Here's how to set up automatic invoice emails to send reminders to your clients that invoices are due, or overdue, for payment.
Automatic email reminders are managed in Settings where you can create one or more rules to apply to your invoices. These can be removed or edited at any time, for instance if your payment terms change.
When creating an invoice you'll then have the option to email payment reminders if your invoice goes unpaid. This will use all the active reminder rules for your invoice.
Setting up a new reminder rule
Select Settings, and choose Email Templates.
Select the 'Add Reminder' tab to set up a new rule.
Timing of the reminder
Choose when you want to send this reminder, that is, how many days, before or after, the invoice due date. If you choose to send the reminder after the invoice is due, you can also tick this box here and choose to send it again at intervals. This lets you send, for example, a weekly reminder to slow payers. These reminders will automatically stop once the invoice has been paid in full.
Because you can set up more than one reminder rule, you could have one to remind clients just before payment is due, and another to remind them once the invoice goes overdue. You may well choose to word the second one more strongly!
Building the reminder
Use the tags in the list over on the right-hand side to build the content for the To, Subject and Text boxes.
From / To
The From email can be any one of the users who are set up in FreeAgent. Choose the user from the drop-down menu. You can also tick the box under the From email box to send a copy of this email, and the invoice, to the sender. This is useful if you're a bookkeeper and you need to show the finance manager that you've sent the invoice.
The To email, by default, is your client's contact email that you set up under Contacts, but you can amend this to the billing email for that contact which can also be set up under Contacts. To amend the tag, simply type in an extra _billing into the tag, so that it matches the tag in the list on the right.
If you put "[contact_billing_email],[contact_email]" in the To field, the email will go out assuming that the contact has one or other of the email addresses entered, and if you use the tag [billing_or_contact_email] in the To field, then if you've put in a billing email address that will be used, but if there's no billing email, FreeAgent will use the contact's main email address.
The Subject field already has the reference tag in it, so the subject of the email will include the reference number of the invoice. You can of course change this if you wish.
Invoice as attachment
The invoice that you're reminding the client about will be sent attached to this email as a .pdf, in case the client lost or deleted the original invoice.
Other default attachment
You can also attach other files to your invoice reminders, if you wish. To do this, select the Attach Files link, and choose the file from your Files store that you want to attach, or you can upload a new file.
Remember that this file will be attached to all your reminder emails.
Build the body text using the tags. There is some sample text for you to use and edit as you wish.
Once you're happy with this reminder rule, select Create Reminder, or Cancel to close without saving.
How does the reminder work once it's set up?
As you set up a new invoice, or edit an existing invoice that's in draft, you can tick the second of the three Invoice Emails boxes under Invoice Details, to use all the active reminder rules when sending this invoice. If you’ve set default options for the client you’re invoicing, this option will be updated automatically. Remember to save your changes if you're editing an existing invoice.
The reminder rules will start sending automatically from FreeAgent on the appropriate dates once you have sent this invoice to your client and marked it as sent.
When you open that invoice, you can see that FreeAgent tells you that the reminder rules are operating, and when the invoice will be sent. The reminder emails will only start when the invoice has been marked as sent. Reminder emails are not sent for draft invoices.
Can I see which invoices have reminders set?
Go to Work > Invoicing and filter the list to show only invoices "With active reminder emails".
FreeAgent can also send other emails for you, including sending a new invoice and thanking your client for paying.