Monthly Billing

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This function is available under Transactions on the main menu, and is used for adding monthly charges to all reservations with the reservation type set to Monthly.





The Monthly Billing function uses the auto-rates functionality to add appropriate charges to all of your long-term reservations at once.  Through the various configuration options, you can customize it to the way your business bills long-term residents or reservations.


Only reservations of the Monthly type (and optionally Owner type) will be used in monthly billing, so make sure that you set this type for any reservation that you need to bill on a monthly basis.  This is done when making the New Reservation, or it can be changed through Reservation Details.  For more details on how best to add and manage reservations to be used with the Monthly Billing function, see the section under Working with Reservations, "Monthly / Long-term Reservations".


The table on this dialog shows the basic reservation information, plus the current balance due and the new charges that will be applied for this month's billing.  If you want to print this as a report or export it, you can use the Print List or Export List buttons.  Note that the New Charges amount might remain even after charges are applied (depending on the settings), although the Current Balance amount will change to include the new charges.  



Rates Setup Requirements


Monthly billing uses the defined Rates and the auto-rates calculation logic, so you don't need to specify the monthly rate for each and every reservation. (This also allows price changes to be automatic for everyone).  In order for monthly billing charges to be correct, you must have the Rates set up properly, following all of the same guidelines as Auto-Rates.  If there are rates that should not be used for monthly billing, for instance your normal daily rates (presuming you have a separate rate for pro-rating partial months), then you need to make sure that those rate definitions don't have "Monthly" included in their Resv Types list.  Of course if there are some that shouldn't be included for any auto-calculations at all, like special add-ons that you add manually, then make sure those have the "Exclude from auto-rates" option checked.



Charged-Through and Bill-To


The program generally determines how much to bill by doing auto-rates calculation for the days between the reservation's current "Auto-charged through" date (which is automatically adjusted each time) and the Bill-To date you specify in the Monthly Billing dialog.  The Bill-To date is set automatically to the end of the nearest month -- for instance if it's now March 25th, it would set the Bill-To to April 30th, assuming you want to pre-bill them through April.  If it's April 3rd, it would still set it to April 30th, assuming you're going to do billing for this month.  If the program guesses wrong, you can simply change the date or use one of the End-of buttons to quickly set it appropriately.


In the above example, any reservations that have not been charged for all of April (including any only partially charged through April) will be included in the list to be billed.  You can also opt to show any not yet paid through a particular date, regardless of how far in advance they might have been charged.  This is normally included so that you can include customers that have been charged for the month but have not yet paid.  


Actually, The "Also include any not yet paid thru" option is usually selected for another reason -- after adding charges to the reservations listed, the list will be refreshed.  Since the auto-charged-through date is also updated for the reservations, any that are now charged through the indicated Bill-To date will not be listed, which means they would probably all disappear before you get a chance to print them.  (You could adjust the date to the next day to get them back, but that might also show some you didn't expect to print).  So we recommend always setting this option, and using the same date for both the bill-to and paid-thru settings.


Although auto-rates are used, you can tweak the actual amount of time billed for various special cases using the options settings described below.  In the simplest scenario it would add charges from the end of this month to the end of next month, resulting in a single monthly charge.  The monthly billing can also "fill in" charges to catch up billing (for instance if they only paid for a partial month upon check-in, or if they are scheduled to leave in less than a month).


Obviously it's important to keep the auto-charged-through date accurate for the reservations.  In general this is not a problem if you use the auto-rates functionality.  However this date may get cleared or improperly set if someone adds charges manually or deletes previous auto-charges.  It's a good idea to review the charged-through dates of all of the reservations before doing the billing to look for problems.  This is easily done by sorting the list by Charged-Thru (click on the column header).  If you see any that aren't correct, just double-click on the line to open the Reservation Details and adjust the date.





If it cannot find any applicable monthly rates for a given reservation, it will show "ERROR" in the New Charges column.  If you see this, you need to review your Rates definitions and find out why none of your rates apply to that particular reservation.


Another common error is an incorrect amount due to a rates definition mistake.  The only way to detect this is to scan through the New Charges column and see if any rates don't look right.  If you see one that's questionable, simply put the mouse cursor over the value in New Charges.  A pop-up tip will show what charges will be applied to the reservation, including the description, amounts, etc.  This can help you pinpoint rate definition problems.





The options selected here will be remembered each time you use Monthly Billing, and usually don't need to be changed from month to month once you have it working the way you want.  Except for the first one, these are all accessed through the Billing and Printing Options button.


Show linked reservations separately -- This will allow you to see not only the master reservations to be billed, but also all linked reservations due to be billed.  Note that this does not affect which reservations the charges are applied to or printed, but allows you to see the New Charges broken out by site.  Since it doesn't affect the billing or which actual reservations are shown and billed, just how they're shown, it has been placed on the main dialog instead of in the Billing and Printing Options.


Exclude reservations not yet checked in -- if you don't want to pre-bill monthlies that haven't yet arrived, check this option.


Exclude reservations leaving before the bill-to date --  While the auto-rates calculations can handle the actual charges to the end of their stay, there may be other reasons that you don't want to bill them at all this time (for instance if their actual departure date is often uncertain, and you prefer to charge them when they leave).


Use paid-thru date as the bill-from date, if the reservation's charged-through date has not been set -- While this is not generally recommended, you may need to set this to cover reservations that might not have a charged-through date due to charges adjustments.  (A better method would be to review all of your monthly reservations and manually set their correct charged-through date in Reservation Details).


The next group of 4 options are the most important for determining what to charge each reservation depending on its last charged-through date, the bill-to date, and its Last Night (departure date).  Note that if all 4 of these are NOT checked, then 1 month's charges will simply be added to each reservation to be billed, starting from the current charged-through date.  The following 4 options are for fine-tuning the billing.


(The following options may actually use a specific number of days instead of a calendar month, depending on your Monthlies Options.)


Charge to at least bill-to -- With this option set, it will add charges all the way from the last charged-through to the bill-to-date, no matter how many months (or partial months) that would be.  This is great for "catching up" on missed billings, but may bill for more than you expect if a reservation's charged-through date isn't accurate.  Note that the reason it's worded as "at least to..." is because it can still bill beyond the Bill-To date if the next option is set.


Charge only in full months -- This option can be used if you don't want any partial-month billing to occur.  For instance if your bill-to is April 30 but the reservation has already been charged through the 15th, it will still add 1 month (and adjust the charged-through to May 15 after billing).  This is a good choice if you don't try to keep your billing in sync with the 1st of the month and just charge months from their first night.  Note that this can still be overridden by the next option.


Limit charges to the end of the reservation -- This will prevent charging a full month if their Last Night occurs before the bill-to-date -- it will attempt to use weekly or daily rates as appropriate to bill their remaining time.  More precisely, it charges from their current charged-through to their last night, charging a partial month if needed.  So if the previous option was also checked along with this one, the example given above would still result in a partial-month bill if their last night was May 10, for instance.


Don't add any charges if already charged for part of the month -- With this option selected, then instead of billing for a partial month or charging beyond the bill-to date, it simply wouldn't add any charges at all if it can't add a full month.  This effectively overrides the previous 2 options, since it can't add charges past the bill-to and it can't add partial month charges.


Handle synchronized reservations individually -- If this is checked, then charges will be added to each reservation individually (and individual invoices printed) for synchronized reservations.  While this is normally not done for short-term reservations (the "master" usually takes the charges for all of the synchronized sites), there is an important reason to do it for monthly billing -- if any of the synchronized sites has meter charges, those cannot be combined into the master so you will need to print separate invoices for those anyway.  If synchronized sites are always non-metered (e.g. a storage space) then it would be OK, but otherwise it's recommended that synchronized sites be handled separately for monthly billing.


Include Owner-type reservations in addition to Monthly types -- Check this if your owner reservations also need to pay monthly charges like a maintenance fee.



Printing Options


Include dates charged in descriptions -- When this option is checked, every charge line on the invoice will show the dates it's charging for.  This is very useful for keeping track of what's charged, but it does make the description longer.


Invoice format -- This will initially default to the "Reservation Receipt default format" selection chosen in File / Printing Options.  You can select a different type here to be used for monthly billing, and it will be saved for future monthly billings (but will not affect other receipts).  Thus the default receipt type for monthly billing can be different than the type used for normal receipts.  See Receipt Types in the Working with Transactions section for details on the different types.


Note that only one copy of each receipt will be printed (each time the printing button is pressed) -- the "Copies" setting in the Printing Options is ignored.


You also have the typical options for what transactions to include, either All transactions or just some, like for printing receipts from the Transactions dialog.  The most common option selected for Monthly Billing is "New" transactions (last batch), so it just prints the monthly rent charges.  however you may want something else so it also includes electricity charges, for instance.



Editing and Selecting Individual Reservations


If there are some reservations that shouldn't be billed this time, or if you need to print bills for just certain reservations, you can do this by selecting individual reservations in the table.  Use Ctrl-Click to select one or more lines.  Only those selected will be affected by any of the button functions below the table -- extending, charging, or printing.  (If none are selected, then it's assumed you want to use all of them -- there is no need to select them all.)



Extending Reservations Automatically


At some point you may need to extend all of the monthly reservations to keep the site reserved.  Depending on how you set the dates initially (see the Monthlies Options under Maintenance / Program Options), you may want to do this every month, or perhaps just extend them for another year at the end of each year.  Either way, all you need to do is click the Extend 1 Month button (which may actually be a specific number of days instead of a calendar month, like Extend 30 days, depending on your Monthlies Options).  This will either extend all listed reservations (if none are selected), or just the selected ones.  You can click it as many times as needed to add additional months -- you will see the Last Night advance for each reservation.  Note that this only changes the Last Night for the reservations, not the Blocked date.


If extending a reservation will cause a conflict, an error message will be displayed and that reservation will not be extended (any others that don't conflict will still be extended).  You will need to find the conflict and correct it before you can extend that reservation.


If a reservation ends on the last day of the month, extending it one month will extend it to the last day of the next month, even if it's a shorter or longer month.  However if it ends on any other day of the month, it will extend it to the same day on the next month if possible.  (If the next month is too short, it will extend to the last day of that month.



Adding Charges


Once you're ready to add the charges to the reservations (and have confirmed that the New Charges look correct for all of the reservations), just click the Add Charges button.  The charges will automatically be added to each reservation and the Current Balance will be updated in the table.


However, if it's necessary for your accounts receivable that you can't add charges yet but you do want to print invoices for next month, then you can use the Pre-print Invoices function (see below).  For instance, you may want to pre-print invoices on the 25th of the month to be mailed out, and then come back later to add the charges on the 1st of the month.


An important note -- since some of these new options can result in some reservations having no new charges added, you should check the list to see if any have $0 for the New Charges.  You may not want to print invoices for those, or and adjustment may need to be made to your rates definitions or to the reservation's auto-charged-through date.  To skip them easily, sort by New Charges and then highlight only those with non-zero charges before pre-printing invoices.


Another important note -- since the reservations listed is based on charged-through instead of paid-through, the New Charges for most or all of the reservations will change to $0 after you click Add Charges (because the charged-through is instantly updated, and now they are charged in full).  If you don't have the "Also include any paid-through..." option selected, with the same date as the bill-to date, all of those just charged will be removed fro the list before you get a chance to print them.  So, you either need to use the Pre-Print function first, before adding the charges, or you need to select the option to include any reservations not paid-through the bill-to date.



Printing Invoices, etc.


You can print invoices after adding charges, or you can pre-print invoices (show next month's charges without actually adding them to the reservations).  You can also print mailing labels and envelopes if needed (these functions will take you to another dialog for printing mailing labels and envelopes, but will not close the monthly billing dialog).  As with the other functions, you can select individual reservations to print if needed.



E-mailing Invoices


In addition to printing, you can E-mail (or pre-E-mail) invoices to those who have E-mail addresses.  This works basically the same way as printing, using the Reservation E-mail list function to preview the list of reservations sending to, allowing specific selection if needed, which E-mail form to send, etc. As with the other functions, you can select individual reservations to E-mail if needed.  If some of the reservations selected were not E-mailed successfully (e.g. they didn't have an E-mail address or you canceled part way through), then you will be given the option to highlight those not E-mailed so you can print physical invoices for just those reservations.



Finishing Up


Once you've printed the invoices and/or added the charges, there's nothing else you need to do -- just Close the dialog until the next billing time.



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