What Does the New Collections Center In QuickBooks 2011 Do?

QuickBooks 2011 and Enterprise Solutions 11.0 include a new Collections Center that enables you to quickly and selectively send bulk emails to customers with overdue or almost due invoices.

To access the Collections Center, start by opening the Customer Center, then click on the Collections Center link at the top of the window.

The Collections Center has 2 tabs: one showing Overdue invoices, and the other showing Almost Due invoices. You can selectively send emails to customers with invoices appearing on either list, and the techniques for doing so are the same. We’ll focus on sending emails to customers with overdue invoices.

Invoices are grouped by Customer Name, and you can sort the list by either Customer Name, the total customer Balance, or the Days Overdue. To sort by a particular column, simply click on the column header.

The Contact column contains the customer’s phone number, so the Collections Center could serve as a great tool for a call list. You can document a phone conversation with the customer or any other internal information (such as the reasoning for a decision not to call or send an email) by clicking on the icon in the Notes/Warnings column. This will bring up an editor that is positioned at the top of the note and has already added a date/time stamp. Previously recorded notes are saved and appear below.

When you’re ready to select which customers (and for which invoices) should be sent emails, click the Select and Send Email link at the top of the Collections Center. If you want to return to reviewing the list, click the Back button.

You can select which customers will receive emails by clicking the checkbox to the left of the invoice number. By default, all overdue invoices for all customers on the Overdue tab are selected, but you can easily deselect one or more invoices from any customer. If you remove the checkbox on all invoices for a given customer, that customer won’t receive an email. Selected invoices are attached as PDF files to your email and are sent using your selection of email client. To make sending forms easier, QuickBooks 2011 includes updated options for sending forms.

In the email form to the right of the list, you can change the default email message. Only 1 message will be sent to all customers currently selected, so be sure to craft a generic message that applies to all of your selections. If you want to send different email messages to different customer groups, you’ll have to select each customer group and complete the sending process before selecting another customer group.

When you’re satisfied with both your selections and email message, click the Send button. QuickBooks will notify you that the process is complete, but you can choose to block this message after the first appearance.

To manage the default messages for overdue and almost due invoices, QuickBooks 2011 has added 2 new message options. You can manage the default message for any form, including these 2 new options, by clicking on the Company Preferences tab of the Send Forms sub-menu on the Edit->Preferences menu selection.

The Collections Center is a valuable addition for businesses that want a unified tool to review customer invoices, document any discussions with customers or internal decisions, and easily send selected invoices to customers in bulk.

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  1. Is it possible to attach a statement with the collections email instead of multiple invoices? That way, just one pdf for the customer to look at.

    • Chief Mechanic says

      Great thought and suggestion, Don. Unfortunately, not at the moment, but you should definitely make that to Intuit directly. Collection Center can use some serious love to make it more useful. The biggest comment we hear on Collection Center is “Nice, but if only ….” Intuit really needs to start tackling some of those “if only” items.

  2. Is there any way to setup automated email alerts for clients whose accounts are nearly due and also past due by any set amount of days?

    • Chief Mechanic says

      Not at the moment with QB off the shelf. There are addons in the Intuit marketplace that offer this functionality, though. If you put any of them to use, be sure to post back with your experience.

  3. We have our customers set up with the Buyer as the main contact – Is there any ways to adjust the setting so the the collections emails are sent to our AP contacts?

    • Chief Mechanic says

      Collection center emails are sent to the contact identified as the primary contact. In QB 2014, you could change all of your buyers to secondary contacts and add new A/P contacts as primary contacts, but that might impact your order processing. Choosing from multiple contacts depending on the type of communication is an area where QB needs to improve.

  4. Is there a way to set a default invoice “form” to use for sending the collection emails. We print and mail the original invoices on Intuit Product Invoice forms. So, before I send the collection emails, I’m having to go to each one individually and change the Template to our custom form so our company name, etc will show on the invoice.

    • Chief Mechanic says

      The default invoice should be set at the last template used. Therefore, before launching Collections Center, print an invoice using the template you want to carry over into your next session with Collections Center.

  5. Kelly Cook says

    When I send my invoices from the collections center through outlook it does go to my sent items folder. But there is no date? I arrange my emails by date so when i go to sent items they are at the very bottom labeled NONE?

    • Kelly – What version and release of QB are you using? I just tried that with QB 2012 R9 and the email was in the Sent folder with a date and time. It also arrived in my inbox with the same date and time. That narrows it down somewhat to either your QB installation or your email setup.

  6. Company preferences for the Overdue Invoices is set to have the Salutation Dear but when I sent out the overdue invoices from the Collection Center it did not put that in the email. What else do I need to do to have this in the email?

    • Interesting observation. There might be several things going on. First, the Collections Center on screen display does not reflect all of your settings specified in company preferences. Second, the salutation will not appear unless you have filled in the first and last name information for that customer, since it wouldn’t make sense to display “Dear” with no name. After double checking that the name fields are filled in, try getting collections center to send an email to yourself, and post back with the results. It should work.

  7. I read your post above, about running a Customer Ph List, so that the Notes and Balance Total fields show. However, the Notes field doesnot show the actual notes you’ve written in the field – it just says “Has notes” Is there a way to have the ACTUAL notes show in this report, or in fact ANY Receivables report?

    • Unfortunately not. Even through QB 2012 R8, the Notes field on a report only indicates whether the Notes field contains information – not what that information is. It’s a shortcoming in the Notes field. Hopefully, Intuit addresses it in future releases or versions.

  8. My company is new to using Collection and Document Ctrs in ES, and I’m new to the company. I’m one of 4 collectors, with a portfolio of about 1,200 of 4,000 accounts and most of these have cust info recently converted from Sales Force. With that many accounts, I’m researching the best ways to service accounts completely electronically. Seeking the most efficient way to a) update customer information to include email addresses, b) maintain collection activity data, at least till an invoice is paid, c) maintain significant customer documents, ie: ACH authorizations, correspondence on large problems, etc, forever, and d) set myself up with the most up-to-date listing each day of my, and only my, accounts. The only sort key for this task is currently customer type. Where/who is the best resource to answer my many questions here? I’m finding very little info online.

    • Lori, we’d like to think we’re the best resource.

      First, let’s tackle the issue of document management. Intuit had a service called Attached Documents that supported cloud-based storage. That service changed as of QB 2012, so that cloud storage is no longer available; only local document storage is supported in QB 2012/Enterprise Solutions 12.0. My recommendation would be to try to determine what is the best approach to document storage. I’d recommend something cloud-based that allows you to attach documents to customers or transactions. Unfortunately, those recommendations narrow the choices to a few vendors. Check out SmartVault for a powerful service for document storage.

      Since you mentioned Salesforce, I am assuming you’re aware that Intuit has an app that syncs data between QB and Salesforce, called Salesforce Integration for QuickBooks. You might also benefit from checking out third-party apps for collections on Intuit’s marketplace.

      As for your other questions: (a) to update customers in bulk, check out our article on editing multiple list entries in QuickBooks; (b) outside of a third-party app, you could maintain the data in the Notes field in QB, use a tool such as Microsoft Excel, or a CRM, such as Highrise; and (d) for a listing of your accounts, your best bet is to make use of a custom field. Create the custom field then populate it by editing multiple list entries to include a value for each collector. Then, filter reports for the custom field so that you could review customer lists and aging reports based on the collector. Unfortunately, if you’re already using customer type for another purpose and aren’t prepared to give that up, there’s no way to filter by collector in the Collections Center. In that event, you’d use Collections Center as a tool for all collectors to contact all 4000 accounts. If you want each collector to handle his or her own collections center, you’ll have to either use a third-party QB app or take the QB data to another program. Which approach works best for you depends on how you answer the question of whether it is more work to either sync/export QB data so that you’re managing just your accounts or to scroll through a long list of customers in Collections Center where 2 out of 3 aren’t on your list.

      You may well find a third-party app that integrates with QB that will do what you want. However, you’ll probably then find that the third-party app does not integrate with the ability to attach documents provided by SmartVault. That may be workable provided you can have both QB (where documents would be attached) and the third-party app (from which you’d manage collections) open at the same time.

      If you have multiple questions, you might find it easier to post them in our new forum, where you try to tackle 1 question in each thread. That allows for a more focused response.

      Hope that helps.

  9. is there any way to print the report with the notes of collections from the collection center

    • Saundra, unfortunately, there isn’t a way to print a report from within QB that shows both the notes of collections and the overdue transactions. That’s because the collection notes are part of the customer record, while most transaction reports include details on transactions. QB doesn’t allow changing which fields from the customer record appear on transaction reports; modifying a transaction report only controls which transaction fields appear. This could be done in a custom report outside of QB, however. Ignoring a custom report, although you can’t get all of the data in collections center on 1 report, you can get some, and that might be enough for your purposes. Start with a Customer Phone List (Reports-Customers & Receivables->Customer Phone List), and click on the Modify Report… button. Add the Note column and the Balance Total column to the report, hide any columns you don’t need, and rearrange them to suit your taste. That will give you the total balance and note for the customer, along with the contact info you selected. Combined with a transaction report, it would give you all the info you need.

  10. After sending an email to customers who are past due or almost past due, does Quickbooks documents than an email was sent anywhere? Also, in multiuser, can other users see the Notes/Warnings entered by others?

    • If you are using a mail client like Outlook, the emails sent would be in your “Sent Items” folder. Other than that, there’s no customer/client history that automatically records this. It would be a great suggestion for a way to improve this feature, though. As to multiuser, Customer Notes are like any other QB data; they would be viewable by any user with appropriate permissions. There is a Refresh option in the 3 QB Centers (Customer, Vendor, and Employee) because if you have a Center open and another user changes data, it needs to be refreshed. Since Notes are visible in Customer Center without opening a customer record, the Notes displayed in a currently open Center might require a refresh to be accurate. I’d connect your 2 points by encouraging Intuit to automatically add a date-stamped Note recording the email subject for each client sent an email. It would be a great way to document customer communications.