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Billing Parameters Detailed Breakdown

Mitchell Paul-Soumis Updated by Mitchell Paul-Soumis

Billing Parameters Overview

Sonar offers flexibility when managing your company's billing practices, providing robust and granular parameter management for a variety of customer billing practices.

In this article, we'll be reviewing the Billing Settings and the Billing Defaults section of the Sonar instance settings, looking through each section of the settings and detailing what each field controls - and how that field will directly impact your experience with Sonar.

Billing Settings

Proration

Proration in Sonar calculates the difference between the current amount paid and the new amount due through the days that have gone by in the month. The Proration check-boxes in Billing Settings will determine whether or not these boxes are checked by default when making changes on customer accounts.

Prorate Services

Prorating Services allows you to edit customer services mid-bill cycle and adjust the pricing as the change is made.

Prorate Service Quantity

Prorating the Service Quantity allows you to add additional amounts of an identical service to a customer account while only billing them for the time left in the billing cycle.

Prorate Account Status Change

This proration setting allows you to make account changes on a customers account, such as cancelling a customer account, and the remaining amount will automatically be refunded to the account's payment method.

Prorate Billing Day Change

This option allows you to prorate any amount due as a result of a change in billing day, made through either customer request or for company requirements - such as migrating all customers to a first of the month billing cycle.

Round Prorated Amounts

Enabling this option will allow you to configure round dollar amounts, either to the nearest cent or dollar depending on your company's preferences. If the box is checked, the prorated amount will be rounded to the nearest dollar.

General Accounting

The General Accounting section of the Billing Settings allows you to control the limitations of the accounting period, controlling when the instance checks due invoices for delinquency, and whether or not to use daily billing.

The accounting period being closed determines the cutoff point were you can no longer delete payments made, allowing you to reconcile the transactions in accounting software.

Accounting Period options

The Accounting Period is divided into two portions - Accounting Periods Close Date and Accounting Period Auto Close.

The Accounting Period Close Date allows you to manually set a specific date to close the accounting period, useful for situations where an outside accounting firm does the finances on a set date every month.

The Accounting Period Auto Close allows you to set a repeating time to close the accounting period, useful for an accountant on staff who frequently does the books.

Implications of closing the accounting period

Most accounting in Sonar requires that changes to existing transactions be performed by applying adjustments to rectify any errors. You cannot typically edit or delete any transactions. The exceptions to this are reversing an invoice credit and reversing a discount. When you attempt to reverse a discount transaction or reverse an invoice credit and the accounting period is not closed, the transaction will be zeroed and marked as void. This is because, in an unclosed period, these transactions have not yet affected your financial reporting.

However, if the accounting period is closed, you cannot reverse an invoice credit and reversing a discount will create a corresponding debit transaction with the current date, rather than zeroing the transaction.

Generally speaking, it is probably a good idea to automatically close your accounting period each day. This allows you to rectify small errors made the day they are made, but forces a reconciliation if they are modified on following days.

Days to check Delinquency

Working hand in hand with the Billing Defaults described further down, un-checking these boxes will disable the delinquency check on those days, designed to prevent calls due to disconnected accounts.

If you'd like to disable Holidays rather than specific days of the week, please refer to Settings -> Delinquency Exclusions
Daily Billing

Enabling Daily Billing will allow your system to run the auto-pay card or bank account daily, rather than requiring manual payment runs to be initiated. The Daily Billing will run at 12:05 AM local to your server's time zone.

Payment & Card Management

In this section of the Billing Settings, you can configure parameters related to the payment card as configured on the customer account. This section also determines the Auto-Pay attempts, minimum credit card payments, and the minimum amount on which to charge the associated credit card.

Late Fee & Printed Invoice Fee Management

Managing additional fees in Sonar occur in two stages: Enabling the fees, and assigning services to the fee selection. The additional fee section contains the entire management process for late fees, while only containing the printed invoice fee. Enabling the Printed Invoice is done in Billing Defaults, or the account billing parameters.

Late Fees

Late Fees need to first be enabled by checking "Apply Late Fees". The way late fees work is that by assigning a created service as the "Late Fee Service", or using percentage based late fees, then setting a number of days after the invoice due date. After the number of days has elapsed, a new transaction will run on the customer's account, adding the amount of the late fee service (or percentage).

Applying Late Fees to a Child Invoice will apply any late fee directly to the child invoice, rather than to the parent account. For more information on parent and child accounts, please see the Child Accounts: Best Practices & How Tos article.

Billing Defaults

The Billing Defaults page allows you to configure a set of billing instructions for specific account types, allowing fine control for each account type created as part of the billing set-up

Tax Exempt

If enabled, will prevent any accounts which fall under the Billing Default as configured from being charged taxes.

Bill Mode

This drop down menu can be switched between Invoice and Statement. An invoice in Sonar will display only the current amount due, while a statement will show all line items and any prior unpaid balance.

Account Type

This drop down menu will display all the created account types in your instance, allowing you to add one or more account types which will fall under the umbrella of this default Billing Setting.

Bill Days, Due Days, Grace Days, Auto-Pay Days

The Fixed Bill Day option means that the bill day for every customer on the billing default being configured. In the event that a fixed bill day is selected, and a customer is on-boarded midway through the bill cycle, the amount to be billed will be prorated to the activation day.

Bill Day: This setting only appears if the Fixed Bill Day option is enabled, and determines the day of every month when billing will run.

Due Days: The Due Days will determine the number of days between the selected "Due Day" and when the invoice amount is due.

Grace Days: The Grace Days determine how many days after the due day will be granted until non-payment renders the account delinquent.

Auto Pay Days: The Auto-Pay Days determines the day of the month the instance will run against the payment information provided by the customer.

Invoice Options

Print Invoice: The print invoice toggle will automatically send generated invoices to be printed.

Invoice Day: The Invoice Day field allows you to set a specific day to generate the invoices every month. If the Invoice Day is blank, the invoice day will be the same as the Billing Day. If it is set to the same number as the Billing Day, then the Invoice and Billing Days will be staggered by a month.

Auto Pay Day: The Auto-Pay day determines whether the Auto Pay Days selected earlier will be based on the bill day, or the invoice day.

Due Day: The Due Day determines whether the Due Days selected earlier will be based on the bill day, or the invoice day.

Months to Bill: This sets the number of months to bill for this billing default. What this means is that each time billing runs, it will run for X months and then not run again until the X months have passed. This settings should not be used with recurring services that have a multi-month billing scheme.

Delinquency Options

Switch status after delinquency: If this setting is enabled and the customer becomes delinquent on their due amount (does not pay the invoice amount within the Grace Period), this options will switch their status to a delinquent one, set in the next few drop downs.

Days of Delinquency For Status Switch: This settings determines the number of days allowed until the status on the account changes automatically.

Delinquency Account Status: This setting controls what status gets set after the Delinquency days have elapsed.

Delinquency Removal Account Status: This setting controls what status accounts enter after having paid their past due balance and leaving delinquency status.

Billing Default Example

Same Month Billing

In this example, we have a completed Billing Defaults view designed to bill and invoice customers the same day, allowing consistent billing across the entire customer space on your instance at a predictable day.

With these parameters, the following will happen:

  1. Monthly, the account will receive a statement of the account balance. This default being set will only apply to Residential Account types, not any other.
  2. As Fixed Bill Day is enabled, the Bill Day option is available. This configuration will result in billing being performed on the first day of every month, for every residential account.
  3. Based on the configured settings, the billing will run on the first day of the month. If auto-pay is enabled on the account, then auto-pay will run on the 1st of the month as well. Then, on the 10th day of the month, the invoice becomes due. After another 5 days (the 15th of the month), the invoice would become delinquent if not paid.
  4. With the delinquency settings configured, and following up on the Grace days configured below, the account will switch to an inactive status after 15 days of the invoice being delinquent. Once paid in full, the account will switch back to active, and resume receiving service.

Next Month Billing

In the following example, we'll examine a set of billing parameters which will trigger an invoice for the next month, rather than the current one. The use-case for next month billing is to get the invoice to the customer in advance of the amount being due.

With these parameters, the following chain of events will occur:

  1. On the 15th of the month, billing runs to tally the charges.
  2. The invoice will be generated on the 15th for the 1st of the following month. For example, the billing would run on the 15th of October and generate an invoice which is due on the 1st of November.
  3. The payment will be due on the 1st of the month, the same day for which the invoice is generated.
  4. 15 days after the due date, if the payment has yet to be made, the invoice will become delinquent.
  5. 7 days after the invoice has become delinquent, the account will be switched to an inactive status. Once paid in full, the account will switch to an active status.

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