by Michele Nachum
Published on 28 November 2011
Today there are more people breaking away from their corporate jobs to become freelancers and consultants and be the "the boss of themselves." But running your own business is never easy and trying to juggle client work plus managing the business side of your business, can seem like an impossible task on some days. That is why applications such as Tallyzip that are designed to help smaller businesses manage their contacts, tasks and finances all in one solution are so important. These applications can centralize much of the information you need for your business and the bonus is that all of your activities are recorded directly into your dashboard so you can ascertain right away which clients have unpaid invoices for instance or which task deadlines are coming due.
That said, what makes Tallyzip different from similar CRM tools for small businesses is that it takes a "social CRM approach," allowing you to use Tallyzip for communicating with clients, employees and vendors ala Facebook style. What does that mean? Read on!
What Does It Look Like?
Tallyzip is an affordable and user-friendly product that allows you to store all your contacts in one place and from there, distribute estimates and invoices, keep in touch with clients and vendors, draft notes from meetings and much more. Pricing starts at free for one user, $19 per month for three users and $49 and $149 per month for larger SMBs.
I will note one aspect of the solution you will need to watch out for - currently Tallyzip does not work well with Internet Explorer (IE). I found that when using Tallyzip, FireFox/Mozilla or Chrome is much better. However, the team at Tallyzip is fixing the IE issue, but if you have never tried FireFox or Chrome and always wanted to - here's your big chance/excuse.
CRM and Contacts:
Tallyzip allows you to store all of your client and vendor contact information in one place and if you have Excel files with hundreds of contacts, you can import those into the solution. In addition, you can use the solution to send contacts your estimates or bills to - and all of that activity will be stored in the client profile - giving you a high level view of all the activity related to each contact. This way you don't have to toggle back and forth wondering what estimates or invoices you had sent your clients, or if they have paid on time.
In addition, you are able to record meeting notes as well as personal information about your clients (e.g.: birthday, favorite wine, etc.) so that all information is easily accessible (especially around holiday time). Tallyzip also has an intelligent search tool to help you locate clients or contacts within your personal database - especially if you cannot remember their name. This is especially helpful for businesses with hundreds of contacts - you can easily find "what's his name with the weird tie I met at that trade show" with a few helpful search terms.
What I believe separates out Tallyzip from other similar solutions is that they offer a social media platform for small businesses. What that means is that you can invite your employees, clients and vendors to subscribe to the free version of Tallyzip and from there you are connected much in the same way as Facebook. (See graphic below). You can quickly email or IM your contacts, post updates to tasks and projects and much more.
No likes the accounting part of owning a small business (except for maybe accountants). It's a lot of work and if you are not good at it like 90% of the people here on earth, it can be tragically difficult. Tallyzip allows you to do basic accounting procedures so you can keep track of your inbound income and outbound transactions. They are GAAP compliant (U.S.-based acronym that stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principals) and Tallyzip will offer you a dashboard that gives you a total view of your finances.
In the accounting tab, Tallyzip allows you to send out estimates, invoices, collect payments and record financial information. I found each of these processes to be very easy and fluid. If you change an estimate or void an invoice, Tallyzip automatically adds a note at the bottom of the contact record so you can keep track of the comings and goings of your clients. You can also print out reports such as your balance sheet, income statement and cash flow.
Tallyzip offers a task management app as a way to keep yourself and your team on track and up-to date-on projects and deadlines. In the Task tab, you can click on Add a New Task and enter in the description and assign it to an employee or another contact with a deadline. When you log in and out of Tallyzip, that task will be on your homepage to constantly remind you that it is there and it is not going away until you complete it (or delete it). The best part is now all of your tasks are recorded on your dashboard and you can monitor the progress and remind your team of impending deadlines.
Is it for you?
Tallyzip is the type of solution that works well for smaller businesses that need simple CRM, task management and accounting functions. The one con is that the solution does not work well when using IE9 or any other Internet Explorer versions - but the team at Tallyzip is working at resolving this issue and chances are that it will be solved when you'll be reading this review. The solution does excel in FireFox/Mozilla and Chrome.
Overall, sole proprietors, freelancers and consultants will find Tallyzip a fine solution for centralizing important business functions and keeping you on track with projects and tasks. The fact that the solution has a social media function that allows you to correspond with employees, vendors and clients ala Facebook fashion is an added plus.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 4/5, value 5/5 and ease of deployment 3.5/5