Billing Phase 1: Products

A large part of our billing process is recurring billing – we bill clients for products on a regular basis
Where products in this sense refers to subscriptions, or licenses, or phone services etc
So in order to setup the billing system, I have needed to setup products
An important principle here: the billing for the product is recurring – not the invoice
On a monthly basis we invoice clients for product billing incurred during the month

Implementation so far:

On the Xstra Menu is a button for Product Catalogue

Which brings up the product listing

This will soon have sorts and filters etc – but my focus has been on creation rather than search so far
The add new product button will first ask you to name the new product

before opening the edit screen
The reason it is done that way, is that a product has many pieces – so it needs to exist before it can be built out

The tabs are as follows:

Looking at the tabs in reverse order (because the simple ones are at the end)
The notes tab works the same as elsewhere – that actually is the plan for notes
The idea is that they are consistent and can be applied anywhere – just use the Add Note button
The documents tab allows you to upload/add documents to a product – manuals, certificates etc
The instances tab is not operational yet – that is what I will be working on next
Essentially a product is a description of an item or service
whereas a product instance is the unique version of it that gets linked to a client/site/user/device
Billing Modifiers is for when a product changes the way other products/services/etc are billed
eg if a client has product xyz then all XCare tickets are discounted 100% (ie not charged)
Billing Profiles represent the frequency and rate that a product is billed at
A product might be billed at $7/week for some clients and $30/month for others
This example would represent 2 billing profiles
And keep in mind that a billing profile of $7/week will appear on a monthly invoice with 4 or 5 instances depending how many weeks since last bill
Procedures is a placeholder for future functionality
Specifications is a Key/Value type situation

I anticipate this to be a kind of mix between selecting from a list and freeform
Components is essentially sub-products – each component represents a single product and can have individual billing to be rolled up into the product
And the main tab has all the details about the overall product – brand, vendor etc

All of these tabs are currently operational – except procedures and instances
Still to do on the tabs is some improvements around searching / filtering etc
And I need to circle back on wrapping up the component billing to form part of the overall pricing schema

The terminology is based on my thinking around the design and is therefore subject to change

Components is an interesting piece – since a component is a product in itself, you can create a product, realise it needs a component, and create the component product
Then … realise the component product needs a component and create essentially a “sub-sub” product … and so on
Currently it can go infinitely deep and there is nothing to stop circular references – so this is subject to review …

Comments/discussions are welcome and encouraged – I plan to leave the products piece essentially there for now (with the exception of instances)
and move on to phase 2: linking products to clients to be able to generate billing

Last modified: Jun 10, 2020

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