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Monday, 5 October 2009

Magento Alpha Release

We are readying the Alpha Release of Magento for this week.

If anyone would like to contribute their time by testing it and helping us to squish bugs, please use the contact form to get in touch!

It is available for KashFlow at the moment, but we will shortly be adding support for FreshBooks and Xero.

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Monday, 13 April 2009

A better way to do order exchanges in OSCommerce

I have used OSCommerce for many years and always found the lack of functionality for Credit Orders or Exchanges difficult.

In the end, we used the "Edit Order" contribution to directly edit an order.  But in the process we lost the order history and it went out of sync with our payments.

While a better system could and should be built into OSCommerce, at CTO we have defined a semi-automatic process to help.

It does assume that you calculate your sales (e.g. for VAT purposes) from Kashflow and not OSCommerce.

The logic is in 3 stages:
1. The customer places an order containing 1 or more items.
2. The customer returns 1 or more items for an exchange.
3. You create a credit note for the original order and then issue a new invoice from within Kashflow for the new item(s).

The process uses KashFlows "Assign Advance Payment" functionality to ensure you keep track of how much is owed by you or the customer for any balance.

1. Go to your OSCommerce admin and create a new Order Status called "Exchanged".

Order Status
Click to open full size in a new window

2. Go to your carrytheone configuration page:


Once you have logged in, scroll down to the "Credit Notes" section.

Credit Notes

Configure one of the 3 potential Credit Note triggers for the "Exchanged" order status.

You will want to exclude the delivery charge - because typically if a customer is returning a non-faulty item, you will not refund the outward delivery cost.

Also exclude the payment - as this is an exchange, you do not want to automatically assign a payment to the credit note - you are holding back the monies paid in order to put them towards the exchanged item.

3. Place a test order on your system. I will keep it simple for now and order one item. If your customer order several items and only wants to exchange one, you will need to manually edit the credit note to remove the items not being returned.

I placed an order for a USB mouse - and the system uploaded the invoice to Kashflow within about 20 seconds:

KashFlow InvoiceClick to open full size in a new window

4. Next, we assume that the customer receives the item and realises that the USB mouse won't work on their old laptop and they need the PS2 version instead.

They send it back, and on receipt, you change the order status to exchanged.

This automatically creates a credit note in Kashflow - excluding the original delivery and does not assign a payment.

KashFlow Credit Note
Click to open full size in a new window

5. Next, create a new invoice within KashFlow for the replacement item. In this case, it is the cheaper PS2 mouse.

The total including delivery is £77.19 - a bit cheaper than the first order.

When you have created your new invoice, scroll to the bottom and look for the "Apply Advance Payment" button:

Advance Payment

KashFlow has spotted that this customer is owed £81.59 off their previous invoice. Clicking the button will assign this payment to the new invoice.

6. The final thing we have to do is account for the overpayment by the customer.

Unfortunately there isn't an automatic system for this, so I suggest you record it as a transaction under the relevant bank account.

Assuming the customer paid via WorldPay, you can do a partial refund through WorldPay for the oustanding amount - £4.40 in this case, recording it as a bank transaction.

Alternatively, you could hold onto the money and put it against a future purchase.

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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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