Invoicebus: Invoicing Made Simple

Anyone doing business with clients should be familiar with the dreaded invoice. Though they signify that you’re going to be paid at some point in the near future, something you would think would be a a good thing, if you have to deal with quite a few of them on a regular basis, you begin to see them in a very different light. I have no quibbles with invoices, per se, but I must admit that they can be a major headache to compile.

Luckily, we’re in 2012. With web apps proving to be going as strong as ever, this annoying task of creating invoices is made ever-so-bearable through dedicated web apps. One such app is Invoicebus.

Overview

Unlike many other apps that attempt to juggle several tasks at once and shove all of the features into a single app, Invoicebus takes care of one thing and one thing alone: invoices. Once the few-second registration process is complete, users are immediately taken to the app from which they will be able to begin managing their invoices. The developers of the app have attempted to make everything within the app as seamless as possible and this is something that can easily be seen from the actual dashboard from which invoices can be managed.

Overview

Overview

Everything’s done in this single location and once a new invoice has been created, the tab inside the app switches to display it. The editor then shows exactly how the finished invoice will look and users can then begin to modify the invoice using the WYSIWYG-style editor.

Dashboard

Dashboard

The Invoice Creator

The first thing that can be changed is the company information at the top of the invoice. Invoicebus allows its users to modify the header information to show the details of the company pertaining to the account and their contact information. A company name and address can be added, as well as a logo and further payment or general information. Upon its editing, the changes in this section are reflected throughout the rest of the invoices associated with the account.

Adding Company Information

Adding Company Information

The next section allows the general invoice-specific information such as issue and due date, currency, purchase order number, etc. to appear within the invoice. From here a theme can also be chosen for the invoice. These are just simple colour schemes that make certain parts of text stand out and overall just slightly modify the overall look of the invoices. The app provides a few of these that can be applied to the invoices but overall, these just make each invoice a bit more inkeeping with perhaps a similarly-coloured logo added to the invoice.

Invoice Information

Invoice Information

Clients are also managed from this section of the invoice. Unlike other apps that may require you to add clients beforehand and then during the creation of invoices, assign the invoice to the chosen client, the sheer nature of Invoicebus means that all of this is done in one place. The client’s details can be added to the invoice and this information is then automatically saved and can be re-used in future on other invoices should the need arise, saving precious time having to manually re-enter the information.

The final major part of creating invoices within Invoicebus is the adding of items to the invoice. These are represented in the form of rows with each one pertaining to the billable item and then additional information can then be added. The app automatically numbers each one and it allows items to be dragged up and down to different orders should this be required. The item’s description is first and this is what the client will see for the breakdown of that product or service, with the quantity and price next. These are then multiplied to automatically calculate the total for that and next is the feature to apply discounts and taxes automatically to the items. Like with the clients, this information can also be saved and re-used should needs be – meaning that it’s quicker than ever to get the invoice created and sent.

Adding Invoice Items

Adding Invoice Items

Distributing Invoices

When the invoice is done, it’s then ready to send to clients. Invoicebus provides two options: first is to send the invoice to the client through the app itself, giving the option to add a custom message. The second is to download a PDF of the invoice manually and send it in the traditional way. Either way, Invoicebus makes it astoundingly simple to get this done and features such as attaching the PDF to the invoice email and even notifying users by email when their clients have opened the invoice link just make the experience so much easier. Payment can also be recorded within the app and once this is complete, the app’s usage is covered.

Sending an Invoice Email

Sending an Invoice Email

Final Thoughts

Part of the appeal of an app like Invoicebus is its sheer dedication to making the invoicing process as simple as possible. Instead of full-blown apps that require users to pre-enter every single detail of the invoice instead of actually getting them to create it, Invoicebus ensures that information is just added in a logical order and the result on-screen within the app is exactly how it would look within the invoice.

The nice little features such as showing the last-entered invoice number next to the field to relieve the need to cross-reference the previous invoice to add the number make the app a gem. Though I haven’t really touched upon Invoicebus’ ability to manage quotes as it’s pretty much the same interface as the invoices, it’s worth noting that the feature’s there for those that need it. Overall, I found Invoicebus’ ethic the perfect answer to some of the other apps out there. I like simple and this fits the bill quite well. Though the design does remind me of the Microsoft Office design scheme a little too much, it does the job well and for a good price.


Summary

Invoicebus is a brand new app designed to take the pain out of invoicing. It focuses on its WYSIWYG interface, ensuring that the invoice creation preview doesn't differ from the final document sent to the client.

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  • Josh

    I think there should be a new AppStorm rule: if you’re going to review an invoicing or project management product, the reason it’s actually *different* from any other invoicing product has to be in the first paragraph. If you can’t, then it probably isn’t deserving of a review.

    My ire isn’t directed at AppStorm or even the app authors, but there are just so many of these types of products that “it’s easy and looks nice” just isn’t a compelling differentiator. There should be a separate rating for “how much is this like every other one of these out there”.

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      Hey Josh, I actually understand where you’re coming from, which is why I wrote this Op-ed recently: http://web.appstorm.net/general/opinion/web-apps-a-sea-of-copycats-and-the-need-for-change/. I’m currently working on trying to get our team to focus more on unique apps, and we’re also working to revamp our ratings as you suggested. Hopefully it’ll be a change for the better!

      • Josh

        That’s that op-ed I was addressing indirectly, and agree with it wholeheartedly. And it’s not to say I don’t feel your pain — it’s not that these apps are reviewed disproportionately, there are just so many, and it’s not easy to find “fresh” apps. In any case, keep up the good work.

  • http://garage.invoicebus.com Stefan

    Thank you for this great write-up AppStorm team.
    We’re grateful and truly appreciate your work.

    And Ryan, I really like this sentence:
    “I found Invoicebus’ ethic the perfect answer to some of the other apps out there”.

    Best regards,
    Stefan from Invoicebus

  • Tim

    I have tried literally every billing and invoicing and money tracking app for the Mac or web. I always come back to using my custom built spreadsheet for invoices. Nothing does it better. The main problem I have with all these web and even desktop invoicing apps is that they do not support high resolution logos and/or the template building system is very, very ill-conceived.
    Freelancers (especially designers) still need to create good looking invoices with crisp logos and nice design. Nothing I have seen comes close to that. Maybe I care too much about how my “forms” look, but I can’t help it.
    Even if you send a great looking email invoice or a PDF, the company you send it to will still need to print that out for their records. When they print it, it needs to look good to reflect well on your company. Emails do not look good printed. I wish someone would get it right some day, but for now I’m staying with Apple Numbers.

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