For me, as the owner of a service based company, the creative hats fit just perfect. But like Goldie Locks and her experience mooching off the three Bears, other tasks are too soft or most likely, too hard. The fit isn’t as good.
For me, the tasks involving numbers offer the most challenge:
I use an accounting software package, and the one I use is pretty simple. Then today I heard about an online supplement to my accounting software. FreshBooks does not replace a full accounting software package, but rather makes it easier to do some of the drudgery involved with getting paid.
Just yesterday FreshBooks announced the ability to track your expenses; even from your cell phone and so it prompted me to take a little cyberspace trip to see what else they offer.
I was first pleased to find a clean, easy-to-follow website that invited me to try their services for free. In further investigation I found that you can use their services for FREE indefinitely if you are only tracking three customers, but anyone can give it a try free for 30 days.
Having just spent a weekend logging all my expense receipts for the 2nd half of 2007 in order to finish my taxes, the new expense feature was intriguing. It’s far easier to keep track of expenses “in the moment” than doing them all at once.
But I found another service that was even more appealing: time tracking.
Time is my only commodity and I have a tendency to allow it to get away from me. I have tried using the Task bar in Outlook and other methods of scheduling and tracking but FreshBooks’ time log allows you to detail a project’s timeline and have all those working on the project log their hours. You can detail out a project, each of the tasks involved in helping your achieve your goal and set a timeline for each task. This is perfect for someone like me who often prices out a large project and then wonders if I calculated the amount of hours correctly. I can track the hours on the project and in the end determine if the price I set was an appropriate one based on the work involved.
FreshBooks offers customized invoices, payment via Paypal, tracking receivables and reporting, all with online security. Of course, you can also track expenses; the latest in services available to FreshBooks customers. According to the press release:
“Launching Expense Tracking was a natural next step for us in helping our customers save time, get paid faster and grow their business,” said Michael McDerment, CEO of FreshBooks. “With ninety-nine percent of our customers already telling us they have or will refer us to a friend, we’re confident that adding expenses will continue to delight them and give them even more reason to share the FreshBooks experience with other freelancers, service professionals and small businesses in their networks.”
I’ve set up a trial account and will give it a try. Do you track your expenses, sales and time? Do you have one system that does it all? I’m speaking to the non-accountant types out there when it comes to managing the numbered aspects of your business — how do you do it?
For those of you comfortable with numbers — what do you think?