[Emerald] Dates in billing section

David V. Brenner ( (no email) )
Thu, 22 Jul 1999 11:51:31 -0700

Okay, stupid question time.

After finding that Emerald had expired 300 people this morning, we're trying
to gain a better understanding of how Emerald uses dates to invoice, expire.

Currently, we are set up in such a way that if a customer signs up on July
22, he pays for a full month (plus a setup fee) and is immediately e-mailed
a bill for the remaining 9 days of August. He has until the fifth of August
to pay that bill. On August 15, he is billed again for payment due
September 1. We've been doing this manually for a long, long time.

We realize that this is probably not conducive to the way Emerald does
things because it is not a true monthly system. It is actually somewhat of
a mix of monthly and anniversary and, as we know, Emerald wants one or the

For reasons such as this, we have been greatly delayed in moving to Emerald
as a billing system and have been using it for authentication and as a means
to interface with other systems. However, we need to use it for billing and
we want to make it happen as soon as possible.

On one hand, we have considered anniversary billing, but feel that billing
as a daily ritual, while great for cash flow, could potentially be confusing
for staff and may leave room for error.

On the other hand, we're not quite sure how to handle monthly billing in
such a way that allows Emerald to work correctly. To bill on the first of
the month solely, without a complicated payment structure, I would think
that it would be best to prorate the first month and collect for that as
well as the setup fee. But should there be exceptions to this?

For instance, if a customer signs up on the second to last day of the month,
we don't necessarily want to send him out the door with an active account in
exchange for a setup fee plus two days paid service. So we've considered a
cut-off date for prorates. Let's say the 20th of the month. So, if the
customer signs up before the 20th, he pays the setup fee plus the days
remaining in the current month. If, however, he signs up on the 20th or
later, he pays setup plus the remaining days in the current month plus the
entire following month. This way, we maximize the amount we take in upon
signup but without making the customer feel that he is paying for two full
months ahead of time. Has anyone had any success with this method?
Basically, I'd just like to know what other people are doing.

As for the dates in the billing section, I'd be interested in knowing
exactly what triggers what and how the dates would be set for the prorated
scenario described above.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

David V. Brenner - dvb@cport.com
International Services Network Corporation

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