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Monday, 16 February 2009

Replace OsCommerce Invoices with Kashflow Invoices

Version 1 of the OsCommerce integration tool will allow you to automatically email the Kashflow invoice to a customer instead of/ as well as the OsCommerce invoice.

Why might this be useful?
- If you want consistency of invoices going to customers - for instance if you are using multiple online store platforms.

- If you prefer the Kashflow invoice, which allows the insertion of custom text in the email body and the attachment of a letterheaded PDF invoice.

- If you are not charging at checkout, but on 30 days (e.g. B2B customers), then the Kashflow invoice can contain BACS & cheque instruction and/or a Paypal link with the invoice number, order total and customer details automatically encoded.

For the latter, it should be possible to do this by simply turning off the automatic "transaction" update to the invoice. The default setting is to create an invoice in Kashflow, and then automatically add the transaction amount (while specifying the payment method, clearing time and bank account it is allocated to).

However, if your store has custom coding to remove the requirement to pay at checkout, there may need to be some installation tweaks for the service to work, as we assume that stores require payment at checkout.

One of the features of the auto-invoice is that you can specify a numerical prefix (not letters as Kashflow doesn't support that) for each store and/or payment module. e.g. 0001 for Worldpay payments, 0002 for Paypal payments etc.

We hope this functionality will come into its own when we integrate directly with Worldpay - replacing the rather poor Worldpay invoice, and opening up the service to non-OsCommerce shop owners.

If anyone has any observations or requests for functionality, then please use the comments box below this post.

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Sunday, 15 February 2009

Automatic Credit Notes

If you've used OSCommerce for a while, then you know just how limited the functionality is for returns or exchanges.

Apart from moving an entire order to refunded, you cannot easily edit an order (you can with an edit invoice contribution), and you always lose the history of an order.

A product can be removed or added to an order...but you can't show exchanges.

For launch, we are preparing a very simple piece of functionality which generates a credit note whenever an OSC order is changed to a particular order status (usually "Returned").

It will automatically insert the entire order with negative values.

You also have the option to remove the delivery cost from the credit note. Most stores do not refund the delivery charge if an order is returned to them.

It occurred to us that generating a credit note that includes the delivery charge when an order is marked to "cancelled" would be you have the option to set up to 3 different order status triggers, and decide whether or not to include the delivery charge on each individually.

You can also choose to automatically assign a payment to a credit note.

If it is a straight refund from the same payment system used to make the order - then automatically assigning the payment will save time.

However, if you want to make the refund payment using another system (e.g. by sending a cheque) or do an exchange, you can choose not to assign the payment.

Let us know if this works for your store - or if you need any further functionality.

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How we show discounts on invoices

We've put a bit of thought into this, and realised that many sites would be using one of several discount voucher tools or discount coupons.

The integration tool will compare the prices of products in the database with the final invoice total - and if there is a discrepancy, will insert a line in the Kashflow invoice showing a discount.

If you are not registered for VAT, then that's where it ends for you.

If your store is registered for VAT, then it gets a bit more complicated.

The default setting for the discount voucher is to include VAT. That means a £10 voucher would be shown on the invoice as £8.70 plus VAT.

You can turn off this setting in admin, and the voucher will be shown as being zero rated for VAT.

By doing it this way we ensure the voucher always comes off the main products - and not the delivery - which is often zero rated for VAT if stores use Royal Mail.

The only issue is that the Kashflow invoice and the OSCommerce invoice may show different VAT amounts - although the totals will be the same.

Would be useful to get store owners' feedback on this.

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Multiple Currencies in OsCommerce and integration with Kashflow

If you have an OSCommerce store and support multiple currencies, then we'd love to hear from you!

Our surveys showed the majority of sites supported a single home currency - GBP if you are based in the UK, USD if in US etc.

However, OSCommerce does have the functionality to show lots of different currencies, and update the rates semi-automatically using

Our experience of running an OSCommerce site was that while we showed customers in Germany all prices in Euros, and let them check-out in fact they were charged in GBP - and the Germany customer would usually be charged a slightly different amount by their bank or credit card.

Even though the OSC invoice would be in Euros, we took the call to put the Kashflow invoice in GBP (or whatever the default currency is in OSC).

This is because the merchant is always charging in the default currency, even if the customer sees a different currency on their invoice.

The question is - does this work for everyone?

And how many people out there use multiple currencies and have multiple bank accounts denominated in various currencies?

Our thinking is that only stores using Paypal's Website Payments Pro (but possibly just Paypal IPN) would have multiple currency balances - and many will just have them automatically converted to their home currency regardless.

How many stores out there would like support for multiple currency balances. And how would you like those treated in Kashflow? Do you already use the multi-currency capability?

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CarryTheOne Alpha Testing

Welcome to the Carrytheone blog.

The site was built over a few days last week and the development is focused on getting the OSCommerce integration tool ready for testing at the end of February.

We have a small list of testers already, but if you would like to participate, please ping over your details using the contact form.

It is surprising - and very encouraging - to be getting so much traffic already - we hope this turns into a healthy demand for the service.

The initial functionality will focus on accurately taking sales from OSCommerce and putting them into Kashflow.

Remember - get in touch if you want to test the Alpha version - we won't be charging until the tool is in Beta.

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