The Elusive All-In-One Financial Package

Every small business has issues with accounting and billing.  As Dan reported in an earlier blog post, we were in search of the “perfect” solution that included the ability to get data into the system from a variety of devices and covered time tracking, invoicing and accounting. What we have found is the “perfect storm” of applications to meet those needs.

Timepost begins our recipe for the “perfect storm.”  Time tracking seemed to be the most critical in managing billable work.  Dan needed something that would keep track of those odd hours that he spent buried in code and not paying too much attention to a clock.  Stop watch type applications are great, but very few integrated with other programs dumping hours as a session was completed.  Timepost had the stop watch interface, but also an idle detection feature and both an online and offline component for tracking.  Timepost will record time locally and then import the next time you are connected. But the best feature that we were looking for was the integration compatibility.  Timepost is compatible with Basecamp, Blinksale, Cashboard and Freshbooks to name a few.

Which brings us to ingredient 2; Freshbooks.  This application is used by everyone in our company.  There is both an online app and an iPhone app for us to utilize. Both the web interface and the invoice designer are customizable with corporate branding.  It is very easy to enter clients, expenses, time and invoices.   As the official bookkeeper, I use Freshbooks for invoicing and tracking payments.  The work flow for my job is very efficient.

When a payment is received, I enter the paid invoice in Freshbooks, and it is then recorded in the third ingredient, Clarity Accounting.  I will admit that it is the most under-utilized in this trio.  My learning curve was a bit tougher after using Quickbooks for 3 years.  I have found the interface to be easy to understand and entering data is not a problem.  However; until recently there was no way to upload bank statements into the application.  All entries had to be put in one at a time.  Currently, I can upload my credit card statements directly into the application, but uploading banking transactions is in beta testing. The reports that are necessary for me to run on a quarterly and yearly basis are also available.  Any negatives on this application is in the features that haven’t been written yet.

For now, our financials are  efficiently swirling in three applications that work well together.  If you can’t have the “All-In-One,” then finding the pieces that fit together the best is “perfect.”

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