In this lesson, you’ll learn how to set up email messages to your customers in QuickBooks Online. First, we’ll cover how to set up the companywide default messages to accompany invoices and other sales forms, activate automatic invoice reminders, and select options for online invoices. Then, we’ll cover how to customize the default email messages you just set up to accompany your custom invoices, estimates, and sales receipts.
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This lesson is part of Fit Small Business’s Free QuickBooks Tutorials. This lesson can be completed by either watching the video below or reading the detailed instructions and screenshots at your own pace. The video was recorded with an older version of QuickBooks Online. While the basic process of setting up messages has remained the same, some of the menus have minor changes. The step-by-step instructions and screenshots have been prepared with the most recent version of QuickBooks.
The Importance of Setting Up Messages
Messages allow you to customize the email you send to your customers along with their invoices, sales receipts, and estimates. You can create a different message for each type of sales form. In addition, you can select multiple people in your organization to be copied on all sales form emails. Finally, QuickBooks Online will send up to three payment reminder emails automatically to your customers, but you need to activate and configure this option.
How to Set Up Messages in QuickBooks
Messages to accompany sales forms are set up in the sales portion of the company account and settings. Click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and then select Account and settings in the first column:
Now click Sales in the left menu bar to view the sales options and scroll down:
This lesson will cover the options available in the Messages, Reminders, and Online delivery sections of the sales options. Let’s start by examining the Messages section.
1. Set Up Email Messages for Sales Forms
The messages created in this section will be the default email messages when you create a new custom sales form. However, you can change this default email message for each custom sales form, which we will discuss later in this lesson.
Click in the Messages section to show the options available to format your default emails:
QuickBooks provides a suggested email for each type of form, but you can change the emails with the following fields:
A. Greeting: You can select either “Dear” or “To:” as the salutation and determine how you want the customer’s name to appear in the greeting.
B. Sales form: You can change the suggested email message for each of the following customer forms:
- Credit memo
- Sales receipt
- Refund receipt
Select Invoice and then complete the information in the remaining section to create a default invoice message. Then, select Estimate and complete the information to create a default estimate message. Repeat the process for all six forms. Each form can have a completely different email message.
C. Email subject line: You can change the standard email subject line provided by QuickBooks, but I recommend keeping the form number for customers that might receive multiple invoices in a short period of time.
D. Email message: Your email should be customized for your business, but not personalized for any particular customer. If you have a large client you would like to treat special, I recommend you create a custom invoice just for them, which can include a custom email message that we will discuss later in this lesson.
If you’ve modified the message and want to return to the original message suggested by QuickBooks, click the green Use standard message button next to Sales form (A).
E. Email copies: You can check the box to send a copy of every email to the QuickBooks Online administrator automatically, plus provide a list of additional email addresses that should receive copies. These email addresses will receive copies anytime a client is sent this form, so make sure the person wants and needs all these emails.
F. Sales form: Leave this field blank. There are two fields labeled “Sales form.” The lower field labeled “F” in the above screenshot is obsolete since users can now create a separate email message for each type of form.
When you’re satisfied with your email settings for all six customer forms, click the green Save button at the bottom of the Messages section.
2. Activate Automatic Invoice Reminders
QuickBooks Online will send reminder emails automatically to customers with overdue invoices. To activate automatic reminders, click in the Auto invoice reminders section and then place a check mark in the box next to Auto invoice reminders:
After activating automatic invoice reminders, you can set the following options:
A. Create reminders: QuickBooks allows up to three reminder emails. You can specify the day that each reminder will be sent. In the example above, the first reminder will be emailed one day before the due date, and the second reminder will be emailed five days after the due date.
B. Create email template: You can create a template for your reminder emails, including the subject line, greeting, and text of the message. Unfortunately, you cannot create a separate email template for each reminder. In the above example, customers will receive the same email both one day prior and five days after the due date.
C. Email me: Check the box to have a copy of every reminder email to be sent to the QuickBooks Online administrator.
Click the green Save button at the bottom of the section when you are satisfied with your reminder settings and email.
3. Set Up Online Delivery of Invoices
Click in the Online delivery section to see the last few company options to set for email messages:
The first option to select is whether you want a summary or the full detail of the sales form included in the body of the email. You can also attach a PDF copy of the sales form to the email. Most businesses include only a summary in the email and then attach a PDF that customers can view and print to see the detail.
The final option applies only to invoices and allows you to format the emailed invoice as an Online invoice, HTML, or Plain text. I recommend keeping this option set to Online invoice.
Your customers can pay directly from their online invoice if you have an account set up with QuickBooks Payments. Additional fees apply for this service, but it will enable your clients to pay quickly and the accounting for the transactions, including fees, are integrated into QuickBooks Online.
How to Create Email Messages for Custom Invoices and Sales Forms
So far in this lesson, you have learned how to set up the default email message for various sales forms. Now, I’ll show you how to change that default message for customized forms. From the Account and Settings Sales tab, click on the green Customize look and feel button:
The Custom form styles window displays all the custom sales forms you have created. For this lesson, let’s create a new custom estimate form. Click on New style in the upper right corner and then select Estimate from the drop-down menu:
You’ve already learned how to design your custom estimate template in How to Customize Invoices in QuickBooks Online and how to designate the content in your estimate template in How to Set Up Sales Form Content in QuickBooks Online. Now, we’ll work with the third tab in the design window to customize the email that will accompany your estimate. Click on the Emails tab to view the options available:
The default options on this screen should match the options you selected in the prior section for your estimates. The changes you make here will only apply to this particular estimate template. This could be very useful if you want to customize your email messages to a particular set of your customers. To do so, create a custom template for each set of customers and apply that template when you generate an estimate.
Changing the default email message for custom invoices and sales receipts follows the same procedure. From the Custom forms style window, create a new invoice or sales receipt or edit an existing one and go to the Emails tab.
You’ve learned how to set companywide messaging options, including creating emails for invoices and other sales forms, activating automatic invoice reminders, and choosing online invoicing options. In addition, you learned how to customize the default email settings for custom invoices, estimates, and sales receipts.
The next lesson in our QuickBooks Online training course is How to Set Up Statements in QuickBooks Online. This lesson will cover a few options that are available for formatting the statements you send to customers.