You may well need to send regularly recurring invoices to a customer, for example if you're taking monthly payment by direct debit and need to invoice the customer for each different payment. Here's how to set up a profile in FreeAgent for a series of recurring invoices.
To start setting this up, select Work, and choose Recurring Invoices.
Select the Add Recurring Profile button.
You'll see that you've got a setup screen very like that for an ordinary invoice.
So in this article, we'll just take you through the areas that are specific to setting up a series of recurring invoices. There's more information elsewhere in the knowledge base about setting up a new contact, a new project, and a new invoice.
First, choose which client this series of recurring invoices is for, then choose your project if applicable.
FreeAgent then automatically gives the series a starting reference number. This is the reference number that will be given to the first invoice in the series. The subsequent invoices will be given reference numbers in sequence, depending on what other invoices have been issued in the interim. So for example, if the first invoice in the series is number 23, and you issue two more invoices before the second invoice in the series goes out, the second invoice in the series will be number 26. The default referencing system is global, which means that the same referencing system will be used for all your invoices. The other options are client-specific or project-specific, and you'd set those to each client or project in those areas.
How often will a new invoice be issued?
Enter the date of the first invoice in the series, and then set the intervals at which the invoices will go out in the series, by choosing from the Frequency drop-down menu.
Please be aware that monthly recurring invoices are generated on the same day every month, so if you choose a start date of 30th September, the invoice will recur on the 30th October.
How long will the series last?
If this series is going to stop after a given length of time, set its closing date in the box next to the Frequency drop-down menu.
Put in the rest of the information as you would for any other invoice. You can really speed up the sending of repeated invoices by choosing to automatically email these to your customers. You can set this up under the Invoice Emails options.
You might need to set up an automatic new invoice email to send these invoices, but there is a link you can select here to do that quickly.
When you've finished creating the recurring profile, select Create Profile, or Cancel to close this screen without saving the profile.
If you select Create Profile, you'll see the outline profile ready for you to start working with, by adding invoice items to it.
Adding items to the profile
Do this just as you would for any other invoice, by selecting Add an Invoice Item. You can also edit the profile - for example, change how often you send these invoices - by selecting Edit at the top of the screen.
Activating the profile
When you've finished adding items and are sure the profile is set up correctly, select the Activate button. FreeAgent will check that you're sure in a pop-up box, so select OK to this if you are sure.
This will start the profile working.
What happens on each date I've chosen?
On every date in the recurring sequence, the profile will generate a new invoice. You can see below the activated profile that the first invoice has already been generated.
Editing and sending the invoices
Select this invoice to add more items to it. You'll only be able to do this if you haven't set the profile up to send invoices automatically.
Unless you've set up the New Invoice emails on this profile, the invoice then needs to be sent just like any other invoice, either manually by email from FreeAgent or from your programme by saving the email as a .pdf. You can set the New Invoice emails at profile level, or, by selecting Edit when the invoice is open, you can set them just for this invoice.
Any changes that you make to this one invoice, such as editing its details or adding new items, will affect only this invoice, not the entire profile. If you want to add more items to the profile, you need to edit that specifically, starting from Invoices > Recurring. Bear in mind though, that these changes will only affect invoices created by the profile that have not already been sent or marked as sent.
Then on the next due date in the recurring sequence that you set for the profile, it will generate another invoice.
Can I create a recurring profile from an existing invoice?
You can indeed. Open the invoice in question, then select the "More" button, and choose "Create recurring profile from this invoice". You'll be taken to the New Recurring Profile screen, which will already be filled in with the details of the invoice you chose. Review the details, then select "Create new profile" followed by "Activate" on the subsequent screen to set up the recurring invoice.
How do I edit a recurring invoice profile?
Navigate to "Work" and "Recurring invoices" and find the profile you want to edit from the list. Select the "Edit" button, make the necessary changes to the recurring invoice profile and then select "Update profile". You'll then be taken back to your list of recurring invoice profiles. To confirm the changes to the recurring invoice profile, choose the relevant profile ID number from the list, then select "Make draft", followed by "Activate".
Following this process will ensure that the recurring invoice profile will be updated with the latest changes, and that your future invoices will display the correct information. If you only edit the details of the recurring invoice profile without marking it as draft and then activating it again, the changes won't be applied to your future invoices.