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Get started with Usage


Get started with Usage

Consumption of a billable service or resource (such as database storage space or bundles of emails sent) provides the basis for some charge models - simple usage, tiered pricing, or volume pricing. To make this work, usage must be tracked in the system and usage charges must be calculated and invoiced. Usage is always billed in arrears - for example, you might bill customers in February for their January usage. Usage can be billed on a recurring monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis.

Make sure you have imported all the usage data to Zuora before generating and posting the invoice for a service period. If you import the usage data for the service period after the invoice has been posted, the newly imported usage data will not be billed.

When you generate an invoice, a limit is set on the maximum number of usage records that can be rated for one rate plan charge per billing period. The default limit is 200,000 for the maximum number of usage records. 

For example, one subscription has two usage-based rate plan charges, and the billing period is set to Month for both charges. A maximum of 200,000 usage records can be rated per charge every month. If any or both of the charges contain more than 200,000 usage records, invoice generation fails and an error message is displayed.

Zuora expects no more than 25 million usage records per month. If you want to go over this limit, contact your Zuora account manager for further consultation.

View usage data

When you click Usage from Billing Operations, Zuora Billing displays a list of all usage imported into Zuora Billing over time. This list can be sorted by its column headers.

Add usage data

To add usage data:

  1. Navigate to Billing > Usage in the left-hand navigation section.
  2. At the upper-right corner of the page, click add usage records.
  3. Click Choose File and navigate to the location of your CSV file. You can download a usage file template in Excel or CSV format first. 

Note that the file name should not exceed 50 characters. Zip the CSV or XLS file if the size exceeds 4MB. For usage import results, set up the appropriate Import Notification or use the appropriate API call. See Import usage data and Handle usage import failure for more information. 

Update usage data 

With the correct permissions, users can update custom usage fields. To update usage data:

  1. Navigate to Billing > Usage in the left-hand navigation section.
  2. Find the record to update and click Status. Note that you can only update records in Pending status.
  3. Edit the fields and click Update.

See Manage usage data for more information.

Delete usage data

With the correct permissions, users can delete usage data. To delete usage data:

  1. Navigate to Billing > Usage in the left-hand navigation section.
  2. Click on the Account ID.
  3. Scroll down the Customer Accounts page to the Usage area.
  4. Locate the record that contains the file to delete and click the file name under the Source column.
  5. Verify that the selected file is correct and click delete.

See Manage usage data for more information.

Calculate usage data

Visit usage rating for details and examples. 

Usage-related billing options

Rate aggregated or individual usage

This feature is in Limited Availability. If you want to have access to the feature, submit a request at Zuora Global Support

Zuora allows you to rate (calculate charges) based on the total usage for a particular type of charge (for example, the total call minutes for a month) or on individual usage records (for example, a separate charge for each call). Rating aggregated usage, the default approach, is simpler and works best for most applications, but rating individual charges allows you to list each usage record and its charge on the invoice, which is preferable for things like traditional long-distance billing.

See Rate aggregated or individual usage for more information.

Roll up child usage

If you want to have access to the feature, submit a request at Zuora Global Support

To have usages rolled up to a parent account, you must have a subscription at the parent level with a unit of measure that matches the UOM on the usage record that is imported to the child account. 

You can import usage with the same UOM to any number of child entities, and all of the usages will roll up to the parent and be on the same invoice. The usages will still be separate line items on the invoice, and you can customize the invoice template to include the name of the child entity the usage is associated with on each line item.

See Aggregate the Usage Billing of Child Accounts for more information about configuring and using this feature. 

Bill recurring charges now and bill usage later

When generating an invoice for your recurring charges, you can filter out Usage in the bill run (under Filter Charges). 

By unchecking the box for Usage, you can exclude usage charges from being included in this bill run. The usage can be billed at a later time in a subsequent bill run.

See Bill Runs for more information. 

Custom fields

After your usage has been processed, all non-custom fields are locked and cannot be changed. However, custom fields can be changed to allow further business processes.

If you are using the following charge models and do not want custom fields to change after your usage has been processed, contact Zuora Global Support: