David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

David's Church Information Technology

July 13th, 2009 at 7:21 am Print This Post Print This Post

Church IT Side Work Tools: invoicing, accounting, and invoicing from iPhone!

If you’re like many Church IT guys, you work at a church. For church pay. And likely do some side work to help put food on the table, pay off debts, take pilot lessons, buy motorcycles, or upgrade your homebrew DVR to record HDTV.

The best tools I’ve found for dealing with the financial and invoicing sides of side work (pun fully intended :-) are these:

FreshBooks for invoicing. Free for up to 3 clients, a bit high but reasonable for more, and integrates with way more third-party services than their competitors (although some competitors are a bit cheaper and do things a little differently). They’re on  Twitter at @FreshBooks if you want to follow them or keep in touch.

IAC-EZ for accounting. If you’re making more than a few bucks, FreshBooks will help you invoice clients and track time, but expenses, taxes, and other actual accounting stuff you should track can be taken care of in IAC-EZ. I’ve gotten to know the owner of IAC-EZ over email and Twitter and was involved in beta-testing the product, and it’s not only in active development with new features and fixes, but the owner and others know their stuff in the acccounting and business worlds and aren’t shy about helping if you ask. There’s a trial and then it’s $20/mo. If you do a little side work it probably won’t be affordable but if you have enough you need to track your finances better, you can (and probably should) spare the cash. Oh yeah, and it integrates with FreshBooks, so whatever you do in FreshBooks is pulled right into IAC-EZ, avoiding entering things twice! This alone is reason enough to pick this over something else if you use FreshBooks. They are on Twitter at @IACEZ and so is the owner as @IAC_Heather.

Minibooks from Groovysquared for FreshBooks from your iPhone. I helped beta-test this app as well, and if you have an iPhone and use FreshBooks, it’s worth checking out. It’s very polished and although it’s missing some features like invoicing by time and sending estimates, those are being worked on and the feature set that is there is much more complete compared to the official FreshBooks iPhone app, which just tracks time. Minibooks does time tracking in an extremely elegant way (better than anything I’ve seen!), lets you browse and edit your clients, create, view, and edit invoices, and mark invoices as paid. It’s kind of like FreshBooks-in-a-phone. I’m missing the invoice-from-time-tracking and estimates features personally, but that’s not hard to do from my computer for now.

I use all of these tools personally and really like them. I know friends using FreshBooks and IAC-EZ who like them as well. Disclosure: the FreshBooks and IAC-EZ links are referral links and I’ll get credit and a small referral fee if you use them (you can find them easily online, guessing the domain names even, if you don’t want to use the referral links. But remember, I’m a Church IT guy :-) I received a free copy of Minibooks for my beta testing efforts but otherwise am uncompensated by Groovysquared. None of the companies saw or directly influenced this post before I published it. Lakeview Church does not endorse these products or benefit from their use in any way (other than their IT guy being more financially able to stick around at the job he loves :-)