The integrated billing system is simple to set up, yet is designed to be very flexible and powerful. It can take care of all your invoicing and card payments (with little or no work from you). It chases up customers for non-payment automatically, and gives everyone their own Bills & payments tab, where they can instantly see exactly what they owe or the amount still left to spend in their account.
Why use our billing system instead of monthly invoices?
- Fully automated invoicing and payments, no more messing about with paper invoices or working out how much to charge.
- Much improved cashflow. No more waiting for cash your business could be using.
- Customers love seeing their invoice immediately (perhaps this is unexpected!).
- Monthly bills can be large amounts; this might make them reconsider making their next booking.
- Save time by entering summary data into your bookkeeping software instead of every invoice and payment.
This page describes the main Billing tab in the system. Are you looking for information about how to set up the billing system?
The Billing tab shows the balance for each customer with a transaction in their account. The balance is split to show the amount overdue separately from their total balance.
You can use this page to get a quick view on the amounts outstanding. The page shows the highest debt at the top, though zero and on to any pre-paid accounts at the bottom as shown in the example:
The rows are highlighted to show customers with overdue balances in red, then customers with a debt amount in yellow.
You may also notice the secondary tab labelled All transactions. As the name suggests, this shows a list of all transactions across all customer accounts. This page still shows a balance column, but because it lists all customers the balance represents the total credit balance at the time. Therefore the balance in the top row in this list shows the total amount owed by the school to its customers (if positive) or the total amount owed by customers to the school (if negative).
To view a customer's account in detail, click their name in the first column. From the customer's account page you can do things like add invoices, credits, make payments (if the customer is sitting with you) or just record their card details for future payments.
Customer accountCustomer account
This page describes the customer's Bills & payments tab from the point of view of the school (eg owner, office staff or an instructor). If you are a customer, please see Bills & payments in the user guide.
If you have turned on the billing system for everyone, all your customers will see their own Bills & payments tab in their account when they log in. Otherwise if the tab is not shown, you might need to find the customer first using the People tab and turn on the billing system for their account using their Settings tab.
Additional options are available when viewing the customer's Bills & payments tab as office staff. For example, you can manually create an invoice, credit note, or record payments received outside Stripe using an adjustment.
Types of manual entries
There are a few different types of transaction you might want to add manually to a customer's account. Most are only available to office staff and the school owner, but instructors can add invoices and can edit existing invoices in the draft state (more on that later).
The system will create invoices itself for flights, training (including ground school) and for regular payments such as membership fees.
You or an instructor might want to add an invoice manually if a customer wants to purchase something else from you, such as a knee board, pilot's logbook, charts or a headset. If the purchase is just after a flight, note the flight's invoice will be in a draft state for about an hour, and you can simply add a new line to that invoice for any extras.
- Credit note.
Credit notes can be issued to give a discount on someone's account. You might want to offer a credit such as this when someone pays a large amount up front for their flight training. For example, you might offer a package for a fixed number of flight hours, and extras such as knee board, chart and so on for a fixed price. If the customer makes this payment (either through the system or direct to you), you could add an additional credit on their account to adjust the amount they paid up to a balance equal to the value of your standard prices for the flight hours and any extras. This would mean you could leave the student on your standard or student price group instead of creating price groups for different packages.
You might also add credit notes if there is some disagreement over flight training and you are refunding someone. In that situation, create a credit for the amount in dispute (which also records the tax due back to your business) and then either refund from a previous payment (if made in the system) or add an adjustment if you hand over money direct, outside the system.
An adjustment represents a cash or card transaction that did not go via the billing system. For example, if the customer made a payment to you using cash, your own card machine, or a cheque, they will want to see the payment recorded in their account. To do this, add an adjustment.
Adjustments are also used if you are refunding the customer from outside the system. For example, if you give the customer cash, cheque or transfer money to their bank account or card. In this case, create a record of that transaction as an adjustment. Take care when filling in the form because unlike invoices and credit notes, adjustments are locked and cannot be edited afterwards.
- Opening balance.
An opening balance is a special type of adjustment. When adding an adjustment, you can choose to fix the balance to a known amount. Any adjustment necessary is made to arrive at the balance you specify. In addition, older transactions are archived and do not appear when the customer views their transaction history.
By adding an opening balance, even if zero, you are confirming to the customer the amount in their account as you move them from an older system to this one. This is important because customers will want to know where they stand and will rely on the list of transactions to tell them how much they owe, how much to budget or when they need to make another payment.
The process for refunding is two steps.
First, you should issue a credit note that itemises and describes what you are refunding for. The credit also contains the tax amounts, and if you are registered for VAT you can claim back this amount from your tax authority.
Next, you can try to refund back to the customer's card if they have used the billing system to make payments. Look for transactions of the type Receipt. If not, or if the last payment is over 90 days old, you will need to send them the money yourself and add an adjustment to their account manually (see above).
Assuming there is a recent receipt listed, click on it to view the details. Then click the Refund button at the top. You can refund all or part of a payment, the system will keep track of when a payment is fully refunded.
Draft vs Finalised invoices
When you create an invoice or credit manually, you will see they are created as drafts. These do not appear on the customer's account and you can continue to make changes to them. Once you "finalise" the transaction, it is moved into the customer's account and they can see it. Once finalised, you can no longer edit it but you can of course reverse any invoice with a credit and likewise any credit with an invoice.
Invoices created by the system are finalised straight away. This means when adding a flight, you can view the invoice immediately and take payment.
If you want to sell something to a new customer - such as a logbook - you can add a new invoice to their account using the Manual entry button.