Option 1 above is designed well, and as long as you use the Recall Transaction for Return (F11) function to process the return at the POS, the credit will be applied and accounted for correctly.
Option 2 is a big problem for account customers since the system automatically assumes that the credit should apply to the oldest invoice. By automatically crediting invoices, RMS ends up creating a domino effect of customer payments not matching the amounts of invoices, and it makes it extremely difficult to keep track of which payments apply to which invoices. The good news is that as long as you use the F11 function when entering returns, you can avoid this issue completely. The bottom line is that the issues from automatically applying credits to invoices are far greater than any benefit that can be derived from this feature. It should simply be removed from the application.
Option 3 creates a major accounting issue in dealing with account payments. If an account has more than one return or credit, RMS pools these credits into a lump sum 'local credit'. As a bookkeeper or accountant, you have zero visibility into how many credits and what individual dollar amounts make up the 'local credit' amount. All unapplied credits should be listed individually in the 'Open Accounts Receivable' list in the Receive Payments window. This way, you could see the transaction number, date, and amount of each credit, and determine how much of each credit to apply to which invoices at the time of payment.
I would be amazed if our company is the only one experiencing pain from this issue. I'm posting this thread to see if there are others out there feeling the same pain, and also to see if perhaps someone has come up with a fix for this problem. Please respond and offer your 2 cents.
Paul Arenson Anderson Plywood Sales Culver City, CA firstname.lastname@example.org (310)313-1599