Re: Billing is too confusing: how does it work?

Dale E. Reed Jr. ( (no email) )
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 01:13:32 -0700

Pat Augustine wrote:
> What finally worked for me is to set a Default Expire in Emerald
> Administrator of 0 days. In other words, somebody expires the minute they
> sign up. I put 15 days in the Extend field to give them access while
> waiting for their first payment.
> Why? The billing date is from Expire to Expire plus Payperiod. If you
> create them with an expire date of 14 days from now, their first invoice is
> from 14 days from now to a month from then and these 14 days are "free"
> (inasmuch as there's not an invoice for that period). I didn't want that. I
> wanted a billing period from the day they sign up to a month from then,
> with a grace period to receive their first payment. Extend accomplishes
> this, as it is automatically set to 0 when a payment is posted.
> Unfortunately I can't get Default Extend (in Emerald Administrator) to
> function so each new account has to have the Extend set manually. Not a big
> deal, just something to remember.

You can specify the default expire AND extend in the Admin from about
and higher. Using both, gives great flexibility in creating accounts.
people do as you do above, others give a "getting started" period or
period as you stated above. What version of the admin are you using?

> There's two ways you can do this. You can create a Charge for the Setup
> Fee, then run the Charges (from the Batch Tab) so the charge will be
> consolidated into the bill before creating their first bill. This can take
> time if you have a lot of call data.

You don't have to run the charges consolidation for manual charges to
show up on invoices.

> Or you can create a Service of "Setup Fee", add it to the MBR, create
> their first Invoice and then delete the Service again so they don't get
> billed for it each month, but it shows up on their first bill. This seems
> more awkward than it is in practice, and soon becomes simple and easy (can
> you guess which I do?).

The setup fee should return soon. I am actually sure why it was
This allows you to configure a setup fee for each account type.

> > Why aren't there docs for this thing yet?
> New docs were posted in the Beta area today, as I'm sure Dale will be
> happy to point out (Thanks Dale! They aren't complete but they are a huge
> improvement over nothing!).

Actually, those are just rough beta. I should have pulled them back
but forgot to. :( As you noticed, they are complete, but pretty close.
The tech guide and the RadiusNT docs are not in there.

> Having said all that, and reminding you that this is the system I made up
> and is not officially endorsed (and even changes as I find out what it does
> and doesn't do well), here's what I'm doing as of Today. It works as far as
> I can tell, though there are a few caveats. Use at your own risk, etc.
> 1. From the main Emerald Screen, click "Add".
> 2. Enter personal information (Name, address, etc).
> 3. On the Billing Tab, be certain to change the Pay Period field from
> "Annual" to "Monthly" or whatever is correct.
> 4. Set the Extend (just under Expiration) to 15.
> 5. If the customer is using a credit card, be sure to check "Auto Bill" and
> put the expiration date in in the form of YYMM (such as 9802).

The format is actually dependant on your CC system you are using.
SoftDeposit should be MMYY. I believe either PTC or CardServices
is the way you specified.

> 6. Return to the Master Tab and hit Save. New Tabs will appear. Select
> "Services".
> 7. Hit "Add" and fill in the appropriate information. Most accounts are PPP
> (standard dialup).
> 8. Add any additional services (additional Email, etc).
> 9. IF THEY ARE MONTHLY ONLY, add a service of "Setup Fee" unless they have
> no setup fee for some reason. If you do this on a non-monthly account, the
> setup fee will be charged for each month (ie, 3 times for Quarterly).
> 10. IF THEY ARE NOT MONTHLY, save the account and open it back up. On the
> Master Tab, Click Charges and add a charge of "Setup Fee" at whatever you
> charge. You'll have to manually key it in. Save the charge and the account.
> Go to the Batch Tab and click Charges. This can take a while. This will
> apply the charge to their invoice. Then follow the procedure below for
> creating either an Invoice or Credit Card charge, depending on their
> payment method.

Step 10 does NOT apply charges to invoices. Charges get applied to
when you hit the actual "Create" button.

> 11. IF THEY ARE INVOICE, While the account is open, pull down the Master
> Menu and choose "Invoice Next Term". This will create an invoice for them,
> you can see it in the Payments Tab.

Selecting renewal for step 12 is the same and can save time for a lot
of customers.

> 12. IF THEY ARE CREDIT CARD, Save the account and go to the Batch Tab. Put
> in todays date and set the Type to Credit Card. Click on Create. It should
> say "Invoice 2 Services?" (login name and setup fee). If it's got the
> correct number, click OK and a credit card charge will be created. You can
> open up the account and verify it in the Payments Tab.
> 13. Once you've verified the invoice, go to the Services Tab and delete the
> Setup Fee service, otherwise they'll be charged a Setup Fee each month.
> 14. Save the account and pull down the "External Systems" menu and choose
> "Batch Accounts". Click OK or YES to all dialog boxes that come up. This
> will create the email accounts (assuming you have External Systems
> configured to do so).
> When you are ready to batch, you should go to the Batch Tab. All new
> signup invoices will already exist.
> Click Charges to consolidate charges for existing customers.
> It appears it works better if you do Credit Cards before Invoices. I
> usually do Credit cards pretty close to expire date, as there's no need for
> lead time if you are going to process them.

You should do CC, then Renewal, the Invoice. Invoice (if at all) should
always be last. Most people do NOT use invoices.

> Put in the Date for which you wish to create a Credit Card Batch and set
> the Type to Credit Card. Click create. It'll tell you how many, click ok if
> it looks reasonable. It'll create them. Batch them out, process them in
> your credit card software and batch them back in. They get marked as Sent
> (I believe) in this process.
> Put in the Date for which you wish to create Invoices (I usually do about
> two weeks ahead). Be sure the type is set to Renewal. Click Create. It'll
> tell you how many it's going to do. Click ok if it looks reasonable. It'll
> create them. Clear the date and click print and all Invoices not marked as
> Sent (including all those you created during the week, month, whatever for
> new signups will print and give you the opportunity to mark them as sent.
> If you do Invoices before batching credit cards, you will print an Invoice
> for all your credit card people, too, so if that's what you want, great,
> but otherwise watch out for that.

I'll see about adding a criteria so that it doesn't do that. For now,
do the order correctly and you should be fine.

-- Dale E. Reed Jr.  (       IEA Software, Inc.      |  RadiusNT, Emerald, and NT FAQs Internet Solutions for Today  |