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Help wanted with invoicing solution


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I am having to tackle a big project on a tight time schedule - restructuring an invoicing/payment system. It is for myself (small business) and I am not a developer. I have gone as far as I can with the current system and have read enough on these forums to know I have to change it - I'm just not sure how to start.

I wondered if anyone has any sample files or can point me at a very basic solution that I can pull apart and use as a basis for starting from scratch. I envisage it would have a file for customers, another for services/products, an invoice file and a payments file - or something along those lines anyway. The term "line items" is used a fair bit in discussions but I don't really know what these refer to.

Any recommendations at all would be appreciated.

Thanks, Murray

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Hi Murray,

Line Items, as far as invoicing goes, refers to the part of the invoice that lists products sold/rented/whatever. For example, when you go get your car worked on, the invoice will show a list of all the parts that were used and the cost for each part. In a relational db model, there is a seperate file that is used for these entries. These re grouped together via an invoice ID. On your invoice layout, you'd have a portal to the line items file that would show all the line item that apply to the invoice.

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Try this:

http://collection.filemaker.com/collection/search_details.jsp?serial=0001

or this:

http://www.fmfiles.com/enduserbus1.html

One thing I'd add to John's post is that, while a portal to line items is ok for data entry and viewing an invoice, you generally want to print the invoice from the line items file -- unless your invoices are always short enough to fit on one page.

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Just out of curiosity, what is your current system? Is it a FileMaker solution, something in another database system, or and off the shelf product like QuickBooks or Peachtree? If we know this, we may be able to sayve you some headaches as you change your invoicing process.

Dan

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Yes Dan it is FM. Currently one file is used, with repeating fields holding payments. I think it would be more flexible (although day to day it seems to do the job) and this forum seems to concur that I would be better not using repeating fields.

Products/services are entered via value lists which look up another file - I think this is where the line items will come in.

I have used the current system for 5 years and I am having trouble thinking of how to implement a different solution, so I was looking for a very basic set of files (the simpler the better) to pick apart and understand so I can keep some of the familiar aspects, rather than just swap to something different.

Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Cheers, Murray

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murray said:

I am having to tackle a big project on a tight time schedule ... and I am not a developer.

Thanks, Murray

Given this, have you thought about getting a canned system like QuickBooks? Given what it does, it is a steal at $250 or so. Learning time is short, it is highly customizable, your accountant will be familiar with it, and will not only invoice, but take care of all your bookkeeping. I know this isn't an elegant FM solution, but you could never develop a bookkeepeing system (or maybe even an invoicing system) for $250 worth of your time. Time is money, after all.

Just food for thought.

Dan

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Thanks Dan for your ideas. I'd like to stick with FM as the whole rest of my solution integrates with these files for reports, correspondence etc, and I can tweak these myself if necessary. I'm getting my head around it now - thanks everyone for the files and the help.

Cheers, Murray

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Chopper,

I'm trying to use the invoices.zip file using FM7 on OS X Tiger. I'm asked for a user name and password. The download only gives me a password to open the files - no username. I can open the files as a guest - but not as a master - so I can't look at the relationships etc. Have you got the username?

Thanks

Andrew

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  • 1 month later...

One thing I'd add to John's post is that, while a portal to line items is ok for data entry and viewing an invoice, you generally want to print the invoice from the line items file -- unless your invoices are always short enough to fit on one page.

This sentence has been echoing in my head for the past week. I'm not sure what you mean by this. I have a very simple invoicing database and we use the portal option for invoicing. We do have a problem if there are a lot of line items...i.e. they don't all show up on the printout. I've been playing with sliding objects to try to solve this issue but i've not been real successful Sounds like you have a better way. Please explain what you mean by printing from the line items file.

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He means create a new list layout in the line items file/table for your invoice printout. You can put the related parent's fields on the layout. Since it will use data from the local table and reference only one related record (the parent invoice), you will not have to deal with portals at all.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everybody:

I am working on a simple invoicing system, things went well until things got weird:

I have a parent table (Invoices), child table (InvLineItems), and a customers table to LU names from. I created an Invoice layout based on the child table to print from. Here is where things got weird:

- When I enter a new invoice, say Inv#55, in browse mode in the invoice table and click on preview FM shows a different invoice (Inv#39)

- When I switch to InvoicePrint layout, in browse mode FM displays a different invoice (Inv 17). When I clik on preview FM show a totally different invoice (Inv#19).

I don't understand why the data I see in browse mode is not the same as in Preview mode for the same layout?

1) How can I get FM to show in preview mode the invoice I was viewing in browse mode and

2) How can I get FM to show the same invoice (Inv# 55) in InvoicePrint layout in browse mode and in preview mode?

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Preview Mode displays data from all records in the found set, starting with the first one. If one record displays per page in your file/table, then you can store the current record number in a global, enter Preview Mode, and Go to Record/Request/Page [based on the global]; otherwise, you can isolate the current record before entering Preview Mode.

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