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What are Recurring Invoices?

Recurring Invoices

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Recurring Invoices

Recurring invoices are invoices that are sent on a regular, scheduled basis to bill clients or customers for ongoing services or products. These invoices are commonly used in situations where a business provides continuous services at regular intervals, and the amount and description of the services remain consistent over time.

Recurring invoices are useful for:

  • Subscription-Based Services: For example, a monthly magazine subscription, software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions, or a gym membership.
  • Rent Payments: Landlords might use recurring invoices to bill tenants monthly.
  • Regularly Scheduled Services: Such as weekly lawn care, monthly IT maintenance, or quarterly pest control services.
  • Installment Payments : If a customer is paying for a product or service in regular installments, they might receive a recurring invoice detailing each installment’s amount.

Benefits of Using Recurring Invoices:

  • Efficiency : Businesses can automate the invoicing process, reducing the time and effort required to manually create and send invoices every billing cycle.
  • Timeliness: Ensures that invoices are sent out on a regular schedule, which can lead to more predictable cash flow.
  • Consistency: Clients or customers receive standardized invoices at consistent intervals, making it easier for them to anticipate and manage payments.
  • Reduced Errors: Automated recurring invoices reduce the potential for human errors that can occur during manual invoice creation.
  • Enhanced Cash Flow : Regular billing can lead to a more predictable and steady cash flow for businesses.

How Recurring Invoices Work:

  • Set-Up: The business sets up the recurring invoice with all the standard details (e.g., client information, services/products provided, pricing).
  • Schedule: The frequency of the invoice is set, such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.
  • Automation: Many modern accounting and invoicing software solutions allow businesses to automate the sending of these invoices on the scheduled dates.
  • Notification: Upon each cycle, the client or customer receives the invoice, typically via email, but sometimes through other methods like physical mail.
  • Payment: Depending on the payment terms, the client makes payment upon receipt or by a specified due date.
  • Review and Update: Periodically, it’s a good practice to review recurring invoices to ensure that all details remain accurate, and services or prices haven’t changed.

For many businesses, especially those with a subscription model or those providing regular services, recurring invoices offer a convenient way to manage the billing process efficiently.

Example of Recurring Invoices

Let’s walk through an example involving a software company that offers cloud storage services on a subscription basis.

Cloudify Storage Solutions is a company that provides cloud storage to businesses. They offer a package where businesses can get 1TB of cloud storage for $50 per month. A local graphic design firm, “Designs Galore,” signs up for this package.

Setting Up the Recurring Invoice:

  • Details: The finance team at Cloudify sets up an invoice template for “Designs Galore.” The invoice contains:
    • The name and address of the client: Designs Galore
    • The service description: 1TB Cloud Storage
    • The monthly cost: $50
  • Schedule: They set the invoice to be sent on the 1st of every month.
  • Payment Terms: Payment is due by the 15th of each month.

Monthly Process:

  • On the 1st of each month, the Cloudify accounting software automatically generates and sends an invoice to “Designs Galore” for $50.
  • The invoice details remain the same each month: $50 for 1TB of cloud storage.
  • “Designs Galore” receives the invoice in their email inbox on the 1st. They have set up an automatic bank transfer, so Cloudify receives the payment every 10th of the month.
  • This process repeats every month without Cloudify’s finance team having to manually create and send the invoice.

Annual Review:

At the end of the year, Cloudify reviews their service offerings and decides to offer a 10% discount to loyal customers who have been with them for over a year. “Designs Galore” qualifies, so Cloudify’s finance team updates the recurring invoice to reflect the new monthly charge of $45 (after a $5 discount).

From this example, it’s clear how recurring invoices can streamline the billing process, especially for businesses with a consistent service offering. The graphic design firm, “Designs Galore,” benefits from predictable billing, while Cloudify Storage Solutions enjoys timely and consistent payments.

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