Simple Invoices: Full-Featured Open Source Web-Based Invoicing

Simple Invoice

Overview

Recently, we downloaded, installed, and ran Simple Invoices to get a feel for its capabilities.

We found Simple Invoices to be a well-featured invoicing application.  It is an open source, web based solution that supports taxes and has a very user friendly invoice creation form. Although easy to use once installed, installation requires some technical PHP skills, which may keep a lot of less technical people from using the application.

Pros

- Support for taxes
- Itemized or Total-style invoices
- Simple to use invoice creation form
- Invoices can be exported in PDF, Excel and Word
- Custom fields
- Invoice from multiple companies

Cons

- Installation problems
- Confusing initial setup
- Navigation menu counter intuitive
- No currency
- No custom log
- No discounts capability
- No online payments

Give it a try

You can try the demo installation at the Open Source As A Service site:
http://www.osaas.org/simpleinvoices/
Username: demo@osaas.org
Password: demo123

Simple Invoices web site:
http://www.simpleinvoices.org/
Forums:
http://www.simpleinvoices.org/forum/

Screen shots

Simple invoice view

Invoice View

Simple Invoice PDF export

PDF export

Simple Invoice edit form

Invoice Edit Form

Simple Invoices, invoice list

Invoice List

Simple Invoices reports totals

Report Total per product

Simple invoices report Year view earnings

Report, year view earnings

Installation

Overall, the installation was not too bad.  We did have to edit some source code files and then upload the site to our host via ftp.
When we first started the application, we had some problems with reports and some other features.  After investigation, we discovered that some required modules where not detected during the installation process, including the XLS module which is a dependancy of phpReports.
If you don’t understand what I just said,  contact the SQLFusion guys for a help with installation and setup.

Using it

Even after installation, Simple Invoices is not yet ready to go.  You can’t just start creating invoices right away.  First, you need to setup a biller, your customers, and the different items you are selling or providing.  All the navigation and user actions are in the menu, it takes a few minutes to get used to it but once you get a handle on it the interface functions pretty smoothly.

When you create an invoice you can choose to have it itemized or just the total. This is an interesting option that I have not seen in other invoicing tools. You can choose to have your invoice list multiple items and short description for each or a single large description and the total.
In the itemized view there is a small (probably too small) button for each item that displays a description field for each item. This is useful as descriptions are often optional.

Adding taxes is very easy, just select the appropriate tax for each item. It is not a complete implementation, however. You can not accumulate multiple taxes or apply a discount to the invoice.
Still, even with these drawbacks, you can probably control 90% of the day-to-day invoicing activity. The invoices list as a menu action that includes edit, delete, send by email, export in PDF, Excel or Word and add a payment.

We found is an enticing list of reports but not all are working in our setup.  This might simple be because we do not yet have enough test data. From the simple invoice blog seems like they are all available in thenext version.

When customizing I couldn’t find where to upload my logo or change the currency. I was able to create custom fields for customers and invoices to store values specific to your business or country.

I’ve notice a user management part that should enable customers to access the invoices, but couldn’t make it work with the default install.

Competition

Here are some competitors to compare with Simple Invoice.

Open Source

Commercial
- freshbooks.com
- roninapp.com
- invoicemachine.com
- outright.com
- oe.quickbooks.com
- www.simplifythis.com
- curdbee.com
- lessaccounting.com
- invotrak.com
- blinksale.com
- invoicera.com
- billonsite.com
- getballpark.com
- billingboss.com
- paysimple.com
- invoiceplace.com
- billingorchard.com
- billmyclients.com
- invoicesmadeeasy.com
- simplybill.com
- invoice2go.com
- snapbill.com
- www.zoho.com/invoice

Conclusion

Simple Invoice is a good invoicing application, if a bit rough around the edges.  It is not as usable as some commercial products or Bamboo Invoices, but it is very well featured and has active ongoing development.  Stay tuned for new features.

3 Responses to “Simple Invoices: Full-Featured Open Source Web-Based Invoicing”

  1. justin says:

    Hi SQLFusion

    thanks for the review!! much appreciated!!

    re Cons
    - No currency

    we have a very simple approach to this – just edit the invoice preference you want to use and set the currency symbol there – Simple Invoices is not an acccounting app so no currency conversion non-sense here :)

    - No discounts capability

    you can setup a negative tax and apply that to an invoice or line items
    - can be $ or % based

    - No online payments

    the next release 2010.2 – which is in beta testing now – has support for paypal and eway

    Cheers

    Justin
    - simpleinvoices.org

  2. Attila says:

    Hi, I know I am off-topic, but I would be very-very happy if anyone could give me any feedback about the app I’m developing in my free time.

    It’s an online invoice data analyzer tool.

    Does it seem to be useful to anyone or is it totally useless?

    What it’s good for: you can import your invoices, then you can add custom attributes to your payment, customer or product data and you can generate interesting reports based on the info you provided.

    It’s something like a very simple data mining tool but only for invoice data.

    http://successminer.com

    many thanks

  3. Graham says:

    we have a very simple approach to this – just edit the invoice preference you want to use and set the currency symbol there – Simple Invoices is not an acccounting app so no currency conversion non-sense here
    +1

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