Recurring invoices

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Recurring invoices can be free form or based on tracked time and expenses. Recurring invoices will generate on the interval that you specify—yearly, monthly, or a custom time period. Invoices generated by a free form recurring invoice template can be automatically sent to your client or saved as a draft that you can review or edit before sending. Invoices generated by a Time & Materials recurring invoice template can only be saved as a draft. 

Note that recurring invoices cannot pull on Fixed Fee projects or draw from retainers. 

If a recurring invoice is sent automatically and you have our Stripe integration enabled, your clients can choose to set up automatic recurring payments, as well, so they don’t have to remember to enter their payment information every time.

Create a free form recurring invoice template

Free form recurring invoices have the same information every time they’re generated. They can be set to send automatically or saved as a draft for you to review.

Taking the steps below will create a recurring invoice template, which will automatically generate a client invoice according to your set schedule. These templates appear under Invoices > Recurring.

  1. Go to Invoices > Recurring and click + New recurring invoice.
  2. Choose your Client.
  3. Select Create a free form recurring invoice
  4. Click Next step
  5. Choose whether you would like the invoice to automatically send from your account or save as a draft.
    • Note that only Administrators can set a recurring invoice to send automatically.
  6. Choose the First issue date, Frequency, and Duration
    • For invoices that recur on a monthly frequency, if you set the First issue date to the 31st of the month, Harvest will auto-adjust in months with fewer days and generate the invoice on the last day of those months.
  7. If you selected Create a draft invoice for me to send manually, skip to step 8. If you selected Automatically send this invoice in step 5, select your Sender and Recipients, add in a Message Subject and Message body, and choose whether or not to include a Web Invoice, Reminder, and Thank you
  8. Click Next step.
  9. Add line items to your template by clicking + Add item, and fill out the line item details including Item typeDescriptionQuantity, and Unit price
  10. Add in an invoice Subject and any invoice Notes
  11. Click Save recurring invoice.

Create a Time & Materials recurring invoice template

Time & Materials recurring invoice templates can be set to pull in time and expenses and be saved as a draft to review before sending. Recurring invoices generated for Time & Materials projects will pull in all uninvoiced billable hours and/or expenses tracked before the invoice creation date, as well as any line items that were manually added to the template.

Taking the steps below will create a recurring invoice template, which will automatically generate a client invoice according to your set schedule. These templates appear under Invoices > Recurring.

  1. Go to Invoices > Recurring and click + New recurring invoice.
  2. Choose your Client
  3. Select Create a recurring invoice for tracked time and expenses.
  4. Click Choose projects
  5. Choose the First issue date, Frequency, and Duration
    • For invoices that recur on a monthly frequency, if you set the First issue date to the 31st of the month, Harvest will auto-adjust in months with fewer days and generate the invoice on the last day of those months.
  6. In the What projects would you like to invoice? section, select any projects you'd like to be included on recurring invoices for the client. 
    • Note that Fixed Fee projects can't be pulled onto recurring invoice templates. 
  7. Fill out the time and expense settings:
    • Select whether or not you want to include hours and how you’d like them displayed.
    • Select whether or not you want to include expenses and how you’d like them displayed.
    • If you choose to include expenses, you’ll have the option to attach an expense report, which will include any uploaded images of receipts. 
  8. Click Review invoice
  9. On the next page you can add in an invoice Subject, any additional line items you'd like to include on the recurring invoices (+ Add item), and invoice Notes
  10. Click Save recurring invoice.

Add new projects to a client's Time & Materials recurring invoice template

If a new Time & Materials project is created for a client that has a Time & Materials recurring invoice template, that new project will not be automatically included on future recurring invoices for the client. To add a new project to a client's recurring invoice template:

  1. Go to Invoices > Recurring and select the template you’d like to edit.
  2. Click the Edit recurring template button.
  3. In the What projects would you like to invoice section, select any projects you'd like to be included on future recurring invoices for the client. 
    • Note that Fixed Fee projects can't be pulled onto recurring invoice templates. 
  4. Scroll down to click Save recurring invoice to save your changes.

Changes to the template for a recurring invoice will only apply to future invoices generated by the template.

Recurring invoice generation time

Recurring invoices are generated one by one, starting around midnight in your account’s timezone on the day the invoice is set to be created. If your recurring invoice is set to send automatically, it’ll send around that same time as well.

View recurring invoice templates and generated invoices

Recurring invoice templates appear under Invoices > Recurring

The invoices that are generated from recurring invoice templates will appear under Invoices > Overview and they can also be viewed from Invoices > Recurring by clicking into a specific template.

Edit a recurring invoice template

  1. Go to Invoices > Recurring and select the template you’d like to edit.
  2. Click the Edit recurring template button.
  3. From the template, make your changes.
  4. Click Save recurring invoice to save your changes.

Changes to the template for a recurring invoice will only apply to future invoices generated by the template. If you’re looking to edit an existing invoice, head to our page on editing invoices.

Note that if a client has enabled recurring payments for invoices generated from a particular template, the template won’t be editable, with the exception of invoice recipients and messages. If you need to change the details of a recurring invoice template with recurring payments enabled, you can either delete the recurring invoice template and create a new one, or you can ask your client to temporarily stop recurring payments on that invoice so the template can be edited.

Formatting invoice text

You can apply formatting to the Notes and Description fields of invoices:

  • To make a word or phrase bold, add an * (asterisk) to the start and end of the word or phrase. For example, this word should be *bold*.
  • To put a word or phrase in italics, add an _ (underscore) to the start and end of the word or phrase. For example, this word should be in _italics_.
  • To add bullet points to the Notes and Description fields, use Option+8 (on a Mac).

Note: You can find a handy reminder of these formatting tips underneath the Notes field on your invoice’s edit screen.

Attaching files and reports to invoices

You can attach files—such as a detailed time report, design drafts, or additional project information—to an invoice before sending it to your client. You can also attach a detailed expense report, which will contain receipt images entered with your expenses. Learn more in our article on Attaching files and reports to invoices.

Variables in recurring invoices and messages

The following variables are available to use in either the invoice subject or in line item descriptions to display the year or month the invoice was generated, right on the invoice itself:

  • %invoice_issue_month%
  • %invoice_issue_month_name%
  • %invoice_issue_year%

If your recurring invoice is emailed automatically, you’ll also have the option to include a message in that email. In this message, you can use the same variables as regular invoices. You can view all available variables at Invoices > Configure > Messages.

Delete a recurring invoice template

Deleting is permanent and there is no undo. While deleting the template for a recurring invoice will prevent invoices from being generated in the future, this won’t impact existing invoices generated by the template. However, the recurring invoice template itself will no longer be visible from Invoices > Recurring

  1. Go to Invoices > Recurring and select the template for the recurring invoice you’d like to cancel.
  2. From the template, click Delete invoice (top right).
  3. Click Delete recurring invoice to confirm.

Recurring payments

If you use our recurring invoices feature, your clients can enable recurring payments in some instances. Learn more in our article on recurring payments. 

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