Recently I was looking for a solution to handle my invoicing, a job which we all no doubt both love and loath .
Most invoicing systems that I have encountered are smaller parts of large accounting systems and designed with accounts people in mind. But for someone like myself, who is most definitely not an accounts person, they can leave me somewhat confused and cold. I just want it to be simple.So I started looking around for a solution that would fit both myself and my business.
I checked out out MYOB but decided that it was too ugly, too confusing and would do way more than what I needed . .great for an accounts person .. not so great for me.
I also had a look at a Mac program called ‘Billings’. Billings has some nice features such as integration with your address book and it’s a darn site easier to use than MYOB too so the only problem came up when I was away from my computer or wanted to give access to someone else to create invoices.That realisation pointed me in the direction of web based systems.
I love the idea of SaaS (Software as a Service). It just makes sense to me and I had heard of a New Zealand company called Xero (www.xero.com) that were doing very well with their web based product. I had a look through their site and signed up for a trial and was very impressed. They have an amazing product but it just wasn’t right for me. Xero seems to be targeted more as an entire online accounting system .. which is very cool but it’s more than I need just now. It was also a little more pricey than I was looking for at around $40/month. As my business grows Xero might be a better fit but for now it is just a bit overkill.
So that left me looking at www.freshbooks.com.
I loved the site and the application seemed pretty simple to use .. the price was $19USD / month .. which is not too bad at all but there was one small issue that annoyed me and that was that I couldn’t create PDF invoices (this may be possible now though). I decided to keep looking but so far, Freshbooks was the best option.
Finally I got to www.getharvest.com. I had used Harvest in the past purely as a time tracker (and it works very well) but they had recently introduced the ability to create estimates and invoices. They handle PDF invoicing as well as really simple things like sending thank you emails on receipt of payment. They also handle recurring invoicing which is very handy for monthly or yearly invoicing such as web hosting charges etc. All of this for just $12USD/month.
My only small gripe would be that you don’t have much control over the presentation of your invoices as yet… you can place a logo on there but there doesn’t appear to be anyway to scale or position it. Small matter at the end of the day.
Harvest is just one of the tools that I use to help me run my business. I’ll be covering some more in upcoming posts so stay tuned.