Custom Invoices in Vision 6.X (and most likely 7 as well)

This is a very quick entry… it’s about the Invoice Report.

I have many many requests for custom invoice formats.  Many firms often balk at the price of customizing an invoice stating “but… I only want to change…”

Let me explain a few concepts about the Invoice in Vision that you may or may not be aware of:

1. The Invoice is a report… yes, it is stored in an .rdl file just like any report.  However, knowing that it’s stored in an .rdl file or knowing a little about SSRS does not qualify anyone to make modifications to it.

2. The Invoice Report (as I will refer to it from here forward) has many sub-reports.  I think it’s about 22 or something. Some examples of sub reports are… consultants, fees, labor, expenses, billing backup, unit, add on, limit, taxes, retainer….

Notice how each section in your invoice has its own sub-report.  What this means is that to make a formatting change on your invoice… like moving columns around, changing their width, indentation etc. can potentially require making changes to not just one file, but several.

3. The Data behind Invoicing is also very complex. I recently had a client request that I show all consultant budgets and BTD amounts, even for parts of the project that were not being billed on THAT invoice.  This way on the invoice the client can see the entirety of the progress made in terms of consultant billings.  This request required a complete restructure of the query underlying the consultants sub report.

4. The custom invoice files which Deltek provides actually do not always behave as expected… and they have a few bugs here and there…. I’m guessing that the bugs are just settings that someone forgot to clean up before making the “template”.  Fortunately… there are only a few bugs and things that need cleaning up before the invoice works properly… but it still takes a few hours to set up a new client and get to the baseline “standard” invoice with the new custom one…

Lots of things can be changed using the Billing Templates built in to Vision… so I recommend starting there if possible.  This does not require a programmer to mess around with potentially hazardous custom invoice reports.

However, if you do need custom invoice formats… make sure to:

a. standardize across your organization, so you’re not having different offices with different formats (the clients appreciate a clean and tidy organization anyway… it makes you seem more efficient, like they’re getting something good for their money)

b. find a highly qualified consultant (such as myself) to do the work for you, so it only has to be done once.

Cheers!

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