For a self-employed, one-person operation, finding an accounting software program that is suitable to the smallest of small business needs is extremely difficult. As a Freelance Writer, I have tried everything from Budgeting for Dummies to the new Microsoft Small Business Accounting 2007, in an attempt to manage and track invoices, client information, expenses, and schedules.
The Dummies software did not contain enough fields for what I needed, and the Microsoft program contained enough fields and features to run a small corporation. Finding a happy medium seemed impossible- until I discovered Small Business Tracker Deluxe.
Small Business Tracker Deluxe, a software program from the developers at SpiritWorks - a company creating solutions for Home-Business/Self-Employment operations - is perfect for the one-person, Freelancing entrepreneur. This program has exactly the right amount of menu options, each with special fields for those all-important, little tidbits of entrepreneurial information that "larger" small business programs such as Microsoft 2007 do not accomodate.
The Small Business Tracker Menu includes a Contact Tracker - Address Book, Schedule Tracker - Calendar, Task Tracker - To Do List, Invoice Creator, Inventory Tracker, Expense Tracker, and many more usefull management tools. For Freelancers and entrepreneurs who provide services rather than product sales, Small Business Tracker Deluxe allows for this flexibility. The Invoice Tracker option, for example, while still containing the normal fields such as "Client", "Date","Payment Amt", etc, also adds open fields for "Notes", "Project Descriptions", "Date Project Completed", and any information you feel is appropriate for that Invoice.
At any time during the entry of data, the user may click on "View Invoice" and make any modifications needed. Tracker also has the ability to import or export information, and cater to specific, user-defined, preference settings for sorting invoices, lists, and calendars.
Small Business Tracker Deluxe is, thankfully, an accounting/information management program that allows the user to add information as needed and only when it becomes necessary. For an example, let's say I have been witing Press Releases for Mr. Jones for the past six months, but now, for the first time, decide to officially invoice him using Business Tracker's Invoice Creator, I am not forced to retreat to a "Create Clients" section, input all his data, including address, price, Project details, dates, etc., before moving forward to the Invoice.
I truly appreciate this aspect of SpiritWork's small business software. The user can initiate a blank "New Invoice", add as much - or as little - information as they choose from field options, save it, send it, and track it later. Often, small businesses deal with a client only once in six months or once and never again. Any additional information can always be added later when there is time. After downloading the free version of Microsoft Accounting 2007, the amount of data entry required before I could utilize even the simplest of the features was overwhelming. Although Microsoft 2007 would be wonderful for "bigger" small businesses, for self-employed inividuals, it simply is not efficient or time cost-effective.
Other features of Tracker Deluxe worth mentioning are the easy-to-make To-Do Lists, weekly and monthly Project Calenders, and the Writer's Helper. The set-up and scheduling of the Lists and Calenders is very simple and, once again, flexible to user-specifc needs. In addition, the reminder pop-ups of each are punctual, impressive, professional, and allow for modifications and changes as needed.
The Writer's Helper is similar to having a little emergency notepad at your desk. Simply type in whatever you need to be doing, whoever you may need to see, whatever errands need to get done, save it, print it, and go.
The 10-day, free trial version of Small Business Tracker Deluxe is available for download at the SpiritWorks website. The website also contains a great FAQ, all required updates and patches, and plenty of user tip/tricks to assist in realizing the full potential of the software. Unfortunately, I did find the final purchase price of $149.00 a bit steep, and that is the one and only reason I hesitate in not making an immediate purchase. Small Business Tracker Deluxe is the perfect, all-around accounting and information mangement software program for the self-employed professional.