This time last year, I discovered an unknown web application for time tracking, invoicing and accounting named CronSync. My original review, which can be found here, was a positive one scoring an impressive 9/10.
Unlike some apps however, CronSync hasn’t been lying idle for the past twelve months. The team, based in Germany, has been hard at work upgrading and adding new features. For the past twelve months, I’ve watched CronSync slowly get better and better, and over the last two months several fantastic updates have convinced me that a second review was necessary.
If run a business, hate doing the books and are fed up with Excel, read on.
CronSync is a web-app that allows small business and sole traders to track their work and invoice accordingly. It also allows online teams to work remotely and log time, as well as regular staff members to log their work on a project to bill a client.
It can take a while to set up completely, but once you have entered in your list of suppliers, customers, and financial data, then the accounting section comes to life, giving management an overview of their financial position.
Each section is packed with information such as profit margins, expenses, creditors, debtors, work reports and project management tools. For a look at what we’ve already covered last year, click here.
The first new feature in CronSync was the addition of Component Invoicing. Many of us, particularly those in the IT field, invoice clients on a regular basis for recurring costs. Things like maintenance and consulting in particular. So instead creating new invoices from scratch each month you can set up components which will appear in a drop down menu when creating an invoice. This speeds things up a lot and enables you to invoice the client whichever way they want – by time, work completed or project status.
Time management has also improved tenfold since this time twelve months ago. For example, a recent feature now allows you to enter in working hours for the whole week which eliminates tedious logging throughout the day.
Work reports can also be viewed and filtered for a snapshot on how projects and team members are coming along. By clicking ‘Reporting’ along the top menu-bar and selecting from either ‘Client’, ‘Project’ or ‘User’ (or a combination), you can see which clients bring in the most revenue, which projects get the most attention, which employee works most or earns the least. Anyone who has ever managed a small business will know that that kind of information available at the click of a mouse is priceless for decision making.
Pretty much all information, whether it’s financial statements, graphs, team reports, or client databases, can be downloaded as PDFs or fully formatted Excel spreadsheets.
The invoicing has also improved a lot. You could always add your own logo but the ability to further customise the look and feel of the invoices and add your signature are great. I’ve used several invoicing programs and CronSyncs is by far the slickest.
In most project management or accounting programs, expenses must be charged to your own accounts and then charged to the client’s invoice as two separate transactions. CronSync has included a cool new feature which allows you to ‘allocate’ expenses. So any billable expenses such as travel, materials or outsourced work can be billed directly to the main client or project.
Addition of OS X, Android, and iPhone apps make using CronSync much more enjoyable. Although the mobile apps are very limited, little features such as a timer for keeping track of your working hours, updates for projects, teamwork and clients and a snapshot of all incoming and outgoing transactions makes time-tracking and managing your projects much easier.
Room for Improvement
There are still a few things I’d like to see the CronSync team do to make it better. I’m an avid Google Docs (Drive) and Dropbox user. Their apps are integrated with most business web apps, yet there’s not even a hint of it on the horizon for CronSync. Sure you can download data in spreadsheet format and upload it, but I want to save time.
What’s more, although the lag I mentioned last year has completely vanished, there remains one or two bugs. I noticed that drop down menus and text can often overlap. Graphs and timelines eat into the margins every once in awhile too.
Why I Still Use CronSync
Without a boss to tell me what to do, what to use, what to think and how to feel, I used to jump around between programs from old-school Excel to new shiny webapps and desktop software. The result was a mess, which made taxes, or just figuring out how much I was earning, a nightmare. Over the last year CronSync has consistently performed for me and is an extremely stable, easy-to-use tool.
I also still use CronSync because they don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. I have used apps before which were always changing. The design and original features are still there because they all look good and function fine. What’s more, new features are integrated seamlessly with other existing ones. For example, the ‘Proposals’ section which features prospective projects flows gracefully between the clients and projects sections, consolidating all information under one section.
Finally, it’s cheap. For the price of a coffee and croissant a month (€5), I can take care of all my financial matters in a matter of minutes. I recommend taking the free trial which allows up to two team members to work on a few projects to get a feel for the app before making the commitment.
CronSync is a web app for small businesses - particularly those in the service industry. It seamlessly integrates project management with invoicing and wider accounts. You can get graphed representations of your business standpoint as well as analyse what is working and what isn't.9