Sequence streamlines billing for B2B companies with pricing complexity such as usage-based pricing.
Sequence billing schedules come with a range of sales-led billing features:
- Create draft schedules to speed up review
- Configure custom pricing terms or use a standard pricing plan
- Backdate billing start dates and re-generate past invoices
- Automatic start date proration to align billing to month-end
- Calendar and monthly billing
- Multi frequency billing (combine monthly and quarterly recurring fees)
- Recurring product or contract-level discounts
- Automated invoice issuing
- Usage, Seat-based and subscription based pricing
To bill a customer, create a billing schedule in the ‘Billing’ tab under ‘Add new’. Billing schedules calculate charges and create draft invoices automatically. Each schedule is unique to a customer, but pricing plans can be shared across customers.
Billing schedules can have one of three states:
- Pending: The start date of the schedule is set to an upcoming, future date.
- Active: The billing schedule is running and creating invoices for your customer.
- Completed: The last billing period has been completed.
Save billing schedules as drafts
You can save billing schedules as drafts. With draft mode, you can easily review schedules and make sure pricing, terms and start dates are correct before starting the billing process.
In-advance and in-arrears billing
When you configure a price, you can choose how you want to bill for it: in advance or in arrears. Charges for in-advance prices are invoiced at the start of a billing period. In-arrears prices are invoiced at the end of a billing period.
For each price within a billing schedule or plan, you can configure the billing frequency to charge for a product on a recurring basis. Sequence flexibly supports multiple billing frequencies:
Combine multiple billing frequencies
You can combine prices with different billing frequencies (monthly, quarterly, annually) and types (in advance, in arrears) in a plan or schedule. For example, combine:
- Annual in-advance fee with a monthly usage-based fee charged in arrears
- Quarterly in-arrears fees with monthly in-arrears fees.
- Monthly in-advance fee with a monthly usage-based fee charged in arrears
Sequence is designed to optimize and consolidate invoices where possible. For example, if you set up a Sequence billing schedule to bill your customers a fixed fee at the start of each month and a usage-based fee at month end, month-end invoices will also include the in-advance fee of the upcoming billing period.
You can configure billing with flexibility using Sequence.
- Billing start date: The start date is when billing begins for the customer (often the contract start date)
- End date: The end date is the last day of the final billing period, such as the last day of a 12-month contract (often the contract end date)
- Recurrence date: If you are billing monthly, you can also configure when you want billing periods to start, such as 1st of the month.
To start billing immediately, set the start date to today’s date. You can optionally configure the recurrence date to the 1st of the month. This will generated a prorated charge for the first billing period and align future billing periods to month end. Alternatively, to bill the customer starting from the next month, set the start date to the first of next month to begin billing then.
The billing frequency determines how often invoices are generated, such as monthly or annually. The billing schedule uses the frequency of the attached plan (daily, weekly, monthly or annually).
Calendar and monthly billing: When you create a billing schedule, you can flexibly define what day of the month or week you want new billing periods to start. If you want to bill your customers on a monthly basis, you might choose to start new billing periods every 1st of the month, for example. Alternatively if your company uses a Calendar billing model, you can choose today as the day new billing periods should start on.
To automate billing, you can choose to automatically issue invoices to customers when you create a billing schedule. Sequence will finalize the invoice and issue it to your customer automatically (including an email notification with the invoice attached as PDF). You can also start by manually reviewing your first batch of invoices and then enable auto-issuing afterwards.
Sequence automatically calculates charges for partial billing periods. For example, if you set the start date of your billing schedule to today (14/03/2023), but want new billing periods to start on the 1st of each month, the first billing period will be prorated (14/03 - 31/03).
For a billing schedule attached to a plan with a
£500 monthly recurring fee, Sequence will calculate the prorated charges for you.
- Billing start date: 14/03/2023
- Start new billing periods on: 1st of each month
- First billing period (prorated): 14/03/2023 - 31/03/2023 (18 days)
- Invoice total (pre tax):
£500 * (18 days / 31 days) = £290.32
Backdated billing schedules
You can create billing schedules with a start date in the past. Backdated billing schedules will create invoices for past billing periods. If today is the 1st of March and you set the billing schedule start date to 1st of February, recurring monthly, the schedule will automatically create the first invoice for the 1-28 February period.
Backdated billing schedules can be helpful for testing or to migrate existing customer contracts.
You can add percentage or nominal based discounts to a schedule, which will apply to each billing period until the discount expires. Discounts can apply to either the entire invoice or individual products.
If the discount expiry date doesn’t match exactly with the end of a billing period, it will be applied pro rata to the final billing period which covers the expiry date.
For example, with the following schedule:
- Billing start date: 01/07/2023
- Billing end date: 30/06/2024
- Recurrence: monthly
If you add a discount of £50 to apply from 01/06/2023 to 15/09/2023 the amount owed each billing period will be calculated like so:
01/07/2023 to 31/07/2023: £500 - £50 = £450
01/08/2023 to 31/08/2023: £500 - £50 = £450
01/09/2023 to 30/09/2023: £500 - (£50 * 15/30) = £500 - £25 = £475
01/10/2023 to 31/10/2023 (and all remaining billing periods): £500
The pro-rata calculation of the discount is discount amount * (number of days discount applies / total number of days in the billing period)