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Re: Solo Practice - Billing Software

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On Dec 15, 2004, at 7:30 AM, M. David Finley, P.E. wrote:

A question for those who have very small firms, especially 1 person firms:  How are you handling invoicing?
My experience was that canned invoicing software, didn't fit the way I organized jobs, so I did my own. You'll probably find that it's nice to be able to associate your client list, your time-keeping and your invoicing, and it's not too tough to make up a set of small relational data bases to do this. Functionally, you'll generate the invoice by combining client info-- name and address--with your own job identification and billables with the client reference for an individual job. Then put it all together on the actual invoice. Using database software lets you enter the information items once only and combine them as they're needed, for time tracking, contacts, book-keeping and eventually pandering for more work. Most small data base software has templates for all of those functions to help you get started and you can build on it as you go. I use Mac software called Hypercard, which started as a simple client list, very much like a rolodex. As time went on I added phone call and letter generation to the stacks, and related the invoice listing and the time tracking listing, so the client list can add new jobs for a particular client when they come in, and work items added to a job record as they're performed and invoice records generated and read into a form from Microsoft Word.

It's really a very simple chore in principle, but the problem is making sure that jobs and work are logged ASAP, so you don't forget them in the rush to get to the other things done. Invoices need to be accurate and sent out right away, and the client nagged if something isn't paid promptly. Invoicing and job tracking is a very detailed business, and automating it means stuff doesn't slip though cracks or get dropped when you're juggling other jobs.

Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)    | this distance" (last words of Gen.
...................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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