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Sunday, August 2nd, 2015


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Entrepreneur’s Guide to Small Business Software: MyInvoices & Estimates Deluxe

Product: MyInvoices & Estimates Deluxe

Manufacturer:Avanquest (www.avanquestusa.com)

Cost (website orders): $39.95

YOUNG MONEY asked Troy Byrd, co-founder of Bryant College’s Global Entrepreneurship Program, to review several software products intended for small business owners. This article is the second installment of a four part series featuring such products.

MyInvoices & Estimates Deluxe promises that a small business owner can create, print, and mail the type of invoice he needs within 10 minutes of starting the software. The program is designed to create estimates, invoices, statements, purchase orders and manage inventory levels of your products.

After a brief installation process, the program directed me to a 7-step wizard guide for configuring my invoices “to meet the needs of my business.” Step 2 required that I input information into the upper left corner of the invoice, including my business name and address.

The next step simply asked me what type of business this invoicing set-up would be used for. Step 4 let me choose from five different styles of lettering for the invoice. Next, I was asked if taxes were to be applied to my customers’ bills and what the average tax rate would be if one existed. The final step prompted me to purchase “professional” letterhead through the company and offered up a link to an order form, which I chose to ignore for now.

CREATING AN INVOICE

After completing the preliminary set-up I was ready to start making my invoices. The layout of the program is very similar to Microsoft Word, making it very easy to navigate for Word users. The main navigation throughout the program revolved around a database of customers and vendors, an invoicing section, a layout for drafting estimates, purchase order and payments record keeping, as well as a database for different products/services to be stored.

All of these sections were navigated through with a straightforward set of tabs located under the main menu bar. I input a fictional customer and a few services and rates for those services and set off to make an invoice. The invoice template was very simple, yet took all necessary information into consideration. Clicking the “Bill To” button opened a pull down menu containing the customer I previously added into my database, and customer selection could be done with a simple click of the mouse.

If the shipping address is the same as the billing address, then the information can easily be copied over into both forms. The invoice number defaulted to #1001, and the date was set to the current date. From here, I input the date the service took place, the nature of the service, and the hourly rate. The program then calculated the amount and listed a total at the bottom of the invoice. The invoice was then ready to be printed or e-mailed.

I chose to email the invoice to myself to see how it would look. Before I could send out the email I needed to input my POP mail server account information into the application. This setup was done through the email preferences section and was similar to setting up an email client such as Microsoft Outlook.

After I submitted the test invoice to myself, it arrived instantly in one of my other email accounts with the subject heading “Invoice # 1001 From (company name).” The invoice was written in plain text, and though not as fancy as the “corporate” font style I had selected during the initial setup, it got the job done.

SUMMARY

Installing and running this software was a breeze. The interface was clean, to the point, and very intuitive. The tabbed navigation through all the major components of the software and the Microsoft Word style interface were both major advantages of this invoicing application.

This application can be used by anyone starting a business, and would be especially helpful to the collegiate entrepreneur with little experience in maintaining customer databases and invoicing. I was able to get the software fully up and running in less than an hour. The professional letterhead manufactured by the company seems like it would be just the thing to generate an even more impressive invoice for the small business owner.

After using this software for a period of time, the user has the option to pull down reports on various aspects of company data. These reports range from current inventory to a detailed list of customers that could be very helpful to a small business owner.

PROS:

  • Simple, yet powerful interface
  • Ability to pull down reports
  • Ability to e-mail invoices from within the application from any POP e-mail account
  • Very easy to use
  • Ability to add company logo
  • Automatic data backup upon exiting the application

CONS:

  • Formatting lost when e-mailing the invoices
  • Would prefer more font options (rather than just five)
  • Wary of the “NewsFlash” program I was asked to install for company communication purposes (which is now running in my task manager)

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