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Documentation > General Documentation > Webtop > Payment Module

Payment Module

posted on 2:19 PM, October 6, 2009
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Payment Module

The Payments module provides a general-purpose interface to your e-commerce system. It tracks your accounts (customers), receivables (invoices), and payments (both e-commerce and off-line).

Click here for instructions on cancellations and refunds.

Terms

Account
An account is a customer, person, or organization with which you have a business relationship. The account balance is the difference between the receivable totals and the payments on the account. Accounts receivable are accounts with money owed to you; accounts payable are accounts in which you owe money to the account holder.
Accounting Code
An accounting code is a way of classifying individual receivable items to allow for more filtering in reports, or for calculation of specialized surcharges such as sales taxes.
Payment
A payment is a record that an amount was received from an account. A payment is associated with an account, but can also be associated with a particular receivable if you want to track whether particular items are paid for, rather than just the account as a whole.
Receipt
A receipt is basically the same as a receivable, below. Essentially, a receivable becomes a receipt once it is paid.
Receivable (or Invoice)
A receivable is a statement of an amount owing from an account; it consists of one more more line items that are totaled into the total amount due. The system also supports payables, which are just like receivables, but in the opposite sense: a payable describes an amount owing to the account holder, rather than from. Payables usually represent refunds.
Receivable Item
A receivable item is a single line-item on a receivable. It provides more information on the details of the purchase.

Receivable Status

The only important receivable status is active. All receivables that should be considered for accounting purposes should be marked as active.

All other receivables are ignored by the accounting system, and can be considered to be archived for different reasons:

  • inactive - these are incomplete receivables for sales that were never closed. For example, if a user starts filling a shopping cart, but never check out, the cart contents will show up as an inactive receivable.
  • processing - these receivables were sent to an e-commerce payment gateway, but notification has not been heard back. This can happen because the customer abandoned their payment, or was declined. However, it can also happen if the browser session was closed before the payment gateway replied to the website with notification of successful payment, or if the user is still in the middle of their purchase.
  • canceled - these receivables have been manually canceled or reversed, from their previous status of processing or active.
  • advisory - these are re-issued invoices that duplicate accounting information that is already in the system. For example, say there is a balance owing on an account, so you issue a new invoice demanding payment. Because the invoiced amount is already in the accounting system on the original invoice, you don't want to count it twice, so you make the new invoice advisory.

Finding Invoices

You have several ways to query for invoices in the system:

  1. search for recent invoices
  2. search for invoices in a date range
  3. look up a particular invoice or receipt number
  4. search for account names
  5. show all accounts payable/receivable

When searching for invoices in a time span, you can also specify the receivable status. For example, to investigate purchases that were lost at the payment gateway, search for "processing" invoices.

Search results are displayed under different tabs. Not all tabs will be available in every case. If multiple tabs are available, you can use them to quickly switch between different views. For instance, if viewing an invoice, you can switch to the account statement, or to a list of payments against that invoice.

Account Tab

The account statement is a summary of the account, listing all active receivables and all completed payments, along with the balance owing. The account statement only includes those items that affect the account balance. Non-active receivables, and invalid payments are not shown by default, but will be included if you select "show all transactions".

Use the toolbar buttons to narrow the date range of transactions, show invalid transactions, update account info, email or print the account statement.

(If an account search has turned up multiple matching accounts, you may have to select one first.)

Invoice Tab

The invoice tab displays the selected receivable (or a list of receivables to choose from, if one has not been selected). It also summarizes any payments that have been made against the selected receivable.

You have a number of tools for revising or displaying the invoice:

  • Manage invoice - you can change the invoice status, and add payments here.
  • Cancellations/Refunds - you can reverse sales here.
  • Printer-friendly - display the invoice in a form that can be mailed to the customer.
  • Email - email the invoice (as an invoice or receipt, depending on payment status) to the customer. You will be able to customize the message to the customer.
  • Statement of Sale - display the invoice as a sales report, including additional details such as the buyer information, payment summary, and information about order fulfillment.

Payments Tab

Payments on the account or receivable are listed here. Click the invoice number to jump to the recievable view. Click the payment status to edit that payment. Click "+Add payment" to add a new payment to the account.

Refunds should be entered as negative payments.

If you add a payment on the account, you will get a form to provide the following information:

  • amount - note that you can enter negative amounts to reverse previous payments, or apply credits to the account.
  • method - how the payment was made
  • status - the state of the payment. For good payments, the status should be "paid". To cancel a previous payment, set its status to "canceled". To mark a payment as tentatively received (eg. a cheque that has not been cleared), use "received". The status of "suspicious" is normally used to flag automatic e-commerce payments that could not be validated through the gateway. These should be checked, and then updated to "paid" or "canceled".
  • invoice - a payment can optionally be tied directly to an invoice so that you can quickly tell whether a particular receivable was paid. This is optional; all payments are recorded against the account in any case.
  • note - it is often useful to include notes for tracking or auditing purposes
  • post-processing - check this if you want your system to perform any extra automatic processing functions that normally occur following a successful payment. (For example, email notifications, activations, etc.) Post-processing is only performed if it is a good payment (status paid) that is tied to a specific invoice.

You will get the same form if editing an existing payment. However, it will not let you edit the payment amount. This is to ensure that the history of payment activity remains clear.

Cancellation/Refund Function

Many cancellations and refunds can be dealt with using the Cancellation/Refund function. When viewing an invoice, click the "Cancellation/Refund" button to launch a tool that gives you various options for reversing a sale in one step. This includes convenient settings to cancel and void sales, as well as cancel or refund payments.

  • Cancel a sale means a sale went through, but you simply want to undo it, and remove it from reports and statements. This is a simple way of quickly reversing a sale. The canceled sale is not deleted, and remains archived in the the system for auditing purposes, but does not have any effect on the account balance. Any payments that were received should also be refunded.

  • Void a sale means the sale never went through, and should not appear in reports and statements. Use this to get rid of sales that were erroneously recorded. (They will remain archived in the system.) This has the same effect as cancelling a sale, but it is recorded differently so that you can tell the difference later. If payments were received, those should also be undone--but if payments were received, then cancelling the sale is probably a better choice to keep the sales history clear.

  • Enter a refund means a sale was completed, but then at a later time you refunded all or part of it. Both the original sale and the refund will be recorded separately in reports and statements, which gives a more visible accounting history.

    Partial refunds can be done by selecting particular line items on the invoice to refund. (Leave them all checked if you are refunding the entire sale.) If you are only refunding part of the sale, then be sure to select any taxes or other surcharges that relate to the items that you are refunding.

    Refunds will generate a new invoice describing the refund; this invoice is payable to the customer, not to you. Both will appear in reports and statements, effectively cancelling each other out. It will also generate a new refund payment in the amount of the refund invoice.

  • Do nothing means leave the sale as-is. Use this option if you are only refunding or canceling a payment, but the sale still stands.

In all but the refund case, you should also select how the payments on the invoice should be handled. There are a few cases:

  1. A payment was received, but was fully refunded. Select "fully refunded", and a reverse-payment will be recorded in the system to cancel out the original payment.
  2. Payment was not received. Equivalently, multiple payments were recorded, but only one of them is real, and the others were errors. In this case select "canceled/not received/error", and the given payments will be marked as invalid. (They are not deleted, just removed from the reports.)
  3. A partial refund was issued; in this case, do not modify the payments here. Use the refund function instead.

In the refund case, a refund "payment" will automatically be generated in the amount of the refunded goods. This is the amount that should be returned to the buyer.

Manual Cancellations and Refunds

You can manually make corrections to your sales data by doing the following:

  • Changing the status of invoices. Only "active" invoices are used in accounting reports. Change to "canceled" to cancel a sale and remove it from reports.
  • Changing the status of payments. Only "paid" payments are used in accounting reports. Click on the payment status to change a payment to "canceled". It is a good idea to include a short note explaining your changes.
  • Adding refunds. Manually add a new payment with a negative amount to record a refund. This will effectively balance the original payment, but both will be visible in reports.
  • In special cases you may need to add new invoices to the system to describe special refunds, discounts, or other unusual situations. Use the POS (Point-of-Sale) module to create these invoices.

Troubleshooting

Here are some common cases, and suggestions for how to deal with them.

Refunded purchase

  1. To quickly reverse the entire sale, use the "Cancellation/Refund" button under the invoice tab. Select "Cancel the sale", and "fully refund" the payment.
  2. To get a more detailed accounting history, choose "Refund the sale" instead. This allows you to optionally refund particular line items. A refund payment will automatically be generated in the amount of the refunded items.

Too many payments

Sometimes, the sale itself was good, but too many payments were recorded.

If the extra payments were recorded in error (ie. no extra money was actually collected), then cancel the spurious payments one of these ways:

  1. From the payments tab, click on the status of the bad payments to revise those payments. Change their status to "canceled" and add an explanatory note.
  2. From the refund tool, leave the sale as-is, and mark the problem payments as canceled.

If the extra payments were actually received (ie. the customer accidentally paid several times) then refund the extra payments one of these ways:

  1. From the payments tab, click on "add new payment" and add negative payments to reflect the refunds.
  2. From the refund tool, leave the sale as-is, and mark the problem payments as fully refunded.

False or failed purchase

If a sale was recorded, but did not actually happen, then you should cancel the purchase so that it does not show up as an account receivable. From the manage invoice screen, set the invoice status to one of:

  • inactive - this indicates that the sale was never actually made. Use this if the sale was an error.
  • canceled - this indicates that the customer changed their mind. Use this if the customer never got around to actually paying.

Bad payment

Sometimes you will record a payment, but then have to undo that payment later. (For example, an NSF cheque/check.) Do one of the following:

  1. From the payments tab, click on the status of the bad payments to revise those payments. Change their status to "canceled" and add an explanatory note.
  2. From the refund tool, leave the sale as-is, and mark the problem payments as canceled.

These will leave the sale as open, meaning you are expecting another payment to settle the account.

Payment amount is wrong

You entered a payment manually into the system, but got the amount wrong. The system does not let you edit the payment amounts, because that would make it too easy to mess up your balances.

From the payments tab, click on the status of the bad payments to revise the payments. Change the bad payment to "canceled" and add an explanatory note. Then add a new payment with the correct amount.

Payment not applied to an invoice

You entered a payment manually into the system, but didn't tag it explicitly with the invoice number, so the system does not know that that particular invoice is paid.

From the payments tab, click on the status of the payment to revise it. Change the invoice number in the payment details.

Customer Credit

A purchase was made, but rather than collect the complete amount, you want to credit the customer for all or part of the balance.

From the invoice tab, add a payment on the invoice in the amount being credited. Set the payment type to "other", and add an explanatory note.

Changed your mind on the price

A purchase was made and payment received, but the invoice total is incorrect and you want to change it to say something else.

Editing completed purchases can mess up your accounting! This is a dangerous practice. It would be better to cancel/refund the sale and start over.

If you want to edit the sale anyway, then use the Point of Sale (POS) module to compose and edit invoices.