Free/Low cost invoice management software
July 9, 2024 7:52 AM   Subscribe

I help to manage a small theatre school. The teachers bill the school for hours worked. They do this by sending pdf invoices. The invoices show hours taught and total dollar amount they're billing. I would like to keep track of their total cumulative hours and total billed. Is there a good software pack that they could use to enter this information, so all the data is in one centralized spot for me to look at?

So instead of pdf, they'd run the app, enter their hours and $ figures. They could also review all their past invoices in one single spot which is good for both of us.
posted by storybored to Work & Money (5 answers total)
What platform do y'all use?

Also: You need to send the invoices in a form that the recipient can use. PDF is a good format for that.
posted by adamrice at 7:53 AM on July 9

The theater school should have its own bookkeeping software: that will do what you described.

Here is a link to free bookkeeping software. From a quick read, ZipBooks might be a good option for you.

I also wonder if it would be easier if all parties use something like Square - I haven't looked deeply into it, but I'd imagine there would be easier integration if all parties invoiced from and paid using the same software.
posted by Silvery Fish at 9:10 AM on July 9

Agree that the bookkeeping software the school uses may be able to do this; if you're using Quickbooks online, it looks like they actually have a feature that will let you do this but if you've already been tracking the hour and rate detail in your payment workflow, you should be able to export that data to a spreadsheet, where it's easier to manage.

Depending on how small your small school is, and assuming the only thing you want to track is hours and amounts paid, I'd personally probably just do it in Excel. While it looks like there are lots of apps for time tracking with various features and price points, I would think twice before interfering with my contractors' established workflow by asking them to learn a new app. But then, I work with a lot of builders and repair people, so I'm happy if I can get a paper invoice that's not too illegible. Your teachers may be a little more flexible!

One thing to bear in mind before you commit to any app is to make sure it will integrate with your existing bookkeeping and/or payroll setup so that you are keeping up with your tax responsibilities; ex. QB Time is not going to be the cheapest, but if you're already using QB it should be easy to add on.
posted by radiogreentea at 2:52 PM on July 9

I've used, it seems to work pretty well if you can get your vendor to enter the data for you and submit the generated invoice. It seem sto link to QuickBooks and other accounting software pretty well.
posted by kschang at 9:31 PM on July 9

Agreed that this is probably already a function of whatever bookkeeping software the theater uses. If it's not, or they currently aren't using bookkeeping software/are doing it all by hand, especially for outfits like small theaters etc. that typically don't have a lot of IT support and often use a lot of volunteers, please consider a standalone application, buy it/license it once and it's yours forever sort of thing, rather than a "must be online" cloud-based service. Migrating data from one platform to another can be a huge pain, and with the way tech things go, the chances that today's cloud-based service will go belly up, or undergo a radical and unpalatable shift in pricing, is very high. Don't paint yourself into a corner with something that seems cheap and easy ("it's all in your browser!") but that will be a nightmare to migrate from when things go bad.
posted by xedrik at 2:23 PM on July 12

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