In today’s digital world, a lot of things are simply easier than they used to be. A simple Google search can yield tools to tackle almost any challenge. By combining these easy-to-use online tools, you can craft a recipe for nearly effortless workflow and productivity. Here are three tools we could not live without. The key is finding what works for you.
Freshbooks Cloud Accounting
Whatever your other motives are, you are in business to make money. When it comes time to collect from clients, you don’t have time for complicated invoicing, or waiting on the mail. We like Freshbooks Cloud Accounting for invoicing. Freshbooks offers time tracking, invoicing and expense tracking. It has some great features. Here’s a few of our favourites.
- Recurring invoices; set it and forget it. If you have regular clients, their invoice will show up on time, every time. If set up properly, an invoice can be created, processed, marked as Paid, and sent to client without lifting a finger. Most of our invoicing is done this way!
- Pay straight from the invoice, even from a mobile device, it doesn’t get any easier.
- Accept credit and debit cards, right from day one. Your customers can pay using their favourite method and Freshbooks will handle the rest. Freshbooks has great merchant rates too.
Cost? $12.95-39.95 depending on your needs
If FreshBooks does not handle everything you need, WaveApps is an online book keeping program that offers a full-featured option for free! WaveApps will handle everything from payroll to tax documents in their free software. Paid services include payroll from $19 a month and expert book keeping consultation starting at $19 a month.
Or, if your needs are simple enough, send invoices and accept payments directly into your PayPal account through PayPal invoicing. You can access the invoice tool in the tools tab inside your PayPal account.
Google Docs / Drive
In a digital world, there’s no excuse for not having access to important documents. Welcome to the next generation in document processing. All files in one place, accessible to anyone you invite from anywhere. With Google Docs you get a free, web-based app, available from any net connected device that allows you to create, edit and even collaborate on text documents, spreadsheets, powerpoint-style presentations and more. Google Docs and Google Drive are integrated with all of Googles great tools, including Gmail and Google Calendar.
- Shareable with anyone that has an internet connection. You set their parameters, allow them to read, edit, create and more.
- Track changes to your document, just like a word processor.
- Cloud storage that is not dependent on having your computer on site and won’t disappear because your hard drive crashes.
Cost? Free or paid subscriptions based on team size and needs, up to $10 per user.
Two newer apps are offering highly competitive options that rival docs. Zoho features a Word style “writer” a spreadsheet app, a presentation builder and a device sync feature that syncs your documents across multiple digital devices, including mobile.
Feng Office is a full featured PM and document management suite that features much of the same in a very similar interface. It starts at $14 per user.
Basecamp Project Management
This is the cloud-based project management platform that others get compared to. Build, share and assign tasks, calendars and access other workflow tools to help you keep your important tasks on schedule and all contributions in one place. No more messy trails of awkward email chains or complete file disarray. The Basecamp project management tool is organized like a virtual work space. The spine of the system is a To-Do list that keeps track of who owns which tasks and what stage of completion they are in. Other features include:
- A public message board for notes, files, images and more, accessible by your whole team, or use Campfire, Basecamp’s group chat feature, for real time meetings from anywhere you can access the web.
- Doc and file storage are customizable to store the needed project materials where they are easy to find.
- Basecamp integrates with tools like Google docs for easy document storage and sharing.
Cost? Free for your first “basecamp”, then $29 for inside-team use, or $79 a month for added features that allow clients access to specific features.
Asana is a major contender in the PM space. With features like Google Docs integration and the promise of “teamwork without email” Asana is free for the first 15 users, then rises in tiers depending on team size from $50 a month for 15-30 users up to $800 a month for 100 users.
One notable free option is Freedcamp. Available for unlimited team members and projects, but limited to 200MB of storage, upgradeable to 1 Gig for $2.49 a month, or unlimited storage for $39.99.
Next time we’ll share three more great tools to help you up your game in the digital market place, so stay tuned! Want more now? Check out our friends at Capterra, for great suggestions on digital tools and resources for any need you might have.