by Michele Nachum
Published on 1 July 2011
When I first logged onto Apptivo.com I was pretty amazed at the depth of the site. Apptivo is like a small business Disneyland, complete with 40 apps - all free. You can download CRM Apps, project management, time sheets, invoices, website management, e-commerce solutions and the list goes on and on.
That said, it is easy to become a bit over-excited with all that Apptivo has to offer so take a few minutes to think about what you really need and prioritize. Since all the apps are free, you can sign on without a credit card and once you do, you can then download all of the apps you wish to use.
For the sake of this review, I will touch on Apptivo's invoicing application.
What Does It Look Like
Apptivo has a very graphically friendly user interface. It is easy to follow and one gets the feeling the team behind Apptivo really understands what it is like to enter these sites and not know how to do anything. The help section is excellent with step by step directions and clear screen shots - which makes it easy for anyone at any technical level become a power user.
In regards to the Invoices app, the navigation is user-friendly and the good news, despite the fact that it is free, you can create and send as many invoices as you like to an unlimited customer base.
One thing to note however, many of the apps are inter-related. For example, if you have created a task in the Project application, you can pull that information when using the Invoices application. This was a little confusing at first because I had only downloaded the Invoices app and when I tried to add in information like projects, it asks you to first download those elements. Once you do you are home free.
Creating an Invoice
Apptivo allows you the opportunity to create invoices from scratch and then stores your invoices so you can reference, duplicate or email them whenever you need to.
Creating an invoice is faily simple. Once you enter the invoice dashboard you can then click on the big blue and red button that says CREATE and from there Apptivo takes you through the steps. At the top of invoice window, you can enter in a sales order number, customer information, invoice date, payment terms and due date. In addition, you can add in copy to your invoice.
When creating an invoice from scratch, you will have to do a bit of work. For instance, if you click on CUSTOMER you will need to add in the customer's contact information if you haven't already. If you had downloaded Apptivo's web-based CRM application, for instance, you might already have all your customer information in place, but if you haven't, the Invoices app offers you the opportunity to do so. This is handy because the next time you go to invoice that customer, all of their information is stored and available.
After the basic information is entered, Apptivo allows you to add in stand alone tasks, projects, timesheets or service work orders. As you will see on the screen shot, you will need click on these apps and follow the prompts in order to add these tools to your invoice. It is best, before creating invoices however, to download these apps ahead of time.
The good news is that Apptivo integrates with Google Checkout, Paypal or Authorized net. You will have to download these tools first and Apptivo will help you with that. I highly recommend this feature, as the Apptivo website states that by accepting payments this way, "….many business owners have found that they receive payments faster than using traditional invoicing methods."
Apptivo allows you to set up automatic reminder emails to help stay on top of late payments from customers, .
Sending an invoice is as easy as clicking on the big EMAIL button on the screen. That said, you will need to make sure that your customer email information is entered before-hand.
Is it for you?
Small businesses, consultants, freelancers should find the Apptivo Invoices app very useful. It's basic - not a lot of frills - but it really does contain all you need to send a professional invoice to a customer. While you can add your business logo, the invoice design itself is very plain, but professional.