Managing Payments Complete Guide

Thanks so much for using our app, uTeach Cloud to manage your school. Today, we’re going to be going in depth with everything you need to know about how to set up and manage payments for your school using the app.

Table of Contents

So, let’s get started!

Some initial thoughts about payments

Payments management can be frustrating, but is an important part of making sure your school runs smoothly. If you lose track of payments, you’ll not only spend more time trying to figure things out, but you’ll inconvenience your students as well. uTeach Cloud strives to make managing payments simple through creation of plans and automation of payment record generation in concert with credit card billing through Stripe. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know, but if you have trouble, please feel free to get in touch with us any time.

Adjusting the payment settings

(Also covered in: Manage Payments Settings)

The basic payments settings can be used to specify the categories and payment methods used in your school, as well as which types of users payments should be generated for. You shouldn’t need to change these settings frequently, but if you create custom user groups for certain types of students, you’ll need to make sure they are added to the payments settings area.

Payment Categories: You can set what categories you want to accept payments for (eg textbooks, lessons, events, etc).

Payment Methods: Set what payment methods you accept (eg cash, bank transfers, PayPay, credit cards, etc).

Generate Payment Info For: This setting is for the batch invoice creation feature. You can specify who will be automatically included, allowing you to not include students who have quit (“archived students”). If you are using private students as well, you should include both “student” and “private student”.

Use Stripe: Details on Stripe API integration to be listed in the Set Up Stripe API page.

Creating and editing payment plans

To make registering payments simple, we’ve created the ability to make preset plans for your school. Let’s take a look at how to make payment plans for an example use case like this:

Super School A Campus:

  • Plan 1: 4 classes monthly, 10000 yen
  • Plan 2: 8 classes monthly, 18000 yen
  • Plan 3: 4 private lessons monthly, 20000 yen
  • Discount: 500 off per month for siblings

First, navigate to the payment plans section under Accounting -> Plans.

In the Plans page, you’ll see a list of the payment plans you have currently created.

Note: If a payment plan is in use, it cannot be deleted. 

To add our first payment plan, let’s click Add on the top right of the page.

Name: This is the plan’s name, which will appear on payment breakdowns when registered to a student. Please choose something descriptive.

Number of lessons: This is the number of lessons associated with the plan.

Price per month: This is the cost of the plan.

Active / Archive: You can set a plan to be active or archived, but for the purpose of making new plans, they will basically all be set to active.

Here’s what the input for our Super School A Campus Plan 1 would look like. When you’ve added the plan, you will see it appearing in the list here:

For Plan 2 and Plan 3, we can go ahead and repeat the same methodology.

Finally, let’s look at the discount. We can manage this in much the same way as payment plans, except that the price is negative.

So, finally, all our payment plans are registered.

Registering a student’s payment plan

After setting up all the school’s payment plans, it’s time to associate those plans with students. Just to note, it’s not mandatory to do this. When you generate one type payments or batch payments, you can do the input then. However, if you input the setting for a student once, it will save you time later and prevent you from making mistakes.

So, let’s get started. You can either search for a student or navigate to Student -> Student List to select a student to work with. From there, you can click on the Payments Settings tab.

Payment method: Select how this student will be paying (these settings are done in the previous step).

Payment breakdown: This gives the line items for each student’s payments. A student can have a single course, but also more than one, depending on your school’s billing system and that student’s plan.

Total amount: The payment is calculated based on the line items added here.

So, let’s click on the plus to add a plan.

As you can see, I have added a Single Monthly Plan and Family Discount, but I’ve also used a toggle to turn off the plan select and add a custom input. The automatic total comes out to 10,500. Press Submit and you’re finished!

Manually adding student payments

If you want to add a single payment to a student, you can do this from the student page. Use either Search or navigate to Student -> Student List to select a student.

Once you’re on the student page, click on Actions on the top right, and select Add Payment. This will open a payment box like this:

You’ll notice that the payment settings we previously imported appear here for our convenience.

Payment Type: Select either monthly payment or other. Monthly will be used primarily for membership dues type fees, where as other can be used for things like textbooks, events, registration fees, etc.

Monthly Type Fields:

Period: Select the month this payment is associated with.

Rest Month?: Mark this month as a blank with no payment or attendance records.

Payment method: This is inherited from the student payment settings, but can also be manually changed.

Payment breakdown: Payment breakdown is also inherited from the payment settings, but can be edited as needed here.

Total Amount: Automatically calculated from the line items in the payment breakdown.

Number of lessons: Automatically calculated from the line items in the payment breakdown. However, can be manually edited if need be.

Memo: Allows staff to input a note.

Other Type Fields:

Payment method: Select the payment method for this payment.

Payment Category: Select the category of the payment (set in a previous step in the school payment settings area).

Price: The price of this payment.

Memo: Staff can add a memo here.

So, let’s take a look at three different types of payment records:

  • Monthly Payment
  • Rest Month
  • Other Payment (Event)

Using the information we programmed into the student payment settings earlier, let’s add this payment record to July 2020.

You’ll see in the Monthly Payments tab that the record has been added, but that it is recorded as a draft. This is similar to an invoice, meaning that the payment has yet to be made. This is convenient because it allows staff to add all the monthly payments at once, and then mark them as paid when cash is actually received.

To show the receipt of money, just go ahead and click mark as paid and put in the date and time (if different from the current time).

Next, let’s go ahead and set the next month (August, 2020) as a rest month to see what that looks like:

When this kind of record is added, we can see how rest months are added to the Monthly Payments tab:

Finally, let’s take a look at the Other Payments type.

When we add this payment, we can see the record under the Other Payments tab:

So, that’s the long story of how to add individual payments.

Managing monthly payments in batches to save time

(More about this in How To Manage Batch Payments)

The key to saving time in the management of payments revolves around making good use of the batch payment functionality.

To find this functionality, please navigate to Accounting -> Manage Monthly Payments. Here you’ll see payments broken down by month. When no payments have been created for a month, you’ll see something like this:

If you’ve already put in some manual payments (like we did in the previous step) you’ll see those payments automatically added here.

First, let’s breakdown everything you can see here.

Datepicker: The datepicker at the top lets you select the month you’re managing payments for.

Generated Payment Records: This section shows the records you have already added for the selected month.

Send Stripe Invoices: If you have generated Stripe invoices, this button will let you send them out to your students with one click.

Generate Payment Records: This is where you can select the students you want to generate records for. You can use the search box to look for students, use the select all button to select everyone available (students with records already created will not be selected to avoid duplication), or manually click from the list.

Let’s go ahead and generate records for all of our students by using the Select All button.

You’ll see that when you select a student, an input box similar to the one on the Student Payment Settings appears below. If the individual student has had their settings programmed they will be automatically input. If not, you’ll need to do it manually. For simplicity, let’s just look at two students:

The student on the left has had their student payment settings specified in a previous step, and then student on the right was set to rest by me. Let’s go ahead and click Generate Payment Records and voila, the records are added:

As simple as that, we can add monthly payment records for all of our students (even if you have hundreds and hundreds of students) in just a few minutes. Make sure to make any changes to the default settings if you need to, but if you forget, you can always edit the individual payment records.

Then, when you receive payments from the students, you can go ahead and check Mark as paid to register the date of payment.

Checking student payments

There are three ways to check on student payments:

  • Check individual student payments: If you need to check an individual student’s records, just navigate to that student page and check Monthly Payments or Other Payments depending on what you are looking for.
  • Check monthly payments: Navigate to Accounting -> Manage Monthly Payments and select the month you’re looking for. You can find all the current records under Generated Payment Records.
  • Check payments by date of receipt: If you’d like to check your cash register receipts or just keep on top of your cash flow, you can navigate to Accounting -> Payments to search by date for receipt of payments.

Adding credit card processing functionality with Stripe

For those who don’t know, Stripe is one of the leading online credit card processing companies. Unlike Paypal, Stripe works primarily on the backend, letting you smoothly process credit card payments without pushing your customers to sign up for some service or adding otherwise cumbersome procedures. Sometimes, we even get comments from users like:

It was so easy to pay, I’m worried that I actually did it right!

Great! It’s always nice to make it easy for your students to pay you, right?

So, how to set up Stripe. First, let’s navigate to Settings -> Payment Settings. Here, we can find a checkbox Use Stripe. Ticking the checkbox will bring you to the Stripe settings.

Stripe Publishable key: This can be found on your Stripe dashboard under Developers -> API keys.

Stripe Secret key: This can be found on your Stripe dashboard under Developers -> API keys.

Stripe Webhook Setup: Please copy the link here and add it to Stripe dashboard -> Developers -> Webhooks by clicking on +Add endpoint and pasting the link into Endpoint URL and selecting invoice.payment_succeeded under Events to send.

Stripe Webhook Signing Secret Key: This will be generated after doing the Webhook Setup.

Currency: Select the currency you’ll be billing in. Be careful, as this can’t be easily changed later (Stripe allows only for billing one customer in one currency).

After you’re done with the setup, that’s pretty much it! You’re now ready to send Stripe invoices and receive payments via credit card through online billing.

Let’s have a look at how it actually works. We’ll start by adding a payment manually:

After adding this payment, we get the option to Send Stripe Invoice.

By clicking Send Stripe Invoice, and email is sent to the address on record with the student, which leads them to a page to process payment:

Payment is processed here, and then automatically updated on the payment records on uTeach Cloud. It’s as simple as that!

In conclusion

We’ve gone in depth about our payments. As I hope you can see, uTeach Cloud offers robust solutions for payments and will help you better manage your payments and receipts. However, if we’ve left something out or if you have a feature request, please feel free to let us know.

Thanks for reading!