Spectra Getting Started Guide

Financial Tracking

Financial Tracking Overview

This chapter will show you how to create a simple price list in Spectra, set up your sales tax, guide you through creating your first invoice, and introduce you to the accounting link.

Setting up your Price List

You can use Spectra to set up very sophisticated pricing schemes, including multiple price lists, standard and unit-based packages, multiple pricing levels, and option and enhancement levels that automatically adjust the price of each product on-the-fly. For now, we'll just introduce you to the basic price list features you'll need to start invoicing quickly. At the end of this section you'll find resources you can use to explore the additional features available in the price list.

  1. Click Maintenance > Price List > Price Lists to set up your price lists.

  2. By default, Spectra has one price list called "Studio Price List." However, if you are using Spectra Standard or Professional you may want to set up a different price list for each session type, such as weddings and seniors.

    WHY WOULD I NEED MORE THAN ONE PRICE LIST?  (Spectra Standard, Professional, and Enterprise)

    A good way to decide if you should set up multiple price lists is to answer these questions:

    • Do you charge the same price for an 8X10 a la carte color print, regardless of the session type?

    • Or, do you charge one price if the print is for a wedding and a different price if the print is for a high school senior?

    If your a la carte prices are different for each session type, you'll probably want to set up multiple price lists. Spectra can automatically display the appropriate price list, depending on the session type. For items that are the same price regardless of the session type (e.g., frames, albums, or gift certificates), you can use a generic price list that Spectra will display in addition to the session-specific price list.

  3. To add a new price list, click New Price List on the ribbon.

  4. To remove a price list, select the price list and click Delete on the ribbon.

  5. Before you begin entering your products, you must set up some item groups to organize the products within your price list. First, select the price list you want to set up. Then click New Group on the ribbon. Enter a group name and click OK. Repeat this process to create as many groups as you need.


    Item groups give you the flexibility to organize your products into convenient folders, making them easier to find when creating an order.


    Don't confuse an item group with an item type (session fees, prints, packages, composites, services, and miscellaneous)! Item types allow Spectra to differentiate between items. Because they each have unique functionality within Spectra, item types CANNOT be redefined. Groups, on the other hand, can be defined and redefined as needed. You can create as many groups as you need and drag-and-drop to display them in the desired order.

  6. Now you're ready to set up your first item. Select the group you want to add the item to and click New Item on the ribbon. You will see the Price List Item maintenance page (as shown below). Don't be overwhelmed by the amount of information on this screen! You only need to set up a few pieces of information for each item. The process will go pretty quickly once you've done a couple.

  7. Item Identifier - If your studio uses unique item codes to represent individual items, enter that code as the item identifier (e.g., "810CP" for an 8X10 color print). This field is optional but using it will help you quickly add items to an invoice and report on product sales down the road.

  8. Item Description - The description should be what you want to appear on the client's invoice. This field is required.

  9. Item Type - Select the appropriate type from the six item types available in Spectra - Composite, Miscellaneous, Package, Print, Service, Session Fee. This field is required.


    Each item type has a unique function in Spectra, so it's important to choose the right one for each of your products. Here's a brief description of each:

    • Composite - This type is used for composite products that have been created with Spectra's composite template feature.
    • Miscellaneous - Examples of miscellaneous could include digital media and albums.
    • Package - A package is simply an item that contains multiple products. When you select this item type, several additional features will be available, including a place for you to select the package components.
    • Print - A printed product with specific dimensions.
    • Service - Examples of a service include: copy & restoration, add-on pose fee, basic retouch, extended travel, and so on.
    • Session Fee - Fees related to a photo shoot

  10. Item Group - By default, the item group will be the one you had highlighted when you created the item. If you change the item group, the item will be moved to whatever group you select. This field cannot be left blank.

  11. Standard Price - Enter the amount you charge your clients for this product. Although not actually required, the standard price is critical for invoicing and reporting.

  12. Non-Taxable - Check this box if sales tax should never be charged for the item.

  13. This concludes the required (and highly recommended) fields you should complete when setting up a new item. Click Save and New on the ribbon to save the item and start creating another one.

  14. Repeat steps 7-13 for each item you need to set up.

  15. Close the Price List Item maintenance screen when finished.


Spectra provides an easy way for you to import your price list! The Price List Import Wizard will walk you through importing a price list from either an Excel file or a text file (CSV). For more information, read Importing a Price List in the Spectra Online Help.

Setting up your Sales Tax

During the Preferences Wizard you entered one sales tax rate to be used as your default rate. If you didn't set that up, or if you need additional sales tax rates, you'll need to do some additional setup before you begin invoicing. Note: Even if you completed the sales tax page in the Preferences Wizard, it's a good idea to walk through the following steps. You'll be more confident about making adjustments later if you see how things are set up.

  1. Go to Maintenance > Preferences > Company Preferences and open the Invoicing page.

  2. Click Sales Tax Maintenance to add and modify your individual sales tax rates.

  3. You should see the sales tax you entered during the Preferences Wizard already in the list. Use the Add, Remove, and Modify buttons in the lower portion of the window to adjust your rates as needed.

  4. When you're finished, click the red "X" to close the list.

  5. Now just verify the Default Sales Tax (right under the Sales Tax Maintenance button). Click the down arrow to select the rate you want Spectra to automatically use when you create a new invoice. Note: You will be able to select a different rate on individual invoices when needed.

Invoicing in Spectra

You can create invoices from multiple places in Spectra. However, no matter where you create the invoice from, the process and the screens are generally the same. An invoice can be created directly from the calendar using the Scheduling Wizard, from a client record, or from a session record.


Creating an invoice during the Scheduling Wizard is a common way to record session fees that may be charged to a client during the scheduling process. A payment can either be recorded at the time of scheduling or later, on the day of the session. Invoices for product orders should usually be created from the session record. The only time an invoice should be created from a client record is when the client does not have a session but still wants to purchase a product, such as a frame.


Session-based invoices will comprise 90% or more of your invoices. Whenever a customer is purchasing an item related to a session – even if that session was for a different client – you should create the invoice from the session. Only create client-based invoices for items purchased when there is no session, such as retail items.

Creating an Invoice


To create an invoice during the Scheduling Wizard check "Create an invoice now to cover session fees" when prompted.


  1. Click Invoice in the New group of the ribbon.
    Note: The following instructions assume that the Invoice Wizard has not been turned off. If you've disabled the wizard, these instructions should still be helpful, with a little intuition from you.

  2. The first page of the Invoice Wizard asks you to verify the Session Client and the Bill-To Client. Click Next.

  3. In the Invoice Information section, you'll notice the invoice number is blank. The invoice number will automatically be created when the invoice is saved. Enter any notes that you want to appear on the invoice. Click Next.

  4. To add items to an invoice, simply double-click items on the list at the left and they'll be added to the invoice. If you use item codes (or item identifiers), you can enter the code in the Item No column and the rest of the line will automatically be completed. Enter the quantity and repeat the process until all items have been added. Click Next.

  5. When prompted to choose whether to "Create a Payment Record Now," check or uncheck the option depending on whether the client is making a payment at this time. If so, enter the payment information as prompted.

  6. At the end of the wizard, an invoice will be printed unless you uncheck the Print Invoice checkbox.

Processing Credit Cards with Cayan™

In the USA, StudioPlus has chosen to integrate Spectra with Cayan™ (formerly Merchant Warehouse), an industry-leading credit card processing company. The integration does not require any additional software. The only requirement is that the computer you’re using for Spectra has an Internet connection and you have a Cayan account. Note: We have also partnered with eWAY™ for clients located in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. For those instructions, click here.


In addition to making credit card processing extremely easy, StudioPlus and Cayan/eWAY take much of the hassle out of the requirements necessary for your business to become PCI compliant. Read more about PCI compliance and Spectra in the Credit Card Processing Overview topic in the Spectra Online Help.


  1. Start the process by getting a no-obligation quote from Cayan (http://www.MerchantWarehouse.com). Read more about credit card processing on our website.

  2. Once your account is established, Cayan will email you your unique account credentials.

  3. Test your account by logging in to the Cayan gateway and processing a payment for $1. If everything looks good, void the test transaction.


To get started processing credit cards with your Spectra software, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you've set up your Cayan account and received your account credentials (see above).

  2. Go to Maintenance > Preferences > Company Preferences and open the Credit Cards page.

  3. Enter the Site ID, Key, Name, User Name, and Password on both the Keyed and Swiped tabs. Note: You may or may not have received two sets of credentials, one for processing keyed transactions and once for processing swiped transactions. If you only received one set of credentials, use them for both Keyed and Swiped transactions. You must have credentials entered on both tabs.

  4. Spectra provides two validation options for an added level of security. These are optional features within Spectra that are available in addition to the security already provided by Cayan. Check one or both of the options to have Spectra automatically validate the cardholders Address and/or Security Code (from the back of the card). Note: Using these features does not lower your rates with Cayan.

  5. In the PCI Compliance section, make sure the option to "Do not store credit card numbers..." is checked.

  6. Set up a data entry validation in Spectra to make sure all credit card payments are successfully authorized before saving.

    • Go to Maintenance > General > Data Entry Validations.

    • Scroll down to Payment - Credit Card Auth Code.

    • Make this a Required field so users will not be allowed to save a credit card payment without an authorization code.

  7. Create test client and invoice, and then process a test payment in Spectra.


To process a credit card in Spectra using Cayan:

  1. From a Spectra invoice, create a payment and select one of your credit card payment methods.

  2. Two additional buttons will be displayed – Get Swiped Card and Get Keyed Card. Click the option you want to use.

    • Get Swiped Card - A Cayan window will open and you can swipe the client's card using a card reader purchased from Cayan (either encrypted or non-encrypted).

    • Get Keyed Card - Manually enter the credit card details on the Cayan window provided.

  3. After you swipe or key in the card, a message will let you know if the transaction was approved or declined. If approved, Spectra will automatically save the payment.

Accounting Integration

Spectra gives you the accounting tools you need to link with accounting software like QuickBooks, Simply Accounting, or MYOB and to generate your financial reports. The accounting process starts by performing a “posting” – a process where financial transactions like invoices, payments, credit memos, and refunds are locked into Spectra. Reports are generated and you can export your sales and receivables data to your accounting software.

The benefit of this system is that Spectra is designed specifically for the photography industry, to track your clients and your sales. Your accounting software is specifically designed to track your expenses, payroll, and general financial reports, like your balance sheet and income statement. Linking the two gives you the best of both. Spectra will export your sales information to your accounting software so you get consolidated financial information without requiring you to enter your data twice.


You are not required to post in Spectra. However, if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you should regularly post your financial transactions.

  • Do you want to export your financial transaction to external accounting software like QuickBooks, Simply Accounting, or MYOB?
  • Do you want to print a daily report of your cash receipts that matches your deposits?
  • Do you want to lock financial transactions so they cannot be modified after a certain date?
  • Do you want to generate a sales tax/VAT report?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you should use Spectra's posting procedures.

Setting up the Accounting Link


Note: If you're not sure which options are right for your business, we recommend you consult with your accountant to set up these preferences accurately.

  1. Go to Maintenance > Preferences > Company Preferences and open the Accounting page.

  2. Accounting Method - Choose the accounting method your company uses.

  3. Accounting Link - Select how you want Spectra to export to your accounting software. If you select QuickBooks Direct, Spectra will send the general ledger entries into QuickBooks directly without creating a file you need to import. If you use the entries that say just QuickBooks, Simply Accounting, or MYOB, Spectra will create an export file that you need to import into the program you are using. If you're not using external financial software, select None.

  4. Export Path - Select the folder where you want Spectra to export your data. For QuickBooks Direct, this must be the location of those data files.


    Spectra will NOT create a new QuickBooks, Simply Accounting, or MYOB file each time you export your data. Instead, Spectra will add each posting to the same file. Each time you import your data into QuickBooks or Simply Accounting, remove the export file from the folder. Spectra will then create a new export file each time. If you do not move, change, or delete this file, duplicate entries will be created when importing into your accounting software.

  5. Tax Agency - Fill in the name of the tax agency, if needed. Otherwise, Spectra will use a generic "Sales Tax" entry.

  6. General Ledger Account Numbers - Enter your account numbers or names for each line item. The accounts Spectra will be posting to are described below:


    Once an account is created in QuickBooks, it cannot be deleted. Be sure your account names or numbers match before importing into QuickBooks. It would be a good idea to perform a backup in QuickBooks before attempting your first import from Spectra. That way, if things do not go as expected, you can simply restore the backup.

    • Customer Deposits/Accounts Receivable - The liability account that income from unposted invoices is credited to and then debited from once the invoices are posted.

    • Sales Tax Payable - An Accounts Payable or Current Liability account for sales tax that is credited when invoices are posted.

    • Shipping & Handling - The income account for shipping and handling that is credited when invoices are posted.

    • General Sales - The income account that is credited when invoices are posted for the sale of any items that do not have a GL sales account specified either in the price list or on the session type.

    • Discounts - The income account for discounts that is debited when invoices are posted. Line Item Discounts are debited from the Price List Item Discount GL Account. If this is blank, they are debited from the Session Type GL Discount Account. If this is blank, they are debited from the discount account listed in Studio Preferences.

    • Cash Back - The account you would use for items like petty cash. When you make a deposit, there is a space for cash back. If you deposit checks and want to get some cash back, it is this account that will be debited the amount of that cash.

    • Loyalty - A sales account used to track the amount of loyalty rewards that have been redeemed. When a loyalty reward is redeemed, it will be debited to this account, and will therefore show as a negative sale, like a discount.

  7. Accounting Link Options - Enter the Class Code. Check Export Automatically During Posting if you want Spectra to create the export file as part of the posting process. If you do not check this option, you will have to go to Re-Export Posting Reports in order to create the QuickBooks file late.


To complete the accounting link setup, enter the general ledger deposit account for the payments you record in Spectra.

  1. Go to Maintenance > Invoice > Payment Methods.

  2. Click Modify to open each payment method and then enter the appropriate GL Deposit Account.

  3. Click OK to save each change before modifying another payment method.

Using the End of Day Wizard

The easiest way to do perform your end-of-day close out is to use Spectra's End of Day Wizard. This wizard will walk you through processing your bank deposit(s) and posting your invoices.

  • Once you post records they cannot be changed unless you have enabled security in Spectra and have the appropriate permissions.

  • To unlock a posted invoice or payment you must first log in with the proper security permissions. Then open the invoice or payment you need to unlock and select Unlock Invoice/Payment from the File menu. You can then make the necessary changes.

  • These changes will NOT be reflected in any posting or in your accounting software.

  • You can unlock and change records, but you cannot un-post them. Once a record has been posted, the posting date cannot be changed or removed.

  1. To start the wizard, go to Tools > Accounting Link > End of Day Wizard.

  2. Deposits - By default, there are two deposit pages in the wizard. The first deposit page processes your credit card payment methods and the second one processes your other payment methods (i.e., cash , checks, gift certificates, etc.).

  3. Invoice Posting - This page contains a list of all invoices that are eligible for posting based on the accounting method you've set up in your preferences (see the "Accounting Preferences" section above).

  4. Pay special attention to the Posting Date on the last page of the wizard! This date will default to today's date, however you may need to change it (i.e., you were gone or had a holiday and are now in a different week or month). Once a posting has been processed for a certain date, the posting date cannot be changed. The sales tax report is based on this date, so be sure it is correct.


You can easily customize the End of Day Wizard using Spectra's Wizard Builder (found under the Tools menu). The wizard can be customized to include up to six deposit pages, an invoice posting page, and the final page.