Recurring invoice start date in the past (unclear behavior)

I’m using the Invoice Ninja hosted service. I charge monthly for consulting sessions. Clients are charged for one month’s fee at the start, regardless of when in the month their contract starts. Subsequent invoices are sent on the first of the month. Therefore, I need a way to send the first invoice of a recurring invoice set, even if the invoice start date is in the past.

Do I need to create a separate invoice for that first month, and a recurring invoice for the following months? That seems like a lot of manual work, which I hoped to avoid with recurring invoices. It would be good to have the documentation clarify what happens in this case. Neither the website feature guide nor the user documentation specify the behavior in this case:

I’ve saved an invoice that has a start date in the past and marked it as ‘Ready’. No email has been sent about the first invoice, so I assume it hasn’t been sent.

As a side note, I have a small complaint about the recurring UX design. I was worried and surprised when I created the recurring invoice, and then it didn’t show up on my invoices page. Once the invoice was marked ‘Ready’, I wanted to see the status of it in my invoices list. So I went to the navigation bar and clicked the ‘Invoices’ link. The recurring invoice wasn’t in the list. There isn’t a ‘Recurring Invoices’ list link in the navigation bar on the left either.

It took some hunting to find out that the recurring invoices saved to a completely different page that’s only accessible by clicking the ‘recurring’ button on the invoices page. The other two buttons on that top row are all action buttons, not navigation buttons. There’s the ‘Archive’ action (with specific options) and ‘New Invoice’ action (no other options), so I expected that a submenu under ‘recurring’ would simply have different options for creating a recurring invoice. It was non-intuitive to me that to navigate to my recurring invoices, I would need to click the ‘recurring’ button in that row.

The invoice email for the first invoice got sent at 5pm PT, so I’m really glad I didn’t create a new invoice for the first month. The invoice date was today, which is the behavior I would expect. So it sounds like the default behavior just needs to be documented better, and the UX needs some redesign.

You have two options: you can either create a standard invoice for the first payment and then use a recurring invoice starting with the 2nd or use the recurring from the start and change the start date to the 1st of the next month after the first payment is made.

The UX is a constant work in progress…