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Why Invoice Reminders are your secret weapon to getting paid on time

Posted 3 years ago in Product by Penny Wildash
Posted by Penny Wildash

Cash flow is important. In fact, many of the small business owners we know think it’s the most important metric for your business. We’ve offered tips on improving your cash flow from one of our accounting partners, and we’ve even had our friends over at Fundbox offer their take on improving sales to help your cash flow.

The easiest way to maintain cash in your business is to get paid. Not only that, you need to get paid on time.

Chasing invoices can be time-consuming and even awkward at times. No one wants to have an uncomfortable conversation with a great customer just because they have an overdue invoice.

But unpaid invoices mean you’re operating without money that you should have in the bank. And every minute you spend chasing them is time you could have been working on something else that makes you money. That’s a double whammy.

Here at Xero we want to help you maintain your cash flow, in any way we can. We’ve told you about Invoice Reminders before, and now they’re officially here.

What are Invoice Reminders

Invoice reminders allow you to automatically send your customers an email reminder about their invoice. You will be able to remind them before or after it’s due, your choice. And the message is fully customizable. But once you get it set up, you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Here’s a walk through on how you can set them up in Xero.

Invoice Reminders - Settings

 

It’s easy

  1. Turn on reminders by selecting the tick box – they’ll start early the next morning your time.
  2. Review the preset default emails and check the dates to follow up your “sent invoices”
  3. Exclude any customers or invoices that you don’t want to chase by going to Contacts or the particular invoice.
  4. That’s it, one less thing for you to think about.

 

Set and forget – It’s automated

Once you have turned on reminders, you don’t need to do anything else. Each morning Xero will check all your sent invoices for anything unpaid. Then a reminder will be sent out to any invoices that are past their due date according to your settings.

The reminder email

The sample emails have been written to include all the important details. We selected the words for these emails very carefully. Friendly persuasion is preferable to threats and intimidation. However, you can always make these email more personal if you want to. Not only can you change the words, you can also add any other details about the invoice you wish to include.

You can also add your preferred payment details to make it as easy as possible for your customer to pay.

Invoice Reminders - Edit Reminder email

 

Fine tune

Once you have reminders running for your business, you might like to tweak some of your reminder settings:

  • add or delete to the series of reminders, you can create up to 5 reminders
  • create a pre reminder for those customers that are invoiced less frequently – a helpful warning that the bill is due soon
  • avoid sending reminders for those tiny outstanding amounts that you are happy to write-off
  • include a link to the invoice PDF if that is your preference
  • select the reply to address for your invoice reminders

You are in control

Turn invoices reminders on and off for your business at any time. If you’ve had it off for a period of time, don’t worry, it won’t send a bunch of past reminders. It will only start from the day you turned it on! You can also turn reminders on or off for an individual contact if you need to. You’re totally in control.

See what has been sent

The invoice reminder clock icon always shows when reminders are turned on for your business.

You can easily check what reminders have been sent by looking at invoices awaiting payment. If you are missing an email address for your customer we will highlight this. If an invoice is ignored because the amount is small you can also see this as well. You can get a full view of what’s happening with your reminders at any time.

We’ve kept it simple

We have some fantastic dedicated solutions and you might be using one of these already.

These solutions (add-ons) go much further and allow you to apply different chasing regimes for different customers, more control on when reminders are sent e.g. time of day and days of the week, allow for invoice reminders to be grouped into one email, as well as some great preview and approval options of what is going to be sent next.

If this is the kind of control and options you need for your business the add-ons deliver this value.

Partners

If you’re a Xero partner in New Zealand, you can also register for “Reducing Overdue Debtors & Getting Paid Faster,” a new training course to help you help your clients with cash flow. The course covers how to:
  • Locate overdue invoices and slow paying customers from the Aged Receivables report.
  • Recognize the online invoice functionality in order to confidently communicate that process to your client.
  • Identify the purpose and functionality of Auto Reminders in order to speed up the debt chasing process.

Send your feedback

As always with anything we release please let us know how you are finding it and email your feedback to support@xero.com.

30 comments

Teresa
November 12, 2015 at 9.26 am

Is this a paid feature?

Penny Wildash in reply to Teresa
November 12, 2015 at 8.30 pm

@Teresa there is no additional cost for invoice reminders 🙂

Di Crawford-Errington
November 12, 2015 at 6.26 pm

Another great feature @Xero, well done! Loving the releases coming through, even the little minor ones that dont really get a mention 🙂
Cheers
Di Crawford-Errington
http://www.ontrackbookkeeping.co.nz

Steven from Satago
November 12, 2015 at 10.11 pm

Hi Xero!
Not bad effort on the Reminders. 😉
Would it be possible for you to turn the line “These solutions (add-ons)” in to a hyperlink that actually takes Xero users to the “debtor tracking” category? That way we might actually gain users who want a specialised system! Here is the link for everyone else: https://www.xero.com/uk/add-ons/category/debtor-tracking/

Penny Wildash in reply to Steven from Satago
November 13, 2015 at 12.12 pm

Hey sorry Steven, that should have been in a link in the first place.

Ollie C
November 13, 2015 at 1.17 am

I was initially excited to see this, but then realised it’s sending invoice reminders, not statement (balance) reminders. If a customer has say 5 unpaid invoices, they get emails for each, separately, and there’s no way to send them a statement to show the TOTAL balance they owe? Honestly I’m a bit disappointed the feature has focused on invoices rather than the total owed. For my customers at least the individual invoices aren’t very relevant, the figure they owe is the total across all invoices, credit notes and payments. Will this feature be extended to cover sending of statements?

Penny Wildash in reply to Ollie C
November 13, 2015 at 1.50 pm

@Ollie Thanks for your feedback, yes we’ve focused on reminders for invoices and we’d love to provide the option to reminder customers based on an outstanding balance (like auto statements). At the moment we are closely monitoring feedback and you can vote for auto statements on this link

https://community.xero.com/business/discussion/12697615/

AJ (ezyCollect)
November 13, 2015 at 3.16 pm

Hi Ollie,

Based on your feedback, you might want to check out ezyCollect for XERO. We actually group reminders into 1 email, so customers don’t get blasted with over comms.

Here is the link and would love you to do a free trial: http://get.ezycollect.com.au/xero/

FrankatWork
November 13, 2015 at 1.23 pm

What email address is used to send the reminder?
Is it send out on behalf of the company address/domain or via your email servers?
Do you catch up bounced emails or out of office replies?
Thanks
Frank

Kieran
November 15, 2015 at 1.19 pm

Hey Frank, the reminders are sent from a Xero address — invoicereminders@post.xero.com.

We never try to impersonate the email of a user, but we let you set the reply-to email address. This is just like how standard invoices are sent from message-service@post.xero.com but will have a personalised reply-to. You can find more information about reminder reply-to addresses on our help: https://help.xero.com/us/InvoiceRemindersReplyTo

With regards to bounces and out of office message, we will send bounce notifications to the reply-to of the email. For out of office emails it depends on the configuration of the recipients mail server — reply-to is the de facto standard, but we cannot control someone choosing to ignore that.

Hopefully that answers your question.

cheers!
kieran

Kirsty
January 12, 2016 at 5.25 pm

Hi, my issue with using the automatic reminders is that if they are doing to be sent through your servers we have had issues with our clients not receiving their invoices because they are going to their junk or trash folders. So presently I am sending invoices to my own email address and then forwarding from there – kind of not the point of xero but I need to be sure that the invoices are sent and received. Has this problem been rectified at all ? Otherwise the automatic reminders which seem like a great feature would not work for us as they would all go to the customers junk folders and not be received. Do other users have this problem ?

Sandra Harris
November 14, 2015 at 9.23 am

Great feature – well done !!
It seems to only send to the primary contact person? Is there a way to ensure all contacts within a customer contact that are ticked on to recieve the original invoice also recieve the reminders?

Penny Wildash in reply to Sandra Harris
November 15, 2015 at 1.00 pm

@Sandra Ahh yes at the moment reminders only go to the primary email address on a contact (rather than all additional people ticked to receive all emails). We are working quickly to highlight this exception and are looking to make a change to allow multiple email recipients.

Matt in reply to Penny Wildash
November 16, 2015 at 1.20 am

When do you think this will happen as this is really important?

Thanks.

Penny Wildash in reply to Matt
November 19, 2015 at 11.18 pm

Hi @Matt We are underway making the change to extend the reminder service to send reminder emails to the additional people (listed on a contact) and we will be updating this post when the work is complete and released.

Larochelle Sephton in reply to Penny Wildash
April 27, 2016 at 2.45 am

Hi @Penny, any new developments on invoice reminders being sent to additional people listed on Contacts? Or still just Primary Person?

Penny Wildash in reply to Larochelle Sephton
April 27, 2016 at 8.09 am

Hi Larochelle, Whoops, apologies I forgot to update this post. Late December we released changes to ensure all additional people ticked to receive emails also received invoice reminders.

Trent
November 14, 2015 at 10.39 am

This feature has been long awaited and looks great on first glance. However it would be great if ad-hoc reminders could be sent (with or without enabling the automatic scheduled reminders), for clients who don’t fit the norm, and clients who may be well behind in their payment.
I have been waiting for this feature for 3 years since moving from Freshbooks, so very happy to finally see it here.

Penny Wildash in reply to Trent
November 15, 2015 at 1.02 pm

@Trent Great idea and we will be gauging all feedback from this new service. Please do add a feature request to the community so others can add their vote.
https://community.xero.com/business/topic/23

Florian
November 19, 2015 at 5.55 am

Hi Trent,
This feature is available in our debtor tracking add-on Satago. As of Monday, it’s completely free and has advanced debtor management features including real-time Experian credit risk data. https://www.satago.com/

I hope you find this useful.

Cheers,
Florian

1957Goldtop
November 17, 2015 at 3.19 am

What happens after the last reminder has been sent? For example the default last reminder is 21 days. I can configure up to 5, so what happens when the last reminder has been sent but you still haven’t been paid?

There needs to be a way to send reminders “evey N days” after the last reminder.

Penny Wildash in reply to 1957Goldtop
November 19, 2015 at 11.15 pm

@1957Goldtop After the last of your reminders in your reminder settings has sent, automatic reminders are effectively finished. We have no immediate plans to change this but we will be closely monitoring all feedback and requests for enhancements over the coming weeks.

Suzanne
December 11, 2015 at 10.03 am

What happens if an invoice is part paid. Is a reminder sent?. We have a number of customers who pay off invoices in instalments and I don’t want to hassle them.

Penny Wildash
December 15, 2015 at 12.26 pm

@Suzanne Hi, Reminders are sent on the basis of an invoice having an unpaid balance. Where you don’t want to send reminders for partly paid invoices you can turn off reminders individually at the invoice or customer level.

For more details https://help.xero.com/InvoiceRemindersExcludeContact.

jon
May 18, 2016 at 12.17 pm

Hi! Great feature! How can I test the automated message to make sure it looks just right?

Penny Wildash in reply to jon
May 18, 2016 at 12.40 pm

Hi Jon, feel free to test and play with generating reminders to yourself from the demo company. Having a preview option is definitely something we would like to provide in the future.

Dianne
June 29, 2016 at 9.08 pm

Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some
overlapping. I jist wahted to gjve you a quick heads
up! Other then that, amazing blog!

Penny Wildash in reply to Dianne
July 5, 2016 at 8.55 am

Hi Thanks for your support 🙂 and for reporting the problem with Internet Explorer and viewing the blog. The team is on the case.

Phillip
March 24, 2017 at 2.21 am

Hi, When reminders are sent, do I get a list of who will recieve the reminder that day? I ask as debitor daddy has the email the day before telling who will get the reminder the next day.

Rob Mourad
January 31, 2018 at 10.54 am

I think it would just be a lot easier if there was simply a way to send a one off reminder. I’m chasing up an an invoice that has been overdue by thirty days and need to set up automated reminders to do this. I don’t want to be sending all my clients automated emails.

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