How To Send an Invoice and Receive Payment
Always invoice regularly. Set up some sort of reminder (you can do this in Slack or Google Calendar), so that you don’t forget to send an invoice, or avoid invoicing because you feel like there are too few or too many hours. In either case, the problem will just get worse if you wait.
The Computer Lab week starts on Monday. So, if you invoice bi-weekly, you can send out invoices on Monday morning for the last two week’s work.
If a project starts in the middle of a week, include the previous days of the week in that bi-weekly billing period. Stated another way, billing periods always start on a Monday, and end on Sunday, inclusive.
Creating and Sending the Invoice
Create the invoice in Harvest. Prefer to use the “Summary By People Hours” option, because it makes it easy to figure the amount owed to different people who worked on the project.
Toggling back and forth between “Summary By People Hours” and “Detailed Line Items” can help you ensure that there wasn’t any time tracked erroneously, or easily sum up the hours that different people worked.
If the client is interested in seeing a detailed report of hours worked, you can export a custom report as a CSV from the “Reports” tab and attach it to the invoice.
For the subject of the invoice, use this format:
$PROJECT_NAME: MM/DD/YY - MM/DD/YY
Make sure you set the due date correctly. “Net 15” means the invoice is due in fifteen days, “Net 30” means the invoice is due in thirty days. Prefer Net 15 or less payment terms.
When you send the invoice (the email contact for the client should already be set up), the invoice will be automatically copied into Xero, our accounting software.
Creating Bills for Subcontractors
If the work for the invoice required working with a subcontractor, you need to create a bill in Xero so that we know to pay that subcontractor.
If the subcontractor has not been entered as a Contact, add their contact information by clicking the “+” menu item, and then clicking Contact.
Then, click the “+” menu item again and select “Bill” to create a bill for that subcontractor. For the item type, choose “Consulting”, and in the description, include the type of worked performed, the project, and the billing period. Ex:
Programming for Foo project: MM/DD/YY - MM/DD/YY. If the work was performed at an hourly rate, use the total number of hours and multiply it by the subcontractors rate to give the total. For the Account field, use “Subcontractors - COS” because this subcontracting was a cost incurred while providing services to a client. Set the due date to the date that the subcontractor expects to be paid, as specified in the contract.
As soon as we recieve a check in the mail, mark the invoice as paid in Harvest. This will prevent automated reminder emails being sent to the client. These emails are sent once the invoice is three days late, and every seven days thereafter.
When we receive payment to our bank account by depositing a check, it will show up in the Xero bank feed, where we can automatically match it with the invoice. Similarly, when a subcontractor deposits a check from us, it’ll show up in the bank feed and be matched with the bill. This process of reconciliation ensures that we know when we’ve received and provided payment.
Once payment has been received and reconciled, add the total number of dollars billed by a Computer Lab partner as a new row in their Labcoin ledger for the current year, which is stored as a Google Sheet in the “Accounting” folder. Also include the URL of the invoice in Harvest. For more information about Labcoin, read the Labcoin README.