When you’re a small business or freelancer, keeping track of invoices and estimates ensures an easier time for both you and the taxman. What’s more, poorly designed invoices can deter clients, both existing and potential, from future business. While Pages and Microsoft Word are certainly ways to create better looking invoices, there are more suitable apps available. One such app is Billings Pro, a tremendously popular app that takes invoicing to a whole other level. However, the app is subscription-based, something that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Enter GrandTotal, an app that offers much of the same functionality at a one-off cost. Despite its rather bland interface and seemingly overwhelming array of options, GrandTotal isn’t your traditional invoice generator. It’s a fully fledged invoice and client management app that not only creates some great looking paperwork but lets you keep track of payments and outstanding balances, as well as managing an inventory.
GrandTotal starts by displaying a summary of your invoices, providing information regarding any outstanding invoices and a running total for the month, quarter and the year of income generated. Provided you create all of your invoices within the app, you can easily see how your business is doing.
A comparison for this time last year is also displayed to show you how well business is doing year on year. There doesn’t appear to be any way of changing the scale so if you want a monthly comparison rather than annual one, it isn’t possible.
Open invoices are all grouped together so you can see who owes what, as well as easily mark them as paid once you’ve received payment.
There are some reporting tools that provide excellent ways of breaking down your revenue. A very useful tool is a way to monitor payment behaviour and, provided you’re on the ball with updating your invoice status whenever payment is received, you can see an average of how long it takes for each client to pay you. This may not sound like much but if you’re continually sending reminders to clients who take their time in paying, it can certainly help when renegotiating terms.
As invoices are assigned to clients, GrandTotal provides a client management function, allowing you to add clients manually or from Mac OS X’s Contacts app. These clients can then have unique criteria configured, such as payment terms, tax conditions and even which template to use.
Each client will list any documents that have been associated, such as estimates and invoices, providing an easy means of tracking a client’s history.
Projects can be associated within the client, providing a means to keep regular clients easily organised. Projects can’t have any custom settings beyond a title and note, so if certain projects have different payment terms or requirements then you’ll need to make sure to keep a note of them separately.
For each client, a new invoice or estimate can be added either directly or under a project that is associated with them.
These invoices can be printed, emailed or simply saved as a PDF. Criteria such as payment terms and invoice number can be added at the last stage and once an invoice is printed or mailed out, it becomes active and open, ready for you to mark it as paid for when you receive payment.
Editing these invoices are very easy and you can either add items manually or make use of the Catalog feature that lets you add items to an inventory. There’s no stock control but if you’re often providing consulting services, it can save you a lot of time by simply drag and dropping instead of typing it in every time.
Each item can have a range of options customised to suit, including additional fields for options such as size or weight.
One of GrandTotal’s best features is its powerful template editor for invoices and estimates. Unlike other apps that require some knowledge of HTML and CSS, GrandTotal offers a true drag-and-drop editor. Editing templates is almost as easy as putting something together in Pages, with elements easily placed and dragged wherever they need to be. Additional elements, from PayPal buttons to QR codes for bank information, can be included — something that other apps still don’t yet provide.
There are a number of built-in templates that can be used as a starting point and each can be used for specific invoices or clients. This can be very useful if you’re managing two businesses simultaneously or need to include different banking information for each client.
GrandTotal has a lot of options to customise and the app felt, at times, overwhelming. It’s an easy-to-use app but you’ll need to spend some time going through all of the preferences and options to ensure it’s customised to suit your needs.
In terms of the app’s interface, it’s rather dull. Granted, it certainly looks like any decent Mac OS X app but the lack of any colour makes the app seem rather grey and a little bit boring. There are animations of each window sliding when you select another section of the app which is nice at first, but become pretty irritating after a while.
For anyone looking for an invoicing and client management solution for the Mac, I’d highly recommend GrandTotal. While it may not be the most glamorous app, it is extremely customisable and has an array of powerful features that would work for almost anyone. The ability to easily edit invoice templates, manage an inventory and keep track of your clients make it a serious contender to some of the big names in the same genre.