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Two New Changes To Help You Automatically Send Monthly Recurring Invoices

Recurring invoices in Harvest are a powerful tool for getting paid on a regular basis. Having Harvest automatically generate your invoices saves you a lot of time—especially if you invoice on a monthly basis. But having Harvest both generate and send your invoices every month, well that really allows you to stay focused on the work that matters.

We’ve made a few quality-of-life improvements to recurring invoices recently, so you can feel more confident in Harvest sending them automatically to your client.

New Month and Year Variables

Many of our customers use recurring invoices when they invoice on a regular, monthly basis. These customers often need to include the month name right on each month’s invoice.

Harvest didn’t support this, so these customers would set up their recurring invoices to create a draft every month, then they’d have to add the month name to the invoice themselves, and manually send it to their clients afterwards. When you have a lot of clients to invoice every month, this turns out to be a very tedious step.

Well say goodbye to that extra step every month! Harvest now supports month and year variables you can add to your recurring invoices.

Simply add %invoice_issue_month%, %invoice_issue_month_name%, or %invoice_issue_year% to either the recurring invoice subject, an item description, or the message you send to your clients, and Harvest will replace those variables with the correct issue month or year when the invoice is generated.

Automatic Thank-you Messages

Another extra invoicing step for our customers involved sending thank-you messages after their clients paid online.

When linking to a payment gateway so your clients can pay online, you’ll be getting paid 50% faster, but those payments might come in at all times of the week. If your client pays an invoice over a weekend and you want to send a thank-you, you’d either need to log in to Harvest on a day off, or wait a few days to thank your client.

Here again, we’ve removed this step. Now you can configure your Harvest account to automatically send a thank-you message after an online payment.

You can set this up for all invoices from Invoices > Configure > Messages, but you can also customize this setting for each recurring invoice.

Set It and Forget It

With the above changes, Harvest now has all the pieces for you to truly “set it and forget it” when it comes to getting paid. Just follow these steps:

  • Connect your account to an online payment gateway, like Stripe
  • Set up a recurring invoice for your client on a monthly basis, with the subject “Invoice for %invoice_issue_month_name% %invoice_issue_year%”
  • Set the invoice to automatically send to your client
  • Turn on automatic reminders
  • Turn on automatic thank-you messages

And that’s it! Harvest will automatically invoice your client every month with the correct month name, remind them if they’ve been late, allow them to pay online and set up a recurring payment, and automatically send them a thank-you after they’ve paid.

Let Harvest do all the heavy lifting, which means a steadier income for you, a smoother relationship with your client, and less busy work for everyone.

Update Your Team’s Billable Rates While Retaining Accurate Reporting

We recently introduced the ability to update your team’s cost rates without tainting historical data. On the heels of that, we’re happy to let you know you can now easily update your team’s billable rates—all while keeping historical data intact! This new functionality will even be accessible from our API!

Previously you had to use tedious workarounds to make sure you used the right rates at the right time. But now it’ll be easy for a teammate to have various rates over time, even on the same project!

Setting Up a Teammate’s Default Billable Rates

So how does it work? Each person can have a set of Default Billable Rates, which you can apply to specific timeframes. For example, one rate for last year, and a second rate for this year.

To set this up, head to any teammate’s profile. In their Billable Rate section, you’ll see a new Edit Billable Rate option with two choices:

  • Apply a new rate on an effective date. We’ll apply the new rate starting on the selected date, to projects that use default rates (more on that below). For example, if your teammate got a raise on January 1st, select that date to apply it to time tracked on the 1st and onward.
  • Apply a new rate to all time entries. We’ll apply the new rate to all time tracked by your teammate, on projects that use default rates. We’ll also apply this rate to projects you create going forward.

What About Custom Rates?

We know that not all projects are the same, and you might need a little flexibility for projects that don’t bill by your defaults. As we always have, Harvest will continue to let you set custom rates per project.

For each teammate on a project, you’ll have the option to:

  • Use their default rates – allowing you to use your teammate’s historical rates.
  • Or use a single custom rate – which would apply to all time your teammate tracks to the project.

If something changes, not to worry—you can switch between default rates and custom rates on a per project, per person basis at any time by editing your project.

One Important Thing for Projects That Existed Before This Change

There’s one catch: you’ll need to edit your projects if you want them to use your teammate’s new default billable rates. For example, let’s say your teammate has one rate last year, and a second rate this year. You’ll first need to set up those rates as their defaults, and then update your project to tell us to use those defaults.

To update your project, just edit it, then click Edit Rate beside each person, and specify if you want the project to use their default rates or a custom rate.

Why do you need to do the second step? When building this feature, we didn’t know if the rates on your existing projects were intended to be default rates. We didn’t want to make any assumptions about what you intended, because that could lead to misbilled clients or messed up reports!

The good news is, you’ll only have to do this once for each project. Also, if you’ve got a ton of projects to update and it’s going to take a long time to edit each person, we’ve got your back. Just contact us and we’ll help you out.

Save Time with Even More Accurate Data

Gone are the days of using time-consuming workarounds just to accommodate a rate change. And no more having to sacrifice accurate billing and budget info just to keep your team’s rates up to date. Now you can update those rates in seconds. You’ll always be able to rely on Harvest’s data for your billing and reporting. And you’ll have even more valuable insight into past data, so you’re fully informed for the future.

First Projects, Now Tasks! Another Fast Way to Edit Lots of Time at Once

Last year we added the ability to quickly move lots of time from one project to another. Today, we round out this bulk action by adding the ability to quickly move lots of time from one task to another, making it even easier to keep your team’s time accurate.

Here’s a common scenario. It’s Friday night, and you’ve got just one more to-do before the weekend: check on your team’s time. Everything looks good until you realize, uh oh, your team’s been tracking time to the wrong task all week!

Maybe they’re still getting used to a task restructure. Or perhaps a project had the wrong task added to it. Or maybe the client changed the scope of work and that update wasn’t implemented yet on the project.

Whatever the cause, it used to mean that you had to edit every single time entry. One. By. One…

How to Quickly Move Time between Tasks

Now, you no longer have to spend your time editing time. Our latest feature helps move a lot of entries between tasks with just a few clicks.

If you’re an Administrator, run a Detailed Time Report for the time entries you’d like to edit, then use the Bulk Actions menu to choose to Move hours to another task. With a quick confirmation, you can move thousands of entries to a different task, saving time, and keeping your account accurate and up to date.

A Few Details about Moving Time

Here’s a quick rundown of some special cases that you might run into when moving time to a new task:

  • If the task you’re moving time to isn’t on the project(s) of your selected time entries, we’ll assign that task to the project(s) for you.
  • If hours are approved, you can still move them.
  • If hours are invoiced, you won’t be able to move them. That could cause your invoices to get out of step with your projects.

The next time you discover a time tracking error, we hope our bulk move actions—both moving time between projects and moving time between tasks—help you save even more time to better spend elsewhere. Happy tracking!

Update: Accept ACH Payments and Disable CC Payments

Last quarter we announced support for ACH payments via Stripe for US customers. The response to this has been tremendous. With clients paying invoices via bank transfer (ACH), our customers are saving money on transaction fees, and getting paid faster!

But while we added the ability to turn on ACH payments (in the US), credit card payments could still be accepted as well. This meant that even if you enabled ACH payments, there was still the possibility that your clients could choose to pay via credit card. And you would foot the bill on those higher fees.

So we’ve made a small but meaningful update: US customers can now disable credit card payments via Stripe. This means you can now set up your Harvest account to only accept ACH payments on your invoices.

Just head to Invoices > Configure > Online Payment, and if you’ve linked your account to Stripe, you’ll see flexible options for both credit card and bank transfer (ACH) payments.

Note that if you have any clients with a recurring credit card payment, disabling the credit card payment method in Stripe will not cancel those recurring payments. You’ll need to manually turn those off if you no longer wish to receive them.

Why use ACH?

If you missed our original announcement about ACH support, here’s some more specific details on this payment option:

  • Credit card transactions typically incur a 2.9% cost in fees. This means on a $10,000 invoice, you pay $290 in fees. To prevent those fees, you might ask a client to send the money via check, but the downside is you might be left waiting days or weeks to get paid.
  • With bank transfer (ACH) payments, you can get paid fast without incurring those huge fees! Stripe charges only a 0.8% fee for ACH transactions, and fees are capped at $5 per transaction. With that same $10,000 invoice, you pay only $5 in fees—saving you $285!
  • While credit card payments post quickly, it can take up to 3-5 business days for ACH payments to be approved. When a client pays an invoice via bank transfer (ACH), you’ll be notified instantly by email, and the invoice will be marked as pending until it’s approved. We’ll notify you again when it’s approved and the invoice is marked as paid.

With fast payments and lower fees, ACH will save you both time and money.

What are you spending your time on, really?

How much time did you spend last week on your top priorities at work? How much was consumed by things that weren’t necessary at all – digging yourself out of an overflowing Inbox, or meetings that dragged on for what seemed like an eternity? We can’t go back and change things, but we can evaluate past time for insight into how we work and learn how to distribute our time better in the future.

We’re making it possible to do that with a new feature called Your Weekly Harvest! This report, sent via email every Monday morning, offers everyone who tracks time in Harvest a glimpse into your past week with beautiful charts to understand the overview of where your time went. Note that if you’ve tracked time in Harvest within the past 30 days, you’ll receive this email automatically. If you’d like to opt-out, there’s an easy unsubscribe link in the email, or go to My Profile > Notifications and deselect the setting for Your Weekly Harvest.

In the report, every task that you’ve tracked time to appears in a summary showing how much time you spent on each task that week. In a separate section for projects, a simple pie chart gives you the ability to see which projects and clients took up the most time.

Our hope is that this report can help you better understand where you’re spending your time and what kind of return you’re getting on the time you invest. It should help provide you with answers to crucial questions like:

  • What did I work on last week?
  • Am I spending my time effectively?
  • Am I meeting my goals?
  • What did I accomplish during that time?
  • Does the report match how I feel I spent my time?

We want to give you more control over your time, so you can use it more intentionally. Once you’ve taken stock of what you accomplished and where you fell short, you can use this information to improve how you work in the future.

A peek behind the curtain

Here at Harvest our own team has been testing out this report as a way to help us plan out our time. Here’s how some real-life Harvesters have found this information useful:

Your Weekly Harvest has been a great way to see where my time’s gone in the past week. Instead of a vague feeling of what I did, I can actually see how it compares to past weeks. It makes a subjective feeling more real—the week was really that busy—or shows that I didn’t spend as much time on a task as I thought I did.

I can then use that info to plan for next week—if I’ve been spending too much time on email, and not enough on research, that’s reflected in the report, and I know to keep an eye on that going forward.

~ Trey Jackson, Harvest Expert

While Trey uses the report to fill in gaps in the things he needs to spend more time on, Jamie relies on viewing the report each week to understand trends.

“Your Weekly Harvest lets me see trends in my own working style. When I review my time as a graph each week, I can easily spot where I’m building good habits or need to make changes.

If I recall a particularly productive week, I see the evidence in my tracked time, and that helps inform how to continue structuring my days in the future. I’ve learned that I do great creative work in the afternoon, for example, and it’s best if I get a bunch of smaller tasks done in the morning.

If a week got away from me, I can see that too, and having data helps me avoid being too self-critical. I appreciate being able to look at a graph and know that, even if it wasn’t my best week, I showed up. Whether it was a great week or a not-so-great week, I can look at my time objectively and keep moving forward.

~ Jamie Fisher, Harvest Expert

Both Jamie and Trey find the report useful to make their subjective feelings about the past week more real. A vague feeling that you weren’t spending enough time on something can be measured and inform decisions on how you spend time in the coming weeks.

Help us make it better

We’ve already received some great feedback from folks through the survey link in the email. Thanks so much for contributing your thoughts! We’re working hard to synthesize this research and make plans to improve this report even more. Additional features could include an even more detailed breakdown of time spent on projects and clients, as well as billable vs. non-billable hours. Let us know what you’d like to see!

In the meantime, we hope Your Weekly Harvest is useful for you, and helps you use your time a little more wisely!


New! Now You Can Change Cost Rates and Keep Past Data Accurate

Now you can easily change your team’s cost rates! That means it’ll be a snap to update your team’s costs to accommodate any salary increases or rate change—just in time for the new year. And all your data will stay in tip-top shape.

Previously, updating a teammate’s cost rate in Harvest would change all of the costs associated with their tracked time. This made it impossible to rely on Harvest data for historical cost reporting.

Now you can choose an effective date when updating a teammate’s cost rate. Time tracked to all prior dates won’t be impacted, and you’ll keep all your data accurate so you’ll have a valuable database of historical costs to reference.

How to Update a Person’s Cost Rate

To update a teammate’s cost rate, click Edit Profile on any person’s Team page. In their Basic Info > Cost Rate section, you’ll now see a new Edit Cost Rate option. Click it, and you’ll have 2 choices:

  • Apply the new rate to all time entries. Just like it sounds, we’ll apply the new rate to all time tracked by your teammate. This’ll also be their cost rate going forward.
  • Apply the new rate on an effective date in the past. We’ll apply the new rate to time tracked starting on the date you select. If your teammate got a raise on January 1st, select that date to apply it to time tracked on the 1st and onward.
Updating a person's cost rate

As soon as you’ve saved, we’ll immediately apply the rate to all applicable time entries. We’ve got step-by-step instructions to update cost rates in our Help Center here.

Insight into the Past, Value for the Future

One of Harvest’s strength is the insight it gives you into past work, which can inform future work. Harvest’s Projects section is like a library of information that tells you how effective your team has been, how profitable you were, how well you’d budgeted, and how you might want to budget for new work.

By maintaining an accurate record of the costs of your team, you’ll always be able to rely on Harvest projects to provide that valuable insight into both the past and the future. So cheers to a more accurate 2019!

Keep the Cash Flowing with Recurring Payments

Ready to make your income more reliable and your clients happier? Now your clients can pay your recurring invoices automatically! That means a steadier income for you, a smoother relationship with your client, and less busy work for everyone.

Here’s how it goes: You worked hard all month and delivered great stuff. Now, you’ve invoiced and it’s time to get paid! A week goes by, then a month. No payment. Maybe you’ve already reached out a few times, or are still drafting that polite-but-firm reminder. At this point, getting paid feels a bit like its own project.

When you have a retainer or subscription with your client, you should be able to count on that income. Right?

We think so, too! That’s why we’ve now made it easy for your clients to pay you automatically. All they have to do is set up automatic payments one time. After that, each recurring invoice will be paid without your client having to lift a finger.

How to Enable Recurring Payments

Recurring payments are an option for any Harvest account that’s integrated with Stripe.

When your clients pay their recurring invoices through Stripe, we’ll ask them if they’d like to set up a recurring payment. If they say yes, they’ll add a form of payment and will be automatically billed according to the invoice’s terms. (Note: Recurring payments can be made only toward recurring invoices, not regular invoices.)

Your clients can easily manage their automatic payments from their client dashboard.

Why Use Recurring Payments?

Recurring payments make paying invoices effortless. That’s pretty great for everyone involved!

For you:

  • You know when you’re getting paid. This makes it easier to manage your own expenses and grow your business.
  • You don’t have to track down missed payments. Instead, you can focus on the work you actually want to do.
  • No more awkward chats about outstanding invoices. Now you can use conversations with your client to build a stronger relationship.

For your client:

  • Your client saves time. They’ll never have to scour their inbox to find another invoice, or manually type in their credit card and submit payment. Instead, they can set it and forget it!
  • They can easily manage invoices and payments from the client dashboard.
  • They know they’re paying you on time. Missing a payment can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. When payments are made on time, everyone can feel good about their part in this relationship.

More Money, Fewer Problems

Once your client sets up recurring payments, everyone’s good to go! You’ll have income you can count on. You and your client will also have more time to do great work. And, building a smooth, lasting relationship will be that much easier.

New for Invoices! Accept ACH Payments

We’re happy to announce support for ACH payments via Stripe for US customers. Starting today, your clients can pay invoices via bank transfer (ACH), saving you money on transaction fees and helping you get paid faster.

The Old Way: Big Fees, Slow Payments

Getting paid online for large invoices can be expensive. Credit card transactions typically cost 2.9% in fees. This means on a $10,000 invoice you pay $290 in fees.

To prevent those fees, you might ask a client to send money via check. But the downside is, you’re left waiting days or weeks to get paid.

The New Way: Tiny Fees, Faster Payments

Now with ACH payments, you can get paid fast without incurring those huge fees! If you use ACH payments, that same $10,000 invoice would have a fee of just $5—saving you $285! Stripe charges a 0.80% fee for ACH transactions, and fees are capped at $5 per transaction.

ACH is also a great option for clients who don’t like to charge large amounts to their credit card. You won’t need to wait for a check in the mail and will get notified as soon as an ACH payment is submitted.

Paying an Invoice with ACH

When a client views one of your invoices online, they’ll now have an option to Pay with Bank Transfer (ACH). We’ll guide your client through the smooth process of verifying their bank account and authorizing payment. Once they’ve confirmed their payment, we’ll send them a receipt.

Setting Up ACH Payments

Just head to Invoices > Configure > Online Payment and follow the steps to set up a Stripe account.

Once your account is connected to Stripe, you’ll see an option to enable ACH payments. You can also find more details here in our Help Center.

Some fine details:

  • It can take up to 3-5 business days for ACH payments to be approved.
  • When a client pays for an invoice with ACH, you’ll be notified instantly by email, and the invoice will be marked as pending payment.
  • Once the ACH payment has been approved, we’ll let you know by email, and mark your invoice as paid.

We hope this update helps smooth the payment process for both you and your clients! With faster payment and lower fees, you’ll save both time and money.

New! A Fast Way to Edit Lots of Time at Once

Our latest feature helps you speedily move lots of time from one project to another, making it easier to keep your team’s time accurate.

So it’s Friday night, and you’ve got just one more to-do before the weekend: check on your team’s time. Everything looks good until you realize, uh oh, your team’s been tracking time to the wrong project all week!

Maybe they’re getting used to a project restructure. Or you might have a lot of projects with the same name, making it easy to mistake one project for another. Or maybe your client changed scope that you broke into a new project.

Whatever caused your team to track to the wrong project, it usually means you’ve got to edit every single time entry. One. By. One. The weekend’s looking farther away than ever.

How to Quickly Move Time between Projects

Now, you no longer have to spend your time editing time. Our latest feature helps move a lot of time entries between projects with a few clicks.

If you’re an Administrator, just run a Detailed Time Report for the time entries you’d like to edit. Then use the Bulk Actions menu to choose to Move hours to another project. With a quick confirmation, you can move thousands of entries to a different project, saving time, and keeping your account accurate and up to date.

GIF showing click on bulk action menu item, choosing project to move time to, and time being moved

A Few Details about Moving Time

Here’s a quick rundown of some special cases that you might run into when moving time:

  • If a time entry’s person or task isn’t on the project you move time to, we’ll assign that person or task to the project for you.
  • If hours are approved, you can still move them.
  • If hours are invoiced, you won’t be able to move them. That could cause your invoices to get out of step with your projects.

The next time you discover a time tracking error, we hope this helps get your account into tip-top shape, fast. And that you save some time to better spend elsewhere. Happy tracking!

Boost Your Security: Sign in with Google for Two-Factor Authentication

You can now add another layer of data protection to your account! Get account-wide two-factor authentication (2FA) when you require your team to sign in to Harvest using Google.

We wish it wasn’t so, but hacks are pretty common these days. Even with all the measures Harvest already takes to protect your data, your account can only be as secure as your team’s weakest password. And despite their best intentions, some teammates might use the same simple password across multiple apps. That makes your account all the more vulnerable to hacks.

Security Made Simple: Two-Factor Authentication via Google Sign In

You can’t stand over everyone’s shoulder as they set up their password. So what can you do?

You can add an extra layer of security to your Harvest account with two-factor authentication (2FA), which is available via Google Sign In. And now you can guarantee that your team always uses 2FA by requiring them to sign in using Google.

This way, your account gets that additional security from Google every time your teammates sign in.

It’s Easy to Configure

With a few clicks, any Harvest administrator can enforce Google Sign In from Settings > Preferences > Sign In Security in your Harvest account.

We’ll Let Your Team Know

To keep your team informed, we’ll send everyone on your account an email once you’ve updated your Sign In Security preferences. If they were signed in to Harvest, they’ll be signed out and we’ll ask them to sign in again via Google. Right away, your team will be more secure, and they’ll know they have to sign in through Google going forward.

Things Worth Noting

If you enforce Google Sign In, your teammates will need to have Google-supported email addresses to access your Harvest account. Need a hand changing emails? We’ve got the steps to update email addresses here.

You’ll also need to set up 2FA in G Suite, if you haven’t already. Google’s got your back with these docs here.

A Few Minutes of Work, Lasting Peace of Mind

Why wait for world-class data protection? We’ve got step-by-step instructions to require sign in through Google here in our Help Center.

Now the next time a teammate sends you a panicked email telling you their password was phished, you can be confident that 2FA is keeping your Harvest account secure.