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Sometimes change is good

Invoicing has been a struggle for me here at Stacey Sansom Designs, especially when it has come to the automation process. Try as I might, the invoices would hang up in the sending cache and sometimes I would just not catch them. Good intentions to get invoices out in a timely manner were just that, “good.” That did not always make for happy customers, however. This left me just as frustrated as my customers. There were a lot of reasons I did not change to something else.

As I am looking at another potentially “forced” upgrade cycle from QuickBooks, I figured that it was time to look for something else. I confess, I am not 100% happy with QuickBooks. I am not. I am not even 95% happy with it. It is big and clunky and more frustration than it is worth in my opinion. I consider it the necessary evil so to speak. The trend was looking that it was going to a monthly, online subscription service as opposed to another “annual” licensing of the program off the store shelf. Honestly, for a product like QuickBooks that costs approximately $250.00 off the shelf ($180-200.00 if you can find it on sale), I do not renew it annually. It does not immediately “expire” as soon as the one year mark rolls over. There are still updates and patches released for a little while after that. I like to use it until the company decides that it is no longer going to offer such updates and/or patches. Once they do this, I will concede defeat and admit that it is time to move on. This is not Photoshop we are talking about here, this is QuickBooks. The monthly subscription rate, while lower than the annual chunk of change is not something to simply ignore. That monthly rate is just the “licensing” fee in disguise and if you do the math, it can add up to be as much as or even more than the annual cost of the software out of the box on the shelf. That is what really gets me. When I compared the QuickBook versions, I was losing features. Why would I want to lose features? I do not. I would end up spending an on going and residual cost every single month for the rest of my business life and I am losing features over what I already have. Worse yet, is that it would not import my Mac version of files I am already using. I would have to manually set everything back up.

Needless to say, the financially savvy person in me was being forced to look elsewhere simply to stay afloat. I could not justify the expense for my business. If I was being forced into the change, I was going to change. As such, I started researching a variety of options. I wanted to offer customers the ability to view their invoices online. I wanted something that was easy to use. I wanted a lot more than what I had. I researched options that installed on my business server. I researched Mac options and versions that claimed to be platform cross compatible. I kept looking.

I kept coming back to this one particular package. It was a package of individual apps that worked together. I have to say that I am completely digging Wave Accounting Apps!

I was skeptical at first but I am working at completely converting over at this point. I hope to have everything running out of their Accounting platform by January 1, 2015. That means that 100% of invoicing, payment, etc will be running through there and I can be done with QuickBooks after that.

After seeing the first invoices go out several days ago and then to see the second (larger) round of them go out today, I am impressed. I am convinced that it is a much better alternative for my small business. It was quick and almost flawless. The flaws where in the invoices I did not have the email addresses entered for the customers yet.

One of my hold ups for switching over, was setting everything up. I honestly did not want to set everything up again, but Wave Apps could not have made it any easier. Even with the funky things that the State of Texas does with sales taxes in my industry, I have been able to set that up. It did take an email to customer service. They were quick to respond. They did not have a 100% certain response immediately, but they did have a work around for me to try. They followed up with me to see if that work around worked. I found a work around that was more efficient using the recommendations they suggested. I have contacted their customer service more than once and they have been quick to respond each time and have followed up after each response.

I like how it makes it so easy to create invoices. That was one of my complaints with QuickBooks even with the Mac version. It was just not quick and easy to use. With Wave Invoices, I can create an invoice on the fly, completely on the go. Even if my iPhone is all that I have with me, I can invoice right there on the spot. No computer, no problem. With QuickBooks, I was always stuck of sending invoices later. None of the “apps” interfaced with the Mac version. It was quite disappointing and frustrating.

Today was the tipping point, however. Wave Invoicing makes it so easy to take payments – multiple forms of payments. It sets up a Stripe Account for you as you set up your invoices to be paid via credit card. Once you receive your first credit card payment, you set up the account to deposit into an account of your choice. You finalize setting up the Stripe Account in other words. Set-up was super easy!!! A few quick questions and I was done.

I sent out several invoices today, I received payments on two of those invoices within hours of sending those out. Wave Invoicing makes it so easy for the customers to pay their invoices. When those payments came in, a smile came across my face. A push notification came across my phone. I knew when my client had looked at their invoice. I knew when they had paid. I was able to immediately send a receipt right there on the spot. I was more than happy to stop what I was doing and send those two receipts. It took all of a minute to send the invoices from the parking lot on the way in to buy my son some new tennis shoes this evening. I had a little more spring in my step after that. I knew that I had been paid for services rendered. One of those invoices was a past due invoice. It was an invoice I had previously sent via QuickBooks almost two months ago. It was past due. I entered it into Wave Invoicing and resent it. Within a few hours, I had been paid. It does not get any better than that!

If the turn around on invoice payment becomes this quick on a regular basis, business will be much more efficient. I can see how it could become more of the norm because Wave Invoicing puts the payment form right next to the online invoice. Customers can pay via other methods as I allow this, but they can pay via credit card (or debit card) right there next to their online invoice. Unfortunately, this means that I am losing “fees” to credit card payments so my overall payment is slightly reduced. I have decided that being paid in a timely manner is more important to me. Fees are a cost of doing business.

Something I look forward to is the recurring invoices. I have already set-up all my clients that have recurring bills on this and in theory, they should be invoiced automatically without me having to worry about it. This never really worked with QuickBooks. The invoices sometimes went out, sometimes did not. With Wave Invoicing, I can see that the next invoicing date is such and such date. I am excited to see if it is more reliable than QuickBooks ever was. With customers that have payment plans for their projects, this will make it easier for me to set everything up and automatically bill them every month until their payment plan is completed.

I recommend Wave Accounting Apps to anyone looking for an accounting option for their small business (or personal).