Learning Center  /  Billing and payments  /  Best practices for creating an instant bill

BILLING AND PAYMENTS 4 mins 08 Aug 2023 by Pat Kuo
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What is an instant bill?

Instant bill is a feature in Ignition where you can instantly create and send an invoice to a client without the need to create a proposal.

You can bill clients for one-off or recurring services and automatically collect payment so you can get paid faster.

This is a great solution for ad hoc work, catch up payments as well as helping you charge for services that are out of scope from your client agreements.

Learn more about how to use instant bill here.

Please note: With instant bill, you are technically creating a new active service. You have full control over how it is billed (e.g. billed immediately, on a specific date...etc) and you can edit the service further if you wish, once it's created.

Best practices for instant bill

Update your terms templates to include out of scope work

We strongly recommend that you include a paragraph in your terms template that covers billing for ad hoc or out of scope work.

This protects you from scope creep and enables you to be transparent and open about the conversation of any services that may be out of scope with your client’s agreements.

We have provided a short section below that you can add to your terms templates.

Please ensure that you consult your legal contact to review your terms templates before sending to your clients.

Unanticipated Services

Only the services which are listed in the attached schedules are included within the scope of our instructions. If there is additional work that you wish us to carry out which is not listed in the schedule, any additional work will be quoted and communicated to you before the commencement of said additional work.

Once the scope of the additional work is agreed upon, we will either depending on level of work:

  1. Issue an invoice and collect payment before we commence the new work.

  2. Issue an additional or updated letter of engagement via our online proposal system, and will ask you to sign the new agreement and provide payment before we commence the new work.

Furthermore, {{ client.name }} will agree that if an unanticipated need arises (such as an audit, an amended tax return or a personal financial statement required as part of a loan agreement), this additional work will be performed only after arriving at a mutually agreed-upon price and payment has been collected.

If your clients’ agreements currently do not have a related paragraph in their active engagements, consider sending a new proposal with these terms attached.

Communicate early about additional charges before creating an instant bill

It’s incredibly important to communicate early and often with your customer about out of scope work that you will charge.

Before anything else, a conversation about the out of scope work needs to happen and both parties need to agree upon a price before moving forward.

When you and your client have agreed upon a price, ensure that you send an extra confirmation email detailing the scope and price of work.

You can do this when you are creating an instant bill in Ignition by toggling the Email client toggle.

We’ve included a template email below that you can use and tweak for your client’s confirmation. Copy, paste and edit this in the Message field when you are using an instant bill.

Message template:


This email confirms the new scope of work that we agreed upon, detailed below.

In the future if there are additional required out of scope services, we’ll discuss early and agree on the scope and price before charging.


Know when to use an instant bill vs sending a proposal

The general best practice is outlined below:

Send a proposal when:

  • You have multiple services that you are providing your client

  • You are engaging this client for the first time

  • You are renewing your client’s agreement

  • You require permission from your client to collect payment

Send an instant bill when:

  • Your client has unexpected out of scope or ad hoc work that appears

  • You need to bill your client any once off fees (catch up work, fees, pre-existing payments/debt)

  • You accidentally forgot to include a service on their proposal (or an addendum to an existing proposal)

  • You do not need permission from your client to collect payment

Use cases for instant bill

Here are some practical scenarios, examples and use cases on when to use instant bill.

  • Out of scope (Tax work, extra bookkeeping, one more tax return, software conversion service, cashflow forecasting)

  • Adding an additional service (One off training, recurring software subscription, consulting, strategy session, consulting, discovery meeting, account clean up)

  • Expanding your services (Including a new service as an experiment)

  • Extra fees (Late fees, administrative fees)

  • Milestone billing (Billing on certain milestones that are achieved where you are unsure about the extent of work)

  • Uncollected bills (Debts from previous engagements)

  • Mistakes in Ignition (Accidental service that has ended, didn’t include a service on the original proposal)

There may be additional use cases depending on your situation.

However, it’s a good idea to remember the general rule - use instant bill when your customer has already signed a proposal. This is to ensure that you are covered from a legal perspective!

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