Mobile menu

Approaches to accounting/invoicing.
Thread poster: Owen owenfw

Owen owenfw
Local time: 20:22
Finnish to English
+ ...
Nov 27, 2007

For context for this post, I'm a freelancer who varies from full-time during the summer months to less than part-time during the end of each university term (I'm also working on PhD...).

How do folks deal with their accounting and billing? So far I've been invoicing manually using a Word template and printing to PDF. I then put the PDF's in a folder for tracking and email them to the client. When I receive a payment, I delete the PDF from that "Unpaid Invoices" folder and record the payment in a Excel spreadsheet. Obviously, at the very least it would be better for me to record the unpaid amounts in the Excel spreadsheet initially as well--I've just been lazy and I know it.

Anyway, you can imagine how this system could get out of whack during times when I have a lot of jobs, odd payment periods, when I receive different currencies...

Other than hiring an outside accountant, how do you all handle your billing and tracking of payments? Is Translation Office 3000 a good solution? Does anyone use an open source billing solution? Is there something that integrates well with Trados?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:22
Italian to English
+ ...
Manual system Nov 27, 2007

I use a manual system, although it's a little more elaborate than yours. I have an Excel "translations file" which contains one sheet per client, a list of translations assigned, consignment date, when consigned, rate, no. of cartelle/words, etc. As I generally get lots (30+ in some cases) of small jobs from any given client in a given month, I issue my invoices at the end of each month, summing the total for the month from the "translations" file.
I have a blank invoice for each client in Excel; so I fill in the relevant data and write the invoice to a pdf file, which is then filed in "invoices\year\month".
I also have an "invoices" file which contains the invoice numbers, client and amount, which I fill in as I write the invoice, and a "date paid" column filled in when I receive payment.

The reason I use a manual system is that as far as I'm aware (I admit I haven't looked into it deeply) the automated invoicing programs all generate an invoice for each job, which just wouldn't work for me or my clients.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 21:22
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
TO3000 Nov 27, 2007

Hello Owen,

I suggest you search the forum for 'TO3000' or 'Translation Office 3000' for a lot of feedback about it--mostly extremely positive. It's not just an invoicing software, it's also a management application. In short: it can efficiently handle not only invoices and payments, but also clients, contacts, prices, projects, jobs, services, rates, etc.

IMHO, it's an absolute must and totally worth the price. Check out this post.

Claudia


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Wow, you are so organised! Nov 27, 2007

Owen Witesman wrote:
So far I've been invoicing manually using a Word template and printing to PDF. I then put the PDF's in a folder for tracking and email them to the client. When I receive a payment, I delete the PDF from that "Unpaid Invoices" folder and record the payment in a Excel spreadsheet.


I don't even have any checks in place to see if a client had paid. I simply send the invoice and forget about it. But yes, I also have an MS Word file that gets copied into every new job's folder. Every job's folder contains the name of the client and the date of delivery. And that's it.

One of these days I'll set up my *PAIDFOR* copy of TO3000; see film at eleven.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Owen owenfw
Local time: 20:22
Finnish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
i'll save you the time Nov 27, 2007

One of these days I'll set up my *PAIDFOR* copy of TO3000; see film at eleven.


You can send it to me and I'll set it up free of charge!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:22
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Excel application Nov 27, 2007

I developed an Excel application to keep track of

  • Projects

    • Our project #
    • Customer
    • Description
    • Customer Project or PO #
    • Project Lead
    • Translator
    • Service provided
    • Language Pair
    • Date Received
    • Due Date
    • Date Delivered
    • Words - or - Hours - or - Units
    • Rate
    • Amount
    • Invoice N.
    • Amount Not Yet Invoiced


  • Invoices issued

    • Sequential #
    • Invoice N.
    • Customer
    • Invoice date
    • Date
    • Date Due
    • Date Received
    • Amount Unpaid
    • Overdue ? (logical field used to generate late payment reminders)
    • Overdue Amounts
    • Days Late (+) / Days Until Payment (-)
    • Days since invoice


    Plus other forms to keep track of statistical information (or other data).

    With this system we can keep track of several thousand line items per year.

    The invoices themselves are created using an Excel template, extracting data from the application, and generating a pdf invoice to send to the customer.

    The system is very flexible, but needs to be automated more (it's an ongoing project).

    Direct link Reply with quote
     

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 05:22
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Word table Nov 27, 2007

I have an invoice folder along with my customer-specific folders. And the first item there is a Word-table with the columns position, customer name, amount, due, recieved.
I invoice end of month. When next month an old customer orders work, I open the most recent invoice file for this customer, save it under the new number (customer_07xxx), fill in the new details and make an entry in the Word-table.
At the end of month I finalise all new files, print as pdf and send them to the outsourcers.
After sending the invoices once a month I copy the most recent content (customers and invoice numbers to a spreadsheet, where I calculate my income and expenses for communication with the tax office.
When I get my banksheet for the past month I fill in the recieved payments in my table, so I know which invoice is overdue.
Without new customers the time needed for all this is about three hours per month. Because I do it manually, the system is flexible, each customer can have their own template.

Cheers
Heinrich


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Haiyang Ai  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:22
English to Chinese
+ ...
Using software Nov 28, 2007

There're some invoicing software out there, e.g. PractiCount & Invoicing, QuickBook.
You can make invoice quickly once you've set them up. QuickBook can help you track your invoices.

Regards,
Haiyang

[Edited at 2007-11-28 03:21]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:22
English to German
+ ...
TO3000 Nov 28, 2007

The reason I use a manual system is that as far as I'm aware (I admit I haven't looked into it deeply) the automated invoicing programs all generate an invoice for each job, which just wouldn't work for me or my clients.


As far as I can remember, TO3000 allows you to choose which jobs you want to have on your invoice. It does not create an invoice for each job. But I am no longer using it, so maybe somebody else can comment on this.

Sonja


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 05:22
Turkish to English
+ ...
A very basic approach Nov 28, 2007

I invoice in Word format. I just copy an old invoice, change the details and e-mail it with the completed work as an attachment.
I then note (using a pen!) the invoice number, date, client's name, currency and amount in a running list that I keep in the back of a diary. When I receive the payment, I note the date on which this was received and the equivalent in Cyprus pounds. At the end of the year, I total the final column and this gives me the turnover for my annual tax declaration. A simple glance at this list shows which invoices are still outstanding because the last two columns are empty.
I average about 30 invoices a year and don't feel the need for anything more complicated than this. I wonder how many invoices some freelancers are issuing to warrant systems of such Byzantine complexity.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jaakko Heikkila  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 05:22
Member (2006)
English to Finnish
Happy TO-camper Nov 28, 2007

I have also made the leap from manual project management/invoicing with Excel sheets and Word to using TO3000. As others have pointed out, it is a very good piece of software for the price, and well worth the slight adjustments that might be required in your own workflow.

Initially, it took me a couple of months to finally get around to sitting down and moving all my client and project data to TO3000 (do take the plunge, Samuel: it only takes one or two afternoons!), and it took me a couple of days to figure out how TO3000 will best suit my workflow. The actual transition period from my old manual system to TO was another month or so.

I usually group all my jobs for a given client in one invoice and send these out once per month. TO works well with this approach as well, and you can make as many invoicing templates with Word as you like: I actually used my manual invoicing template, so clients probably did not even realise that I had started using management software.

When you create an invoice for a client, you pick out the jobs you want on the invoice (usually "all completed jobs"), then you select the invoicing template, after which TO extracts the data from the database and inserts it on the template with the correct invoice number, invoice date etc. I then produce a PDF from the invoice to send to the client.

One thing to note is that when you start moving your own client data into TO, start from an empty TO database. If you use the sample database (which I did), you will always have some sample data left in the database - i.e. you won't be able to delete certain job types and pricing units etc.


Sonja Tomaskovic wrote:

The reason I use a manual system is that as far as I'm aware (I admit I haven't looked into it deeply) the automated invoicing programs all generate an invoice for each job, which just wouldn't work for me or my clients.


As far as I can remember, TO3000 allows you to choose which jobs you want to have on your invoice. It does not create an invoice for each job. But I am no longer using it, so maybe somebody else can comment on this.

Sonja


This is correct, Sonja.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:22
Italian to English
+ ...
How much time do you estimate you save using TO3000? Nov 28, 2007

It sounds interesting, but I imagine that the time to enter data in the system is similar to the time it takes me to enter it into my Excel spreadsheet (a few seconds per job), so any time saving will be in actually creating the invoices at the end of the month. And this only takes me a couple of hours (even if it's my least favourite task... I only do it because I won't get paid if I don't!)

So would I actually save any time? Or stress?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jaakko Heikkila  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 05:22
Member (2006)
English to Finnish
End-of-month invoicing hassle takes about 1/2 hours Nov 28, 2007

I send roughly 10 invoices per month, and it takes me about a half an hour to create the invoices and send them off. It does save me a couple of hours every month, but I consider the feeling of security and organisation that a management application brings more valuable than time-savings alone, so it's more about relieving all the stress involved. Now I can check all my pending and completed (to-be-invoiced) jobs in one glimpse, and the software also calculates the total sum of completed jobs, so I have a better idea of how much I am going to be invoicing at the end of the month. I feel that it's these type of features that really count.

As for entering a new job into TO, it's a matter of choosing the client's project, creating a new job, entering job name/PO/word count/assigned and due dates, and clicking on "price". TO automatically calculates the price based on the word rate you have entered for the client, and there's also a catcount feature, which calculates the sum based on CAT leverage data. This is really one of the most helpful features of the application: previously there would be times that I wasn't even sure how much a single job paid (let alone all jobs for all clients) before I would get around to calculating all of that at the end of the month. You can enter as many CAT schemes as you need.

When a job is done, you select it in the uncompleted jobs screen and click "Completed now". It is then marked "uninvoiced" and disappears from the pending job list. The next time it shows up is when you start creating an invoice for the client.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:22
Member
English to French
TO3000 fan too Nov 28, 2007

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:
...So would I actually save any time? Or stress?...

Hi there,
I would think that TO3000 pays for itself in a matter of months. My own manual system was very coarse, even though it included all info needed to invoice and track payments, but with 2-300 job entries a year, I could quickly feel a hell of a difference.
It is also very customisable, so you could get the same-looking report/sheet as what you are used to with your list of jobs or list of invoices, as well as invoice templates matching your previous invoice format.
Also, the actual stress using manual/not-very-automated job management/invoicing based on Excel/Word was to make sure I entered the right figures at the right place for the right customer.
With TO3000, you enter data only once, so there is less risk that numbers carried over manually be incorrect (actually not quite, there is no integration/import feature between Contacts from Outlook and TO3000). Also I think that a database system is safer than a simple file, which can get easily corrupted.
Plus tracking activities to actually get a snapshot picture of the business per customer/month/year/job type/ unit/whatever are much easier and comprehensive than with basic home-brewed computation by non-computing experts.

A good idea would be to try before you buy, running both systems (current and TO3000) in parallel to get familiar with the features. You will need a bit of slack time to enter customer details and info, payment policies, CAT schemes and so on as you go. Getting started is quick and the help system is... helpful.

Voilà, I have already vastly commended TO3000 in these forums, but I cannot help it. Too fine a piece of software for me to remain oblivious when the subject is raised...
Oh, I still use version 7. I have version 8, but I haven't managed to get used to the additionnal organisational layer. It is just a matter of willingness I think.

Good night,
Philippe





[Edited at 2007-11-28 20:01]


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Approaches to accounting/invoicing.

Advanced search


Translation news





memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs