The Invoices table
The real point of all this business stuff is to create a situation where checks appear in your mail box on a regular basis. Even though the generation of invoices isn’t unpleasant compared to estimating, scheduling and tracking time and expenses, it still has to be done and it better be something easy and quick.
FileMaker Pro is used for invoicing a LOT. It works really well. You get pretty invoices. Just fill in the blanks and print. The address is looked up from the contacts file, the job description and PO number come in from the Jobs file and taxes and other such things are totaled accurately every time. What could be nicer? We don’t know. It takes about two minutes to do an invoice with this system.
You will get spoiled by the “Get Estimate” and “Get Job Costs” commands that will fill in your invoice with estimates, change orders, estimates and change orders totaled together or even actual costs to date (marked up of course).
By the way, you decide how much you are going to charge. Even though Studio Manager tells you what you’ve spent, you can round off the numbers and juggle them around until they seem particularly appealing to your lucky clients. Maybe you took a lot longer than you thought you would on production but came up with a fantastic design concept in the shower in five minutes. Your client doesn’t have to know all the gory details – blow by blow.
Default Printed Invoice – Awaiting Your Customization
The printed invoice below is how we get you started. We assume you will move things around and change the typeface. That’s a given. Remember back if you can to the days of more primitive drawing programs like MacDraw. Those are the kinds of tools you’ve got to design your invoice. You don’t have fractional point sizes, but you do have line spacing and quite a few style options. FileMaker Pro recognizes most graphics formats to allow you to insert images and reposition them until the layout matches your letterhead, or until you are happy.
Our creative services customers seem to come up with stunning invoices even in this more primitive design environment, but we know that you are used to making design tradeoffs skillfully. The user manual details instructions for how to create two invoice layouts – one that is plain (for you to print onto your gorgeous letterhead) and one that contains all the graphics and text needed to print or save to file (as PDF). Simply attach the PDF to an email and send it to your client. Producing great looking invoices that can be sent with no delay means that you are likely to be paid more quickly.
The PDF invoice layout contains two container fields, one for a logo and the other for an address block, also a graphic. The graphics can be inserted in browse mode, meaning that non-graphics people (the ones usually doing the billing) can insert these with minimal help from a designer and it only needs to be done once (unless the logo or contact information changes).
Here’s the tab in Invoices (on the More Info tab) where the graphics are inserted.