Accelo Product Updates: Oct 2-8

11-Oct 2016
Product
hugh2
Hugh Cowling PRODUCT MANAGER
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Geoff McQueen FOUNDER & CEO

Last week the team released a lot of improvements and fixes once again! In addition to features related to our new invoicing module, we also shipped enhancements with contract period usage exports, project planning shortcut keys, and a tweak to how we handle "leads" vs contacts through email capture.

New “Work Summary” section for customer invoices

The new Invoicing module gives you the power to create an invoice for lots of different work all at once - multiple projects, tickets and retainer periods, all in a single bill. One of the downsides of this, however, is that you have the services, materials and expenses split up, and this could make it harder for your clients to understand where the costs have been incurred.

To help make your invoices clearer and easier for your clients to follow, we've just introduced the Work Summary. Designed for bulk Client Invoices as well as for Contract/Retainer invoices (where you are billing for one or more contract/retainer periods, but where the work you've done is sometimes across different projects and tickets too), this feature will allow you to outline a simple table of the work you've done.

Work summary prev

There are also extra options for including an object’s description in the table, as well as the issue resolution notes (if available). And of course you’ve still got the Work Detail options below to provide the customer precise details on all the activities/time that you’re billing for.

To check-out this feature, just edit your invoice template(s) and enable the new Work Summary check-boxes:

work summary config

Improve Xero Import to avoid hitting API request limits

Like many API providers, Xero limits the number of requests we can make (on behalf of our users) each day to do things like synchronize ledger codes, clients, product/service items, invoices and payments. With more and more going on with this API, we were exceeding these limits when working in a linear way, often causing new clients in particular to wait up to a few days to complete their first sync.

Last week we upgraded our code to make some linear processes like imports use a batch model to get more done under the API limits!

Some Invoiced Expenses not showing as Invoiced.

A small number of customers were affected by a bug with older expenses losing track of their “invoiced” status. We’ve identified the missing links, recreated them, and patched the problem so these expenses won’t be accidentally invoiced for again.

Warn user about disabled integration when trying to push invoice

In troubleshooting some QuickBooks Online integration queries, our team learned that it was possible to try pushing an invoice to QBO even though the integration was disabled.

We’ve now added a warning to let users know that they need to both connect and enable the integration for invoices to push successfully.

Cloned/duplicated invoice templates can't be used

If you’ve recently experienced a bit of trouble loading the Create Invoice screen, it’s possible the fault was due to a badly cloned invoice template. We’ve fixed the bug with the cloning feature - but if you see anything odd while trying to invoice, please try editing and saving the template as this will most likely correct any inconsistent template data.

If you didn’t know about the clone feature - please give it a try from the Invoice Template List screen:

dupe template

Invoices appearing twice in HTML Account Statement emails

We’ve tracked down and solved a problem with some queries that were double-fetching invoices in the Account Statement notification emails that are sent to clients; they're being a little less demanding now!

Attaching Files to Requests in Client Portal

After fixing some permissions related issues with attachments, we introduced a bug where client portal users couldn't create requests with attachments. We've now fixed this - apologies for the inconvenience where this wasn't working as expected for a couple of weeks!

Disabling excluded Expenses and Materials in Create Invoice

Accelo’s new invoice templates are really powerful, and we’re continuing to expose more of their power across the various invoicing screens. This improvement addresses the “Include Expenses” and “Include Materials” toggles found on the left-hand-side of an invoice template. We’ve realized that just because your template has these items disabled doesn’t mean we should completely hide them when invoicing. We think it’s better to load them in, but disable (or uncheck) the line items - this way you can still review the materials/expenses available and if some do need invoicing, simply toggle the line item back on.

expense toggles

Adding new materials while creating or editing an invoice

A handy feature we’ve had for a while is the ability to add materials while creating or editing an invoice - great for those situations when you're billing and want to include a third party product or service on the invoice that wasn't already on the Project or Ticket.

Unfortunately, we had a bug where the Materials, when added through invoicing, weren't showing up in the Project or Ticket correctly. We’ve fixed this so those materials will now affect the material budget for that project/ticket.

If you’re wondering about Retainers, right now we can’t support adding materials in-line for retainer invoices because we’re not always certain which retainer period they should belong to... but we’re looking at ways to tackle this in the future.

Company Billing - Tax was included twice in PDF Preview

We know how long it can take to build trust in a product, and when you’re dealing with client communication and invoicing tools, it is critical for users to maintain confidence in the tools they are using. So, while this bug was only affecting the initial PDF Preview within the Create Invoice screen, we had envisioned the preview feature to show exactly what the end customer will receive, hence we’ve been very quick to take care of these quirks and uphold our goal of making invoicing smooth, fast and flexible.

Finding Tickets to link to a Contract/Retainer

The process of allocating issues/tickets to a retainer has changed a little bit. Previously, with the old Bulk Issue Invoicing tool, it was possible to drag & drop tickets into the appropriate contract/retainer. While we’re planning to bring back a better interface for this process, in the meantime the shortcut for allocating tickets (found on the toolbar when viewing a retainer) has been updated to point to the List Tickets screen, with some handy filters applied so you’re looking at tickets for the retainer’s company which aren’t yet associated with a retainer. From there each ticket can be edited and linked up with the retainer in just a couple of clicks.

retainer allocate

Simplified Work Detail options for Bulk Invoicing

Striking a balance between complexity, flexibility and ease-of-use has been a real challenge when building our new Company Billing (aka Bulk Invoicing) tool. One of the features we’ve recently fine-tuned is the Work Detail options. You’ll notice that we’ve removed this setting from each individual project/ticket/retainer in favour of a general option for those modules - per invoice. So if you’re sending one invoice for 2 projects and 5 tickets, you can choose to include Work Detail for the tickets while disabling the detail for projects. If there’s a 2nd invoice for the same client, the Work Detail can be configured separately for projects & tickets in that invoice.

Secondly, the toggles for showing specific attributes of the work detail - such as Hours, Rate, Owner - will apply across all work/activity included on this invoice - whether for projects, tickets or retainer periods.

bulk details settings

Bugfix: Unable to re-invoice excess work on retainer period after deleting invoice

Some of our users have taken a trial-and-error approach with our new invoicing features, meaning a lot of draft or test invoices have been created to test out the process. This has helped uncover a few problems related to deleting and re-invoicing work. This particular case related to Pre-paid periods which had gone into excess, had that work invoiced, then the invoice was deleted.

Bugfix: Deleting a Retainer Period doesn’t unlink all work & expenses

Another fix we’ve made in the world of Retainers - deleting a retainer period (which is only possible if it hasn’t been invoiced for yet) is now correctly unlinking work that was associated from tickets and projects, as well as removing expenses and materials that were logged directly against it.

Viewing Authorized Devices used with your Accelo Mobile App

If you’ve been using the Accelo Mobile app across multiple devices and are curious about which ones might still have access, you can manage these within the Accelo web app. Just click your avatar in the top right corner of Accelo to open your user profile. From there, click the Mobile App button, and then on the Mobile App page look for the Authenticated Devices tab. Here you can confirm which devices are still active and Revoke Access as required.

mobile app auth

Age field on Tickets now counts from Submitted to Closed

Some time ago a change was made which caused the Age metric on issues/tickets to continue ticking after an issue was resolved (or closed). This change wasn’t particularly helpful, and after a few customers pointed it out to us, we’ve fixed up the logic so the age of an issue is tracked from the time it was submitted until the last time it was resolved (or closed). This change can be spotted on the Issue List screen as well as when viewing an issue.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Gantt Chart Project/Quote Editing

There's nothing like keyboard short-cuts for speeding up data entry. Embarrassingly, the project plan editing screen has been missing these for a very long time! We've spent some time setting up some handy short-cuts for moving tasks/milestones around in the plan. Please give them a try and let us know what you think.

  • Indent: ALT + arrow right 
  • Out-dent: ALT + arrow left
  • Move up: ALT + arrow up
  • Move down: ALT + arrow down
  • Add task below: Enter/Return key

Mac users, please use the Option key in-place of the ALT key above.

Including Individual Activities in the Period Usage Export/Report

We understand some customers use this export/spreadsheet for sharing work detail with their clients, while others use it internally for reporting or feeding data to other systems. The important thing to note is we’ve included a new spreadsheet tab which lists all the work/activity linked to the period - whether linked from an issue, project, task within the period or even activity logged directly under the period - and we trust this helps provide better reports and usage information.

export usage period

Smarter Handling of Leads becoming Client Contacts

This was a bit of an edge case, but an important one for folks heavily using the request queue and interacting with new leads (which is what we call email addresses that aren't linked to a client yet). Normally, when we capture an email from a new address, we look to see if the email address domain (the bit after the @ symbol) matches one (and only one) client/company record in Accelo.

We do this because we want to be really sure the company is the right one when we create a new contact against them - assuming that just because someone has an email @gmail.com that they must be coworkers of someone else @gmail.com is obviously a bad idea. While Accelo makes merging together companies and contacts easy, splitting them is hard (like unscrambling an egg). This is why we always err on the side of having duplicates you can merge.

An improvement we made to the conversion of Leads to Contacts in Accelo, especially where you reply to them in the Requests module, now applies the same smarts to matching domains on converting the leads into contacts by matching companies by email domain. We hope this makes working with leads much easier.

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