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

BILLING AND PAYMENTS 5 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, which covers:

  1. Reference to your client's pricing section (the pricing section changes dynamically based on each client)
  2. Ability to charge for additional or out of scope work where necessary
  3. Changes to service pricing if needed

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

Professional fees

Our professional fees for this engagement are as laid out in the Pricing section of this engagement.

We reserve the right to invoice additional amounts where we are asked to do work which is minor and out of the scope of this engagement.

We also reserve the right to make minor edits to existing service prices should the need arise.

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:

  • You are bringing your existing clients into Ignition (i.e. do not need to send a proposal, but wish to track their services and billing)
  • 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
  • You need to bill multiple different hourly rates if you have staff that provide different levels of work
  • Your client has urgent work that needs to be started immediately and you require a deposit instantly (e.g. Company set up services).

Use cases for instant bill

Here are some quick 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)

To provide a better insight on when you would use an instant bill, consider these scenarios: 

Scenario 1 - Out of scope

You are reviewing time on jobs at the end of an annual contract. You find that time has been posted to jobs that was “out of scope” and not part of the original agreement.

You can use instant bill to raise a “Month 13” invoice when all of your monthly billing items have been used and there are no additional billing items in your client’s Billing Schedule, after you’ve reviewed time on the job.

Scenario 2 - Ad hoc work

Your client contacts you and asks you for some additional work. Typically there are three choices:

  1. If it’s minor and you’re happy to do it for free, simply do the work.
  2. If it’s a large amount of work, send a new proposal.
  3. If it’s anywhere in between the first and second, do the work and send an instant bill. You can also add multiple services in one instant bill if required.

Scenario 3 - Urgent Work

Your client contacts you and needs urgent work to be done ASAP (e.g. Company setup, Trust Establishment, Rescue work…etc)

You wish to get a deposit for this urgent job to de-risk - especially if it’s a brand new client.  Right now you just need to collect the cash in order to get started.

Send an Instant Bill to collect the deposit first and then send a full proposal later when the urgent job is complete.

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to remember a few general rules for when to use an instant bill:

  1. Your client has already signed a proposal AND/OR
  2. You need to collect cash for work ASAP.

Ensuring your client has a signed proposal will cover you from a legal perspective, while being able to instantly bill and collect revenue will cover you from a cash flow perspective!

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