owners, but the Sales/Purchases/Bills thing makes it sound like Xero is only relevant to the smallest of small businesses.

I’m pleased the reports still use Receivables and Payables (Please don’t change this!) but actually wonder if the change to Sales and Purchases makes it more confusing not less.

Probably not the forum for it – I’ll add it to the feature requests in the community forum – but I’m really looking forward to being able to nominate the email address emails sent in Xero come from. More specifically I’d like to change the reply to address. I’m happy to have say an invoice come from me (tom@…) but would prefer people to reply to our generic address (accounts@…) so that no matter who processes the invoice, queries come back to the same place.

Thanks!
Tom

Nigel
12 December 2012 #

Here’s a strange thing..

If I search for all invoices to a company from the new Sales dashboard then your new search interface slides open, and the search works: but the items don’t have checkboxes or the print or email buttons which would allow me to select more than one of them.

The less snazzy (but actually smaller and clearer) original search interface from the sales invoices list creates the same list of invoices, but with a checkbox showing to the left hand side and the print/email buttons. A better implementation, in my view.

The two invoice lists also show slightly different fields – expected payment date vs ‘invoice status’.

Is this deliberate?

Allan
12 December 2012 #

In the email template, how can we address the first/last name of the contact and not the company name?

Richard Phillips
12 December 2012 #

@David, first release of online VAT filing early next year will have the core filing functionality. Next steps after that will be to release our new reporting framework which will let us include functionality like EC sales lists and intrastate reports.

Joesph
12 December 2012 #

Excellent additional functionality, I think it’s too easy to get caught up in the ‘backroom’ part of bookkeeping and invoicing systems and forget that appearance and customer perceptions count for a great deal. Such a simple addition to an invoicing system could have a marked impact on how invoices are paid. Love it!

David
13 December 2012 #

I totally agree with this comment – In the email template, how can we address the first/last name of the contact and not the company name? –

We send out some “Invoices” or are they “Bills” arrrhhhh – to a client and they have called saying why are we being so un-personal!

John
13 December 2012 #

I love many of the new updates; great work!

I’ll echo what was said a couple times above that I don’t like the new terminology used (Sales, Purchases, and Bills). I would vastly prefer receivables and payables. I recognize the desire to use language that is easily understood by all clients, but I think the new terminology makes things less clear, as it doesn’t cover as much ground as the old terms do.

In our web design business, the terms sales and purchases are not intuitive, as there is not always an exchange of physical goods, which is implied by the terms sales an purchases.

Anyhow, thanks for the hard work on the updates!

Richard Phillips
13 December 2012 #

@David suggest jumping in to vote on Xero Community here: https://community.xero.com/business/discussion/490795/

We included 9 feature requests/updates in this release so your vote really does count.

Andrew
19 December 2012 #

Great improvements. Could you make the social links editable per invoice template? We have multiple brands, so we would need multiple social links. :)

Rhiannon
21 January 2013 #

I communicate with all my clients on a first name basis so it would be great to have just the first name contact rather than both first and last name. It would also be good to have amounts be shown as $100 rather than 100 AUD

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