Xero is a fantastic software service for tracking and reviewing financial performance in a legally compliant way. But from a perspective of presenting options to your clients so that you can get paid efficiently and automatically in advance of the sale it is somewhat limited for client services businesses.
As a business using Xero alone wanting to move to a model where a client makes a payment commitment to you at a confirmed time, you are somewhat limited to either:
- invoicing first and presenting payment options on the Xero invoice (and therefore reliant on the client taking action to pay you and all the chasing that is involved in that), or;
- setting up a basic e-commerce site and having the payment service that you attach to that e-commerce service collect the payment for you to deposit it in your bank account.
Connectably offers you a middle way. Instead of having the uncertainty and unpredictability of (1), or the expense and confusion of (2), you can host secure order forms using the software. When you want to sell to your prospects, just create a form (or re-use an existing one for something you've sold before), include the products or services you want to sell, choose the payment service you're going to get paid through (GoCardless for direct debits or electronic bank transfers, Stripe for debit or credit cards, or 'Offline' to just trigger the sending of the invoice via Xero for payment manually.
This help guide talks you through how order forms interact with Xero and the link at the bottom of the guide will take you to the next step, setting up your first order form in Connectably.
1. Sending Invoices
When you create an order form you'll be asked if you want Xero to send invoices out automatically on your behalf. There are two times this can happen - when the payment is authorised (order form submission), and when the invoice is paid (typically 7-9 days later when the payment service has taken payment from your client and paid out to your bank account). You can choose one, or the other, or both of these options. See below:
2. Products and Sales Options
Connectably fully syncs from Xero your products and services (Xero: Business > Products and Services, previously known as 'Inventory') into Connectably's order forms and opportunity records so that you can select them to sell to your clients. The screenshot below is from the second page of the order form set up. The annotated item numbers are described further below:
- 'Refresh from Xero' - Connectably regularly refreshes contacts, companies, payment information and products from Xero, but if you've only just added products or services to Xero's Products and Services section, then clicking this button will fully refresh the product list in Connectably with the latest updates from Xero.
- 'Item' Product Selector - begin typing in this box and products using this text string will be returned in a drop down list. Choose the product or service from the list that you want to add to the order form. The 'Description' from Xero will be added to the order form when you select the product, and this can be edited so that your buyers see something different to the information that Xero holds.
- 'Unit Price' - when you've selected a product, Xero pulls in the price of that item (excluding taxes) from Xero. You can edit the price here if you want to charge your clients a different amount.
- 'Subscription Interval' - if the product you have chosen in (2) is associated with a subscription / recurring payments revenue accounts in Xero (see this and this help article, if this is unclear to you), then Connectably will ask you to configure how you want to bill for these recurring services: You can enter subscription intervals by day (where '1' would be daily billing, '7' would be weekly, '14' would be bi-weekly etc), or by month (where '1' would be monthly, '2' would be bi-monthly, '3' would be quarterly, '12' would be annually etc). You are also asked to specify how many times the client will be charged. Leaving this box empty will set up an ongoing subscription without termination date; whereas putting a number in here will set the maximum number of occurrences that the client will be billed - e.g. '3' would mean that the client would be billed for 3 cycles.
Important note on managing the billing / sync process:
Once payment methods, items, prices and (where relevant) subscription intervals have been set in Connectably's order form, Connectably manages that payment and billing process as the hub of those activities. For subscriptions, you don't need to set up recurring invoices in Xero. Connectably will do that for you, managing the payment-triggering process in GoCardless / Stripe for you, and recording the new invoices and payment updates in Xero as things happen. Think of Connectably as the hub managing Xero and your payment providers in this process.
Now you've understood how Connectably's order forms interact with Xero, let's move on to setting up an order form.