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How to create staged invoices from an estimate

Hi glen. Thanks for your response. I appreciate that it would be tricky to achieve a solution to this to suit all the different types of services your clients provide.

For us we don’t need to allocate or split products to each part of an invoice. Our deposit is a percentage of the service we will provide.

We are a hire company, mainly servicing weddings, so our deposit invoice secures a booking which may not actually happen until 2 years later. We don’t count the expected income from the rest of the estimate using QF as it isn’t actually due until the time of the event so we don’t want to have it showing as bad debt or trigger vat reporting until the appropriate time.

Also a customer has the right to cancel, so until the final amount is due there is no guarantee the income will actualise.

I’m happy with our work around as it produces the figures I need at reporting times.

F :slight_smile:

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In my situation it is simple to solve. I have a quote, I convert it to an invoice with 50% due on receipt and the remainder due on completion. It it is highly unlikely that it would be posted to anything other than general sales. None of the other issues apply either, as they probably don’t to quite a few, if not most people requiring this feature. Could this be implemented so at least us simple people could use the feature?

For the more complex users could you not switch it around, and set an amount due made up from whatever the rounded totals of the invoice lines are? This would mean that you don’t have to round multiple lines/nominals/currencies to get an exact percentage.

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What we don’t want to do is rebuild complex scheduling logic if we can leverage something that already exists. We have recurring invoices, so to get anything like this working we need to build on top of that. However even then recurring invoices deal with fixed repetitive amounts, so it won’t work in the example @briggers provides where there’s a 30% and 50% balancing invoice.

I still don’t see technically how this can be achieved easily without creating a lot more background logic or allowing users very granular control over how the original estimate should be split up, which means more complex UI. To get something that works would involve limiting it’s use so much that I don’t see that it would be a great return on the development resources invested.

I still think there’s a solution here, I just don’t know right now the most solid and reliable way to implement it.

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Hi Glenn,

I was looking to post a feature request around this area, but since one is already open I thought it best to add my thoughts here.

For me, I often issue estimates which contain multiple services. For example (for our graphic design work) we might include design of Letterhead, Business Cards and a website, plus printing of the Letterhead and business cards.

Often these are completed at different times - i.e the Letter Head and Business Card are designed and printed, but the website isn’t completed until a few weeks later when we get the content from the client.

For me the option to open an advanced dialogue box and say per line on the estimate “invoice X qty of this line”. For example (I hope the table displays ok):

  Quoted To Invoice Remaining
Letterhead 1 __1__ 0
Business Cards 10 __5__ 5

In the “to invoice” box you enter a value up to the number quoted and remaining would be reduced. Therefore you could invoice some lines and not others, and indeed invoice part lines.

This is effectively what Sage Line 50 does (or at least used to when I last used it). They also allowed decimal ‘To Invoice’ values although this is more complex and I’m not sure is necessary.

In the backend you would need to track how many items have been invoiced which I assume would require an extra database field, and a new interface / pop up for the form - but shouldn’t need to be too complex. Possible also adding an new status of Part Invoiced would also make sense.

For those invoicing in stages, the estimate could be split into multiple lines. For example the original poster on this thread could create an estimate with 3 lines and then bill each line separately. Or the person with the deposit could have the deposit and balance on separate lines.

You could even leave the existing system as is (so most customers don’t see an extra screen) but have an ‘advanced invoice’ link for those of us who do need this. This also allows the potential to report on how much work is on the books but not yet invoiced (i.e. Work In Progress calculations).

Sorry for the long reply!

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Thanks for your input @jeaston. I don’t really favour introducing more controls to schedule invoices from estimates, it’s extremely difficult gluing them all together with existing dependencies and it’s not possible to satisfy all requirements without adding significant complexity to our code-base.

What happens when underlying estimates change, e.g. nominal codes, VAT percentages, discounts or when scheduled invoicing dates are updated, estimates cancelled or cloned? There’s a great deal of work that needs to go on to maintain consistency and this is where the challenge lies. Even if the technical hurdles are solved it’s still not likely to fulfill the requirements for a good percentage of users.

Personally I believe this is a whole domain in itself and belongs in your own back-office system with an API link to trigger the invoices in QuickFile. We are in the process of building a marketplace for 3rd party Apps, so I think this would be a great use-case.

Hi Glenn,

Just to clarify, I wasn’t thinking about anything being scheduled or automated. Just the ability to choose to invoice part of an estimate today, and another part tomorrow.

At present I create an invoice from the estimate, delete the lines that don’t yet apply and then mark the estimate status back to accepted (unless of course that was the last invoice for that estimate). I therefore have to track what has been invoiced and what is outstanding.

Ultimately I may be better off designing my own system if a simple multiple invoices to single estimate system is to complex for QuickFile.

I agree with the point raised by @jeaston: it would be very helpful to have a way to know how much of the estimate has been invoiced and how much is still outstanding.

The system should be able to track that and allow partial invoicing from a single estimate.

We need to be able to do this too, at the moment we don’t convert our estimates because a lot of the time we will be raising more than one invoice for that piece of work

Has anything changed or improved in relation to this thread
I could also do with the ability to invoice part of an estimate 50% as a deposit as said earlier in this thread most of our invoices go in general sales.
I have tried playing with the invoice but can’t find a solution without having the remainder showing as an outstanding over due invoice

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Hi @BigDan

There hasn’t been any changes here I’m afraid.

However, your interest has been noted and we’ll let you know here if anything does change.

Staged invoicing would be useful for our business. Currently, we have to raise an estimate - convert to invoice - delete some lines off invoice - send invoice - go back to estimate - revert back to draft - delete the lines invoiced and flag as sent again. This is the process we have to go through for every client as we have multiple lines on all orders and all invoiced at different times. So as you can see it would be very helpful to have a select line items to invoice , leaving the rest in the estimate type of process

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I’d definitely support a “pay by instalments” option for invoices. We often sell packages that can be bought in one go or across several months and it’s tedious setting up the multiple invoices for them. Being able to make one invoice then set it to collect £X initially and £Y every {week/month/etc.} would be really helpful.

It’s possible a next iteration on that would be to set up the payments but only collect them on a manual action to progress through each stage - you’d need some report to see partial invoices that need pushing forwards though.

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Interested on this too.

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Any news on this? This would be a big help for us to.

Yes we could use this. It would be a important update for us.

Hi @upgradeproperty

There are no updates here I’m afraid. We will activately post updates as and when they happen.

I’d also like to vote for this as a feature request. Having the option for clients to pay a deposit on a total amount i.e. 50% upfront and then the other 50% on completion of a given project would be useful to save creating multiple invoices.

Hi @Ad_Morris

You can add your vote for this feature at the top of the thread.

Great thank you, I missed that.

This topic has arisen this week, we had an invoice to do from for a quotation which has involved staged payments and so not all of the work has been completed. This will of course involves additional paperwork but I cannot see how this situation is easily resolved through QF, this will always be the case when invoicing is done in stages, for the majority of us this situation is rather rare and so can be managed when the situation arises by making those tweaks.

“Tweak the invoice” by removing items not ready for requesting payment and then issue that first invoice. Afterwards; return to the quotation and issue another invoice(s) and remove the lines not required in the invoice(s).