Online Invoicing update

As promised last week we have released a tweak to our recently released online invoicing functionality that gives you control over how you send invoices to your customers. Here is what you’ll see when you go to send an invoice:

As previously mentioned, we are also going to add flexible email templates to give you full control over presentation. This will be rolled out in upcoming releases. We’ve included a draft screen shot straight from our design team  to give you an idea of what we have in mind:

Thanks everyone for your feedback on these features.

47 Comments

Simon
October 9, 2012 at 8:48 am

Loving the look of that draft screen shot team!

* Please add one little thing… “From address” – would be great to be able to send “From” a different address than you are logged in with! :)

Brady Dyer
October 9, 2012 at 8:52 am

Second Simon’s suggestion. Different ‘from’ address would be great!

John
October 9, 2012 at 9:15 am

Can we have the default dropdown box to just be “just a PDF attachement”

Brett
October 9, 2012 at 9:19 am

I love the idea of being paid quicker via the pay online button, but the Paypal fees are too high, lets hope that someone else offers an alternative soon..

Richie Rich
October 9, 2012 at 9:35 am

Fantastic – thanks for the rapid addition to sending options!

I agree with the “from” address comment above – We need to ensure money is sent to the right address, to to our company registered address at the accountants.

Great to see continued development – much appreciated

Richie

Email Marketing
October 9, 2012 at 9:48 am

Absolutely fantastic news. Within only a few weeks of emailing your support team as I am sure others did, fair play for acting so fast in adding this amendment. It really shows what a great provider you are.

Chris
October 9, 2012 at 10:16 am

Great job – that screenshot looks great. Another vote here for a “From: ” address field – it just doesn’t make sense to always send emails from the address of the person logged in.

Nigel
October 9, 2012 at 10:29 am

Really liking the screenshot for the future! Built in signatures etc would be helpful! Good work!

Andrew Tokeley
October 9, 2012 at 10:35 am

We are planning to add the ability for you to control the “Reply To” address in a future release – this will default to the logged in user but can be overridden to be any email address (e.g. accounts@mycompany.com).

Allowing users to control the “From” address has some challenges – we are getting reports, even now, that an increasing number of mail servers reject emails as spam if they are sent from Xero’s servers but are marked as coming “From” a different domain. To avoid this we could have all emails come “From”, for example, noreply@xero.com and still allow you to control the Reply To address. While this does depersonalize your emails, at least it guarantees they arrive.

Would be interested in any thoughts on this.

Jerry Zhao
October 9, 2012 at 11:03 am

Great, that’s much better!

Ian
October 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Great work guys, I think the new online invoice thing will be good for lots of customers but certainly not all so thank you for giving us options.

Allison Taylor
October 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

would like to be apply to include a proper signature

Andrew Tokeley
October 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm

@Jack – yep, signatures are planned but we decided to release email templates first rather than make you all wait for both. I guess technically you could include the signature details in the email template itself but we’ve got something a lot cleaner in mind.

alex
October 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

from xero and reply-to my company email address is fine by me. I would prefer it defaults to my company email rather then my login email as I have a login for multiple companies, and it would look stupid if it came from me. (just think of all the book keepers using xero that have this problem right now)

alex
October 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

also when will the xero monthly invoices come like this or do we still have to enter them manually for a while yet ?

JN
October 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Why is the first option (link which can be tracked) “recommended” ?

Amir Sadeh
October 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Selecting a different ‘from’ or ‘reply to’ address will be very helpful. You should be able to get over the spam issues by having users include your servers in the SPF record for their domain. I think we have already done this… I think ‘sent on behalf of’ is another option to look into.

Ultimately I would be happy with from xero and reply to our selected email address.

Keren Butler
October 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm

This new release will definitely make one of my clients much happier!

Definitely looking forward to being able to have multiple email address sending options!

Email Marketing
October 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Changing the from address will be excellent. We will finally be able to stop sharing the same login :-)

Perrys London
October 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm

It’s a good system. I would add that it would be good to have a drop down suggestion system for e-mail addresses used in the past

JN
October 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Echo the suggestion to have th original option of PDF as default.

Troy
October 10, 2012 at 1:11 am

Are these options available from the ipad app? If so where abouts?

Gary Turner
October 10, 2012 at 2:55 am

@JN – we recommend the online method because we have a hunch that online invoices will get paid faster which we think people will like. But it is now optional.

@Troy – The invoicing workflow in Xero Touch has not yet been modified to make online invoicing optional, our focus was getting full Xero application right as a priority.

Dominic Delaney
October 10, 2012 at 3:07 am

Thanks for making this feature optional – I agree that email signatures are needed fast!

André
October 10, 2012 at 3:47 am

Until there is support for other payment gateways (stripe – preferred, braintree etc), we will not be issuing online invoices, so this update doesn’t mean anything to us. The issues for online payments via paypal are two-fold – the user experience is shocking (our customers see paypal and instantly think we’re a scam business) and the fee structure is a joke.

Until alternative payment gateways are supported, we’ll just stick with PDF invoices and chasing for traditional payments (bank transfer, cheque).

Josh
October 10, 2012 at 4:35 am

@ Andrew
Re: Mail servers rejecting emails. Surely including the ip address/domain to clients TXT records in the the form of an SPF record would help here? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sender_Policy_Framework

Something like v=spf1 a mx ip4:(Xero Mail Server IP) etc… -all ?

Susan
October 10, 2012 at 7:16 am

Can you give us the cc ability too rather than just everyone being a main recipient?

Thanks!

Glen Barnes
October 10, 2012 at 8:20 am

Having the ability to set the reply to address is fine – You don’t necessarily need to set the from address (spam issues as you mentioned.

BUT….It shouldn’t ‘default’ to the users address as this is something that a user would need to change on _every_ invoice they send making them mad and it would be prone to error. This address should be part of the template. Only if there is no default reply to address in the template should it default to the users email address.

Last week I again sent out 3 invoices with my login email address as I forgot to logout and login as the billing account. That didn’t make me feel awesome…

buz
October 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm

10+ on from address. For those that manage more than one company or are sending on behalf of others. If you can send it from my address now (eg. me@mine.com.au) what difference deos it make also being able or not able to send from them@mine.com.au??? neither are verified via SPF

Also will we have ANY basic formatting potions? Bold as a minimum? bu would be nice to be able to include logo and colour as well.

Roger
October 11, 2012 at 3:39 am

Love the email templates, but I don’t want my invoices coming from a Xero address. This may sound silly, but just the fact that we have our own email domains ads quite a bit to our professional image. There are a lot of people in our line of business that simply use soandso@gmail. @Glen’s idea seems to be like a viable option for those that need the versatility. Set it up in the Invoice template.

Just a thought.

Troy
October 12, 2012 at 12:02 am

Agree with Roger. The ability to send from a specific address would be great. I’ve found a simple work around by just changing my address in the system.

But I’ve invested a lot of time and money into my business image. I think it looks unprofessional if it comes from a third party address.

Also when clients look for an invoice they search for my email address, not a xero address.

Matt
October 12, 2012 at 1:24 am

Well done guys, this tweak is just what we needed. Our clients are only interested in the PDF invoice – the link to online invoices risks confusing the process.

Overall, we’re really impressed by Xero’s attention to detail and use of language in the interface. So one niggle is the clunky line of copy that appears under the drop-down box (not visible in the screenshot on this post). It reads: “Online invoices provides you the best way to manage your debtors”.

Apart from the dodgy grammar, it bugs us because we feel online invoices are not the best way for us to manage our debtors. How about something like “online invoices help you manage your debtors”.

Can we persuade you to change it?!

Andrew Tokeley
October 12, 2012 at 7:30 am

@Matt – aha, nice try! In our next update this drop-down (and text) will be removed as you will be controlling when, and where, to include the online invoice link from email templates.

We still do believe that online invoices will significantly change the way people interact with their customers and, for some, will dramatically improve the speed at which they get paid. We obviously haven’t convinced you yet, and that’s fine – keep an eye out on updates over the coming months, maybe you’ll see something you like.

Peter McCarroll
October 12, 2012 at 9:28 am

Tokes (and team). Like the quick changes to customer feedback on the online invoicing front – restores my faith that you actually listen to customer feedback. Best option would have been to check it with a mixed panel of users in the design stage! This takes away “hunches” and actually makes the product user-driven.

Anyway – the reason for my post is to opine on the FROM email situation. I acknowledge that the mail rejection problem is a real one, but it is a red herring in this discussion. There are two issues – mail delivery and mail identity. Allowing users to change the outbound email address on invoices would have NO IMPACT on mail delivery – the same issues and risks would be present. Therefore to throw this up as a reason not to do it is a smoke screen. It changes nothing, apart from frustrating users.

To solve the mail delivery problem there are several options.

Using an outbound only email is only one option. If you go down this route then please ensure that the user’s name and reply-to address is configurable at the ledger level (not just at time of invoicing – or at least give an easy way to change it without having to retype it every time).

A more sofisticated version is to generate a xero.com email address for that ledger/user that redirects all inbound mail to the user (still set the reply-to and name correctly). For example, email is issued from ABC_Limited_1458@ledger.xero.com with accounts@abclimited.com as the reply-to address. If Xero receives any email to the ABC_Limited_1458@ledger.xero.com it simply forwards it on to accounts@abclimited.com.

The best solution has already been mentioned in the forums several times but you haven’t mentioned this. It’s the option of providing SMTP credentials to Xero. This eliminates both the delivery and identity problems completely!!

Andrew Tokeley
October 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

@Peter – yes, there are lots of options, and we know being able to control where emails appear to come from is important to you guys. We’ll sort something out.

While we don’t want to invite too many cooks into the kitchen, we do get direct feedback on many proposed features both directly from partners and users but also through blogs, twitter, linked-in, community… and yes, we also, make decisions based on “hunches” which most of the time turn out to be awesome surprises, but, ahem, sometimes need some tweaking. All part of moving fast and responding to the feedback you guys give us.

Sonet Venter
October 24, 2012 at 7:20 am

Just used the Save to Drafts option from the online view of a supplier invoice for the first time. How easy is that! Love, love, love Xero!!!

Phil Donaldson
October 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

Nice one guys, this looks great!
Could you please make one of the placeholder fields a “Message of the Month” so we can send a different promo message each month without having to edit the message template for each client.
Thanks!

Nick Crossman
October 29, 2012 at 8:09 am

The big irony of online invoicing is that Xero still can’t send their own customers an online invoice to allow them to save it.

Nigel
October 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Hi Andrew, You’ve been running this new online invoicing system for about a month now, so you must have a lot of data on sales invoices issued by your customers in that period. Is it speeding up payments?

Andrew Tokeley
November 5, 2012 at 8:20 am

@Nigel – yep, we’ll certainly be running some numbers as soon as we get enough data – was thinking of leaving it a little longer to get a good sample. Will also be interesting to see the impact of adding more payment options – something we’re keen to do next year.

Darren Woods
December 1, 2012 at 4:46 am

almost 2 months later… are there standard email templates in Xero yet?

Donna Martin
December 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Hi there, I’m not sure if it has already been requested but I would love to have history recorded when I follow up outstanding invoices by emailing customer another copy. I currently manually copy and paste the email that I send and paste it into history. An automatic copy of the email in the history would be really appreciated. Thanks

Keira London
March 29, 2013 at 12:05 am

It’s a good system. I would add that it would be good to have a drop down suggestion system for e-mail addresses used in the past. Can you also give us the cc ability too rather than just everyone being a main recipient? Thanks

Matthew
September 2, 2014 at 6:18 am

The email templates in general and signatures and “from” email addresses are long overdue !

Brenton Edwards
October 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Waiting desperately for email signature function to completely personalise the service. It’s been promised for two years now. Surely it can’t be that hard.

Adelina Morina
April 17, 2015 at 12:56 am

Any updates on email signature function to completely personalize, adding logo to signature and changing font style and color??? Some Companies have strict policy when sending out emails, plain text is just not acceptable to them :(

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