Handling invoices can be a tedious and time-consuming process for many businesses. Whether you’re dealing with monthly subscriptions or ongoing services, the repetitive nature of billing can eat into valuable time that could be better spent on growth and customer relations.

Recurring invoices are a game-changer in this space, automating the billing process and saving you and your team precious hours every month. In this post, we’ll delve into what recurring invoices are, where they’re used, their many benefits, and how you can set them up with Sage Intacct.

What are Recurring Invoices?

Recurring invoices are a type of automated billing that allows businesses to set up and send recurring invoices for ongoing services or subscriptions. Recurring invoices include all the details necessary for the customer to understand their payment obligations, such as the invoice date, due date, and invoice number.

Where are Recurring Invoices Used?

Recurring invoices are widely used across various industries and business models. Subscription-based services, like streaming platforms or monthly box deliveries, rely heavily on recurring invoicing.

Professional services, including accounting programs and legal services under retainer agreements, also benefit from this system. Really, any business that provides ongoing services or products can utilize recurring invoices to manage their billing operations more effectively.

8 Benefits of Using Recurring Invoices

Woman setting up recurring invoices on a tablet at home

There are several benefits to using recurring invoices both for businesses and their customers. Let’s take a look at some of them:

1. More Predictable Revenue

Did you know that 30% of companies indicate that billing issues are impacting their financial results? By using recurring invoices, businesses can create a more predictable and consistent revenue stream. By knowing exactly when payments will be received, businesses can plan and allocate resources more effectively and maintain a healthier cash flow. 

2. Reduces Overhead Costs

Automating the invoicing process reduces the need for manual input, thus lowering overhead costs. With fewer manual tasks, your team can focus on more strategic activities that drive business growth. 

It can also mean less administrative pain for your team – no more chasing down payments or manually generating and sending invoices. This not only frees up time and resources to focus on other important tasks but boosts morale. 

3. Enhances Accuracy

One of the biggest positives of using automated recurring invoices is the fact that they minimize the risk of human error. With manual invoicing, there is always the possibility of typos or miscalculations, which can result in delays and discrepancies in payments.

Details like the invoice date, invoice number, and customer information are correctly input every time, making sure that clients are billed accurately and consistently.

4. Improves Customer Relationships

When customers automatically receive accurate invoices on time, it builds trust and reliability. Timely invoicing reduces disputes and enhances customer satisfaction, fostering long-term business relationships. Additionally, automated recurring invoices provide clients with a clear and organized record of their payment history, making it easier for them to keep track of their expenses.

Businesswoman at a desk with a laptop and a calculator

5. Provides Transparency

Recurring invoices offer a clear and consistent record of billing operations. This transparency is beneficial for both the business and its customers, making it easier to track payments, resolve any discrepancies, and prevent duplicate payments quickly. This feature also allows for easy access to past invoices, which can be helpful for tax and accounting purposes.

6. Protects Data

Using a secure invoicing software means that everyone’s financial data is protected. This includes customer information, payment details, and any other confidential data. By using a secure platform for invoicing, businesses can ensure the safety of their own and their customers’ data.

7. Adapts to Variable Components

 Recurring invoices can accommodate variables such as changes in pricing, discounts, or added services. This allows businesses to easily update and adjust their invoices without having to create a brand-new template every time.

8. Saves Time

Whether you are sending out invoices to clients for products or services, it takes serious time and effort to create each one individually. With the use of invoicing software, businesses can automate this process and save valuable time that can be used for other tasks.

How to Set Up Recurring Invoices with Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct dashboard via Sage.com

Sage Intacct’s comprehensive features and user-friendly design make it one of the best invoice approval software options out there for businesses looking to improve their billing efficiency and accuracy. Better yet- setting up recurring invoices with Sage Intacct AP automation is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Go to Accounts Receivable > All > Invoices > Recurring > Add
  2. Fill out the Invoice tab with the following information:
    • Customer ID
    • Invoice Sequence Number
    • Reference Number
    • Description
    • Terms
  3. Fill out the Schedule tab with the following information:
    • Start Date
    • Repetition Frequency
    • End Date
  4. Click Save

By following these steps, you can create a recurring invoice template that make sure your billing process runs smoothly and efficiently.


Businesswoman at desk with two monitors (recurring invoices)

Recurring invoices are a powerful tool for businesses looking to enhance their billing processes and create financial stability. By automating invoices, you not only save time but also improve accuracy, reduce overhead costs, and build stronger customer relationships.

At BCS ProSoft, we’re committed to helping businesses gain the most out of Sage Intacct’s accounts payable automation. If you’re ready to set up recurring invoices or have any questions about this process, contact us today.

If you’re still on the fence about AP automation, check out our blog on the top 15 AP automation benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the recurring billing process?

The recurring billing process involves setting up a system that automatically generates invoices at regular intervals and sends them to customers. This automation makes sure that payments are collected consistently without the need for manual intervention. 

For example, a business offering a monthly subscription service will have an invoice generated and sent to the customer on the same day each month, detailing the amount due and the payment due date. This regularity helps in maintaining a steady cash flow and reduces administrative overhead by eliminating the need to manually create and send invoices every billing period.

What is the difference between a recurring invoice and a retainer invoice?

A recurring invoice and a retainer invoice serve different purposes and are used in different billing scenarios.

A recurring invoice is automatically generated and sent to a customer at specified intervals (e.g., monthly, quarterly). It covers ongoing services or products provided regularly. For instance, a software company might use recurring invoices to bill customers for their monthly subscription fee. The amount is typically the same for each billing period, ensuring predictable revenue and simplified financial management.

A retainer invoice is usually a one-time invoice for an upfront payment, often used in professional services. Clients pay a retainer fee in advance, which the service provider draws from as services are rendered. Additional invoices are issued based on the actual services provided and the remaining balance of the retainer. For example, a law firm might issue a retainer invoice to a client at the start of a legal case, with subsequent invoices sent as legal services are performed and billed against the retainer amount.

How to set up recurring charges?

How to set up recurring invoices depends on the billing system being used. Many online invoicing platforms, such as Sage Intacct, Xero, and QuickBooks, have the capability to set up recurring charges and invoices. This allows businesses to automatically generate invoices at regular intervals without having to manually create them each time.

To set up recurring charges or invoices, first determine the frequency of the billing cycle (monthly, quarterly, annually) and the amount that will be charged each time. Then, enter this information into the billing system along with any other necessary details such as client information and services provided.

Once the recurring charge is set up in the system, it will automatically generate an invoice at the designated interval. This not only saves time for businesses but also ensures consistent and timely invoicing for clients.

It’s important to regularly review and adjust recurring charges if needed. If services or prices change, be sure to update the billing system accordingly. This will avoid any confusion or discrepancies in billing and maintain a good relationship with clients.

What are the disadvantages of recurring payments?

While recurring payments offer numerous benefits like preventing AP fraud and saving time and money, there are some potential disadvantages if not managed properly.

Automated systems can sometimes result in incorrect billing if there are errors in the setup or if customer details change and are not updated promptly. This can lead to overcharging or undercharging, causing customer dissatisfaction.

Without clear communication, customers might not understand why they are being billed repeatedly. It’s essential to provide detailed invoices and make sure that customers are aware of the recurring nature of the charges.

To mitigate these issues, it’s important to maintain accurate records, regularly review and update customer information, and communicate clearly with customers about their billing.

What is an example of a recurring invoice?

An example of a recurring invoice is a monthly subscription fee for a software service. Here’s how it works:

Service Provided: A customer subscribes to a software service that charges a monthly fee.
Invoice Generation: Each month, an invoice is automatically generated and sent to the customer. This invoice includes details such as the amount due, the services covered, and the payment due date.
Consistent Billing: The customer receives this invoice on the same date each month, ensuring that they are billed consistently for the ongoing service.

This type of recurring invoicing is common in industries such as SaaS (Software as a Service), where businesses rely on predictable monthly revenue from their subscribers. By automating the invoicing process, these businesses can issue timely payments and maintain a steady cash flow.

What is recurring billing vs recurring invoicing?

Recurring billing refers to the ongoing charging of a customer’s credit card or bank account for a subscription or service. This is often used for services with fixed fees, such as Netflix or Spotify.

On the other hand, recurring invoicing involves sending invoices to customers on a regular basis, typically monthly. This is commonly used for services that may vary in cost each month, such as consulting services or utility bills.

Both methods have their advantages and are often used together by businesses to ensure timely payments from their customers. Recurring invoicing provides transparency and allows for adjustments in pricing if needed, while recurring billing provides convenience and automatic payments for both parties involved.

With modern technology and automation tools, businesses can easily set up both recurring billing and invoicing processes