Let's face it, accepting money from customers over the internet can be a technical nightmare if you're just getting started.
And while companies like PayPal have long been an option, they're far from being the most appropriate forms of payment for professional service providers.
The good news is, there are now countless options when it comes to invoicing and accepting online payments, and competition breeds innovation.
In today's review—which is part of a larger review series of invoicing software—I'll be taking a closer look at Envoice.in.
What Is Envoice?
Envoice is an invoicing platform for small businesses and freelancers, founded by Emit Knowledge in May, 2017.
Unlike traditional invoicing software, Envoice is geared towards service providers, such as creatives and consultants, as well as those who sell physical products, such as ecommerce site owners.
So that's a brief overview of the tool, but let's dig into the individual aspects to see how it perform from a practical standpoint.
As I logged into my brand new Envoice account, I was greeted with a sleek onboarding wizard:
I've always been a fan of dedicated onboarding processes like this, as it saves a ton of time having to configure these things by yourself.
In this case, I especially liked the setup flexibility while still keeping things simple.
For example, I was able to select US dollars as my preferred currency despite having a different country of residence. (It's nuances like this that many invoicing tools tend to overlook.)
You'll also get to dictate the colour scheme of your invoices to better align with your branding.
I must admit though, the options here were a tad limiting.
Overall, the onboarding process earns Envoice major brownie points and I think more companies should follow suit.
Once you've set your preferences, you'll be thrown straight into the main dashboard — so let's explore than next.
I found this a little confusing at first, but the main dashboard of your account is actually where you create a new invoice.
Here's what it looks like:
From an efficiency perspective, I totally get it. You fire up the website, log into your account, and immediately get to work creating your next invoice.
From a UX perspective, however, I think it could throw people off initially which makes it a tad ballsy... but I like that.
When it comes to setting up your invoice, the first thing you'll want to do is integrate your preferred payment processor.
While Stripe and Paypal are the default options, you can click the 'All payment providers' button to see the full list.
And I was quite surprised by how comprehensive that list is, including
- Stripe (duh)
- PayPal (extra duh!)
I decided to connect my Stripe account for further testing, and had it hooked up and ready to go in a matter of seconds.
Next, I went ahead and added my logo, which will appear at the top of every invoice I create:
Again, the upload process was quick and painless. No complaints there.
What we've looked at so far will pretty much apply across the board for every new invoice you create.
This is where you get down and dirty with the details.
For starters, you'll want to assign this to an existing client by typing their name, or adding a new client by clicking the little 'Add' button. (At which point you'll get the following popup...)
It was nice to see this being done with a popup overlay as opposed to being redirected to a new client setup page.
Envoice will also populate this field with the last client you invoiced. Again, speed and efficiency is clearly kept in mind and these little time savers quickly add up.
Next is the billing summary, where you can add as many line items as you want, complete with description, price, quantity and tax fields.
Pretty basic stuff so far, but clean and easy to use nevertheless.
Being able to add the appropriate taxes to an invoice is an area where other invoicing platforms have fallen short. Envoice delivers here.
Typing in your country-specific tax and clicking the plus icon will bring up another popup to configure the percentage:
Not only can you add multiple taxes to a single invoice, but all these tax values will be stored for next time, so you can add them in with a couple clicks.
I know this will be a huge deal for some people. 🙂
Moving on, you can tack on some optional notes/terms near the bottom of the invoice, as well as add file attachments to it.
I can't say I've seen many invoicing platforms offer direct attachments to invoices, but I really love the concept here.
While there are likely dozens of use cases for this, attaching a contract might be one of the more obvious ways to leverage this feature.
As we come to end of the invoice, you'll be asked whether you want to enable recurring invoicing.
As you can see from the screenshot above, this allows you to set automation rules for invoicing, including frequency and duration.
(If you're a freelancer working on a retainer or a set billing agreement, this feature will be invaluable to you.)
I was a little disappointed that there's no automated billing, which makes this more of a glorified payment reminder for your clients as opposed to a fully automated system.
Note — If this is a deal-breaker for you, you might want to check out AND CO for recurring billing. It works a treat.
Finally, we come to the payment options:
Since I already hooked it up with Stripe earlier, this is the only option I'm seeing, but you can enable as many as you have available.
So that's the invoice creation process, but what happens next?
Invoice Delivery & Payment
Sending your invoice can be done in a single click.
Once you've saved your new invoice, you'll be taken to the preview screen where you'll find some new button options at the top.
Clicking the 'Send' button will fire an email to your client. (Remember, the clients email was already added earlier.)
If sending an email doesn't float your boat, there's another way.
The 'Copy invoice link' button will allow you to extract a URL that leads your client straight to their invoice.
This is useful when, for whatever reason, the client prefers not receive invoices via email.
My only complaint is the URL. It's not very sharable considering how long and ugly it is.
Here's what mine looks like:
Either way, when the client opens your invoice, Envoice will let you know from within the Action Center.
This is handy for following up with clients who didn't pay, since you'll know whether or not they actually opened it.
Assuming your client does open it, they'll be able to click a button directly on the invoice to make an online payment.
Here's an example of a Stripe payment:
If for any reason you're client has an issue with the invoice, there's a built-in system to handle that.
By clicking the 'Reject' button, they can quickly and easily can notify you of the problem from within the invoice itself.
A small feature, but one that clearly has the customer journey in mind.
I won't spend too long on this because it's rather simple, but it's essentially an overview of all the invoices you've created.
This is what I would've expected the main dashboard to be when you log into Envoice, but that may just be my preference as opposed to an actual improvement.
Anywho, there's a bunch of useful things going on here.
For one, you can filter your invoices based on time with the button filters, or the date picker for a more granular filter.
The buttons are a nice touch from an accounting perspective, and it's something I'd love to see in other invoicing tools.
Then there's the invoice status breakdown, allowing you to see what condition your invoices are in across the board.
These are also buttons that act as filters, so, for example, you can drill down into overdue invoices in order to start your follow up process.
The last thing I'll mention here is the 'Connect to accountant' button.
This will prompt you for your accountants email address you can automatically forward all invoices.
Another small but mighty feature that makes running a business that little bit easier. Can't argue with that.
The 'All Finances' tab is the last of the three main tabs in your account, and it's where you'll find a summary of your business finances.
(Or what Envoice calls your "statement of success" :p)
Just like the previous tab, you can adjust this statement using the button filters or date picker.
Scrolling down, you'll find a breakdown of your overall income, as well as your total income per client.
(Granted, mines a little empty as it's a review account.)
And below that, you'll find a breakdown of what you're owed per client, as well as your total income per work type.
Overall, I think it's a nice report to have, and for some people it'll be more than enough to work with....
...but it's not going to replace a full accounting solution. At least not yet.
There's one feature in Envoice that I've neglected to mention so far, and it's a pretty big one.
If you look at Envoice's home page, you'll notice they also cater to people selling products online — not just service providers.
To gain access to the online selling capabilities of this too, you'll need to be on the E-Store plan, otherwise you won't see any related options.
Once you upgrade, you'll find a new option under your account to add products:
Once you've created a product, you can link to the checkout page from virtually any web property you own, whether it be your website, a social media account or an email.
Here's what the checkout process looks like:
This is what takes Envoice from invoicing tool to shopping cart solution, and it opens a few doors that you might not have with other invoicing platforms.
For example, you could sell a training product for prospects who can't afford your services... or even a training series that would put them in a better position to become a client.
A very nice option to have, and one you only need to pay for if it's something you actually plan to use.
Envoice is a classic example of doing one thing, and doing it well.
When it comes creating and managing invoices, there are genuinely few tools that make the process as quick and painless as this, and believe me, I've tried them all.
Aside from the (very) minor faults I've mentioned throughout the review, the big addition for me would the inclusion of automatic billing. A way to charge my clients without having to chase them up every month.
It's still early days for Envoice, and the early signs are promising. If you'd like to give the invoicing software a spin, click here for a 14-day free trial.