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The new way to get started with subscriptions!

Written by Emiel Romein on . Posted in Exact Online

You may already know that we developed a new way to get started in Exact Online. Marco Kastrop wrote about it in his February post Get set, Ready…GO!. He explained there how we learned from the logistic pilot customers that we needed to improve the ‘Getting Started’-process. And we did!

You can access the new subscription Getting Started in both the Panel menu and the new Tab menu, but because I’m only going to show you how to access the Getting Started in the Tab menu, I’ll first explain how to switch to the new Exact Online menu style.

Robert Huberts wrote about the new menu last October in the post Introducing a new menu style for Exact Online. I’ll keep it short and just show you the menu style option.

  1. Click the User settings link in the bottom-left of your screen.
  2. Change the Menu style option from Panel to Tab menu.
  3. Click Save to save the change you’ve made.

* You can easily switch back. In the new style click the General tab and click User setting. It’s in the bottom-right of the General tab.

When you change to the new menu style you can open the subscription Getting Started by clicking Sales tab > Getting Started > Subscriptions (bottom-left).

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the Subscription Getting Started -our new starting point to learn about the subscription functionality, set-up the system and even use the functionality on a daily basis, if you want.

There is a process flow visible that explains the way subscriptions works. Clicking an icon in the flow will guide you to that specific process in Exact Online. Clicking the Invoice generation icon – for example – will open the invoice generation page. Clicking the Invoice process icon will open a more specific Getting Started page where the invoice process is explained.

Furthermore, you have links on the right of the screen to the Customers cockpit and help files. Typing a question in the search box brings you answers from the range of available help documents.

In the top-left of the screen is the link Make this my startpage. If you click this link, this page will open when you start Exact Online. You can change the startpage (or homepage) again in the User settings.

Of course, it is still possible to use the subscription menu to access all the subscriptions functionality. Simply click Sales tab > Subscriptions > Show all.

I hope that with this guided start, you will enjoy a great new experience working with subscriptions!

Subscriptions, a first glance.

Written by Emiel Romein on . Posted in Exact Online

In one of the previous posts called A new member for the Exact Online family, Robert Huberts introduced our new Subscription functionality. He explained that the new subscription module is meant for companies that offer goods or services based on a contract that is periodically both invoiced and renewed. He also mentioned that the subscription module can only be used together with the Exact Online Invoice module due to integration between the Subscription module and the invoicing functionality. He wrote about subscription types (to define the length of a subscription period and the invoicing frequency within it) and he mentioned the three ways to handle the renewal of a subscription – no renewal, automatic renewal and manual renewal.

So let’s have a first glance at the creation of a subscription. We tried to keep it as simple and clear as possible by only showing the fields that are absolutely necessary to create one. Some additional fields are hidden, like the discount and net price fields in the lines, and can be added by clicking the customize link in the upper right corner.

Exact Online screenshot of an empty subscription

1. The first thing you need to enter is the customer for who you are creating the subscription – the subscriber. This is the person who is buying your service or product. If the invoice needs to be sent elsewhere, you can select an alternative customer for the Invoice to field. If you don’t the field is automatically filled with the subscriber as well.

2. The next step is defining a subscription type. First click on the icon on the right of the Subscription field. If you created a new administration there are already three types that you can choose from. If not, click the New button and create a new subscription type.

Exact Online Screenshot of Subscription Types

Here you can create a new type. Enter a code and description. This can be anything you want. You could make an item / product specific type or you could make a more general one.

For example: If you sell two different magazines you could create one type for both magazines (items) or you could create two separate types – one type per item. It’s up to you to decide what fits you best, but I recommend a type per service or item. I defined a type for a magazine I’m selling called Super Cars. It’s a 1 year subscription after which it will be prolonged for another year. There is a cancellation period of 2 months within the first year and 1 month after that.

After you have saved the new type you can select when creating new subscriptions in the future.

3. The next step is to add the service or product you are selling to the subscription lines in the Create: Subscription page. In my example this is the Super Cars magazine. The unit price of the subscription is €29,99 incl. 6% VAT.

Exact Online Screenshot of a Filled Subscription

4. To finish up click the Save button. Congratulations! You have just created your first subscription! From the subscription card you can edit the subscription to make changes, print a subscription confirmation for the subscriber or even cancel the subscription – all with the click of a button.

Exact Online Screenshot of a Subscription Card

In the next blogs we’ll come back to subscriptions and write about printing subscriptions, generating and printing invoices, renewing subscriptions and updating item prices in all active subscriptions.

Remember that you can only use or add the subscription functionality to you license if you have the invoice functionality as well. If you do not use Exact Online yet, you can select the subscription functionality when you choose the Exact Online Premium subscription.

Now that this module is generally available I am very interested in your opinion of it. Please let me know in the comments. Thank you!

Nothing but Exact Online!

Written by Emiel Romein on . Posted in Exact Online

Get rid of the unnecessary clutter that accompanies your browser

Did you know it is possible to use Exact Online in full screen mode? Getting rid of those space consuming icons, buttons and other fields is actually quite easy. Just click Tools > Full Screen in Internet Explorer or press the F11 key.
Try it now and see what happens! Simply press the F11 key again to switch back to the “normal” mode and retrieve your menu.

In Firefox you also press F11 or click Full Screen in the View Menu.

Safari for Mac unfortunately does not support a full screen option. Some creative people found some workarounds though. Click this link to search the web: http://www.google.com/search?q=full+screen+safari

Easier on the eyes

Now that you have more Exact Online on your screen, let’s make it easier on the eyes! It’s possible to zoom the content of your browser. In plain English: You can make Exact Online bigger and easier to read.  In the status bar – this is the bar in the bottom of Internet Explorer – you can increase the zoom percentage. If you can’t see the status bar enable it via Tools > Toolbars > Check: Status Bar.
Click the zoom button and select a zoom percentage. You can even increase or decrease zoom by pressing the Ctrl and + key, or the Ctrl and – key at the same time. The real power users zoom in and out using the mouse. Hold down the Ctrl key and roll your mouse wheel up and down at the same time.

In Firefox and Safari for Mac the zoom options are not available from the Status bar in the bottom of the screen. Firefox does zoom using the Ctrl + and Ctrl and mouse shortcuts though. The mouse shortcut is also the same in Safari, but if you zoom using the keyboard, use the Command key instead of Control (Cmd + and Cmd -).


Turning subscriptions into money!

Written by Emiel Romein on . Posted in Exact Online

Recently Robert Huberts posted an article about how to setup prices for subscriptions. Before that I showed you how to create a subscription and subscription types in only 4 easy steps. It’s time to make it interesting and generate those important invoices!

Let’s say I’m a small household appliance maintenance guy. I have several services I offer my customer and one of them being basic maintenance (work on any household product that needs a periodic cleaning or check-up).

So I’ve setup a type for the basic maintenance subscription I want to offer. I called it Basic and it’s a subscription of two years after which it will automatically continue. Customers can cancel any time after the two years.

Great news! I’ve already got 3 customers who have subscribed for my basic maintenance services. As such I’ve created three subscriptions in Exact Online. My first customer is Femke van der Brinkhoven from Amsterdam. She gets my Basic 24/7 stand-by service and the basic cleaning of any household appliance for only €7, 90 per month incl. VAT.

The other two subscriptions are for John van Bergen-Dalen and Jack van Dijk. But these last two subscriptions are different because they will not be invoiced to the people who get my services. Both will be invoiced to Marco de Graaff – the employer of John and Jack.

Now that I have sold and created my first subscriptions I’m very keen on actually invoicing my customers. So I go to Generate invoices in Exact Online and I quickly see all subscriptions that can be invoiced, as you can see in the screenshot below.

Now comes the really exciting part! Check all subscriptions you want to invoice (I can select all lines via the one checkbox in the lines header) and click the Generate invoices button.

There I go! I have just created my first subscription invoices! In this case I created two invoices. One for Femke and one for Marco. The subscriptions of John and Jack are – by default – combined to one invoice because it’s sent to one person. If I want I can always overwrite this setting on Marco’s account card so that he receives one invoice per subscription.

Finally I can print or send the invoices. I just go to Print invoices in Exact Online. Select all generated invoices with one click and press the Print button. In the case shown below I will see a preview of the invoices. If I choose Final in the print options the invoices will be finalized. I’ll also get extra output options like: sending the invoice by e-mail, Digital Postbox or according to the account settings which could be a mixture of all options.

So to summarize, the invoicing of subscriptions basically involves two steps:

  1. Open the Generate invoices page, select all subscriptions and press the Generate invoices button.
  2. Open the Print invoices page, select all generated invoices, choose to test (trail) or finalize and press the Print button.

By keeping the software simple and easy I finally have the time to actually do maintenance instead of spending hours and hours behind my computer!

Tip: Directly process journal entries in Exact Online

Written by Emiel Romein on . Posted in Exact Online

Creating and processing journal entries are by default separate activities in Exact Online. This means that after creating your entries, you need to close the journal, open the entries page, select the journal you just used and press the process button.

This works just fine, but it is possible to directly process the entries by simply pressing a »Process« button in the journal itself. ‘What process button?’ I hear you cry, ‘I don’t have that in my journal pages!’ That may well be true. If it is, what magic is needed to add it as seen below?

Well, actually no magic is necessary at all! Just open the journal and click the »Customize« button in the top right corner of the entry page.

A new window opens with the journal page settings. Check the »Button: Process« checkbox and click the »Save« button.

And voila! The process button appears in the top of the page. So now you can just make entries in your journal and process them immediately within the same screen. No need to even press the save button anymore.


What do bugs and the Queens’ bedchamber have in common?

Written by Emiel Romein on . Posted in Exact Online

In the early hours of July 9th 1982 an unemployed father of four broke into Buckingham Palace and entered Queen Elizabeth II’s bedchamber. Michael Fagan was able to talk to the Queen for ten minutes – sitting on the edge of her bed – because the armed police officer outside the royal bedroom was out walking the Queen’s dogs.

Although this trespasser had clearly been testing – and finding – defects in the alarm system, he was not the same Michael Fagan whose investigative skills we appreciate here at Exact. This rather less controversial Mr Fagan cleverly invented a structured process for finding defects in programming code throughout the software development process – the Fagan Inspection.

Inspired by Michael (the second one!) we – at Exact Online – developed our own code review method and procedures to ensure that the code we produce, and the code our customers use, is not only as bug free as possible but future proof. And by reviewing each other’s code, we improve each other as well!

We choose to combine automated reviews with lightweight and formal reviews based on a checklist with only 7 items. The automated reviews make sure the reviewers don’t spend time on things that can be automated, while the 7 item checklist ensures the review can be done in one single check instead of cross checking code against a large checklist multiple times.

Keeping the reviews short and focused on the things that really matter is very important. This keeps code reviewing efficient, fast and worth the effort. Studies say the most bugs are found during first hour of reviewing. Extending the review time will not increase code quality, so be sure to use that hour of code reviewing as efficient as possible!

So, the next time you see the Queen on your telly, think of all those Exact Online developers and reviewers constantly thinking of ways to improve our software and its quality – inspired by the namesake of a 32-year-old mug thief who stopped by her bedroom for a midnight chat!