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Best practices for time-of-session billing

Best practices for time-of-session billing

If you bill and collect payments from clients on an appointment-by-appointment basis, you may be considered a “pay as you go” clinician and can set up your practice for time-of-session billing. 

In this guide, we’ll cover:

Changing your billing settings to generate daily invoices

Setting up your account to generate daily invoices allows you to automate the process of billing clients and collecting payments. To do this: 


  • Scroll down and click Save

Note: See Setting up your billing and automations to learn more about the billing automations you can set up for your account.

Invoices will automatically be created at the end of the day. You can also manually create invoices at any time. 

Adding payments at the time of service

You can add a payment during or immediately after an appointment. To do this, you’ll first want to manually create an invoice. If an invoice is manually created, and you have automatic daily invoice creation enabled, an additional invoice won’t be created. 

To add a payment at the time of service: 

  • Navigate to your Calendar
  • Select the appointment
  • Click Create Invoice


  • Review the invoice details, then click Save
  • Select Add payment


  • Add the payment using the Online Card, External Card, Cash, or Check payment method
    • Only the Online Card option will charge your client. The External Card, Cash, or Check options will record that a payment was collected outside of SimplePractice

After adding the payment, a new invoice will appear on the appointment, along with a Paid status.


Collecting payments through the Client Portal

If you don’t take payment directly after the time-of-session, you can have clients pay through the Client Portal, so long as their balance is invoiced.  

Note: An Online Payments account is a requirement for clients to be able to make payments through the Client Portal.

Clients can sign in to the Client Portal to view their balance, or can be notified via email when a new invoice is available. To enable this for a client:

  • Navigate to the client’s Overview page
  • Click Edit > Billing and Insurance
  • Set Email Billing Notifications to Send email with link to Client Portal
  • Choose Notify client when new Invoices are available 


  • Scroll down and click Save Client

The client will be notified each time a new invoice is created along with a link to sign in to the Client Portal. To allow the client to pay their balance in the Client Portal:

  • Navigate to the client’s Overview page
  • Click Edit > Client Portal
  • Allow the client to Access billing documents and Pay outstanding balance


  • Click Save permissions

Tip: For a client-facing guide to making payments in the Client Portal, see Billing in the Client Portal.

Enrolling clients in AutoPay

Rather than collecting payment at the time of service, you can set up AutoPay so clients are automatically charged overnight. To do this: 

  • Navigate to the client’s Overview page
  • Click Edit > Billing and Insurance
  • Under Credit & Debit Cards select AutoPay Enrolled


  • Scroll down and click Save Client

With daily invoice generation enabled, clients will have an invoice created for their appointment at the end of the day and will be charged their balance overnight via AutoPay.  

Important: Clients enrolled in AutoPay will be charged their full balance overnight. Make sure to review a client’s billing overview prior to enrolling them in AutoPay. For more information, see Getting Started with AutoPay

Downloading and printing invoices for clients

Clients who pay during or directly after an appointment may request an invoice showing that it was paid. Paid invoices can be printed at any time. To do this: 

  • Navigate to the client’s Billing tab
  • Next to the date range, use the Paid filter
  • Click the invoice associated with the appointment 


  • Click the printer icon


Note:  Unpaid invoices can be printed by selecting More > Print when viewing the invoice.

You also have the option to export and print a series of billing documents for the client. To do this:

  • Navigate to Billing > Billing Documents
  • Enter the client’s name, desired date range, and the type of billing document you’d like to export
  • Check the box next to each document
  • Click Export PDF 


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