Invoicing & Payments
We're pleased to announce an update to BlueFolder that includes the ability to create invoices for work orders and accept credit card payments for those invoices. While we've long had a "Billing Summary" print document, and Billing Batches (for exporting billable work orders to QuickBooks), those features stopped short of true invoicing capabilities and therefore suffered from some limitations. We're excited to introduce this first step toward full-featured invoicing and payments capabilities and will be continuing to build upon this foundation over the next year.
NOTE: While this release does include support for payment processing, that feature will only be activated for a subset of customers initially. We will be sending out more communications about payment processing in the near future.
- Create an invoice for a work order directly from within the work order.
- Create multiple invoices for a work order - allows for progressive billing on long-running projects.
- Send invoices to your customers via email.
- Reorder invoice line items - present your customer with an organized, easy-to-understand bill.
- Export individual invoices to QuickBooks Online (no batch required).
- View invoicing reports to keep tabs on A/R aging, outstanding balances, billing history, or create a custom report to view data according to your needs.
- Accept credit card payments for invoices via webform (mobile card devices coming soon).
- Online payment form your customers can use to pay invoices.
- New user permissions to control access to invoicing features, invoice batch features, and the new job cost tab for work orders.
- Creating invoices is possible in two ways.
- Create an invoice directly from a work order. There is a new "Create Invoice" button on the work order "Billing" tab that will instantly create an invoice containing all of the work order's uninvoiced line items. Once the invoice is created the page will refresh and you can view the invoice.
- Create invoices as part of an invoice batch. As explained below, the previously used "billing batches" are being replaced by invoice batches in this release. But they are pretty much the same and still allow you to generate a block of invoices from selected work orders and contain them within a batch.
- Invoices look almost exactly like the "Billing Summary" document we've had for years. There is a "Customer" and a "Bill To", along with a list of line items with totals at the bottom. Of course, there are some new fields too, such as invoice number, invoice date, payment terms, status, and notes.
- Invoice numbers are sequential (starting at 1000) and prefixed with "INV-" to make them easy to identify. Invoice numbers are separate and distinct from work order numbers and are not meant to be in sync because invoices can sometimes be associated with multiple work orders and we also plan to allow invoicing for contracts in the near future.
- Editing (and deleting) invoices is possible as long as there haven't been any payments made on the invoice. Once you've created an invoice, you can edit it to modify things like invoice date, payment terms, notes, and a few display options for the line items. You can also rearrange invoice line items by dragging them up or down in the list (using the grab 'handles' on the left column of the line item).
- Invoices can be emailed to your customer either from within the work order or when viewing a single invoice on its own. Either way, you can compose the email and the invoice will be attached as a PDF for your customer's review. In the near future, we will enable an option to send your customer a link to view (and pay if desired) the invoice online.
- If you've connected your BlueFolder account to QuickBooks Online, you can transfer single invoices to QuickBooks without the need for an invoice batch. Simply click the transfer button located on the invoice itself or in the right-most column when viewing the invoice list (Billing > Invoice List).
- Invoice line items consist of the billable and/or contract line items from the work order(s) associated with the invoice. In this release, you cannot modify invoice line items except to rearrange their display order in the list. If you need to modify the description of a line item, you must delete the invoice then edit the work order item description and recreate the invoice.
- New user permissions have been added to control access to invoicing features.
- Invoice Create - on by default for Administrators and Bookkeepers
- Invoice Edit - on by default for Administrators and Bookkeepers
- Invoice Export/Transfer - on by default for Administrators and Bookkeepers
- Invoice View - on by default for Administrators, Bookkeepers, Sales, Schedulers, Service Managers, Lead Techs, and Techs.
- Invoice Batch permissions (Create, Delete, View) - on by default for Administrators and Bookkeepers
- You can modify invoice settings and default values by going to Settings > General Settings > Billing.
Changes to Work Orders
In order to integrate the new features, we've made the following changes to work orders.
- The "Items" tab has been expanded to include the same details that used to only be visible in a work order's "Billing" tab. Namely, we've added columns for tax, unit price, and total price. We've also added totals at the bottom of the item list in the same way they've always been displayed on the "Billing Summary" print-out. User permissions will, of course, be applied to this list so your limited-access users won't see any data they aren't allowed to see.
- The work order's "Billing" tab has been changed in the following ways:
- The built-in Billing Summary grid has been replaced (see "Items" tab above) with a new "Invoices" section. Within this section, you can create an invoice(s) for the work order as well as view/edit/delete any existing invoices already associated with the work order.
- Even though the "Billing Summary" is no longer displayed by default on this page (see "Items" tab described above) you can still quickly view it by clicking the "View Billing Summary" button.
- The work order's tax code can now be edited when you click the "Edit Billing Info" button.
- A new tab called "Job Cost" has been added and contains content that used to be at the bottom of the work order's "Billing" tab. The content is largely the same as before, but we've expanded it to make it easy to quickly see if the work order is profitable or not. Positive profit and margin will be displayed in green text while negative profit and margin will be displayed in red text. We've also added a new "Job Cost per Item" list that shows the profit and margin for each item in the work order. A new user permission has been added to control access to this tab (by default, users in the following roles can see job cost: Administrator, Bookkeeper, Scheduler, Service Manager).
- When an invoice is created for a work order, all of the work order items that are included on the invoice will then be locked and therefore unable to be edited or deleted. This is necessary to preserve the accuracy of the invoice. If you create an invoice and find that you need to modify an item, you will need to delete the invoice then change the item(s) and recreate the invoice.
Changes to Billing Batches and the Main "Billing" Tab
In order to integrate the new features, we've made the following changes to billing batches and the "Billing" tab in the main navigation bar.
- The "Overview" page in the main navigation bar's "Billing" tab has been overhauled with a new focus on invoices. You can easily view the number of open and overdue invoices you have outstanding, as well as the number of work orders that are ready to be invoiced. You can also view a list of recent invoices and invoice batches with links to view the full history of each.
- "Billing Batches" have been renamed to "Invoice Batches" but are functionally the same as before. The big difference though is that with an Invoice Batch you can actually view the individual invoices that are part of the batch. Creating an invoice batch looks almost exactly like it did when creating a billing batch in the previous version of BlueFolder, and transferring an invoice batch to QuickBooks Online or exporting it for QuickBooks Desktop are exactly the same as before.
- Existing billing batches have not been converted to invoice batches. You can still access your old billing batches via a new menu item entitled "Billing Batch Archive", found in the main nav bar's "Billing" menu. If you have any billing batches that still need to be transferred or exported you can still do that, however, you can't create new billing batches anymore and should instead use the new invoice batch feature.
- This release includes the ability to create invoices directly from within a work order and not as part of an invoice batch. If you prefer to keep all invoices in batches, you can still do that. When creating a new invoice batch you can choose whether to include existing invoices (created from within the work order) or to generate invoices as part of the batch creation process.
Changes to Reports
- The “Service Reports” section has been renamed to “Work Order Reports”.
- The “Service Billing” reports have been removed. We did some analysis and realized that if we just added a few columns to the “Closed Work Order…” reports that we didn’t need the “Service Billing” reports. So that’s what we did and now the “Closed Work Order…” reports include columns (based on user permission) for totals of “Expenses”, “Labor”, and “Materials” item categories in addition to the “Total” column that was already there. We’ve also added an “Invoices” column that shows the invoice # (and a link) for any invoices associated with the work order being displayed in the report.
- The “Service Item History” report has been renamed to “Work Order Items” and moved into the "Work Order Reports" section. A new filter has also been added to this report that allows results to be filtered by item billing status.
- The ability to filter by “Date Exported” has been removed from the "Work Orders Closed (by Bill To)" report.
As stated above, this release is the "first step" in a journey that will likely last 6-12 months. We want to be transparent about our future plans as well as the limitations of the features included in this release.
- This release does support the ability to create multiple invoices for a work order, but it does not yet support the ability to choose which work order items will be included on a newly-created invoice. For this release, when you create an invoice for a work order, ALL of the work order's un-invoiced items will be automatically included on the new invoice.
- This release includes the ability to accept credit card payments via a form that has to be manually filled out. We've already begun working on support for mobile credit card devices that will allow your techs to accept payment on-site by swiping your customers' credit cards, thereby eliminating the need for manual entry.
- We are planning to expand invoicing to include contracts, along with the ability to automatically charge your customers for contracts on a monthly basis.
- We are exploring the requirements for accepting payments in non-US locations such as Canada.
- We're planning to expand our tax code structure to better facilitate international and more complex tax scenarios.
- We're planning to introduce automation for the QuickBooks Online data transfer, specifically to enable a scheduled, automated daily sync between BlueFolder and QuickBooks Online instead of manually transferring invoices.
- Support for partial invoice payments is on our roadmap, but this release only supports payment in full.
This release also includes the following bug fixes.
- Fixed: Error message when creating a calendar event on an individual calendar on the Month view and then clicking “Details”.
- Fixed: User can create/edit an assignment for another user but does not have permissions to do so.
- Fixed: Labor item stop time can be set to a value less than the start time in the mobile UI.
- Fixed: Materials/expense items not properly auto-populating the billing/contract field.