Invoices

Overview
BillingPlatform offers many robust invoicing capabilities. You have the ability to customize as many invoice templates as you would like, as assign them at each invoice-able level. This mean you can have different groups that receive different types on invoices. Invoices are where your end charges will aggregate into it's final form before delivery to the customer. An important part of invoicing in BillingPlatform is understanding the invoicing life cycle. This cycle will help you understand where an invoice starts, to the point it arrives at the customer. This cycle is detailed in The Invoicing Cycle section below.

Invoice States
Invoices in BillingPlatform exists in three different states. It is important to understand these states before trying to understand the life cycle of an invoice.

Current Status

Invoices in BillingPlatform build dynamically. This means as usage is entered into the system, it is constantly being added to an invoice. The invoice it is added to is in what's called a current state. An invoice in the current state will have the invoice detail lines exposed so you can see what has been added, and what the final rate of the usage is.
Actions that can be taken at this point:

  • Re-rate Invoice - Re-rating an invoice is helpful if you have changed a customer's pricing plan, rate class or default rate, and the usage has already been added to the invoice. Using this tool will re-rate all usage on the invoice to the most current rates defined.

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  • Close the Invoice - At this point an invoice is close-able if you are passed the invoice cycle end date, or the system is configured to allow you to close before this date. Please talk to your BillingPlatform representative for more information on changing this policy in your application.

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  • Merge Invoices - You can merge invoices if you have created multiple, and you would like to aggregate the usage into one invoice.

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  • Update the Billing Cycle - Where needed, the billing cycle of the invoice can be updated. This can be useful when generating manual invoices and the customer expects the billing cycle to be within a particular period. Simply update the Billing Cycle From and Billing Cycle Ending fields using their respective date selectors.

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Closed Status

An invoice that has been closed means that usage can no longer be added to the invoice. This is the middle stage of the invoice, and will still require one more step before delivery to the customer. When an invoice is closed, BillingPlatform will generate a PDF using the template selected for the customer, and the usage collected. It is important at this point if you are new to the application to check the PDF and verfiy it looks correct. Invoices in a closed status can be easily re-opened, whereas the process is a little more complicated if the invoice is approved. This is why it is important to verify accuracy before moving onto the next state.
Actions that can be taken at this point:

  • Approve the Invoice - Approving an invoice means the invoice is correct and will be delivered to the customer in the fashion selected in the billing profile settings.
  • Re-open the Invoice - Re-opening the invoice will put the invoice back into current status. Keep in mind opening the invoice from closed status is different from re-opening from an approved status. 
  • Regenerate the PDF - You many at this point regenerate the invoice PDF, if you have made changes to the template. This can save time as the other method (re-opening, and re-closing) will be slower.

Approved Status

The final state of an invoice is approved status. When an invoice has been approved, the invoice has been delivered to the customer. An invoice at this point is no longer valid for alteration. While re-opening at this point is still an option, it is not the same as re-opening from a closed status. If you re-open at this state, the invoice will be voided, then replicated under a new invoice id. While the invoice will look the same and contain all the same charges as before, note the changed invoice id.
Actions that can be taken at this point:

  • Re-open the Invoice - You can still reopen an invoice at this state, but if you do, the invoice will be voided and archived, then replicated under a new invoice id.

The Invoicing Cycle


Invoice Creation
There are two ways an invoice can be created, automatically, and manually. The next two sub-sections detail each of those processes.

Automatic Creation

Invoices in BillingPlatform are most commonly created automatically. When usage comes into the system, it looks for a current invoice to place the usage on. If none exists, it will create one. The following scenarios can help you understand where charges land in which invoice(s):

  1. Subscription products that have "Create activation invoice" enabled will create a new activation invoice if none exists and add an activation charge. If there is an existing open (Status = CURRENT) invoice, the charge will be added to that open invoice.
  2. When processing activities/usage/charges, the rating engine will first look at existing open invoices where the activity date of the usage falls within the invoice's billing cycle and add the charges to it. If none is found or there is an existing invoice but already closed, the charge is added to the current cycle's open invoice.
  3. If the system has the creation of historical invoices enabled, new invoices are generated for past billing cycles provided that there are no existing closed or open invoices for the said cycles. If this feature is disabled, new charges with past-dated activity dates will be added to the current billing cycle's invoice.

Manual Creation

An invoice can be manually created by the user, this process is initiated by completing the steps detailed in the Creating an Ad-Hoc Invoice tutorial. This process allows the user to create an invoice at any time during the billing cycle and customize all charges.

The Open Invoice/Population with Charges
If the invoice was created automatically by usage, so long as this invoice is open, all usage will be routed here and populated with charges.

If the invoice was manually created, you may add, edit, and delete charges so long as the invoice is open. To customize options follow the link to the How to Add Manual Charges tutorial.

Closing the Invoice
Depending on the settings configured during the account configuration process, invoices may be closed manually or automatically. If the invoice is set to close automatically, upon the end of the billing cycle BillingPlatform will close your invoice and queue it for approval. A closed invoice may no longer be edited, if you need to edit the invoice, you will have to reopen it, a process described in the section How to Re-Open an Invoice tutorial.
If your invoice was created manually or if you chose the manual closing option when configuring the account, you will need to manually close the invoice for it to be set for approval. To do this follow the steps in the How to Close an Invoice tutorial.

Approving the Invoice
Following the characteristics in closing an invoice, approving an invoice can be a manual or automatic process. Approval will tell the system the invoice is ready for delivery and all charges/templates are be correct. Invoices can be set for automatic approval, if this is the case, the system will automatically approve the invoice and perform delivery.
If you want to manually approve invoices, the option will need to be selected in the account creation process, then you would follow the steps in the How to Approve an Invoice tutorial.

Related
How to Create an Account - Many options defined in the account creation determine how BillingPlatform will handle invoices. These options include:

  • Requiring manual closing
  • Requiring manual approval
  • Invoice PDF template selection
  • Length of billing cycle
  • What day to end the billing cycle

Please follow the link for more information.
How to Create an Invoice Template - Invoice PDFs are generated from invoice templates. Please follow the link for more information on how to create one.

 

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