Early this morning we implemented a hardware upgrade to improve data redundancy and our backup procedures. This implementation was preventative in nature and was scheduled maintenance. Smart Invoice is now using machines with a RAID 10 configuration; we have also added another nightly incremental backup to our existing routines. We believe you will see a modest improvement in the speed of the application. As a result of this hardware update accounts using the Smart Invoice domain mapping feature will need to update the IP address to which their account points. The old IP address was 184.108.40.206. Please update this to 220.127.116.11 immediately to ensure availability of your mapped domain. Note that the universal access point (youraccount.smartinvoice.com) is not affected by this update and is available regardless of whether or not the IP address is updated. Please submit a ticket if you have any questions.
As you can see, our scheduled maintenance is now complete.
We have a scheduled maintenance window for tomorrow to upgrade hardware and RAID arrays. Smart Invoice (including this site) will be inaccessible for a brief time. We will update this blog at the conclusion of the maintenance window.
We’ve done a minor update to the Mac Time Tracking and Expense Tracking Widget. Users were having to re-enter their API key after a restart or logout; this has now been fixed, and users should download the updated version here.
Today we released a Smart Invoice Time and Expense Tracking Widget for Mac OSX. This widget allows you to record expenses and track time spent on client projects without logging into your Smart Invoice account. Download the Smart Invoice widget, try it out, and let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions for improvement. Video demonstration below (click the HD icon for better quality).
This morning we have unveiled a major new release of code, and have rebranded this service as Smart Invoice. It is far more than just a name change. Concurrent with this release, we have simplified the user interface, implemented several new features, and are preparing to release a number of utilities that interact with Smart Invoice (time & expense tracking utilities, QuickBooks integration, and mobile device applications). We have also taken the axe to our paid plans. We now have just two paid plans: one at $14/month, and the other at $39/month. This post describes some of the major new features in this release of Smart Invoice. As with any major release, we know that our users will have feedback, questions, and will likely spot a few minor issues. Please contact me directly if you have any questions whatsoever, and let us know what you think of the new Smart Invoice. Also, after a long hiatus, this blog has officially come out of hibernation. We’re back.
Sidney H. VanNess, Ph.D.
President & CEO
The first thing that you will notice is the new user interface. In addition to a complete redesign, we have added a dashboard that displays a snapshot of your business (A/R, billable work, and billable expenses), and which provides streamlined access to many of Smart Invoice’s core features. From this screen you can quickly create a new invoice, client, or project and can view recent activity and notifications related to your invoices.
Perhaps the most requested feature was the ability to track time. Smart Invoice now includes a simple time tracking interface that allows you to specify a client, project, and task, and log hours directly into your Smart Invoice account. The interface allows you to easily generate invoices based on time you have logged, and it sorts these items based on whether or not they have been billed. To make time tracking easier, we will soon be releasing a Mac Time Tracking Widget, as well as a time tracking utility for mobile devices.
Smart Invoice now features a simple expense tracking utility that allows you to log expenses against client projects, and to track your Company’s internal (i.e. unbillable) expenses. When you go to invoice a client who has billable expenses recorded, Smart Invoice will automatically remind you to include those expenses in the invoice. Note that the aforementioned widget will also allow you to record expenses from the Mac desktop.
Projects & Tasks
Smart Invoice introduces the concepts of projects and tasks. You can now track your work based on these inputs, and automatically generate invoices based on time you have logged against projects.
We have added PDF invoices to all paid accounts. When your clients view an invoice, they will be able to download a PDF for their records.
Automatic Past Due Notifications
Smart Invoice now features the ability to automatically send notification of past due invoices. To enable this feature visit Settings | Email Templates | Automated Payment Reminders. Enable each notification you wish to send, update the text as appropriate, and save your settings.
Business Identification Numbers
Several users (particularly users outside of the US) requested that we add the ability to display a business identification numbers on invoices. You can now add this by clicking Settings | Edit Account. You will see two fields: “Business ID Type” (e.g. VAT Number or ABN) and “Business ID” (the actual number). These will automatically show up in the address block of your invoices.
Smart Invoice now supports the import of both single and multi-contact vCards. Visit Clients | Import From vCard to perform a bulk import of clients.
Custom Item Types
We received frequent requests for the ability to add custom item types to invoices, and this has been integrated into Smart Invoice. To add custom item types, you can either click “+” in the invoice creation interface or click on Settings | Customization to define custom item types.
Smart Invoice now makes it easy to send clients a statement, which includes all outstanding invoices. To send a statement, navigate to Clients | <your client’s name> | Client Statement and click the send button.
The old AcuInvoice sales tax system was flexible, but cumbersome. Smart Invoice has adopted the less is more approach. The sales tax system allows you to specify the name of the tax and a percentage; you simply select the tax from a pulldown menu to apply the tax to the relevant items. You can define taxes in Settings | Sales Tax, or create them on the fly through the invoice creation interface.
We have significantly improved the recurring invoices feature. Previously, recurring templates required that you specify line items, a billing interval, and a start date. The problem with this system was that you could end up having several different templates for essentially the same service (e.g. web hosting starting on January 1, web hosting starting on January 2). We have therefore modified the recurring invoices feature so that a template specifies only line items and an invoicing frequency. After creating this template, you then associate specific clients, each of whom have their own start date.
Today we updated AcuInvoice to include some of the features planned for the 1.1 release. We’ll call this 1.0.1. Highlights below.
“Send Invoice” Button
Previously you had to save an invoice, then hit the send button–an obviously unnecessary step we have eliminated. Your options in the invoice creation screen are Send, Save (as draft), and Cancel.
Let’s say you have 20 invoices that are tagged with Tag1. Tag1 is now editable and will cascade throughout all of the invoices.
Many thanks to Ivan Boyko of VisualPharm for his suggested improvements to the layout of invoices as viewed by customers. If you’re looking for someone to provide constructive criticisms regarding your designs, I highly recommend Ivan.
We have eliminated popups where possible. Perhaps the most notable change was made to the recurring templates area.Fixed a big whereby logos were not displaying properly on invoices.Fixed to Safari-specific bugs, one related to the posting of comments to invoices, the other related to the forwarding of invoices.
We have made two more demos of the AcuInvoice Simple store. These videos detail how to configure, sell, and deliver digital good with your AcuInvoice Simple Store.
Configuring the AcuInvoice Simple Store
The first demo shows how to configure the store and demonstrates how all of your information is passed to your AcuInvoice account.
Receiving Payment and Delivering Digital Goods
The second demonstration shows the process of receiving payments and illustrates how digital goods are delivered to your customers once an invoices has been converted into a closed state.
Over the past few days we have started to populate content for the AcuInvoice Help Wiki. The wiki will soon be available in the “Help” tab in AcuInvoice, but since much of the content is already in place, and since it is in a publicly available directory, we see no reason to withhold it any longer. We still need to populate content for the Reports tab, as well as the FAQ and API pages, but the overwhelming majority of the content is in place and in pretty good shape. We think you will find it useful. Also, if you have been an AcuInvoice user for some time, and know of some tips you’d like to share, feel free to contribute. We would like to give a special thanks to Andreas Gohr, creator of DokuWiki, the software powering this support system. We highly recommend Andreas’s software. It is fast, efficient, and super easy to use.
Today we are proud to announce the release of the AcuInvoice Simple Store. We are releasing this lightweight PHP script free of charge to the AcuInvoice community as a means of providing a set of core classes that can be used in custom applications that interact with AcuInvoice via the API. We have prepared a zip archive of the AcuInvoice Simple Store for you to download and install on your web server. As previously described in detail, the Simple Store can be easily installed on your web server and allow you to sell products–both digital and traditional goods–via a clean looking storefront. Order information is passed securely to your AcuInvoice account via the API, and customers are able to pay via any AcuInvoice payment gateway you have enabled. If you are selling digital goods (software, eBooks, etc.), these goods will be automatically delivered to your customer once the invoice has been converted into a closed state (either via a payment gateway or from a payment you have manually entered). Below you will see a brief demonstration of the Simple Store installation process. By the end of the week we will have a full demonstration of how to configure the Simple Store (you should be able to figure it out without the demo, we think) and how orders are processed. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the AcuInvoice Simple Store, please email us at support (at) acuinvoice (dot) com or submit a ticket from within your AcuInvoice account.
Installing the AcuInvoice Simple Store
As the name implies, installation is easy, but it never hurts to have some helpful visuals. This demo should help.
- PHP 5.0.0 or higher
- MySQL extension loaded (in php.ini)
- SimpleXML extension loaded (in php.ini)
- This is not a requirement but a recommendation: allow_url_fopen = 1 (in php.ini). If this option is turned off (value 0) you will still have a fully operational store, however every downloadable item and product image should be uploaded to the store server via the admin application. Linking to remote files and images will not be possible.