Sit back and Relax. Zoho Books brings you Auto Charge.

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There are features in a product that address small pain points for customers and then there are ones that make life a breeze. One such feature that falls under the latter category is Auto Charge.

 

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The Auto Charge feature in Zoho Books automates the tedious process of charging your clients regularly. This feature lets you charge your customer’s credit card for recurring invoice payments on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. In case of failed payments, Zoho Books reattempts to process it after a few days (dunning).

With this feature on-board, we’ve eliminated all the major hassles that a business would typically face if they are invoicing on a recurring basis. Now, you don’t have to worry about: 

 

  1. Keeping track of multiple payments.

  2. Manually invoicing customers every day/week/month.

  3. Tracking overdue invoices

  4. Extremely tedious follow ups and reminders.

  5. Securely storing the customers’ card credentials.

 

So how does this feature help your business?

 

Charge Clients Automatically

 

Once the billing period has been set (days/weeks/months), Recurring invoices will be created and your customer’s card will be charged automatically. You can pause and resume the process whenever you want.

Get Alerts And Send Notifications

 

Be it invoicing, be it a payment failure, Zoho Books sends instant email notifications to you and your clients. Though the clients are auto charged by you regularly, the invoices for that are sent to the client for reference.

 

Manage Payment Failures and Retries

 

When a payment fails due to card expiry or incorrect card information, Zoho Books will reattempt processing the payment upto 3 times before the invoice is suspended, keeping you notified all the while.

 

Let Clients Update Critical Information

 

If your client’s credit card is nearing expiry or there is an incorrect card or address information, your clients can update all of that at their convenience from the client portal.

 

Huge sigh of relief, isn’t it? Zoho Books has currently enabled Auto Charge for Stripe. Enabling auto charge for other payment gateways is not far away. So, ideally if your business is all about invoicing customers on a regular basis, configure Auto Charge in Zoho Books, sit back and relax. Watch Zoho Books do its magic with Auto Charge!

Spending Too Much Time Waiting for Payments?

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This is a guest post by Craig Keolanui of SmBizWinningTips.

According to a recent survey, over 50% of small businesses find collecting payments and late-paying customers to be the most challenging aspects of managing their cash flow and payment activities. And particularly for businesses running on low margins, late payments can be a huge setback.iStock_000019620208XSmall

Late payments can cripple a small business with cash flow problems!

Late payments not only reduce your revenue, but they also have you paying for goods (components of a sale) or services (payroll) while waiting for payments to come in. If your sales are increasing, but late payments are also taking off, you will have a revenue shortfall when you start paying your bills.

If you are not completely on top of your books, this can sneak up on you right when things start getting consistently busy. The joy of increasing sales can quickly be extinguished by the angst of having to call for payments when it comes time to pay for supplies or payroll. You have to do whatever you can to encourage early payments while deterring late payments.

There are several steps to take to encourage early payments. Invoicing in a timely manner goes a long way, but you can also try:

  1. Invoicing twice a month. Some companies cut checks on certain dates and you might receive half of the usual monthly activity a little early. Keep this in mind also for accounts that are getting bigger or keeping more money tied up.
  2. Make sure to establish contact with accounting departments at any of the businesses with delinquent account activity and send them email reminders after mailing each statement.
  3. Encourage paying off invoices as opposed to waiting for monthly statements.
  4. Give a credit on the next statement for any early payment. You can also set up a rewards program or discount for companies that pay before 15 or 20 days.
  5. When setting up accounts, give some kind of one-time credit or discount for any accounts that are set up with purchase cards (credit cards!). Accepting them eats into your margin, but you set a firm hook and make it easier to process orders and get paid in full.

Discouraging late payments can also help speed things up.  Here are some techniques to use:

  1. Charge the dreaded late fee. Make sure you spell things out and if you are just starting to establish late fees, be very specific about “invoice dates” vs. “statement dates”.
  2. Try calling clients who actually place orders to inform them of any issues getting payments out of accounting. Sometimes peer pressure will work better than any call you could make.
  3. Put up a list of delinquent accounts for staff members to act on if those customers place an order.
  4. Set yourself up to process electronic payments.  Many of these customers can be steered that direction and you can start offering it to others.

Increased sales is a good thing, but making sure you get paid for your sales is critical to keeping the cash flowing and avoiding coming up short.

Unbound – Freelancer’s bliss

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The age old adage that invoicing is boring is slowly replacing to the ‘fun thing that you do to get money on time’. Customer base is growing. Demands are at an all time high and you need to be on top of your business to stay ahead.

Previously it was enough to store customer data and create invoices from there. But now, when the ‘other guy’ (or gal) is doing a great job, you want to be nothing short of excellent. It’s advised from time immemorial to steer clear of factors that bind you to mediocrity and find avenues that lets you show off your skills better.

Imagine invoicing clients from a train! That’s what Mr Iwasaki does on a regular basis.
Mr. Iwasaki

Mr Iwasaki is a part of the growing phenomenon called ‘freelancers’ whose definition of office is home and work is fun. They enjoy what they do and adopt those softwares which help them do what they love doing the best.

Zoho Invoice had come into his life at an opportune moment when he was looking for respite from Microsoft Excel. Customer information is the key to any organization and managing them efficiently is important.

 

Mr. Iwasaki says,

Such data is supposed to be relational database and I was forced to manage it by Excel which was not efficient.

We are no longer a part of closed economy. Why restrict us then, when freedom is just a few clicks away!

Read ahead to find out more about this talented entrepreneur who wears multiple hats at his company.

Receive Partial Payments Online

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Peep into your Zoho Invoice or Zoho Books account and you’ll spot our
brand new addition, “Online Partial Payments”. Earlier, we had the option
to record partial payments manually for invoices, we’ve extended that further to
online payments as well.

Most often in businesses, by mutual
consent from both the seller and the buyer, the payment is accepted in
installments. If your business works this way, then you have some real
good news here. To keep up with your customers’ installment payments could be
rather difficult. With the introduction of partial payments, this issue would never resurface again.

Send an invoice out to the
customer, choose the option to let the customer make partial payments
for that invoice. As the customer pays, the amount due for the
invoice is deducted and closed eventually; when the customer pays up the
entire amount due for that invoice.

Get to know more about this feature from our help section.

Enjoy receiving payments, while we get back with another feature to rant about. Until then enjoy invoicing and accounting with us. Follow us on Twitter for quick updates.

Multi-Currency Enhancements in Zoho Invoice

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When we launched Zoho Invoice last year it was one of the few affordable online invoicing services to support multiple currencies. However, there were some limitations and we have been pleasantly surprised by the number of users seeking improvements. This upgrade addresses these limitations to a large extent. So let’s quickly get down to the details:

Currency decimal places – It’s configurable!

Prior to the upgrade, irrespective of the currency in which you operate the amounts were rounded to two decimal places. This doesn’t go well with customers in a few countries. Let me give you an example of Japanese Yen (JPY) that does not  have decimal places. Previously, when you raise an invoice totaling 100 Yen, the amount would appear as 100.00 in the invoice. Japanese customers tend to confuse 100.00 with 10000 Yen.
 
With this upgrade, you can configure the decimal places for JPY to 0 so that the .00 after 100 would no longer rear its ugly head. I am sure our friends in Japan will like this feature. We also hope our beloved customers in the Middle East and elsewhere who operate in currencies with 3 decimals will benefit.

Quantity Decimal Places -  Precision Personified

Zoho Invoice now supports six decimals places for quantity on an invoice. All amounts in the invoice will be formatted to display up to the decimal places you have specified. If you are a telecommunication company who calculates customer calls in minutes to the 4th decimal or any other business not happy with the restriction of 2 decimals, you can try out Zoho Invoice now – the quantity decimal places should no longer be a deal breaker. With this, your invoices should look more accurate and better.

Invoice Creation – Service/Item Prices in Foreign Currency

We have also made changes to the way the item prices are shown while creating/editing invoices in foreign currency. Henceforth, if the  invoice currency is different from your base currency item prices will be displayed in the invoice currency even while creating/editing the invoice. Previously, while creating invoices the item price were shown in base currency even though while viewing or sending the invoice they get converted to the invoice(foreign) currency. The amounts in invoice currency are calculated based on the exchange rate that you enter.

This upgrade lays the foundation for more exciting things to come from Zoho Invoice. We are in the midst of  a hot Indian summer and one way to beat the heat is by delivering some cool stuff for our customers. Stay tuned.

Importing data from Blinksale to Zoho Invoice

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We have been getting quite a few requests from our customers as to how they can import data from their Blinksale account to Zoho Invoice.  Earlier we used to send manual procedures and assist customers individually but still it was not easy for our customers to import the data.

Now with the last upgrade, we have made this import lot easier.  Here is how you can import your data from Blinksale to Zoho Invoice –

  1. Sign-in to Zoho Invoice and click on the “Settings” link at the top right.
  2. Now, click on the “Import from Blinksale” link at the left under the “Import & Export Settings”
  3. Fill in the requested details and click on the “Import” button

All your invoices and customers along with their associated details will be imported into Zoho Invoice.

We also recommend you to take a look at the following wiki doc – “Importing data from Blinksale” in which we have listed out the known issues.

After moving to Zoho Invoice, if I want to switch to some other invoicing service how easy or difficult will it be?

We sincerely hope you won’t do that :)  Anyway it is your choice.

You can export data out of Zoho Invoice anytime you want.  All you have to do is export the data from Zoho Invoice, change it to the format supported by that particular service and import it into that service.  We have a pretty comprehensive set of options to export your data.  We help exporting the data in CSV, TSV, XLS, JSON and other standard formats.  For further details you can refer the blog post that I made on importing and exporting options in Zoho Invoice.

What Next?

We are also working on our APIs and we will be releasing them shortly.  APIs will definitely add to the list of import/export options and will make the job of importing/exporting data lot easier.

Give this a try and share your comments.

Regards

Siva

Support for Google Checkout in Zoho Invoice

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Happy to announce the availability of one of the most requested and long awaited features in Zoho Invoice – “Google Checkout Integration”

Yes, we have integrated our service with Google Checkout.  We have already integrated our service with PayPal and now this integration gives more options to our customers.  Now they have the option to choose either PayPal or Google Checkout for accepting online payment from their customers.

Configuring Google Checkout in Zoho Invoice:

Configuring Google Checkout in Zoho Invoice is easy and can be done by following the steps below-

  1. Sign-in to Zoho Invoice and click on the “Settings” link at the top right.
  2. In the settings page that comes up, click on the “Payment Gateways” link under “Invoice Settings” on the left.
  3. Specify your “Merchant ID” and “Merchant Key” and click on the save button.

Updating the invoice balances:

When your customers pay you online via Google Checkout, we can automatically update your invoice balances.  For us to do this automatic update, you will have to do the following-

  1. Sign-in to your Google Checkout account and go to settings.
  2. Click on the “Integration” link on the left.
  3. Now set the “API callback URL” to “https://invoice.zoho.com/gnh.ma”

Getting notified when customers pay you online:

Over and above updating the invoice balances, we can also notify you when your customers pay you online.  Just select the “Notify me on online payments” option in the payment gateway settings page to receive the notification.

Sending payment thank-you to customers:

We can also send payment acknowledgement mails to your customers when they pay you online.  Just select the “Send acknowledgement to customers” option in the payment gateway settings page to send the thank-you mails.

What next?

We definitely have plans to add support for more payment gateways.  If you want us to add support for any specific payment gateway, let us know.  Based on the number of requests, we can prioritize and add support for it.

You can try out this feature by signing into Zoho Invoice now. We would definitely like to hear your comments and don’t forget to drop us a note when you enjoy using this feature.

Regards
Siva