Getting Started with Payment Profiles

Some of the information in this article may be out of date due to recent updates we have made to OrchestrateIT. This article will be updated soon to reflect these newly available features.

Payment Profiles is a powerful feature in OrchestrateIT that enables you to track the status of student invoices against preconfigurable milestones. By configuring payment profiles in OrchestrateIT, you can generate real-time reports on students’ eligibility for parent contributions to school programs such as camps, excursions, laptop hire and textbook hire. By leveraging payment profiles, you can use OrchestrateIT to send tailored SMS messages to parents/guardians with pre-populated payment links. It’s easy to get started with Payment Profiles in OrchestrateIT and this guide shows you how to use them to their full potential.

Enabling the ‘Payment Profiles’ feature

If the ‘Payment Profiles’ feature is not already enabled at your school, you will need to ask your OrchestrateIT Administrator to enable it for you. OrchestrateIT Administrators can enable this setting in the ‘Payment Profiles’ tab under ‘Campus Settings’. After you enable this setting, any unpaid invoices will appear as ‘Overdue’ until a payment profile has been assigned to them. Invoices that are fully paid will appear as ‘Paid in Full’ regardless of whether or not they have a payment profile assigned to them.

Although it isn’t required, we highly recommend setting up automated data imports from your core finance system. By doing so, the majority of information that OrchestrateIT requires for tracking students’ accounts can be automatically populated in the system. OrchestrateIT has a highly flexible data ingestion engine that you can read more about by clicking here.

 

Creating payment profile templates

To create a new payment profile, navigate to the ‘Payment Profiles’ tab in ‘Campus Settings’, and click the ‘Add’ button. You will only have access to create payment profile templates if your account role is ‘Finance Manager’, ‘Campus Administrator’ or ‘Site Administrator’. If you have the required permissions, the following screen will be displayed. From this screen, you can name the profile, choose the desired calculation logic and set-up the required payment milestones.

The ‘calculation logic’ pane can significantly change the behaviour of the payment profile and it is important that you choose the correct options. To help you understand how each of these options influences the behaviour of a payment profile, an example scenario has been depicted below:

For each payment milestone that you create, you need to specify (a) when it is due, and (b) how much will be due. OrchestrateIT supports two different date modes (‘fixed date’ and ‘elapsed days’) as well as two different amount modes (‘fixed amount’ and ‘percentage total’). The screenshot below illustrates these available options:

If you are still familiarising yourself with the creation of payment profiles, or if you are creating a complex payment profile, it is important that you test the profile using the ‘simulation’ functionality available within OrchestrateIT. From the ‘Payment Profiles’ tab in ‘Campus Settings’, highlight the payment plan you want to test and click the ‘Simulate Profile’ button. The following screen will be displayed, where you can enter different invoice variables and have OrchestrateIT calculate the amount due the same way that it would for a real invoice.

 

Creating tailored payment profiles

Tailored (or ‘custom’) payment profiles are used to track special/negotiated payment arrangements for individual invoices or accounts. To apply a custom payment profile to an invoice, navigate to the ‘edit invoice’ screen, click the drop-down button under ‘Payment Profile’ and choose the ‘Custom Payment Profile…’ option. A payment profile configuration screen will be displayed where you can specify the custom milestones that the invoice will be tracked against. The process for defining these milestones is identical to the process described above for creating a payment profile template.

 

Monitoring the progress of payments

There are three options available to you for monitoring the progress of payments against invoices. Click on the tabs below to learn about each option.

You can view all active invoices in OrchestrateIT by clicking on the ‘Invoices’ button in the navigation pane. After navigating to this screen, right-click the column headings at the top of the invoices table to show or hide the available fields. You can use the drop-down filters on each column to refine the list of invoices that are displayed. You can also use the ‘Advanced Filter’ option to define additional filtering parameters. The definitions for key fields used on this screen are provided below.

OrchestrateIT has a highly flexible real-time reporting module that allows you to define and save ‘report templates’ that you can re-run at any time. To access the reporting module, click the ‘Reports’ button in the navigation pane. The definitions for key fields available in the reporting tool are provided below.

We’ve built an interactive dashboard that you can use in Microsoft PowerBI for tracking and following up on overdue fees that are owed to your school. Contact us today for access to this free dashboard.

 

Each school operates differently and we provide a wide range of data on each invoice that you can show or hide depending on your personal preferences. Click on a tab below for a description of the corresponding field.

The total value that was invoiced to the student, including the portion of the invoice they have paid as well as the portion of the invoice that has not been paid.

Amount Invoiced = Remaining Balance + Amount Paid

The portion of the total invoice amount that has already been paid.

Amount Paid = Amount Invoiced – Remaining Balance

The portion of the total invoice amount that is yet to be paid.

Remaining Balance = Amount Invoiced – Amount Paid

The portion of the invoice that is due today based on the payment profile that is assigned to the invoice. If no payment profile is assigned, it is assumed that the total amount invoiced is due immediately. ‘Amount Due’ is calculated irrespective of the Amount Paid.¬†OrchestrateIT will never allow the ‘Amount Due’ to exceed the Amount Invoiced, even if the payment milestones associated with a Payment Profile exceed the Amount Invoiced.

Amount Due = Payment Milestone 1 + Payment Milestone 2 + Payment Milestone N…

The portion of the invoice that is overdue based on the Amount Due, less the Amount Paid.

Amount Overdue = Amount Due – Amount Paid

OrchestrateIT automatically calculates the invoice payment status in real-time based on other fields and populates this information for you. The payment status will appear as ‘On Track’, ‘Overdue’ or ‘Paid in Full’ based on whether or not the debtor is complying with the payment milestones that are configured in the associated payment profile.
An additional configurable field that is used to record the means by which the debtor will pay off the invoice. For example: Centrepay, Direct Debit, Bank Transfer, BPAY or Credit Card. OrchestrateIT doesn’t require this field for any of its calculations. It is only available to cater for your school’s internal reporting and debt follow-up processes. If you don’t need to track the payment method you can simply leave this field blank.

 

Sending payment reminder messages

Once you have configured payment profiles for all of your outstanding debt (where an invoice should not be interpreted as due immediately), you can send payment follow-up messages to parents and guardians. You can send SMS messages to parents three different ways depending on your workflow:

Once you have applied your desired filters on the ‘Invoices’ screen, click ‘Select All’, go to ‘Actions’ and choose the ‘Send SMS’ option. Set the recipients as ‘Parents/Guardians’ and type your desired message. You can include one or more of the shortcode placeholders described below. Click ‘Send Now’ to send the tailored SMS messages to each parent/guardian.

Click on the corresponding report that you want to use. Once the report has finished loading, click ‘Select All’, go to ‘Actions’ and choose the ‘Send SMS’ option. Set the recipients as ‘Parents/Guardians’ and type your desired message. You can include one or more of the shortcode placeholders described below. Click ‘Send Now’ to send the tailored SMS messages to each parent/guardian.

Click the ‘Search Users’ button and find the student record that you want to follow-up on by typing in their student ID number, part of their name, their CRN or an invoice number. From the student profile screen, click on the ‘Send SMS’ icon, type your message and click ‘Send Now’. This method is useful for sending one-off SMS messages to individual parents/guardians. For example, they might call the school to enquire about the status of their account and you might want to send them a payment link after talking to them about their options.

Before you send bulk SMS messages to your debtors, it is a good idea to try sending the message to yourself first to make sure that you have correctly entered the shortcode placeholders and to confirm that the message appears as you intended. Once you click ‘Send’ on SMS messages in OrchestrateIT they are sent immediately and there is no ability to undo or reverse this action. The language and messaging you use in your SMS messages is critical and we highly recommend having a review process in place with your School Business Manager (or equivalent) before sending batch SMS messages.

 

When you are sending an SMS message, you can use several ‘shortcode’ placeholders to customise the message for each individual debtor. The shortcodes that you can use vary based on the context from which you are sending the message. Click the ‘View Shortcodes’ link on the SMS screen to learn more about the shortcodes you can use in your context.

For example, your message could read:

Dear Parent/Guardian, our records indicate that there are [4] in outstanding payments due for [1]’s Text Hire Levy. Please contact the school today to arrange your payment or click the following link to pay online now: [6] – OrchestrateIT High School