How Can I E-mail Invoices to My Customers Instead of Using Snail Mail?

Q - How do I e-mail invoices to customers instead of using snail mail?  I need to do this for only a portion of my customers who we have e-mail addresses on file and are willing to accept invoices through e-mail. Is it possible to turn off invoice printing for specific customers?

A - There are two ways to send invoices to customers through e-mails: the manual way and the automatic way:

Manually Send Invoices to Customers
In Elliott, you can print an invoice to create a PDF file. Then you can e-mail that PDF file to your customer.  See the example below:



This is a generic feature, and you can print any report or Elliott business document -- such as purchase orders or statements -- to a PDF file.

To accomplish this, you can purchase Adobe PDF Writer and install it on your computer.  Then you will start to see Adobe PDF as a printer that you can choose to print to.  In Elliott's Print Options window (see above example), you will need to choose "Add Configuration..." to add Adobe PDF to Elliott as a valid printing destination.

There are less expensive solutions than Adobe PDF Writer.  Some even offer free versions with less functions.  Just Google it and you will find many alternatives.

Automatically Send Invoices to Customers by Using PDF Blaster
If your intention is to save postage and make sure your customers receive your invoices faster, the solution is called PDF Blaster.  Netcellent System, Inc. has jointly developed a special PDF Blaster version that works for Elliott Business Software. PDF Blaster will use Elliott's eContact database to look up the intended recipient's e-mail addresses and automate the e-mail sending of business documents such as:
  • COP Invoices or Credit Memos
  • COP Order Acknowledgments
  • COP RMA Acknowledgments
  • AR Statements
  • PO Purchase Orders
The issue with printing invoices to Adobe PDF manually is that you will have to print one invoice, or at least one customer, at a time.  You can't use batch invoice printing to print hundreds of invoices at a time and expect Adobe PDF to break it up invoice by invoice or customer by customer.  Even if you choose to print one invoice at a time manually, you are still faced with the task of sending the PDF file through e-mail, which requires you to find the right contact to match the PDF file.  For this reason, generally speaking, manually sending invoices to customers through Adobe PDF is only suitable on the exceptional basis, and not suitable for a large-scale automation scenario.

For large-scale e-mailing of invoices to customers, this is where PDF Blaster comes into play. Like Adobe PDF Writer, PDF Blaster is implemented as a printer.  Once you install PDF Blaster on your computer, you can add PDF Blaster as your printing destination by using the "Add Configuration..." button in the Print Option window.  Then when you choose to print to the PDF Blaster, based on the document type, it will automatically find Elliott's eContact e-mail address that attaches to the sales order, purchase order, customer or vendor table.  You may review the result before letting PDF Blaster send out the e-mail invoices.  PDF Blaster can also optionally fax the invoice to the customer if the customer does not have an e-mail address.

Determining Who Will Receive Invoices through E-mail
Typically, you can segregate your customers into two groups: the group that will accept invoices through e-mail, and the other group that likes to receive invoices through traditional mail.  If a customer has an eContact with an e-mail address, it does not necessary mean that customer wishes to receive invoices through e-mail.  So how do you handle this situation once you start implementing PDF Blaster?

To resolve this issue, you will create two COP Invoice Forms with indentical content through COP -> Util-Setup -> Invoice Form Setup.  Since you have an existing invoice format set up already, you just need to use the "Copy" function to make the second invoice form.  Name the first invoice form "Invoice Print to Paper" and the second invoice form "Invoice Send by Email."

 Then you need to go to Global Setup -> Cop-Func -> Invoice Printing, and mark the following flag as "Y":
    1. Use Multiple Invoice Forms?      Y

Now you need to go to the customer file and find the customer that will receive the invoice through e-mail.  On the second screen of the customer file, find the following flag:
    36. Invoice Form
Enter the two-digit form number for "Invoice Send by Email."  See the example below:



Once you have done this, when you go to COP -> Processing -> Invoice Printing, the system will ask you which invoice form to use.  You will then print your invoices with two batches.  With the first batch, select the invoice form "Invoice Print to Paper," and choose the regular printer as your printer destination. With the second batch, select the invoice form "Invoice Send by Email," and choose the PDF Blaster as your printer destination. That's it!

What if you want to send to all customers with an e-mail address on file through PDF Blaster, and only use traditional mail for those without an e-mail address?  If that is the case, you don't need to go through the above motion to turn on the "Use Multiple Invoice Forms" feature.  In PDF Blaster, if it can't locate the e-mail address for a business document, then it will be set aside as a separate group and you can simply choose to print the hard copy to regular printer.

How to Keep an Extra Internal Invoice Hard Copy for Auditing
What if you want to keep a hard copy for internal auditing purposes?  All you have to do is to choose two printing destinations in the Elliott Print Option window.  One will print to PDF Blaster, and the other one will print to the regular printer.  See the sample screen below:



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