Xero released its version of invoice reminders this week after announcing it at Xerocon in August. The feature sends template emails at intervals selected by the user which remind customers to pay overdue (or due soon) invoices.
Xero did a good job outlining the case for reminders and the benefits for cash flow in its blog. “Unpaid invoices mean you’re operating without money that you should have in the bank. And every minute you spend chasing them is time you could have been working on something else that makes you money. That’s a double whammy.”
Invoice Reminders in Xero have their own section where you can customise the message sent to customers (send polite notes for invoices a week overdue to “I’m gonna drive through your front door” at the 90 day mark).
While the options are fairly limited, the interface looks good and it works well. The best part is that Xero has included multiple ways to turn off invoice reminders. You can set a minimum amount so you’re not bugging people who owe you $5, you can turn it off for a particular invoice you may have followed up by phone, and you can select clients to whom you never want to send reminders.
Other features include:
- add or delete to the series of reminders, you can create up to 5 reminders
- create a pre reminder for those customers that are invoiced less frequently – a helpful warning that the bill is due soon
- avoid sending reminders for those tiny outstanding amounts that you are happy to write-off
- include a link to the invoice PDF if that is your preference
- select the reply to address for your invoice reminders
For more detail on how it works, check out Xero’s post.
To the question for most Xero users – is it worth using a dedicated debt management app or will Xero’s version of reminders do? The answer depends on how much you will rely on this feature. Businesses with many late payers will want a more sophisticated app with more options such as sending one statement for say four invoices to a customer rather than four individual reminders.
Businesses with the occasional late payer will most likely be happy with the basic Xero approach. If you’re finding it really useful, check out the dedicated apps to see if you can squeeze more from that function.
Xero CEO Rod Drury announced a year ago that the online accounting program would start broadening into “horizontal” features covered by third-party apps, so this was not unexpected. The company is looking to meet a general need for a majority of its customer base so it’s unlikely to build out the depth of features of dedicated apps.
One of the apps, Chaser, has written a great post outlining when a dedicated app makes sense. It’s well worth reading if you’re already paying for an invoice reminder app and wondering whether to ditch it for Xero’s reminders.
If you want to get the whole picture of what apps are out there, which is best and how do they stack up to Xero, WhichAddOn has put together a brilliant comparison of debtor management apps.