Azure gets new Billing Reader role, Invoice API enters preview

As we pointed out earlier, following the release of the new Azure Media Player, Microsoft's cloud platform gets additions quite frequently, and the latest is one which should make the lives of those managing subscriptions that much easier.

One of the most interesting new additions is the so-called Billing Reader role. This allows you as an administrator to delegate the management of billing information to the person holding this role, without needing to give them access to VMs or storage accounts.

Setting someone as the Billing Reader requires you to have an "administrative role", so either Owner, User Access Administrator, Service Administrator or Co-Administrator. If you qualify, you'll be able to enable this via Access Control in the Subscription Blade. Once you select the appropriate role, you can add any user to it, meaning they will then be able to manage subscription and billing info.

A rather odd thing to note is that for now, billing information is only viewable if you have a non-enterprise subscription, with enterprise subscription support coming "in the future".

On a related note, the viewing of invoices was previously the preserve of the administrator, but with this update, any user in a scoped subscription role - like Owner, Contributor, Reader, User Access Administrator, Billing Reader, Service Administrator or Co-Administrator - can view invoices.

Last but not least, today is also the kick-off for the preview of the Invoice API. This means that now, users in the administrative and Billing Reader roles can download past and current Azure invoices programmatically, rather than through the Azure management portal, as was available until now.

Do keep in mind that during the preview, Microsoft says some invoices may not be able to be downloaded, and that certain subscription types like support, enterprise agreements or Azure in Open do not have access to this Invoice API. Of course, for those who do have access to the feature, it needs to be enabled for the user by the account admin.

All in all, this is a set of updates which should make billing and subscription management a little less of a headache.

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