Running a small business is no small feat, and it helps to have the right tools handy to help keep things running smoothly, whether it’s internal communication, managing projects, or staying on top of finances. There are scores of apps out there to tackle these challenges, but wouldn’t it be nice to have everything in one place, so you don’t have to scurry from one tab to another to get things done?
Cashboard might be the answer you’ve been looking for — it packs a ton of functionality into a single app so you can do all of the above with ease, while allowing your employees to access and share data and giving you an overview of how your company is doing. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer and whether it’s the right fit for your outfit.
Cashboard has been around since 2007, offering freelancers and small businesses a way to manage projects, track time, send out quotes, invoice clients, get paid and keep everyone happy without breaking the bank. Developed by the fine folks at Subimage, the app is available on desktop and mobile browsers and will soon run natively on iOS and Android. There’s a free two-week trial of the premium service, so you can try it out with no risk to see if it meets your needs.
Freelancers can use Cashboard for free, with a single employee account, two active projects, and unlimited clients, estimates and invoices. Businesses are better off going with the premium plan that costs only $15/month with two employees (and additional accounts at $5/user/month), unlimited projects and clients. That’s less than what FreshBooks costs just for invoicing or what Xero costs for accounting per month, making this a great choice for companies with tight budgets.
Once you’ve signed up, you can dive right in or go through Cashboard’s extensive setup guide to learn how everything works. Filling in your company’s details and preferences such as default currency and mode of payment , and integrating with Basecamp if you use it, are good ways to start. You can then add contacts of your suppliers and clients and then get cracking on a project.
Working with Cashboard
Whether you’re selling a product or offering a service, you can track the entire process by creating a project — simply list all the tasks involved, assign them to employees with due dates, watch them get completed and bill your clients for the time your company spent on it. Or, you could create an estimate from your detailed project with just a couple of clicks and send it out to a client from within the app before you begin.
Once your estimate is approved, your employees can fill out daily or weekly timesheets indicating the tasks they completed so you know how their time was spent. You can even generate reports to keep tabs on your team and get an idea of all the billable/unbillable hours involved in projects, giving you full visibility on how things work within your organization.
Estimates and invoicing
If you need to create an estimate from scratch, you’ll be delighted by Cashboard’s flexible estimate creation tool, that allows you to add all kinds of details, including two types of tax, billing by the hour for services or by prices for products with additional flat fees and markup percentages with high and low estimates, and rich formatting using the Textile markup language (with a useful guide available above every supported input field).
These can be converted to invoices in a pinch and then emailed to clients via the app or exported as a PDF. You can also create deposit invoices (for work not yet performed, with payments recorded as outstanding credit) and scheduled invoices for recurring billing if needed. Plus, clients can pay you online once you’ve set up your accounts.
Cashboard can be set up to accept payments online though Stripe, Authorize.net, and PayPal variants, of which only PayPal Standard works with non-US/Canada users. Using PayPal Standard will redirect clients to PayPal’s site for their transactions, while PayPal Website Payments Pro will allow for processing credit card payments within Cashboard. Stripe, meanwhile costs 2.9% + $0.55 per transaction. This range of options makes it convenient to accept payments for your work online, and keeps things simple for your clients.
You’ve got to spend money to make money, but you don’t have to let things get out of hand. With Cashboard, you can quickly enter your expenses, add notes and mention which of your suppliers you paid, and also bill your expenses to projects if your clients are covering costs. Once you’re done, Cashboard will show you a breakup of your expenses across clients and across the year, and allow you to export the data as a CSV too.
As a freelancer and former employee of a few small businesses, I can tell you that staying on top of your company’s money and time can pretty much necessitate a full-time job, even if it’s a small organization. Cashboard is great at all the things it does, and manages to be both flexible and easy to use so anyone in a company can generate estimates, invoices and reports.
I love the simple interface that’s easy to get used to, the fine-grained control you get over every detail in your estimates and invoices, and most of all, the ability to work with Cashboard the way you’re most comfortable — the workflow isn’t set up in any particular way, so you’re free to create a project and build an estimate from it or to skip that process altogether. This makes it a great choice for all kinds of projects. Plus, it allows you to import contacts, expenses, invoices, and time entries from CSV files!
There are several neat little touches across the app that make it a joy to use, such as sending welcome email with login details to clients, allowing for export data as CSV and IIF (for use with QuickBooks), formattable text (and even images like logos and signatures) on documents using Textile markup, keyboard shortcuts for working quickly, displaying the last used invoice number when creating a new invoice, and even allowing for customization of the app’s color scheme.
Cashboard is a beautiful solution to many of the challenges faced by freelancers and small business who want to get and stay organized. It’s well thought out, powerful and simple enough for anyone in your team to handle. Plus, it offers an incredible value for money — I have yet to come across a similar suite that costs so little to use, while offering such powerful features.
If you’re just getting started with a new business or want to streamline the way your company manages time and money, give Cashboard a try. And if you’re a freelancer, this is a no-brainer — it’s free!