This user guide will cover the most common questions for a new business to Clear Books. It will go through the key steps on setting up your account and covers the basic processes on creating invoices, bills and various other functions available. The end of the guide offers advanced tips for businesses which are extremely useful such as automated emailing, management reporting and more.
Clear Books Demo
Want to test various aspects of Clear Books, but don’t want to affect your own personal accounts? The Clear Books demo account is a great way to test all applications in full, without affecting your own data. To use the demo account, simply hover over your business name on the top right of your screen. This should activate a drop down allowing you to select the Demo account. Just remember to switch back to your business account otherwise you will be processing into a demo which may waste your time.
1. Customising your Dashboard
As you login to Clear Books, you are greeted by the Clear Books dashboard. The dashboard gives you a simple overview of all your financial data. You are able to fully customise the widgets that you see on the dashboard depending on your personal preferences and your business needs.
As seen below, the customisation options are available at the top right of each widget. These give you the option to move, collapse or completely hide the widget.
Should you ever mistakenly hide a widget, or want to re-enable one on the dashboard, simply scroll to the bottom of the Home page to the Customise Dashboard bar. Simply click the + on the bar to open customisation options and tick the relevant widgets you’d like to re-enable, and press Save.
2. Setting up for the first time
2.1 Contact Details
To go ahead and setup for the first time, go to Settings > Organisation > Details & Tax and click on the Contact Details tab. This is where you can input the relevant information about your organisation. This is an important area within Clear Books as it is used for processes such as invoices, emailing and VAT. Please note the navigation column on the left of your screen, which gives you additional fields to complete. Once you’ve entered all relevant details, click the Save changes button at the bottom before moving on to the next option in the navigation column.
Next, you’ll want to upload a logo. To do so, click on the Logo tab on the left hand side. You will be given the option to add a logo to the system which will appear as a default on all invoice themes.
Please note: ensure that the image used is a PNG file. This will be the best format file for it to appear in PDF files.
Next, go ahead and click the Tax tab on the navigation column. Here you’ll be able to enter all of your VAT details such as your VAT number, tax references and any other relevant information. We even have the option to enter CIS details for the construction industry.
Click on the Manage VAT schemes link to set up a VAT scheme. It is important to ensure that the VAT scheme you have entered is correct and the correct VAT accounting method is used. Please check your HMRC VAT letters or contact your accountant if you have one for the correct VAT scheme.
Please note: If you change VAT schemes during the year, please add the new scheme as soon as possible before entering data under the new scheme. This will prevent issues with your Clear Books account when you are calculating things such as VAT that is due.
2.2 Toggle Features
Next up is the Toggle Features area which can be found in Settings > Configure system > Toggle Features which is another important area when managing your account. The Toggle Features area will allow you to enable or disable particular features to better suit your business.
For example, should you feel that you do not need the Fixed Assets feature, you can simply turn it off. By simply clicking on the tick box, you can toggle the feature on and off instantly. Your preferences are automatically saved.
A key feature that the majority of users take advantage of is Projects. This allows you to create short term projects or even departments (such as marketing, sales, operations, etc) to which you can allocate specific invoices and bills. This can be useful for aspects of certain businesses such as cost and profit centres as well as producing project comparison reports. This is covered in the Advanced Tips section at the end.
The navigation column on the left hand side of the Toggle Features tab allows you to toggle features in specific areas of Clear Books. The majority of theses are turned off by default, but can be easily toggled on if they are applicable to you. A popular feature which you may require is VAT Online filing which can be found under VAT and bank import tool. This will allow you to submit your VAT returns directly through Clear Books.
For further assistance, take a look at our guide on filing your VAT submission through Clear Books:
Another popular toggle feature is our multi currency function. If you trade internationally, this will allow you to create and accept invoices and bills in various currencies. Clear Books uses a XE.com to obtain an exchange rate for your invoices and bills which is taken daily at 7am on the day of creation. By using Clear Books’ multi currency function, exchange rates that are updated daily and you are able to adjust the rate by simply changing the invoice/bill or bank date.
2.3 Reporting Periods
Next on the agenda is setting up your reporting periods. To do so, head to Settings > Accounting > Periods and you should see an Add New Period button. This will allow you to add your accounting periods onto Clear Books even if they are less than a full year. In addition you’ll be able to view the amount of transactions that have taken place within selected periods as well as remove, lock or unlock existing reporting periods.
In order to remove a period, simply click on the red cross under the options column. If this period contains any transaction, you will be notified through a warning message explaining that only the period will be deleted and not the transactions within the period. An example of this warning message is shown below.
Quick Tip: When your accounting period ends, Clear Books will automatically create your next annual period, meaning you won’t have to keep returning to this area unnecessarily.
2.4 Adding a new user
In many circumstances, you may look to add a new user to access your Clear Books account, but you may want to limit their permissions. To do so, navigate to Home (building symbol at the top right) > Manage users to view the current list of users who have access to your Clear Books account. To add a new user, simply click on Invite User.
Depending on the access you would like to give to your new user, you can edit the permissions they receive. If you wish to give the new user full access to your account, simply select the Admin (predefined) as the role. But, if you would like to impose some restrictions on the new users account, click on either Employee (predefined) or User (predefined) - depending on their role within your company - and add or remove permissions as required.
To view and edit a full list of permissions, click on Show all permissions options and adjust them accordingly. Once you’ve finished editing the permissions, go ahead and click save at the bottom of the page.
Quick Reminder: There are no restrictions on the number of users you can have within your Clear Books account.
2.5 Invoice Themes
When you’re setting up your Clear Books account, you’ll also want to take a look at your invoice theme settings. This area will allow you to change the appearance of your invoice themes which are sent to your customers. The theme you choose to set up will be used in all areas of Clear Books to provide some consistency meaning you will not need individual themes for quotes, sales orders etc.
Navigate to Settings > Configure system > Invoice Themes to see the current invoice themes. By default, the Clear Books theme is selected for all invoices created. To add your own theme, click on the Create Invoice Theme tab. This will allow you to set your own details and theme options within Clear Books. There are various options to choose from so we advise you take the time to tailor your theme in accordance with your preferences.
Quick Tip: You can set your default information for all invoices you create by clicking on Preferences. An important field to complete is your bank information. This will be used for all invoices by default and will save time rather than manually entering the banking details every time an invoice is created.
3. Setting up a new bank account
When you first set up your Clear Books account, you will have been prompted to add a bank account to start off with. In many cases, users will have multiple bank accounts that they’d like to add to their Clear Books account. To do so, head on over to Money > Bank Accounts which will list all of your bank accounts on Clear Books. To add a new bank account, simply click Add Account.
By going to Money > Bank Accounts and clicking on the Add account button, you will see the screen below.
Here, you’ll be able to opt for the type of account you wish to add. There’s even the option to connect your PayPal account along with its import tool allowing you to account for PayPal fees without needing to process them manually. Our PayPal integration can be found under the Internet Payments option.
Quick Reminder: Enter as much detail as possible. This can be used on your invoice theme so you don’t need to keep entering bank information when you are sending invoices.
If you have our multi currency toggle active, don’t fret! Clear Books allows you to select the default currency for each bank you set up which means that you can track all of your bank accounts in their respective currencies.
Once set up successfully, a confirmation notification will indicate the creation of the bank account. The account number can be found alongside the name of your bank account making it easier to track.
If your bank account has no transactions associated with it, you will be able to remove it using the red cross on the far right of the row. Should you need to edit and current bank accounts, you can do so by selecting the blue pencil which can also be found on the right of the chosen row.
In addition, you can set up the opening balance of the bank account you have created within Clear Books to match your actual bank balance. Navigate to Dashboard > Getting Started > Cash to enter for your bank accounts. This will be set on the date on your first financial period on Clear Books not the current period.
4. Importing customers and suppliers via CSV
When starting up on Clear Books, if you’ve already got your customer base kept in a spreadsheet, you may find it easier to import them straight into Clear Books. This will save a lot of time as opposed to adding each one manually. If you navigate to Tools > Import > Overview, you will find yourself amongst the many import options available on Clear Books.
On the left, you will see the ability to import customers and on the right you will have the option to import suppliers.
Depending on the option you select, you will be directed to a page giving you the various import options in greater detail. The name is the only required fields for both customers and suppliers, however other data will have different field requirements. To help you import your data, every import page has a sample of data which shows you can download. This shows you how your data should appear. All data being imported should be through a .CSV file.
Once you have uploaded your file, you are required to match each required column to the appropriate dropdown. Ensure that all the required fields, in this case just the customer names, are selected otherwise an error message will appear. Once organised, click Import to continue.
Use the check boxes to specify which customers you would like to import and hit the Import selected button or click on the Import all button to import them all.
Once complete, a confirmation screen will be detailing the number of imported customers/suppliers.
To import your suppliers, you can follows the same steps as listed above but simply select the suppliers link found in Tools > Import > Overview under the Bills section.
5. Add a single customer and/or supplier
Alternatively, you can enter a single customer and/or supplier at a time. To do so, navigate to Contacts > Customers and you should see a page similar to the one shown below. This is a list of your customers that have been saved to Clear Books. You can also click into each customer to view their information in further detail.
To add a new customer, navigate to Contacts > Customer and click on the Add customer button. You will be directed to a page similar to the image shown below. This form may be completed with as much or as little information as you would like, though we advise completing the basic information as well as customer address for invoicing purposes.
Quick Tip: if you enter information on the right hand side such as invoice defaults, this will automatically populate information when you generate an invoice for that customer.
If you’re looking to add new suppliers, the process follows the same process. Simply head to Contacts > Suppliers > Add to create a new supplier, and follow the procedure outlined above.
6. Sales tab including invoices, customers and credit notes
6.1 Other methods to add a customer
When on the list of customers on Contacts > Customers, there is an Add Customer button.
Finally, you can add a customer directly from the sales invoice creation page. Just use the Add link below the customer field.
6.2 Create an invoice
To create an invoice, navigate to Sales > Invoices which will lead you to a page similar to the one shown below. The form allows you to add as much detail as you require, though the fields marked with an asterisk are required. Depending on the toggle features that are enabled, the appearance of the form may alter and more information may be required. Once completed, simply click on the Save button.
After saving your invoice, the following page will display a breakdown of the invoice confirming the data you have entered. In addition, you may notice the row of buttons found on the top right of the invoice. These buttons and their uses are listed below.
|New||Create a new invoice for that entity|
|Edit||Amend this existing invoice|
|Void||Remove the selected invoice from the system|
|View a PDF version of the selected invoice|
|View||View a HTML version of the selected invoice|
|Print a PDF version of this invoice|
|Send this invoice to the customer via email|
|Copy||Make a duplicate of this invoice including details and prices|
|Attach||Attach a file to this invoice (for internal use only)|
|Allocate||Match a payment to this invoice|
Please note: The buttons listed here are also found in the Bills area with the exception of the Email option.
6.3 Sales credit notes and write offs
In order to create a credit note, you will need to navigate to Sales > Credit notes. This screen will take you to the current outstanding and used credit notes. To create a credit note, you will need to click on the Create Credit Note button as seen below.
If you would then like to allocate a credit note to an existing invoice, you will need to locate and click on the invoice. Once the invoice appears, you will need to scroll down until you reach the credit notes section. Once here, you will be able to apply a credit note to the invoice. By default, the credit note is for the full amount from what you manually made however this can easily be edited to apply smaller amounts to multiple invoices.
In some cases, you may need to credit the remaining amount of the invoice. There is a quicker way to do this without needing to create a manual credit note when this is the case. Navigate to the invoice which has an outstanding balance and scroll down to the Options link which can be found under the Payment History table.
When you click on the Options link, the Quick Pay form will be changed into Credit / Write Off / FX / Discount forms. By default, the outstanding amounts are used for the credit, write-off and FX options. This will be a quick way to allocate the remaining amount to a credit note. Clear Books will then add this credit note to Sales > Credit Notes.
6.4 Customer overview and customer statements
Customer statements are a great way to send your customers a full list of both current and past invoices. This will help them to keep up to date on the money they owe you and to help them find relevant historical bills, should they need them. Customer statements also include other aspects of invoicing such as quotes, sales orders, payment on accounts as well as relevant payment histories on an invoice basis.
To locate the customer statement, simply click on your customers name on any table within Clear Books. This will lead you to the customer overview page as shown below. Alternatively head to Contacts > Customers. This page will give you a detailed overview with graphs, contact details and other details associated to that customer.
To see the full statement for the selected customer, click on Full Statement. If you wish to view the full customer statement in PDF or HTML format, then click the appropriate button. If you’d like to email the full customer statement in the same format as you see within Clear Books, then click on Email Statement which shall lead you to an email form. Alternatively, you may send the PDF or HTML copy by attaching to the statement to an existing correspondence.
Quick Tip: When viewing either the customer overview or full statement, you will be able to see options such as Invoice. By clicking through these buttons, you will be lead to the sales creation form with the customer details pre-populated.
Clear Books allows you to create quotes, proforma invoices and sales orders. These are all created with the same navigation path - Sales > Quotes. You will then see the form below. A key difference with this form is that you’re able to alter the type of quote you are creating. Click the Save Draft button to complete.
This quote will then be saved in the Draft ‘s tab and will have a whole host of options. In the Draft’s tab, you will find a table which will show all of your current drafts and give you the option to bulk print, delete and complete them using the buttons at the bottom of the table. The options found on the right of each draft quote will allow you to view the drafts in both HTML and PDF view; copy the quote; print it; delete the quote and complete the quotes individually.
Quick Tip: If you’re unsure as to what an icon does, hover over it to display its function.
The Complete tab is used to list all completed quotes. Here you can review the main body of the quote to ensure it is accurate in the eyes of the business. Once reviewed, you’ll be able to send this to a customer who will have the option to accept it. Once accepted, you will be able to invoice the customer and make any additions to the quote if required. This is particularly useful if there are any last minute additions which need to be made. In some instances, a quote may be rejected by your customer. All rejected quotes can be found under the Rejected tab and can be referred to for future reference.
7. Purchases tab including bills, expenses and credit notes
7.1 Create a bill
In order to create a bill, you will need to ensure that you have set your suppliers up. The process to set up suppliers is found at the very beginning of this guide.
Navigate to Purchases > Bills to create a bill related to your business. This can range from salaries, rent and rates, VAT etc. This will be the main area to enter the costs that the business incurs. This will need to be updated accurately in order to reflect the true profit and loss for your business. The form to fill out is very similar to the one found in sales invoice creation but uses supplier information instead.
Please note: invoice numbers on the bills will be entered into the Reference box in the bill creation form. This will give you a reference to match your physical copies.
7.2 Create an employee
Employees are used in various aspects of your Clear Books account, ranging from expenses to payroll processing. Creating an employee will also automatically create the relevant account codes saving you time when you setup the employee. You will need to invite these employees into your account as users, and once they have been added you will need to ensure they have the correct limitations on their account.
Please note: users which are invited to the business may not be employees such as accountants. Please use the above steps only for employees and not users.
To create an employee, navigate to Purchases > Expenses > All. This will take you to an overview of all current expenses and their current status. To add an employee, click on the Add Employee or Add Director button. This link will take you to the normal supplier creation page but will set the employment status as an employee or director.
7.3 Create and approve and employee expense
An employee has the ability to create their own expenses should they wish to. To create an employee expense for yourself or one of your employees, simply head to Purchases > Expenses > Create. You will then be shown the form below.
Here you can select the employee who is initiating the claim and add any proof of purchase for the expense. The details of the expense claim can be entered as well as the supplier it originated from.
Once you have completed the form, the expense will be submitted for approval which will send the claim to the unapproved tab in the expenses section. When viewing the unapproved expenses, you are able to filter these claims by employee using the drop down located above the table. To approve expenses, simply click on the checkbox of the relevant expense claims and click approve. Both single and multiple expenses can be approved at once.
Once the expenses have been approved, they will move under the approved tab. In addition, the system will automatically create a bill for you to allocate to your bank statement to reconcile your banking. The linked bill will then be visible when opening the expense, scrolling to the bottom of the form and clicking the linked purchase.
7.4 Create a supplier credit note
Creating a purchase credit note is a similar process to creating sales credit notes. To create a purchase credit note, navigate to Purchases > Credit Notes. The page will show a table listing credit notes that are currently on your Clear Books account. This will be a reference point for you in relation to the credit notes for the supplier side.
To create a manual credit note, click on the button as highlighted below.
The credit note form will then appear and you will be required to fill in the relevant details such as supplier, amount, account code, VAT and any additional information. To then allocate your credit note to an existing bill, you will need to locate and click on the bill. You will then need to scroll to the bottom of the bill where you will be able to apply your credit note to that supplier.
In some cases, you may need to credit the remaining amount of the bill but don’t fret, you won’t need to create another credit note manually. Simply navigate to the bill which has an outstanding balance and scroll to the bottom to find the Options link under the Payment History table.
By clicking on this, the options will change from Quick Pay to Credit / Write Off / FX / Discount. By default, the outstanding amounts are used for the credit, write-off and FX options. This is a quick way to allocate the remaining amount to a credit note. Clear Books will then add this credit note to Purchases > Credit Notes as mentioned before.
8. Money, bank accounts and bank imports
The Money tab logs the transactions you have processed within Clear Books. Any transactions which haven’t been processed within Clear Books, but have been completed in real life will not appear here until the relevant allocations have been made. This tab also allows you to setup your bank accounts, directors loan accounts, internet payments (Paypal, PayPoint, etc.) as well as record your savings for the business.
Please note: adding a bank account is shown in Section 3.
8.1 Money Overview
When navigating to Money > Bank Accounts, the page will display an overview of your banking on Clear Books. This will state the bank accounts, the various options associated with those accounts and any outstanding imports which need to be explained. The overview page allows you to conduct payments and transfers without using longer navigation alternatives such as the ones highlighted.
8.2 Import tool
There are 3 ways in which you can import your banking data into Clear Books.
Option 1: Navigate to Tools > Import > Overview and click on Bank Statement in the Sales column. This will then lead you to a table where you will have to complete required fields and add an import sample. This sample can be used to see the structure of the import you should be aiming for when you conduct your own imports.
Option 2: Navigate to Money > Bank statements > Import statement where, on the left, you will be given the option to choose the bank account you’d like to import from. Next select the account and then upload the file. You will then be given the option to use dropdowns when you do this for the first time. Clear Books will save this drop down selection and is known as mappings.
Please note: If you have conducted a bank import for this bank account before, the system will have mappings already. If there is any change to the structure of the CSV, you will need to delete the mappings in order to get the dropdown options again. Navigate to Tools > Import mappings to remove them.
Option 3: Navigate to Money > Bank Accounts where you will see your banks. The import option is along each bank as highlighted previously. These links will automatically set the bank so you will just need to add the file.
8.3 Re-create bank statement
If you ever find that there are transactions missing from your bank statement, and you’d like to add them in, you’ll need to re-create a bank statement. To do so, you’ll need to follow the same step as shown in Section 8B but using the options found on the right of the screen. You will then be given the option to add a name for your import, add the date, description and determine whether it is a payment or a receipt.
Quick Tip: if you have a fixed payment method for the import you are recreating, you will be able to set it so it automatically fills that option in the explanation screen.
When you have entered the transactions, there will be a red delete option to remove the entry you have made. There will also be a manage statement link which will take you to the bank import explanation screen which is covered next.
8.4 Bank import explanations
Once you have imported your transactions into Clear Books, you will need to explain them. Typically, if you have already created known invoices and bills within Clear Books, you will be able to simply match the corresponding invoices and bills on the list of transactions. This is the best way to ensure that you are matching the invoices correctly in order to reconcile your internet banking with your bank logs on Clear Books.
To find a list of the current open imports, navigate to Money > Bank Accounts and it can be found towards the bottom of the page. Click on the Explain button on the right of an import to get started.
Click on the amount which you are explaining. This example below is a bill but the sales side works in the same way as the billing side. You can change the filter so there are more than 10 items in view and by default, Clear Books uses the next in line to be explained by oldest first.
Next you’ll need to use the entity drop down to get a list of customers or suppliers. After you’ve ensured the monetary amount is correct, you’ll need to click on allocate. The amount will be matched to the invoice or bill on the far left of the table which can be clicked and will open for further details. Click on Add Transaction to complete the allocation.
The bank explanation is now complete. The progress for the overall import will increase and when looking at the table of pending explanations, all explained transactions will display a tick and magnifying glass under the Explained header. This signifies that the bank transaction has been reconciled and is finished.
Please note: There are other options such as transfers between accounts, refunds and multiple items but these can all be found on the Support Guides link in Section 10.
8.5 Transfer between accounts
If you’re looking to transfer funds between accounts, you have three options.
The first option is to use the bank import tool as featured above and fill in the relevant explanation pages.
The second option is to navigate to Money > Bank Accounts and then click on the transfer button from the bank you want to transfer funds out of. The option will transform into a form which will need be filled out as seen below.
After clicking on the Explain button, there will be an option to choose which bank account the money is transferring into. Choose the relevant bank to transfer to and then click on the Confirm Transfer button. Depending on the number of bank accounts you have, there will be more in the drop down to choose from.
The final option is to navigate to Money > Bank accounts then hit the Transfer tab. The steps from then on will be the same as outlined above.
8.6 Import History
Once you have completed a bank import, the entire import is kept on record and can be found by navigating to Money > Bank statements > History. Each import has an explain option on the right which will open all the transactions and will give the ability to view the transaction and the corresponding invoice it is connected to.
9. Reports on Clear Books
There are a variety of reports available on Clear Books ranging from basic to complex reporting, depending on your requirements. A popular report is the Profit and Loss and the Balance Sheet which gives your financial state in relation to the data entered within Clear Books. Other reports include transaction breakdowns, voided items and even specific invoices and bills.
9.1 Overview of Reports
When you select the Reports tab in the header, you will be directed to the reports area which will list all of the reports available to you. Next, we will focus on some commonly used reports.
9.2 Profit and Loss / Balance Sheet
The Profit and Loss / Balance Sheet is a core financial report for your business. These reports give a strong indication of your current financial position.
The Clear Books profit and loss statement shows accounts used over a select period or date range. Clear Books gives you the option to download the report as a CSV file which can be imported into any spreadsheet application (MS Excel, Google Sheets, etc.) or as a PDF document.
Quick Tip: you are able to click on the figures on the profit and loss report. This will take you to a transaction report which will show the transactions related to that account code.
The Balance Sheet is a snapshot of your position of assets, liabilities and equity at a specific point in time. In most instances, this is the last day of your current financial period. You can set the last day of the period by using the date range options as shown below. Much like the profit and loss report, you can click on the figures which will lead you to the transaction report related to that account code.
9.3 Popular Reports
The popular reports menu lists all the most commonly used reports. The Transactions report is useful to find specific transactions. You can filter the report by an account code, an account type, an entity such as a customer/supplier or by project.
The report can be downloaded as both a PDF or CSV.
9.4 Aged Debtors and Aged Creditors
The aged debtors and aged creditors reports will allow you to track any overdue invoices and bills. This is a great tool for credit controllers as it will break down the debtors and creditors and also bring information on an invoice/bill basis. For any part paid invoices/ bills, only the outstanding amount will appear on the report.
Use the date field to get a balance as per a specific date. Each monetary amount can be clicked to get a breakdown of the transactions within that balance. The total column generates a list based on the customer/supplier for all due dates.
Once again, these reports can be downloaded as both a CSV and a PDF file.
9.5 Audit Log
The audit log allows you to view important dates for invoices, bills, journals, contacts, account codes, VAT schemes and toggle features. This log will display a timestamp, the user who made the changes, a message to state which item has been amended, the action and the IP address. These items will give a great indication of what has been changed and covers a period of at least 6 months.
Changes are green and deletions/voiding are coloured red. This highlights any adjustments which have been made and can be used as a focal point for audit checks.
Please note: the image above has the user and IP address censored. The audit log for your business will show the user who has made the changes.
9.6 VAT Return
Please note: Ensure that the VAT return feature is activated within Toggle Features and the government gateway guide is completed. You can see more information in Section 2B.
The VAT return feature is a great tool to send your business returns directly to HMRC. Clear Books allows you to set up your returns based on the date parameters you enter with the option to include late invoices. Clear Books will then bring up all invoices and bills which have VAT associated with them as well as inputting any journals which have a VAT adjustment on it.
The first time you arrive at the VAT return pages, you will be given the option to choose the HMRC entity. If you don’t have one set up, you will be able to use the link to create one quickly. A confirmation icon will appear to state a confirmed creation.
When you create a VAT return, you will be required to fill in the date range fields as shown below. Clear Books will automatically put a title into the name but it can be changed if you wish. If there are previous returns, you will be able to select the return and view the contents of the submission, as seen in the green table below.
Quick Tip: You can see the blue box containing the HMRC correlation ID if you submitted via Clear Books. This is a timestamp / proof of submission that you have successfully sent a VAT return.
When searching for invoices or viewing an old return, you will be given a list of transactions in the correct boxes as required by HMRC. Sales invoices and bills will be set out in the relevant boxes and outlined in totals. The boxes can be navigated to quickly by clicking on the boxes.
Box 1: VAT from Sales
Box 2: EC acquisitions VAT due
Box 3: Total of Box 1 and 2
Box 4: VAT on Purchases
Box 5: VAT DUE TO HMRC
Box 6: Total gross Sales value
Box 7: Total gross Purchases value
Box 8: Total gross EC Sales value
Box 9: Total gross EC Purchases value
Please note: EC Sales list submissions will need to be completed separately. Ensure that you have activated the service on the Government Gateway when you are setting up online VAT submissions. This is outlined at the end of Section 2B.
Upon confirming the return, Clear Books automatically create a bill for you. The Submit digitally to HMRC link will be shown if you are using Clear Books as the agent and will submit the return to HMRC.
Any invoices, bills, refunds, credit notes and payments will be marked with the return details and will also link you to the return as shown below.
10. Extra Support guides
This guide is intended to be an overview of the entire Clear Books Accounts software. Additional support resources for Accounts (and our other apps!) can be found on our support page.
Clear Books Support Guides
Using the link above you’ll be able to find additional help for more specific areas of Clear Books such as the additional features found in the Toggle Features section. The search function will also be able to help you find a guide based on the term you have used. Further guides can be found in the sidebar and have been sorted with the same headings and subheading as those found in Clear Books.
11. Advanced Tips
Once you’ve got to grips with Clear Books, you’ll want to learn how to improve your overall experience. These advanced tips will be aimed at streamlining your workflow when using Clear Books and can be real time savers. There are a variety of features and tips below, so it may be worthwhile having a read to see if any are beneficial to you.
11.1 Emailing payment remittances to suppliers
Emails are a great way to send invoices and paid bill remittances to customers and suppliers. This would be especially useful for credit controllers to notify the suppliers that payments have been made and are being processed by the bank. An envelope icon will appear next to the invoice or bill that you want to send via email.
Black envelope = not been sent
Blue envelope = email has been sent
Grey envelope = unavailable due to status
If the envelope is grey, this is usually because the items is saved as a draft in the Sales tab. If you are in the Purchases tab, the grey icon will only appear if the bill is unpaid. A paid bill will give the user the option to send a payment remittance.
To view a complete list of emails sent from either the Sales or Purchases tab, navigate to Contacts > Emails > All emails to view the record and a copy of sent emails, which will also include the invoice link.
11.2 Automated Emails
Automated emails allow you to send invoices, payment prompts and reminders without having to manually process this. To set this up, navigate to Contacts > Emails > Email settings where you will see 3 global options.
Auto sender refers to the option to send unpaid invoices to your customers. This will be sent automatically depending on the Days set before sending. Other options also include getting a notification every time an email is sent and weekly summary of all sent emails.
If some invoices are nearing their due date, you may want to use Clear Books’ auto prompt function. This will send an email to the customer notifying them that there is an outstanding invoice due. This can be sent any number of days before the due date arrives. Like auto sender, you can choose to receive a notification or a summary of these prompts, if you wish.
The final automatic email option is the auto reminder. This is effective as soon as the due date has passed and can send reminders on a regular basis. How regular these reminders are sent is up to you. This is a useful tool as it allows you to make overdue customers aware that the invoices have not been paid. This automated option also has the same notification and the summary options as mentioned above.
By utilising these automated features, you will ensure that your customers are aware of any outstanding payments and improve the speed at which customers pay you. This may also prevent bad debts and aid your cash flow.
11.3 Bulk email invoices
You are able to bulk email invoices rather than having to manually click each individual email envelope. Navigate to Sales > Invoices to give you the list of unpaid invoices on the Clear Books system. You will see the table with tick boxes on the left.
Tick the boxes for the invoices you’d like to email and two buttons will appear. When you click on the email button, the invoices will be sent to the customers with the default email template being used.
A green message will appear to confirm the number of emails sent and that they were successful.
11.4 Custom bank account per customer
If you have a customer who has multiple bank accounts or customers who use different currencies as their payment method, a custom bank account per customer will prove quite useful.
Under Contacts > Customers you will see a list of all your customers on Clear Books. In order to set this up, you will need to click on the edit icon for the customer you want to set a default bank account for. Click on Customer Invoice Defaults on the right and then you will be given the options to change. Please choose the relevant system bank account for the customer. This will be used on all invoices created for that customer. Click on the Save button to complete.
Quick Tip: If you combine this with the bank account details from Section 3, the bank account details will also be pre-populated on the invoice PDF.
11.5 Multiple contact emails
Some of your customers may have multiple contacts such as a finance department and a shipping department. Clear Books allows you to add these contacts and use the emailing function to email multiple contacts. You can send the same email to as many contacts as you wish, as long as the contact is added. To get started, navigate to Settings > Configure system > Invoice Themes > Preferences and enable the drop down named Invoice Multiple Contacts.
In order to add the contacts, go to the customer and then edit their information. Click on Additional Contacts found in the column on the left. If you wish to add more than one contact, simply click the Add Contact button and continuing adding as required. Clicking on the Save button will save all the contacts filled in.
There will be a change on the invoice creation form when you go to create a new sales invoice and/or quote. The creation page will appear similar to the image displayed below.
The notifications change depending on how many additional contacts you have and where you want them to be sent. There is an outline of the emailing based on the options.
- Main contact only → sent to the main contact only
- Every specified contact → contacts selected from the Additional contacts drop down. This will increase depending on how many additional contacts there are
- Main contact and billing contact → sent to the main contact and the billing contact
- Main contact and additional contacts → sent to the main contact and those selected in the additional contact field.
- Billing and additional → sent to the billing contact and those selected in the additional contact field.
- Billing contact only → sent to the billing contact only
- Additional contacts only → if there are no additional, it will send to the customer email
- No notifications → does not email any contact
11.6 Bulk print invoices
Much like bulk emailing invoices, you are also able to bulk print invoices. This is completed in the same manner as bulk emails but instead you will need to navigate to Sales > Invoices. Here you will have the option to bulk print invoices found directly under the tabs such as unpaid, paid and draft and so on. When you have chosen the tab where the invoices you wish to print are located, simply select the relevant invoices by utilising the tick boxes and click the PDF button as shown below.
By clicking on the PDF button, your invoices will be displayed in PDF view. Here you will have the option to print your invoices.
11.6 Stock Items
The stock feature can be used in a variety of ways to make your life easier when entering data during the invoicing and billing stages. If your business is service based or charges fixed costs for the work you complete, such as consultancy work, it would highly beneficial for you to complete the stock items with commonly used services to speed up the invoicing and billing process.
The stock feature needs to be turned on and is located in the Toggle Features area. Once turned on, it can be found by navigating to Tools > Stock. You will be required to complete all highlighted boxes (found in the image below) in order to benefit from the quickest invoice and bills completion, but the more fields you complete, the faster the process will be in future.
When you navigate to Sales > Invoices, you will see that there is an option to select stock items with a drop down. When you use the stock item, it will pre-populate the invoice with the details you entered previously. A demonstration of this is shown below where the data in the stock item is entered upon selection.
Quick Tip: If you complete all fields with detailed information when adding stock items, you will be able to complete a one item invoice in 3 steps. Select a customer, select a stock item and then click save. This can save a lot of time when creating invoices.
11.7 Projects / Departments
As mentioned previously, Projects is a great way to compare different departments as well as put more detailed information on the invoices and bills you generate. With the feature turned on, you will be able to view project by project detailed comparison reports to see which departments or cost centres are generating/incurring the most revenue/expenditure. You may also use the Project line items toggle feature to break down invoices further. This will be done on a item by item basis on invoices and bills as opposed to setting it to the entire invoice.
Please visit Section 2B for instructions on turning on the Projects and the project invoice items feature.
To view existing projects, navigate to Tools > Projects which will list all current projects on your Clear Books account. You can generate a Profit and Loss statement or cash flow report based on your projects. The red cross on the far right will remove the project only if there are no transactions associated with the project.
A popular function available for the Projects tool is the ability to view a comparison report between projects. To do so, go to Tools > Projects > Report to view the full list of projects in a profit and loss structure. You are able to select/deselect projects whilst also generating transaction reports for it.
There will be an option to view according to the project, where you will be able to remove any unwanted projects for comparison. All projects are shown based as default on this comparison report page.
Clicking on the monetary amount as highlighted in the screenshot above while in a project column will open up a Reports > Popular reports > Transactions report filtered down by the account code and the project. This will be useful in drilling down into the transaction. Lastly, the No project column is also the same, it will bring up invoices and bills which are not assigned to a project.
11.8 Management Report
A tool which will be useful for medium sized businesses is the Management report. This will generate a report which can be used for internal decision making purposes and covers various aspects of external reporting. The report can be seen in both an active webview format or printed as a PDF. The management report consists of profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow, aged reports, an executive summary as well as additional graphs and tables if you wish. Navigate to Reports > Management Report to get started.
There are various options to choose from when creating the management report. The main advantage is that you can set the dates, the reporting periods or set number of months when creating the report. Clear Books will generate the report based on the parameters you have set so that you can tailor the report you are making.
The date options will change drastically depending on the option you have selected as highlighted in the box above. Once you have chosen the relevant date ranges which are suitable for the management report, select the format you wish to view the report in. PDF view offers an online view in PDF format. Web view offers an online view in HTML format. Download allows you to save the management report in PDF format on your computer.
An example of the webview of the management report can be seen below. The report is split up according to the date range and the sections you have chosen to display, compared left to right for the fiscal years. Each tab in the header can be clicked on allowing you to move to that particular area with the corresponding graphs and tables. Show options will offer your further advanced options.
Please note: The management report will bring up the information which has been entered into Clear Books. If the balances on the Clear Books accounts are not up to date, the management report will not depict an accurate portrayal of the real-time position of the company. Please ensure that you enter as much detail for the period and verify it is complete before using this for internal decision making.