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Use recurring bills if you bill a client for the same amount on a regular basis. Recurring bills are frequently used for billing retainers.
Note for former users of Creative Solutions Practice (CSP): Recurring bills were referred to as fixed fee bills in CSP.
Using recurring billing
The recurring bill process eliminates the need to go into the Billing screen and manually enter the billing amount against Work-in-Process (WIP) entries. Otherwise, billing and invoice printing works the same as when using the regular billing process. The following are some considerations when choosing which method to use.
- The recurring bill process does not give you an opportunity to do certain things that are available during the "regular" billing process. For example, you cannot compose the text of the invoice during billing. Also, billing amounts are automatically spread proportionally across all WIP in the specified engagement, and this breakdown cannot be edited.
- Recurring billing does not change the behavior of the invoice printing process. In other words, the detail region of the invoice will appear as usual — the descriptions are based on the invoice format (such as By Activity) and the WIP that was billed by the recurring bill. The recurring bill does not automatically create an invoice with a single, simple description unless you have specifically created a custom invoice format for that purpose.
- Unless specifically set up to do so, a recurring bill does not eliminate the need to actually enter WIP before you can bill in a month. If there are occasions when no WIP is entered for a client in a given period, only the progress bill method would allow a recurring bill to be created. You will then need to perform some additional steps at some point in the future to close out the accumulated progress bills against any accumulated WIP (as the billing amounts do not directly relieve these transactions).
- If the approval/posting process is enabled for billing, using a recurring bill does not eliminate the requirement to go to the Review tab and approve/post the invoice.
If any of these considerations is an issue for your firm, a better option may be to use the regular billing process and simply enter the amount you want to bill manually.
Setting up recurring billing
Before you can generate a recurring bill for a client, you must complete some setup steps. See Setting up recurring bills for more information.
Generating a recurring bill
- Choose Actions > Billing.
- In the Billing screen, click the Generate Recurring Bills tab.
- You can optionally filter the list by various criteria, including any recurring bill descriptions you have set up.
- In the Generate using invoice date field, select the date you want to use as the invoice date.
- Mark the checkboxes for the clients or engagements you want to bill.
Note: If you want to override the default invoice format for the selected engagements, select the desired format from the Format override field at the top of the screen.
- Click the Generate Selected button. Practice CS automatically creates and saves a bill for the recurring amount.
- If your firm uses the approval/posting process for billing, click the Review tab to approve and post the invoice. If desired, you can print the invoice from either the Review tab or by choosing File > Print Invoices & Statements.
- There is no limit to the number of times that you can use recurring bills in a month.
- If you choose a recurring bill client using the Detail Bill Selected option, you will be prompted whether to include the recurring bills on the current invoice. If you click Yes, Practice CS will spread the recurring bill amount proportionally across the existing WIP for that engagement whether or not you have already done a recurring bill that month.
- To add an additional charge to a recurring bill, select the client and choose the Detail Bill Selected option. Click Yes to include the recurring bill on this invoice and bill the additional time or expenses as needed.
- The format used for any invoice created as a recurring bill is the default format selected for the client in Setup > Client > Billing & A/R tab. You do not have the ability to modify the text on the bill as you would on one created in Detail Billing. If you use an invoice format grouped by engagement, then you can specify a default invoice description on the recurring engagement on each client. If you use an invoice format grouped by activity, the same description can be set on the setup screen for each activity. Specifying a default description will ensure that your invoices contain appropriate descriptions for the engagement or activities billed.