First looks at Invoice2go

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First looks at Invoice2go

We give our first impressions of this simple accounting app.

Invoice2go is a cloud accounting system that aims to provide fast, simple invoicing for small businesses. We gave it a quick test run to see how well it achieves its aim.

The app includes six invoice templates that are generally pleasing and can be customised with accent colours and background graphics. All templates are grey, and most of them relate to particular trades and businesses, although there are also some generic ones such as bubbles or clouds.

One of Invoice2Go's templates

You can either upload your own logo or use one from Invoice2go’s library, some of which have a more professional look than others. Either way, they are shown at a small size in the top left of the invoice, optionally overlaid with a coloured mask such as a square or circle.

The rest of the setup process is quick and easy. You'll need to enter your company or business name and contact details, and whether you want invoices to show quantities and rates, shipping address and information, product codes or SKUs, and whether parts and labour are to be shown in separate sections.

Invoice2go makes provision for up to three tax rates, which is important if not everything you supply is subject to GST or if you have export customers.

You don’t have to set everything up at the outset, but we would recommend a methodical approach. That way you'll know that when you send an invoice the covering email is worded the way you prefer, that your invoices include your bank details and show how to remit via PayPal, that reminders are automatically sent if invoices remain unpaid, and so on.

Invoice2Go uses Stripe to accept credit cards.

Talking of payments, an arrangement with Stripe means Invoice2go users can accept payment via debit or credit cards without going to the effort of setting up a merchant account. Fees for this service are 1.75 percent plus 30 cents for Australian cards and American Express, and 2.9 percent plus 30 cents for non-Australian cards. Invoice2go can automatically add the surcharge to the invoice if that's your policy.

Generating invoices is quick and easy. A new client's details can be entered at the same time, right into the invoice, and they are added to your client list. You can also specify the applicable terms, shipping date, optionally request payment reminders, enable the card payments button on invoice, add attachments (before and after photos to prove a service was performed, for example), preview the result and then send it.

One shortcoming is that if you create a new item (goods or service), you can't add it to the products list for later reuse. But you can manually create a catalogue of goods and services to speed data entry and reduce errors when invoicing customers. Once you've created products, typing the first letters of their names in the items field lets you pick from a dropdown list.

Creating an invoice in the iPhone app.

Another is that it is not obvious how to cancel an invoice once you've started creating it. Navigating away from the page seems to result in the new invoice being saved even if you haven't clicked the Save button. The only way out seems to be to go to the Activity page, select the unwanted invoice(s), and click Delete Items.

Invoice2go can be used to track expenditure by entering receipts. There is an option to store a scanned or photographed version of a physical receipt along with the accounting transaction, or you could attach an electronic receipt such as a PDF file.

For businesses that pass on expenses incurred to their customers, receipts in Invoice2go can be added to the relevant invoice, optionally adding a mark-up to the value. Similarly, time spent on an activity can be recorded and later added to an invoice specifying the hourly rate.

These routine tasks did generally seem quick and easy.

Invoice2go generates a modest range of reports: sales by year, quarter, month, customer, customer ageing, and a sales journal. There's also a dashboard showing sales for the current year, along with your top customers and top debtors.

The reports can't provide all the information you'd need to complete a BAS. For example, there is no method for distinguishing capital and non-capital acquisitions, or for isolating export revenue. We asked Invoice2go about this, and the company's response was “Invoice2go populates the basic information for a simple BAS (total sales from your paid invoices, GST collected, and non-capital purchases taken from expenses lodged with Invoice2go). Other information needs to be added manually before being sent to the ATO. Business owners should always consult with a tax professional to make sure they comply with applicable regulations in their area.”

The iPhone app's dashboard

Data can be exported in a small selection of formats including CSV so that you can show your accountant what's been happening.

At $79.99 a year (equivalent to $6.67 a month), the starter plan is superficially attractive but we think the limit of 50 invoices is excessively restrictive. That's not even enough for someone that mows two customers' lawns once a fortnight. But the alternatives are more costly and almost as limiting: for example, both MYOB Essentials' and Xero's starter plans cost $25 a month with a limit of five invoices a month. The most comparable product could be Reckon One, which costs $8 a month - $5 for the basic system plus $3 for unlimited invoicing.

It's then a big step to Invoice2go's $159.99 a year pro plan. That allows for unlimited invoices, 25 clients and 200 products plus a bunch of mobile app based features (which we didn't investigate) such as calendars, time tracking and barcode scanning.

And if one user isn't enough, enterprise plans with additional features start at $229.99 a year for five users.

Invoice2go can be accessed via web, iOS and Android apps. It’s available as a 14-day free trial so you can see if Invoice2go suits you – and your accountant or bookkeeper – before making a commitment.

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