AbtracOnLine allows users to generate invoices and email them directly to their clients.
AbtracOnLine also lets you choose the method by which your emails are sent.
It is important to us that your invoice management and delivery with AbtracOnLine remains reliable, even as the global email environment changes. Mail Servers and email ISPs now have more rigid practices to try and shield their users from spam, and we have adapted Abtrac to ensure your mail isn’t incorrectly bounced or blocked.
Read on for details about :
- How invoices are emailed from Abtrac
- How to track whether your email has been successfully received, and
- What our plans are, for emailing invoices in the future
How invoices are emailed from Abtrac
From Administration >> Settings >> System Settings >> click on the ‘Invoices’ tab on the left and you can choose to:
- Send emails on behalf of your own address (with a customised “From” address) by selecting ‘Logged in User’s Email’ as indicated below. The problem with this is that some of you are finding emails are being blocked because of the recipient’s stringent email settings. Abtrac will tell you if the invoice is blocked or bounced etc. but that is all we can do.
- Send emails on behalf of the office email address by selecting ‘Office Email Address of Invoice’. This could also result in the same problems mentioned above.
- Send emails direct using the AbtracOnLine mail server address by selecting ‘Use AbtracOnline email account to send emails’. This gets around the blocking and bouncing problem.
For details on how to send invoice emails from Abtrac, including setting a BCC email address, editing the email display name the message is sent from, and tracking the email delivery status, read this article: How to email invoices from AbtracOnLine
Send emails as on behalf of – with a customised “From” address
The system sends email via abtraconline.com from Abtrac’s verified email server on the Microsoft Azure cloud. But it pretends to be sending it from your own AbtracOnLine email login using a bit of a ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach, in order to make the “From” address your own.
The email received looks something like this (depending on the recipient’s email application) when sent from a ‘Logged in User’s Email’ :
Or like this, when sent from an ‘Office Email Address of Invoice’ :
Why is sending (or appearing to send) with a customised “From” address a problem?
Some email services won’t accept messages that are sent on behalf of someone else.
For example, emails that have an @gmail.com “From” address, which are delivered using another email provider’s mail server, could be marked as spam or be blocked by the recipient’s email provider. Once an email has been blocked by a client server, any future emails to the same mail server or service provider are also likely to be blocked.
How can I confirm mail sent from a customised “From” address has been sent.
If you are using the customised “From” address, the reliability of delivery is less assured than the send direct option.
You will need to track your email deliveries from ‘Abtrac Notifications’ (click on the notification bell icon near the user name when you have a red message alert) and Home >> Email Notifications to confirm that emails have been successfully received. (There are more details on that below).
What to do if mail sent from a customised “From” address has been blocked but the invoice still needs to be delivered.
There are two options going forward. The first is to download a copy of the invoice and send it directly from your desktop using your own email application and mail server.
We understand that some users will prefer to use this ‘manual method’ of mail delivery in order to ensure complete control of the process.
We also appreciate that for other users this process is cumbersome, which is why the send direct option has also been made available.
Send emails direct using the AbtracOnLine mail server address
To avoid the issues with the ‘send emails on behalf’ method, we have enabled the ‘Use AbtracOnLine email account to send emails’ option.
It removes the smoke and mirrors approach that ends up with mail being flagged as unsecure by an increasing number of servers.
Instead, AbtracOnLine emails are sent direct from Abtrac’s verified email server on the Microsoft Azure cloud using SendGrid™ email service and have a firstname.lastname@example.org “From” address.
The email received looks something like this (depending on the recipient’s email application):
Why does it send with a email@example.com “From” address?
SendGrid™ is an email service within the ecosystem of Microsoft Azure cloud service where AbtracOnline is hosted. Emails sent from the AbtracOnLine account within the @abtraconline.com domain are digitally signed using a Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) signature and the domain is protected by the Sender Policy Framework (SPF).
This authentication reduces the risk of phishing, and emails sent from AbtracOnLine with SendGrid email service from Microsoft Azure are less likely to be considered spam by your recipient’s email service.
Because we control the infrastructure for the email sending, we can also track the ongoing status of emails and provide ‘sent notifications’ to your AbtracOnLine login.
What our plans are, for emailing invoices in the future
We will continue to review and adapt the email invoice feature in AbtracOnLine in order to ensure that the process remains reliable – even as the email environment and authentication criteria changes. And we will keep you informed as and when any updates regarding emailing invoices are made within AbtracOnLine.
For the time being, we believe that the “Send direct” option will remain the most reliable process by which to send email within Abtrac, for all the reasons stated above.
In future, we will also look at an option which would allow sending email via your own email servers, rather than the AbtracOnLine email server.
This would involve some configuration of your DNS records to ensure mail sent from AbtracOnLine through your own server is verified in the same way as the AbtracOnLine mail server on the Azure network. (Using a Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) signature and protected by the Sender Policy Framework (SPF).) The ‘risk’ here would be that any email delivery issues would then need to be handled by you directly, rather than notified and monitored within AbtracOnLine itself.
If you have any comments or feedback on this article, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be pleased to hear from you.
Abtrac KB# 2059