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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Barrington and Peoria, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    318

    new billing system?

    Hey everyone,

    First off, I don't want this to be a spam, I'm just trying to gather information.

    We're working on a new billing system, and were wondering what all your thoughts were about features to add that you'd like seen, that maybe ubersmith or modernbill doesn't have. Or maybe a pricing method that would suit you. We're trying to get some feedback on how to customize this for all the hosts out there so it will please a large audience.

    If you want, please PM me or just post here.

    Again, we're just trying to collect information.

    Thanks!
    Jeff Link

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Detroit, MI
    Posts
    1,067
    I've outline this before to the psoft folks, but what seems to be missing from all of these billing systems is basic accounting principles.

    To sum it up, you should always be able to take a financial snapshot on any given day, then three years later be able to take that exact same snapshot for the same period and get the exact same results.

    This is much easier than it seems, most billing system authors just don't have the experience necessary to realize such a system. There is one basic rule: NEVER modify an existing entry. If it is invalid, apply a reversal, but never modify the original entry.

    Doing this has the benefit of facilitating a double entry system with accounts (not users, but places that money gets allocated against) and a truthful ledger.

    Sure, many people will say "let your accounting system handle that stuff", and perhaps they are right but I'd rather have it correct right from the start.

    That is just my $0.02, take it at face value.
    <!-- boo! -->

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Barrington and Peoria, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    318

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Detroit, MI
    Posts
    1,067
    You can allow them to edit an entry, but when they do so have it create a new entry making up the difference.

    Example: Charge for $15.00 - 6/1/02
    Edit: Cancel Charge - 6/15/02
    New Entry: $-15.00 - 6/15/02

    Take a financial snapshot for 1/1/02 through 6/12/02 and you'll only see the +$15.00.

    Take a financial snapshot for 1/1/02 through 6/30/02 and you'll see it cancels itself out.

    The bottom line, when dealing with financial transactions you never want to lose any bit of detail. The integrity of the books remains intact throughout time.
    <!-- boo! -->

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Barrington and Peoria, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    318
    ahhh, very good idea.

    I also had this idea about like "comments bubble". So if you do something to an account, or maybe talk to someone on the phone about billing, or whatever, you just add a quick note, but the notes can't be edited, just added. So you can keep yourself a quick reminder, or to do list, or maybe just an account history, without money. Like it would list when the account was ugprade, downgraded, paid on time, etc. etc. Good idea or no?

  6. #6
    i agree with the above posters, but in practice it should be done for everything. never delete any information. and never overwrite info. just have the corrections or deletions stored as another item. so any information can be recalled at a later date.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Barrington and Peoria, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    318

  8. #8
    Please support PDF bill's so that I can print them and send them to my customers. This because in my country most customers don't like to pay by CC but they want a bill fox TAXés etc.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Barrington and Peoria, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    318
    Very good idea! I've always had a client or two that wanted his invoice sent via regular mail. I'm thinking the easiest solution would be to just create a text document, and print that. PDF might be a little hard. We'll see what we can do though. You'd at least be able to put your own logo on it and manage the invoice how you'd like, or even design it via templates. That'll be worked out, but we'll put the printing idea in.

    Customers would also be able to print thier own bills because they will have access to login to thier account and update thier billing info, history, future payments, upgrade, downgrade, etc.

  10. #10
    If you are programming the script in PHP then you can use the PDF library support built in with it. That isn't that hard. I once used it. Please use PDF files because they are easy to print.

    Further more when do you expect the system to be ready? And how much will it apropaly be?

  11. #11
    Don't forget to support multiple billing values!! Also take care of an option that turns off credit card payment. Because whe I'll use your program I will sent all invoices throw regular mail.

    So I don't need CC support.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    205
    Make sure you support Worldpay

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Detroit, MI
    Posts
    1,067
    PDF would be nice to see. I would say to output your billing details (reports, invoices, etc) in XML and use a tool like FOP with XSLT to translate the XML into PDF. Using XML / XSLT I think you will have the most flexible invoice rendering tool out there.
    <!-- boo! -->

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Barrington and Peoria, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    318
    If PDF with PHP is easy then we'll def. add that. This is what we're looking for, input from y'all since you'll be eventually buying it, hopefully, haha.

    Expected first version I think will be about a month, we'll see, we're still working on that.

    Pricing is not def. yet. What do y'all think pricing should be? We have a rough idea, but we have the option to go a couple different ways as y'all know. Monthly billing, one time payment, one time and monthly, licenseing, yada yaday.

    And you will not have to do credit card billing, that option can be turned off if you'd like so you can just print the invoices out.

  15. #15
    Prices depend on the way it is working. Will it fun for example on a local server, so that all invoice data is secured (I know that way customers won't be able to see their invoices, but I think security has a higher priority).

    It also depends on the amount of customiebilaty and if the source is free, so that I can add extra stuff I think is needed. Also will their be updates if so included in the price or do we have to pay for them.

    And what is your target markt? The bigger webhosts or the smaller ones?

    What I prefer is, one time payment and soem payment for updates.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Barrington and Peoria, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    318
    We're still contimplating the idea of running the system on myBilling.info server, or having it run locally on your server. But security will be a big thing yes.

    The source will probably not be free because we will be upgrading it with new features and all that good stuff, any customization you do would be lost. That and stuff you customize, we'd like to have too so that others may enjoy your development. So if you have an idea, just let us know and we can add it.

    I'm floating between life time updates or free for a year, haven't decided yet.

    Our target market is everyone, both large and small hosts.


    Originally posted by Starhost
    Prices depend on the way it is working. Will it fun for example on a local server, so that all invoice data is secured (I know that way customers won't be able to see their invoices, but I think security has a higher priority).

    It also depends on the amount of customiebilaty and if the source is free, so that I can add extra stuff I think is needed. Also will their be updates if so included in the price or do we have to pay for them.

    And what is your target markt? The bigger webhosts or the smaller ones?

    What I prefer is, one time payment and soem payment for updates.

  17. #17
    Please don't let it run on your server. That would mean, that if we lost our internet connection or your server goes down or whatever, we won't be able to access the billing system!!

    And that is a thing that can't happen, especially because it is a billing system and a Client management tool. Further more in what language are ou planning to program it?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Barrington and Peoria, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    318
    Good point, i was thinking that too. What I am thinking of doing is using a license system like CPanel uses. But with a twist. The program would check like once a week or once a month for the license file on our server, and if it didn't find it, it would keep checking. But basically, it would not affect you unless you didn't have a license file with us. So maybe you stole a copy, or someone gave it to you, then the program wouldn't work after a while. Still working on that idea though, I dont know how feasible it is.

    myBilling.info program will be created in PHP most likely, although we could have it coded in JSP, but it will probably be PHP.

    Also, there will be a new forum made at hostingchat.net for myBilling.info to take feature suggestions and what not like we're doing here, but that is so we can kinda keep the ideas at a central location. You'll also be able to keep up to date on the progress of the system too.

    Edit: Feature ideas? Post them here!

    Check out http://hostingchat.net/viewforum.php?f=29

    Its a central location for progress of myBilling.info. You can post your ideas there, or here, and I'll just post them there myself. But you can view progress there and talk with others about its development.
    Last edited by IntraHost; 07-01-2002 at 07:48 PM.

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