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Porting software from WHMCS to Blesta


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Hi,

we're in the process of considering porting our software from WHMCS to Blesta but first we need to understand what is missing on this platform. I have a huge list of concepts/features we're currently offering in WHMCS. It would be great if you could help figuring out what is missing in Blesta. This way we can quickly determine if there's a market for us.

BILLING

  • EU Regulations
    • The concept of Intra/Extra EU and Home Country
    • VIES
    • Split Payment
    • Business type (eg. company, public administration, sole proprietorship, individual, organization...)
    • Tax Exempt depending on VIES, Intra/Extra EU, Split Payment, special tax regimes (eg. Las Palmas, Tenerife...), business type
    • Cookie-law
  • Italy:
    • Electronic invoicing
  • Slovenia
    • Electronic invoicing
  • Finland
    • VIITENUMERO
  • Australia
    • GST Law (statement by supplier, withholding...)
    • ABN Lookup
  • Webservice for electronic invoicing of any country
  • Credit notes
  • Issuing credit notes for refunds
  • Issuing credit notes for payouts to affiliates / sales representatives
  • Dedicated number sequence for:
    • Invoices
    • Credit Notes
    • Proforma
  • Detection of billing errors and warnings:
    • Gaps in invoice number sequence
    • Duplicated invoices
    • Uninvoiced payments
    • Changes to Tax Exempt status
  • Monthly invoicing
  • Monthly payments
  • Postpone the issuing of invoices
  • Conditional notes on invoices depending on business/location
  • Invoice overpayment (eg. total due 10, paid 12. What about the overpayment of 2 euro?)
  • Invoice add funds properly (eg. customer pays 100 euro + VAT, receive 100 - VAT)
  • Using credits (eg. I have 100 euro of credit and I need to pay 100 + VAT invoice. The invoice should be suppressed as soon as I "apply" 100 euro)
  • Low credit balance notification
  • Does Blesta issue unnecessary invoices? For example ones with "zero" amount, fully paid by credit, 100% discount...
  • Shapshots for:
    • Customer details when invoice is issued
    • Your own company details when invoice is issued
    • Order details when order is placed
    • Currency rates when payment is sent
  • Late fees system
  • Tax stamp (aka revenue stamp, duty stamp, fiscal stamp)
  • Archiving Invoice PDF on FTP with DMS (eg. 2020/Invoices/FR-120.pdf, 2020/Invoices/DE-121.pdf, 2020/CreditNotes/IT-15.pdf...)
  • Sync invoicing numbering across multiple installations of Blesta or third-party platforms
  • Download invoices, credit notes and proformas in CSV format
  • Payment method rules:
    • Country-based payment method restrictions
    • Define default payment method for each country
    • Charge transaction fees to end user (I know this is not allowed but many companies don't give a damn)

OTHER

  • Customer retention
  • Tracking
    • Facebook Pixel
    • Linkedin Insigh Tag
  • Force customers to accept changes to terms and conditions like it works for PayPal
  • White-label notices (eg. Blesta sends emails to end-users using the STMP of the Web Agency)

Last but not least:

  • What about CMS/SEO capabilities? Is there something usable or using a third-party CMS like WordPress is the only option you have?
  • Affiliates. Does Blesta integrate affiliate marketing to award recurring/one-time commissions based on TLD, products and milestones?

Thank you for your time.

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5 answers to this question

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Does Blesta issue unnecessary invoices? For example ones with "zero" amount, fully paid by credit, 100% discount...

  • I believe so, I have had invoices set at 0 which I've cleared out before.

What about CMS/SEO capabilities? Is there something usable or using a third-party CMS like WordPress is the only option you have?

  • BlestaCMS by @Blesta.Store is the (Blesta specific) market leader for an integrated CMS client.

Force customers to accept changes to terms and conditions like it works for PayPal

  • It's just an acceptance box upon any package order.

Late fees system

  • This is a new(er) feature but exists for percentage or fixed amount.

Download invoices, credit notes and proformas in CSV format

  • Export Tax Liability, Invoice Creation, Package Revenue, Aging Invoices, Transactions Received, Custom Report, Transactions Applied

Invoice overpayment (eg. total due 10, paid 12. What about the overpayment of 2 euro?)

  • Overpayments are stored as a credit balance natively for use on future invoices.
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10 hours ago, Kian said:

Hi,

we're in the process of considering porting our software from WHMCS to Blesta but first we need to understand what is missing on this platform. I have a huge list of concepts/features we're currently offering in WHMCS. It would be great if you could help figuring out what is missing in Blesta. This way we can quickly determine if there's a market for us.

BILLING

  • EU Regulations
    • The concept of Intra/Extra EU and Home Country
    • VIES
    • Split Payment
    • Business type (eg. company, public administration, sole proprietorship, individual, organization...)
    • Tax Exempt depending on VIES, Intra/Extra EU, Split Payment, special tax regimes (eg. Las Palmas, Tenerife...), business type
    • Cookie-law

 

We have a task for VIES integration, CORE-3780 that we'll likely implement later this year. I'm not sure what you mean by split payment, not familiar with that EU regulation. Business type

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Italy:
    • Electronic invoicing
  • Slovenia
    • Electronic invoicing
  • Finland
    • VIITENUMERO
  • Australia
    • GST Law (statement by supplier, withholding...)
    • ABN Lookup

 

We don't have any country specific electronic invoicing yet, and no ETA.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Webservice for electronic invoicing of any country
  • Credit notes

 

Credit notes are planned, but with proforma invoices it hasn't been a huge priority.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Issuing credit notes for refunds
  • Issuing credit notes for payouts to affiliates / sales representatives
  • Dedicated number sequence for:
    • Invoices
    • Credit Notes
    • Proforma

 

Invoice formats can be customized for invoice, invoice drafts under Settings > Company > Billing/Payment > Invoice Customization, including tag replacement for year, month, day, invoice start value and increment value.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Detection of billing errors and warnings:
    • Gaps in invoice number sequence
    • Duplicated invoices
    • Uninvoiced payments
    • Changes to Tax Exempt status

 

Duplicate invoices and gaps in invoice numbers don't typically occur, unless an invoice is deleted manually. Payments that are not applied to an invoice remain as a credit on the account.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Monthly invoicing
  • Monthly payments

 

Blesta can invoice monthly and handle automatic payments monthly, but I'm not sure if this is what you mean.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Postpone the issuing of invoices

 

Invoices are generated based on renew date, which can be pushed back. There's not a "pause" option that would back bill once unpaused, but that's an interesting idea.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Conditional notes on invoices depending on business/location

 

Public and private notes on invoices is supported, but they are not automatic based on some criteria.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Invoice overpayment (eg. total due 10, paid 12. What about the overpayment of 2 euro?)

 

Overpayments are issued as a credit on the account and can be used for future invoices. Both overpayments and partial payments are supported in Blesta, and fully tracked.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Invoice add funds properly (eg. customer pays 100 euro + VAT, receive 100 - VAT)

 

Not sure I follow on this one.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Using credits (eg. I have 100 euro of credit and I need to pay 100 + VAT invoice. The invoice should be suppressed as soon as I "apply" 100 euro)

 

Invoices that are fully paid are closed as soon as that occurs.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Low credit balance notification

 

Does not currently exist.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Does Blesta issue unnecessary invoices? For example ones with "zero" amount, fully paid by credit, 100% discount...

 

Blesta will generate an invoice that may result in 0 due, but the invoice will be automatically closed.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Shapshots for:
    • Customer details when invoice is issued
    • Your own company details when invoice is issued
    • Order details when order is placed
    • Currency rates when payment is sent

 

Changes to contact information is tracked and available under Tools > Logs > Contacts, but it's not easy to go back and see what it was when an invoice was originally issued. Planned for the future.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Late fees system

 

Yes, implemented recently.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Tax stamp (aka revenue stamp, duty stamp, fiscal stamp)

 

Not familiar with this one.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Archiving Invoice PDF on FTP with DMS (eg. 2020/Invoices/FR-120.pdf, 2020/Invoices/DE-121.pdf, 2020/CreditNotes/IT-15.pdf...)

 

Not yet, but planned.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Sync invoicing numbering across multiple installations of Blesta or third-party platforms

 

Not supported.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Download invoices, credit notes and proformas in CSV format

 

There is a report, but I don't believe it includes all of the details for invoices.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Payment method rules:
    • Country-based payment method restrictions
    • Define default payment method for each country
    • Charge transaction fees to end user (I know this is not allowed but many companies don't give a damn)

 

There is currently no location based gateway restrictions, interesting idea.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:

OTHER

  • Customer retention
  • Tracking
    • Facebook Pixel
    • Linkedin Insigh Tag

 

Order form supports embedding code like facebook pixel, or editing a template file for all of Blesta.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • Force customers to accept changes to terms and conditions like it works for PayPal

 

Only when placing an order do they need to agree to terms. No option to force on updates.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:
  • White-label notices (eg. Blesta sends emails to end-users using the STMP of the Web Agency)

 

Blesta can send email via 3rd party SMTP, but I'm not sure if that's what you mean.

 

10 hours ago, Kian said:

Last but not least:

  • What about CMS/SEO capabilities? Is there something usable or using a third-party CMS like WordPress is the only option you have?
  • Affiliates. Does Blesta integrate affiliate marketing to award recurring/one-time commissions based on TLD, products and milestones?

Thank you for your time.

Affiliates system was just released, includes recurring and one time. Commissions cannot be different per product, but it's planned for a future update.

 

 

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Thanks @SmallWeb and @Paul for answers. You've been very helpful. It seems that there's room for us. I have few more questions that I forgot to ask.

  • What about service level agreement? For example client X purchased SLA GOLD hence we must reply to his support tickets within 60 minutes otherwise we pay a penalty of 5%
  • Esitimated response time based on working days, working hours, holidays
  • Premium ticket? Pay for highest priority
  • Emergency ticket? Highest priority but if there was no emergency we hit the customer with a penalty fee of X euro
  • Multi-domain & multi-brand. Can I use the same installation of Blesta to run multiple...
    • Brands
      • fiat.com
      • maserati.com
      • ferrari.com
    • and/or to deliver contents in multiple languages like
      • it.example.com
      • en.example.com
      • whatever.fr
      • anotherwhatever.de
  • IP Geolocation to do things like... If visitor comes from Italy set EUR as currency, italian as language, load "The Gladiator" template. If visitor comes from US set USD, english and load "Elvis Presley" template

 

18 hours ago, SmallWeb said:

BlestaCMS by @Blesta.Store is the (Blesta specific) market leader for an integrated CMS client.

Could you please be more specific? I mean is it just an integration between say WordPress and Blesta or a standalone CMS fully integrated in Blesta? If the latter is the case, does it offer things like:

  • Structured Data JSON-LD
  • Open Graph Protocol for social media
  • SEO URLs, canonical and black-hat protection
  • Multilingual articles, titles, meta descriptions, URLs
  • Automatic sitemap generator with multi-language support
  • Featured images
  • Scheduled publishing
  • File uploader
  • Does it offer:
    • Blogging platform
    • News section
    • Documentation
    • Feature requests
    • Bug reporting
    • Share/Rate ideas
    • Comments (for blog posts, news, docs...)
  • Author profile (avatar, name, role)
  • Reading time for articles

 

14 hours ago, Paul said:

I'm not sure what you mean by split payment, not familiar with that EU regulation. Business type

In some countries if you happen to have customers from public administration, state-owned companies, subsidiaries, companies listed on stock exchange, invoices must include VAT but customers don't have to pay it. So if you have 100 + 22 (22% VAT) the invoice becomes paid with 100 euro. VAT is "paid" in other ways.

Similarly in some countries Tax Exempt depends on business type/entity. There is a difference between individuals, one-man companies, companies, organizations (ONG, non profit) and public administration.

14 hours ago, Paul said:

Payments that are not applied to an invoice remain as a credit on the account.

[...]

Overpayments are issued as a credit on the account and can be used for future invoices. Both overpayments and partial payments are supported in Blesta, and fully tracked.

Okay but where's the invoice for this payment? In most countries you must issue an invoice as soon as you receive money (well, actually you have a couple of weeks but that's another story). This includes overpayments and wrong payments.

14 hours ago, Paul said:

Blesta can invoice monthly and handle automatic payments monthly, but I'm not sure if this is what you mean.

Let's say I have 4 services:

  • abc.com expires on 01-01-2020
  • def.com expires on 10-01-2020
  • ghi.com expires on 20-01-2020
  • lmn.com expires on 30-01-2020

Can Blesta issue one invoice to renew all domains with a single transaction? Basically I'm talking about issuing a maximum number of 12 invoices per year and receiving a maximum of 12 payments per year per customer. This saves a lot of money on transaction fees and makes accounting a lot easier.

14 hours ago, Paul said:

Not sure I follow on this one.

Credit balance should work like follows:

  1. I want to add 100 euro of credit in my account
  2. The system issues a 100 + 20 VAT invoice (let's assume VAT is 20%)
  3. Once I pay, the system should credit me 100 euro VAT excluded and not 120 euro (more on that later)
  4. Few days later Blesta issues a new invoice. For semplicity reasons let's say this invoice is exactly 100 + 20 VAT
  5. Total due is 100 and VAT 20 then I apply my 100 euro of credit. The invoice becomes paid and VAT becomes zero. The reason for that is very simple. I have already paid taxes when I added funds to my account. You can't make me pay taxes twice
  6. Bonus: the resulting invoice should be suppressed as no transaction/payment occurred. Many countries (and many accounting softwares) can't handle invoices with zero amount. That's why suppressing them makes things a lot easier
14 hours ago, Paul said:

Blesta will generate an invoice that may result in 0 due, but the invoice will be automatically closed.

What do you mean with "Closed"? As I previously said, the point is that the system shouldn't issue zero-amount invoices at all.

14 hours ago, Paul said:

Changes to contact information is tracked and available under Tools > Logs > Contacts, but it's not easy to go back and see what it was when an invoice was originally issued. Planned for the future.

Let me make an example. My company name is Elvis Ltd. and I'm based in New York. Tomorrow I change my company name to Bruce Lee Ltd. and move my office to Milan. What happens to invoice headings issued till yesterday? More. Today a customer changes his city from London to Rome. Same question. What happens to invoice headings issued yesterday?

14 hours ago, Paul said:

Not familiar with this one.

In some countries some business types (small ones) are required to put an adhesive label to collect taxes on invoices. Of course you can't put an adhesive "online" (well... actually you can with electronic invoicing but that's another story) but here is the thing. Companies usually charge the cost of the adhesive (tax) to end-user when necessary. There are in fact some rules to follow for tax stamp (eg. apply only on "Home country" and when amount is >= X).

14 hours ago, Paul said:

Blesta can send email via 3rd party SMTP, but I'm not sure if that's what you mean.

There are 3 "people". Me (the provider), my customer (a web agency or developer) and end-user (the owner of a shop that doesn't know anything about hosting and domains). Basically I'm saying that my customer can optionally provide me his/her SMTP credentials. This way I can send white-label email notices (expirations, renewals, maintenances...) to end user on behalf of my customer. In fact web agencies and developers usually want to hide to their customers that they're using services powered by another company.

14 hours ago, Paul said:

Affiliates system was just released, includes recurring and one time. Commissions cannot be different per product, but it's planned for a future update.

What about attribution models? Does it work just with Referral URLs / cookies?

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On 8/28/2020 at 2:43 PM, Kian said:
  • Esitimated response time based on working days, working hours, holidays
  • Premium ticket? Pay for highest priority
  • Emergency ticket? Highest priority but if there was no emergency we hit the customer with a penalty fee of X euro

The priority categories exist from Low to Critical/Emergency level. There's nothing connected that makes this paid for users but sounds like a possible plugin?

On 8/28/2020 at 2:43 PM, Kian said:

Could you please be more specific? I mean is it just an integration between say WordPress and Blesta or a standalone CMS fully integrated in Blesta? If the latter is the case, does it offer things like:

  • Structured Data JSON-LD
  • Open Graph Protocol for social media
  • SEO URLs, canonical and black-hat protection
  • Multilingual articles, titles, meta descriptions, URLs
  • Automatic sitemap generator with multi-language support
  • Featured images
  • Scheduled publishing
  • File uploader
  • Does it offer:
    • Blogging platform
    • News section
    • Documentation
    • Feature requests
    • Bug reporting
    • Share/Rate ideas
    • Comments (for blog posts, news, docs...)
  • Author profile (avatar, name, role)
  • Reading time for articles

Blesta CMS is a third party plugin by Blesta.store which adds CMS features to Blesta. I am only using the community (free) version which allows me to create pages and blog posts with their own descriptions and URLs.

The blog posts have comments enabled and author profile under each post. You can use the blog features for any page on Blesta like a news section for example. The URLs are friendly for posts and afaik you can set a featured image.

Things like social media sharing could probably be easily done using whatever platform's tools are available.

On 8/28/2020 at 2:43 PM, Kian said:

Multi-domain & multi-brand. Can I use the same installation of Blesta to run multiple...

  • Brands
    • fiat.com
    • maserati.com
    • ferrari.com

 

Yes, Blesta offers a multiple company licensing option so you can essentially license another brand on the same, but separate, installation.

On 8/28/2020 at 2:43 PM, Kian said:

Okay but where's the invoice for this payment? In most countries you must issue an invoice as soon as you receive money (well, actually you have a couple of weeks but that's another story). This includes overpayments and wrong payments.

This aside, I would appreciate invoicing for manually added credits just to keep track of things. Maybe one for https://requests.blesta.com/

On 8/28/2020 at 2:43 PM, Kian said:

What do you mean with "Closed"? As I previously said, the point is that the system shouldn't issue zero-amount invoices at all.

Closed is essentially "Settled".

On 8/28/2020 at 2:43 PM, Kian said:

Let me make an example. My company name is Elvis Ltd. and I'm based in New York. Tomorrow I change my company name to Bruce Lee Ltd. and move my office to Milan. What happens to invoice headings issued till yesterday? More. Today a customer changes his city from London to Rome. Same question. What happens to invoice headings issued yesterday?

As far as I know, when you download a PDF invoice it will use the information at that time. Definitely a good improvement to be had.

 

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On 8/28/2020 at 6:43 AM, Kian said:
  • What about service level agreement? For example client X purchased SLA GOLD hence we must reply to his support tickets within 60 minutes otherwise we pay a penalty of 5%
  • Esitimated response time based on working days, working hours, holidays
  • Premium ticket? Pay for highest priority
  • Emergency ticket? Highest priority but if there was no emergency we hit the customer with a penalty fee of X euro

 

@Kian

For these use cases, I suggest you use a 3rd party helpdesk with Blesta. I am going to be bias and recommend Cerb. They are going to have all those features you are asking, and then some.

I do not work for Cerb but I am the author for the free plugin that integrates Cerb and Blesta. We use both for our company and in fact we run multiple brands. All our staff work and operate out of a single interface which is Cerb for sales/support/billing/etc helpdesk tickets. We then use Blesta for billing, service and client management.

In my opinion, Cerb has a higher learning curve to get started vs the built in helpdesk with Blesta but it is well worth it in the long run. 

 

If you have specific questions around this, reach out, happy to help.

-Adam

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