Keeping track of quotes, jobs and invoices

Baz here again.

I'm enjoying these daily letters and I'm especially enjoying reading your replies and comments. If there's anything you'd like an answer to, just ask!

One thing that's cropped up a couple of times is about keeping track of jobs and invoices. When you're starting out, you can't afford to put systems in place - it's all about delivering. Believe me, I know. But then, as more work comes in, it's easy to start losing track of what needs doing, what's been done and what needs invoicing.

The first step to this is sorting out an accounts package. In the olden days, these were clunky things, hard to use and, frankly, a pain in the arse.

Today, you've got a whole series of cloud-based software, that runs on your computer, on your tablet and on your phone. Easy to use, integrates directly with your bank account and can even chase up invoice payments automatically. Personally, I use FreeAgent, but there are lots and lots of options; Xero, Sage One, Quickbooks. Best bet is to speak to your accountant to see what they recommend.

The next step is keeping track of those incoming jobs. Personally, I love to see things visually, so I use Trello. This is a bit like setting up a whiteboard, with lots of columns, then attaching post-it notes to it. I have a setup where a job comes in, then as it moves through our 12-stage process, we move it from left-to-right. So I know at a glance what needs doing and how close it is to completion.

Even better - Trello is free. So you've got no excuse.

Rahoul Baruah

Rahoul Baruah

Rubyist since 1.8.6. Freelancer since 2007, dedicated to building incredible, low-cost, bespoke software for tiny businesses. Also CTO at Collabor8Online.
Leeds, England