After the launch of our new online invoicing feature we’ve received a lot of great questions and so we’d like to show you in more detail exactly what your customer’s experience will be when you use this new feature. Below is a step-by-step walk thru of what happens. As always, you can use the free Demo Company to see this in action, without sending anything to your real customers.
We also want to share our thinking about this feature, so please read the full post.
Sending an invoice is still the same. In addition to the PDF there’s now an online invoice link that’s automatically part of the message…
Your customer receives an email as they always have, but now there’s a link to view the invoice online. Our next release is scheduled to include a feature giving you more control over these email templates…
The link takes your customer to a live invoice. If you want the Pay Now option to appear on the invoice you just need to include your PayPal email in the branding theme – otherwise, the Pay Now button won’t appear…
If the customer has outstanding bills, it will be highlighted in the top left of the online invoice.
If your customer wants to see the details of those outstanding bills they will need to create a free login…
The reason we require a login to view outstanding invoices is to give you an audit trail of exactly who has viewed those invoices and when they were viewed.
Once they login, the outstanding bills can be viewed securely online…
Our thinking behind online invoices
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. This is a new and different way of invoicing and it’s just the first step as we enhance and refine the feature based on your feedback.
Keep in mind, the primary objective is to get your invoices paid quicker and easier. This is just the first step of using Xero to build an online relationship with your customers. Ultimately, we see this as a way to eliminate the rekeying and double/triple handling of invoice data around the world. For instance, with online invoices your customers can now download a CSV of the invoice data to import into their accounting software.
Connecting with customers
Online invoices is about making a better connection with customers. There are, in fact, advantages to your business if your customers are using Xero as well: your invoice data flows directly into their books without anybody needing to re-type anything, plus they get a hardcopy of the PDF automatically attached to their invoice record. This greatly streamlines the communication between you and your customers. Better communications is better for your cashflow.
We’re currently working on features that will enable you to build an online profile for your customers to connect with. Today was just the very start. We’ve already received tons of great feedback that you can now see when your customers have viewed your invoices.
In case you still have questions about Pay Now and Login, here are the answers you’re looking for:
Pay Now is optional
Pay Now is only available if you choose to make it available. However, if you don’t make it available, your customers can’t pay you with a tap of a button. So you should weigh up the value of getting paid immediately and easily VS. chasing down debtors. If you add up the cost of chasing debtors (time + expenses + opportunity cost) you might find that the small PayPal fee is worth it.
If you want to use the Pay Now option, PayPal is currently the only payment gateway available, but we’re working on adding more payment gateways for you to choose from. Let us know which ones you want (ie, Stripe, eWay, Authorize.net, WorldPay).
A login is optional
Your customers do not need a login to see your online invoice. If you decide you want to use the Pay Now feature your customers won’t need a login either.
They only need a login to save the invoice or see outstanding invoices. The reason we require a login to see outstanding invoices is to give you an audit trail of exactly who has viewed those invoices and when they were viewed.
More formatting options are coming
Our next release is scheduled to include a feature giving you more control over email templates – your messages to customers – how they look and what they say.
More feedback please
Your feedback is extremely useful, and greatly appreciated, so please keep it coming. We know this feature isn’t perfect, yet. We encourage you to join the discussion over in the Xero Community.