Defering recurring invoices (and other recurring items)

Maybe this one for the ideas category.

When Manager notifies me about pending recurring invoices I have to generate them all, there is no way to deselect some.

But sometimes (like during a pandemic :)) some of the recurring invoices are not really recurring. So I was thinking maybe it would be a good feature to have: select the ones that I want generated, everything else gets deferred for a month (or the proper period the invoice is set up to).

Just an idea.

I think a problem with this approach would be that the program has no way of determining how long an individual transaction should be deferred. Perhaps a customer will resume purchases next week, perhaps not for two months. In the pandemic situation, the deferral could be indefinite. And should a transaction be cancelled while during the deferment or only delayed?

Suppose you are a landlord. Your local government issues an order temporarily preventing you from sending invoices for rent during the pandemic if the tenant is a healthcare worker. But the order does not include rent subsidies or forgiveness. Currently, you have several options:

  • Create invoices, but do not send them until conditions change. This allows you to accrue income and build the Accounts receivable balance. That could be advantageous or disadvantageous, depending on tax law and other circumstances.
  • Delay the next issue date for qualifying tenants. This could possibly require repeated modifications. It also presents the question of how to catch up later.
  • Delete the recurring transaction. Of course, this might require you to re-enter it later.

It seems two options offer attractive flexibility:

  • Allow checking of recurring transactions to be created now. Recurring transactions not checked would remain in the queue for eventual generation later. When the recurring transaction is finally generated, you could immediately delete any that were permanently bypassed. However, if you were going to do that, it would be cleaner to just change the next issue date.
  • Incorporate a Batch Update capability for recurring transactions. This would allow quicker modification of dates.

The longer you think about this subject, the more questions come to mind. While the possibility of automation is attractive, potential tax and legal questions (especially surrounding pandemic recovery programs) suggest it might be beneficial if you are forced to really think about consequences before just checking a box or pushing a button.

@novica, While I understand the usefulness I think the problem here is that there can be a multiple number of reasons why an invoice could be deselected, plus a multiple number of choices how that deselection is to be enabled.

For example, is the deselect due to a deferral (still to be paid but at a later date) or due to a skip (not to be paid at all).

Whilst the current “create, edit, delete” maybe overly simplistic, it avoids the conflict of endless user options.

Thanks for the reply both of you.

Maybe my use case is not as complicated as the situations you describe.

I use recurring invoices to set up invoices that I (usually) receive every month, and I need some fields populated.

So every first of the month items are generated I just change some values.

But then sometimes simply the issuer of the invoices decides not to issue an invoice for some reasons, none of which has any bearing on work or taxes (I could give an example if necessary). So at that moment I would like to be able to defer automatically for the period which is set up rather then go to settings and reset a date. As I don’t know if there will be an invoice next month, now I will go to settings and change by hand the recurring date to the next month, so deferring for one month (in my case) makes perfect sense.

@novica, your situation is admittedly simpler than some I can imagine. But it also sounds like you do not know in advance which recurring invoices will be cancelled. Since your workflow already involves editing the recurring invoices, is it really any more work to delete one if it isn’t necessary? The only downside I see to that is potential disruption of automatic sequencing, if used. (You could end up with gaps.)

The way to avoid that is modifying next issue dates before generating the recurring invoices. It sounds like you already know, when generating them, which will require attention.