An introduction to Contacts
Contacts are individual clients or suppliers that you’ve added to FreeAgent in order to create invoices, estimates, or bills, and also to manage projects.
The Contacts section is where you can manage these clients and suppliers. Each contact has a full account history, including detailed breakdowns for projects, and invoices grouped with payments. You can also generate a statement of account to send to any of your clients or suppliers, showing their open or outstanding invoices, and optionally also payments received, within a specified date range.
All your business's contacts, both clients and suppliers, can be accessed from the main contacts screen. You can add new contacts directly from here so they're ready to use when you create an invoice, estimate, project or bill – use the Add New Contact option to get started.
Clients are also included here automatically if a new contact is added when you create an invoice or an estimate. So a contact automatically becomes a customer when you create the invoice or estimate. Likewise, a new contact automatically becomes a supplier when you create a bill.
View your contacts either as a grid (default view) or as a list, by selecting the list view option. You can then also choose which contacts to view by using the filter options.
To filter by name, select the initial letter of the organisation, or if you haven't entered an organisation name, the individual's surname.
Filtering by type gives you a further set of options to help you find invoices quickly. For example, if you only want to see clients with active projects, choose the option from the drop-down menu.
You might also want to see hidden contacts – these are contacts that you don’t want to appear when you're creating a new invoice, or a new bill, anywhere else in FreeAgent. This essentially lets you tidy up your lists of contacts if you're no longer working with a particular client or supplier.
Money owed and owing
You can see how much money each client owes you and how much you owe to each supplier.
Projects for clients
You can also see whether any active projects are attached to particular clients. Select the drop-down arrow to see more information about the projects.
To view the details for an individual contact, just select their name in the main contacts screen. This then opens the contact details screen for that contact – each contact has the following information available in a series of tabs:
The summary tab shows the contact's name and address information, and also includes the invoice referencing system you're using. You might be using business-wide referencing in which case you'd see 'Global sequence' here, or you can use contact-specific referencing. This is useful if you want to use a different prefix for each client's sales invoices.
This tab is also where to set the status of a contact – for example, hiding a contact, or making a contact active. You’ll find a summary of any outstanding or open items for the contact - with totals for invoices and bills. This is complemented by an all time totals view showing the total amounts received and paid.
You can create a new project, invoice, recurring invoice profile, estimate or bill from any contact directly, by selecting the Add New button next to Edit Details – choose the option you want from the drop-down menu.
The projects tab lists details for any active and any finished projects for the contact.
The invoices tab lists all invoices issued to the contact along with the status of each invoice. Receipts and credit notes are grouped with each invoice, making it easier to see which invoices are only part-paid, and to see the payment history related to a single invoice.
There's also the option to filter the invoices view here by 'Open and Outstanding', 'Paid', or 'Unpaid/Written-off' here depending on what you need to see for that contact.
This tab shows all the recurring invoice profiles for the contact, including the value, frequency and the next recurring date. You can also click through to the profile from here so you can easily make edits if you need to.
The bills tab lists all bills issued to the contact along with the status of each bill. You can choose, from the first drop-down menu, whether you want to see all your bills, or just some of them. You can also filter the list of bills by dates, by selecting the right-hand drop-down menu.
Statement of Account
Create and send a statement of account to a contact or supplier. You can choose to include everything, payments as well as invoices or bills, or just open and overdue invoices.
The account history tab is a full record of all your transactions with the contact. This includes invoices, bills, payments, receipts, and any credit notes. These are listed starting with your most recent transactions and also include the status of individual items – for example, whether an invoice or bill is open, overdue, or paid etc.
You can add notes to each contact – for example, you might want to add a note to let your colleagues know if a particular client is a slow payer.
Changing a contact's details
To edit details for a contact, select the Edit button for the contact, or, with the contact open, select the Edit Details button at the top of the Contact Details screen.
Invoice payment panel
At the right hand side of the screen, you can view a contact’s Invoice Payments panel. This shows on average how late or early your contact pays you in respect of the payment terms you've agreed with them. Please note that if the selected contact hasn’t paid three invoices in full in the past year, this panel won’t appear.
If the panel does appear, there are three different kinds of message that can appear here. These are: the average number of days late, the average number of days early, or simply a message that this contact usually pays on time.
You will occasionally see this information appear as part of the late payment Insight.
Once you've entered an invoice or a bill for a contact, that contact cannot be deleted from FreeAgent. If a contact doesn't yet have any entries against it, there will be a delete option in that contact’s details screen.