Encompass now completely separates dashboard settings from report and billing settings. The billing settings only affect bills. The dashboard settings only affect the dashboard widgets the $ values on the reports.
The billing feature set includes the ability to:
- generate bills for individual meters, and groups of meters
- apply each meter's cost/unit (kWh, cubic foot, gallon, etc.)
- add fixed and/or % fees, and/or credit, to each bill
- include tenant and billing agent contact information
- include messages and payment instructions for the tenant
- send bills directly to the tenant and/or the billing agent
- schedule automatic monthly bills to generate
- generate bills with a custom date range
Billing is available for individual meters as well as groups of up to 40 meters (the 40 meter limit is still being tested). The more meters that are in a group, the longer it will take for the bill to generate and for it to arrive in your inbox. Bills are set up in a six step process that takes just a few minutes.
To open the Billing Settings, first select the meter or group that you want to set up the bill for, in the left column of your Encompass account. Then click the Bills button in the colored dashboard header.
Step One - Rate and Units
- Enter the cost/unit in the the provided text box. Above the text box the units are displayed (kWh for electric meters) or are chosen for water and gas meters.
Step Two - Credits and Fees (Optional)
- These optional fields allow you to enter fixed and/or % credits, and/or fees, that will be applied to the bill. You can apply both fixed and % credits and/or fees to each bill, or just fixed credits and/or fees, or just % credits and/or fees. If none apply to the bill you want to generate, you can leave the fields blank the the check boxes unchecked.
Step Three - Tenant Info
- Enter the address and other contact information for the tenant that is being billed. The fields outlined in red are required.
Step Four - Billing Agent Info
- Enter the address and other contact information for the landlord, property manager, or billing agent. The fields outlined in red are required.
- The text box at the bottom allows you to include more information about how or when you would prefer that your tenant contact you. Due to limited space on the bill, this message in limited to four lines, 30 characters per line.
- If you have multiple bills to set up, and would like to use the same billing agent contact information for each bill, check the "Save as Default" checkbox so you don't need to repeat step 4 for each bill.
Step Five - Payment Info
- The upper optional text box allows you to tell your tenant how you would like the bill to be paid. Due to limited space on the bill, this message in limited to four lines, 30 characters per line.
- The lower optional text box allows you to include a message to your tenant. Due to limited space on the bill, this message in limited to four lines, 30 characters per line.
- The dropdown list at the bottom allows you to select the due date that will be included on the bill. This will default to 30 days from the end of the billing period unless you change it.
Step Six - Billing Schedule
- The settings at the top allow you set up a monthly bill. These will alway generate for the latest completed month, or complete period that is selected. The default monthly bill is set to generate from the beginning to the end of each give month. The other options allow you to select a period that includes parts of two months. So for example, if you select 5th - 4th, the bill will generate from the 5th of one month to the 4th of the following month.
- The "Send to Tenant" check box can be checked if you would like the bill sent directly to the tenant's email address, that you entered on step three. The "Send to Billing Agent" check box, which is checked by default, should be checked if you would like the bill sent directly to the billing agent's email address, that you entered on step four. If you check both boxes then the bill will be sent to both email addresses.
- On the right of the period selection you will see the "Send Bill" button, which allows you to generate a bill for the period that is stated under the button. If the button is clicked the bill will generate and will be emailed according to the checked boxes.
- If you would like the bill to generate and send automatically every month, check the "Schedule Monthly Bills" check box.
- Check the box to "Use tenant start date" if you do not want the bill to show usage comparisons for periods before the tenant moved in.
- Check the boxes for PDF and/or CSV, depending on the format you would like to receive. The CSV option was added as an option 3/21/2023.
- The bottom "Custom Billing" settings allow you to select the beginning and end dates for any period that you would like a bill to generate for. It is not possible to schedule custom bills but you can generate them manually at any time. The "Send to Tenant" and "Send to Billing Agent" check boxes work like the monthly billing option, as does the "Send Bill" button.
- Once you are done you can click the "Save Billing Settings & Close" button to exit the billing modal.
To return to a previous step, simply click on the green number at the top of the billing modal.
*Please Note: If you schedule monthly bills you will need to log in to your Encompass account once per year (before 10/16/2023 this was once per 180 days) in order for the scheduled bills to continue. If you do not log in once per year the bills will stop sending automatically. To start them again you would need to log in to your account and check the box to schedule them and then click the save button.
When bills are generated the recipients will be emailed links to download the bill PDFs. You can also find the links within the app, in Billing History. The last 5 bills, of each type (monthly, custom) will be available to download.
The attached PDF and CSV files below are examples of an individual meter bill and a meter group bill.