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Smart Invoice by Acumantra Solutions, Inc. provides many of the features we were looking for, such as easy estimate to invoice converting, time tracking, attachment support and iPhone applications. It can also easily import contacts through Outlook or through vCards, and all subscription packages include unlimited invoice creation.
This online billing service has just about everything it takes to get to the top of the list, and it is currently undergoing an update that may get it there. But for now, it slides in at number five since we would liked to have seen more customer management options and invoice templates. With this service you can alter the basic invoice template, but we did not see a variety of invoice templates to choose from on their website or through the dashboard. We would also like to see more online support documentation.
This online billing service offers two different subscriptions:
$14 per month account:
$39 per month account, everything the $14 account does plus:
Smart Invoice has just about everything we were looking for, including the ability to customize the default templates, easy estimate to invoice conversion, time tracking and the ability to send invoices to multiple email addresses. We found the invoicing tool easy to use, and it can support multiple tax rates that can be chosen from a dropdown menu. You can also attach DOC, PDF, ZIP, JPG and PNG files to invoices. It cannot calculate shipping, but you can add in shipping costs and late fees.
This online invoice service does not have an items module. But you can add in custom items that can be added to the dropdown item list. However, it does not let you store item information, such as a description, image, weight or other details.
On the other hand, Smart Invoice has good tools for service or time billing. It has a projects module that will let you create a project with a description, assigned client, project manager, assigned staff and billing method. To track time you just open the project and start the timer, and it will automatically add that billable time to the project. The project can also track time and just bill at a flat rate. You can also track time daily, weekly or monthly.
We think the pricing structure is a bit misleading since on their website it says unlimited “invoices per month,” which might make you think you can send out as many invoices as you want, but you can only send those invoices out to a limited number of clients each month.
This online billing service offers nearly everything we were looking for in billing functions, with the exception of having the ability to pay from a retainer or deposit. Applying a payment is simple – you just have to select the invoice and click “receive payment.” You can adjust the payment amount and date paid, and you can enter a payment method and reference number. However, when you enter the payment method, by default in the dropdown menu only offers “cash.” Other services will offer more choices such as check, credit card and so on.
Smart Invoice can work with a good collection of payment gateway services, including PayPal, Authorize.net, 2Checkout, Amazon and Google Checkout.
This online billing service can manage quite a bit of customer information, such as multiple addresses that can be in different cities, phone numbers, websites, photos, multiple email addresses and notes about the company. It cannot, however, store preferred payment methods or credit or payment terms. Quite often this type of information is stored with the payment processor though.
This is an area that this online billing service has been working on, and they will be implementing some new security practices soon. Currently, they use 256-SSL certificates to encrypt credit card information and encrypt stored data. In terms of PCI compliance, they are SAQ Type 4 validated.
One of the things that bothered us about their Terms of Service is that they said if you signed up and used their service, you agree that their security measures where enough and that you held the company harmless from any claim due to theft, loss or misuse of credit information. This concerned us since they do store credit card information in the case of recurring billing. However, we did receive an email from the president of the company and he said in the future they will no longer store credit card information for recurring billing and that they would have the payment gateways process the recurring charges and store credit card information for them. This is a safe way of managing credit card information since payment gateways are required to have exceptionally strong security protocols.
Luckily, Smart Invoice is easy to use; we say “luckily” since there is no support documentation or help files included with the service. We found everything pretty easy to figure out and the icons made sense. Really, if you can fill in a form you can use this service. Only a few things bothered us; for instance, we couldn’t figure out how to get more payment methods into the dropdown menu, and we could not find any invoice templates (even though Smart Invoice says they have them). The online billing service will let you load your own CSS style sheet, but that is too complex for most small business owners and consultants.
Overall, we can recommend Smart Invoice for small businesses, consultations and freelancers who bill by time or project. This online billing service is in the process of making some significant improvements, and they work with a good collection of payment gateways that can keep your clients credit card information secure. However, if your business sells a variety of products, this is not a good choice since their ability to store item information is extremely limited.