Back in 2019, I wrote about my home-brew invoicing system for the church hall.

Little did I know that it would barely run for its first full year before the pandemic closed us down, but it’s now been back in business since January and going strong. It looks to be on track to invoice a substantial five figure sum in total for 2022, and so far, nobody has been sent an incorrect invoice.

Any more lessons learned? Well, despite invoices very clearly telling people to put their (un-changing) customer number as the reference on payments via the bank, most insist on putting the invoice number. Of course, the code copes with that, and thankfully there is only one regular customer who is completely incapable of setting a reference. I’m fairly sure said customer would have a hissy fit if all their customers paid them by bank transfer with no reference and sent a paper remittance advice in the post like it’s 1993, but oh well.

To solve that one, we’ve coded a feature which allows us to match the sending bank account name if the reference doesn’t match anything. Naturally, we’re still waiting for a charity bank account from any of the challenger banks which would allow us to fetch payments via an API, but we do have a nice function to parse the daily CSVs we download from online banking in the meantime.

People do occasionally suggest that I could monetize this system, and for sure there are enough churches, village halls and suchlike in the UK to represent an opportunity. The bit I couldn’t stomach, though, would be the support. No matter how nice you make the software, answering questions from well meaning and technically challenged volunteers all day would not be my cup of tea.