Online Payment Gateway with Access Invoicing

Moving from Paper Invoices to Online Payments Integrating with Access Database

Janet Marshall Dance Studios is a centre of dancing excellence based in Gloucestershire. They offer a range of classes for both children and adults, in styles such as classical ballet, modern, tap, jazz and dance drama.

In 1995 we developed a custom Access business administration database that tracked student progress, facilitated the exam process, and automatically generated termly invoices.

The Problem

The business administration system we had already built automatically generated termly invoices, via a mail merge process, for manually printing and distributing to parents.

Although fees had originally been paid by cheque, an increasing number of families were using bank transfers. Our client wished to speed up the fee collection process by moving from paper invoices to online payments, but needed the payment gateway to be integrated with their original Access invoicing database.

The Solution

The move from paper invoicing to online payments was simplified by using the existing process, but automating some of the manual elements.

We used the invoicing database that we had already developed, using Microsoft Access, to generate invoices using the existing mail merge procedure. Instead of printing these invoices for handing out, emails are now automatically produced with PDF invoice attachments. The covering payment request email contains a personalised link to a custom Stripe payment gateway website. This link is automatically generated for each invoice and encoded with the correct payment reference.

The payment site is mobile friendly, and an additional bonus for parents is that they can now pay securely using a debit or credit card.

By integrating the payment gateway with their Access invoicing database in this way, the correct information is automatically fed into Stripe during the payment process. This information then appears on the Stripe dashboard in the relevant section. Processing payments, and managing the inflow of paid fees, is now very quick and easy, as our client has a consolidated report of latest payments with all the information required to hand.

Over many years we have been growing our database and what it is able to achieve.

From a simple storage system for financial records to more recently combining an exam preparation system for graded to vocational level students.

Tony has, over the years, advised us and amended our systems so we can cope with the increasing detail required by our professional bodies.

This has not been an easy task as our requirements do have a habit of changing as we move forward. We have been fortunate in that Tony understands this and has been able to be flexible and thus accommodate our ever changing needs.

Ian Marshall, Janet Marshall Dance Studios