Earlier today we ran a couple of packed webinars giving our clients a sneak peek at the new Invoicing Upgrade we'll be rolling out in Accelo in the next couple of weeks. As our biggest upgrade since our relaunch as Accelo almost 9 months ago, we've got a lot of exciting improvements to how you manage your work, and for those folks who couldn't make one of today's webinars, we've embedded a recording of the sneak peek below!
[Update: we've come across a few road blocks since our sneak peek, and are pushing back the release of this upgrade until the weekend of August 20-21]
In this section we cover provide a bit of background on the Invoicing module and share the the objectives and priorities we set out in this major upgrade.
Service and Material Items are brand new features of Accelo that will allow managers and administrators to create repeatable lists of things you do for clients, be they services or products/materials. This feature will make is designed to "hide away" general ledger or account codes as well as tax codes - so doing your client billing doesn't mean also becoming an accountant (or worse, making a mess of things and making your bookkeeper/accountant angry!). The Material Item list will also support importing from Xero and Quickbooks, so if you're using one of those products for your inventory of items you'll be able to import them quickly and easily here.
We've completely redesigned the Budget interface for creating Quotes, Project Plans, Project Templates and Milestone Templates to make it much easier to use than our old one!
Another improvement we're delivering with this upgrade is the ability to have Materials (ie, no time costs, such as equipment you sell alongside the Tickets or Issues you work on) be tracked against Tickets and Retainers. In addition to being popular with our IT consulting/service clients (who will love being able to add replacement parts like keyboards and hard drives from their Material Item list to tickets when they go out to fix things for customers), the other benefit is that these Materials can then flow through from Tickets (and Projects) into Retainers, making it easy to "consume" pre-paid allowances of value on support contracts.
With the invoicing upgrade introducing a lot of new options and preferences, we wanted to make sure more power didn't accidentally mean more pain when it came to billing. Our solution (in addition to great UX on the screens) is our new Invoice Templates, which allow admin/management staff to set up perfectly crafted invoices (with defaults around how much detail clients can see on invoicing and rules around layouts, logos and text) and then everyone else being able to simply pick them from a list and have the settings and formats take effect instantly.
In one of our "wish we'd done things differently" parts of the video, we cover the new support for Quantities and Rates on invoice items. This means when you're invoicing for services, you can enter the number of hours and the rate per hour - and for products/materials, obviously you've got quantities there too. We also have smarts in place to work out averaged/effective hourly rates if you're rolling up work done for different rates by different people - magic maths to many decimal places!
The other "wish we'd done things differently" when we first built Accelo, we're now moving to a purely PDF invoicing format. This way, when you create an invoice in Accelo and send it to your clients, they'll get an email (which you can customize in the template section) and have the invoice attached as a PDF file. This should eliminate the tendency of invoices to have their format/layout corrupted as they go from your client contact to someone who approves them to the bookkeeper doing the data entry - and they look a lot better printed too!
This is the section of the demo where we introduce the new Invoice creation screen, bringing together the features we covered earlier in the webinar (item types, templates, quantities and rates) and actually create an invoice! Here you'll see both the options as well as the PDF preview, allowing you to see the invoice before you send it on!
Bringing everything together, this section if the one we're most excited about - the ability to invoice all your clients for all the work you've done for them in less time than it takes for the ice in a nice glass of whiskey on the rocks to melt! By filtering across your clients and the work you've done for them, you'll be able to see a list of clients and then create invoices which group together all of the work for a particular client contact on one screen, with the ability to choose templates and quickly and easily do your regular client billing.
This section of the webinar covers the timetable to beta testing and release. We're looking for beta testers for this new functionality over the next couple of weeks - if you're interested, email email@example.com - and we're aiming to upgrade all of our client accounts to have this new Invoicing module on the weekend of August 13-14th.