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On this blog we will cover stories from all around the Exact ecosystem.

Posts Tagged ‘Subscription’

Avoid losing revenues on your service contracts

Written by Remco Kroes on . Posted in Exact Online

Offering service contracts offers opportunities to retain clients and to monetize on their recurring service needs. As a company you benefit from having a fixed monthly, quarterly or yearly recurring service income. However, many firms lack visibility on whether they make money on these service contracts. How much money did we make on our service contracts? Did we sell the right contract? As a service provider you want to make money on your service contracts and prevent revenue leakage due to over-servicing and budget overruns.

Now in controlled release in Exact Online Project & Contract Management
Exact Online supports subscription run business by offering an all-in one solution including subscription management, CRM, projects and accounting. We now facilitate companies selling services using service or support contracts. Your employees can now easily track their time against subscriptions. Per subscription you can track actual billable work (based on hour & cost entries) versus. actual invoiced per period. Helping you to avoid losing revenues or identify opportunities to upsell your clients to higher value service contracts.


The screenshot above shows an example of a such a service contract. It is an annual contract where the client is invoiced a fixed monthly fee of 100 eur. The realizations overview shows that to date the client is over-serviced, as the sell-value of hour & cost entries exceeds the invoiced value.

Service contracts are available in Exact Online Project & Contract Management. Next to service contracts this product facilitates extensive capabilities for managing subscriptions and recurring revenues.  We are currently in controlled release. For more information, please contact remco.kroes@exact.com





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!

Manage and control your subscription business in the cloud – part 2

Written by Remco Kroes on . Posted in Exact Online

In an earlier post we talked about our plans to enhance our subscription engine. This month we released our new subscription card – designed to provide immediate visibility on everything related to the subscription. Contract conditions, current status, products embedded in the subscription bundle, invoices sent, etc. are now shown in a concise and clear way.


We also worked on enhancing subscription billing (see earlier posts on the ability to send & track invoices or improvements in electronic invoicing.)  Other topics we are currently working on:

  • Generate invoices every ‘x’ months or years. Previously you could only generate invoices per month, per quarter, or per (half) year. We added an invoice interval per period – facilitating more invoice options. For example, you can now generate invoices every 2, 3, 4, months or years.
  • More flexibility to customize your subscription invoice. We will add notes to subscription header & lines – with an option to print these notes on your invoice.
  • Purchase order (PO) reference number – Your customers may require invoices to be always sent with a clear reference to the order, so called PO number. To facilitate this need, we will add a possibility to register the customer PO number on the subscription and print it on an invoice. This will prevent from sending sales invoices without purchase order number. As a result you can expect fewer invoices to be rejected and more invoices to be paid faster.
  • Classifications – The option to categorize subscriptions using a new classification field. For example, classifications can be used to group and report on similar subscription plans.
  • Enhanced connectivity – Do you use specialized business applications or websites in which you want to show or handle subscription-related information? Earlier we added the possibility to im/export subscription data using XML. Next step is to support connectivity using so-called REST (Representational State Transfer) API technology.

Are you selling services using contracts or subscriptions? Do you want to manage your subscription business in the cloud using Exact Online? We welcome your feedback and ideas on how to better manage your monthly contracts, SLAs, software license or hosting contracts, and more!  Just send an e-mail to remco.kroes@exact.com  and we’ll get in touch with you.

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!

A new member for the Exact Online Family

Written by Robert Huberts on . Posted in Exact Online

Just before the end of 2010 a new module has been added to the Exact Online offering: Exact Online Subscriptions. The module is meant for companies that offer goods or services based on a contract (subscription) that is both invoiced and renewed periodically. Because of the integration with the invoicing functions, the Subscription module can only be used together with the Invoice module of Exact Online.

The module of course allows you to create and maintain subscriptions, but before you can do that you need to setup some master data. The most important data you need to setup are the subscription types. Subscription types define the renewal policy, the length of the subscription period and the invoicing frequency for the subscriptions. You can then use the subscription types when creating a subscription, by selecting a type all the conditions for the subscription are set. After creating the subscriptions for your customers, you can generate invoices based on the subscription data. If it is part of your procedure you can print a subscription confirmation for customers with a new subscription, however this is not a mandatory step in the subscription process.

As mentioned above a subscription is normally valid for a certain period of time. After this time the subscription is either renewed or stopped by the customer. In the Exact Online there are three ways to handle the renewal of subscriptions

  • No renewal: With this option the subscription will be active for the defined subscription period, after this period the subscription is always stopped and cannot be renewed. This option can be used for trial subscriptions.
  • Automatic renewal: With this option the subscription is always renewed automatically at the end of the subscription period. The subscription is only stopped when the customer cancels the subscription. You can cancel subscriptions when maintaining the subscription.
  • Manual renewal: With this option the subscription will by default be stopped at the end of the subscription period, unless the subscription is renewed by a manual action. The subscription solution has a function to manually renew subscriptions.

How each subscription is renewed can be defined in the subscription type master data. Because you can define multiple subscription types, it is possible to have different renewal options for you subscriptions.

In future blog posts we will explain some more features of the Subscription module and also share some useful tips. Now that this module is generally available I am very interested in your opinion of it. Is this a module that can help you in doing your business or are you missing functionality? Please let me know in the comments.