The 21st Century has given us an explosion of accessible technology and astounding technical talent. One of the most profoundly impactful aftershocks of that explosion has been the opportunity to exponentially enhance the nexus of software value: comprehensive functionality meets unwrinkled usability meets inconsequential expense. We had the opportunity to kick around the Invoice Ninja platform and it turns out that this is one piece of software that has certainly seized that opportunity.
In a nutshell, Invoice Ninja is an online platform that allows anyone from a sole proprietor to a meaty enterprise to easily manage all their invoicing needs. But when we say, “all” their invoicing needs, there is little hyperbole applied. A metaphor of the experience lies somewhere between a Babushka doll, an onion, and an Easter-egg hunt in a diabetic’s cupboard; it’s simple, it’s layered, and it is just jammed with goodies.
The most notable characteristic of Invoice Ninja is a coverage of the basics in such a way that their access and execution indeed feel basic, but their underlying strength and flexibility feels anything but elementary. Take, for instance, your first few steps to set up.
Invoice Ninja: Configuration & Customization
These days, you have to accept online payments, right? So once you’ve added all the information on your own company—which takes all of 3 minutes–you jump over to the Online Payments area in the settings and see this:
You check the settings you want, you select the credit cards you want to accept, you click, “Sign up with WePay”, you click a link in an email confirmation, and you’re done. Really. That’s all it takes to accept online payments with major credit cards and become a WePay user (if you weren’t one already). It’s the definition of a seamless experience and integration.
If you’re inclined to keep digging, it gets better. Clicking on the “Use another provider” button eventually takes you to an interface offering integration with over 45 payment gateways, including Stripe, PayPal and several other platforms you probably haven’t heard of unless you’re actually a ninja (special thank you to all ninjas subscribed to SnapMunk)…
If you want to get running right after that, you can; just create a client record quickly so that you can send them a new invoice…
Once again, if you look closely, you’ll see that deep layering of functionality bubbling up a bit; all recent activity; outstanding amounts and credits are aggregated and summarized at the bottom; all the client information is neatly laid out on the top; and in the middle, a sexy little map to remind you where to send the bruisers if they don’t pay their bills.
Also, take special note of that “Payment Terms: Net 30” line – it’s one of many luxuries afforded in an elegant online invoicing platform like Invoice Ninja.
Invoice Ninja: Effortless Invoicing, Products & Quotes
Now, depending on your preferred workflow, you could just jump into a new invoice and decide everything as you go. We here at SnapMunk, however, like the “Configure Then Conquer” methodology, so we pop back into the Settings area and enjoy the customization and templating options.
First, there are 10 varying style and layout templates just waiting for you. But beyond that, you can even customize the details of each template:
And while you’re playing around, you get a real-time preview below:
Notice the killer logo for customization. You can also customize the URL to which clients are sent to pay their invoices (e.g., snapmunk.invoiceninja.com).
Or course you’ll want to set up your most commonly sold products, right? Who wants to keep typing in the same thing over and over on each invoice? So just jump into the Product Library and go crazy with your inventory:
What about localizing all your invoices with things like date format and default currency? Not only do they have your currency, but they have more than 40 others, including Tanzanian Shillings:
If Tanzanian Shillings doesn’t win you over, we don’t know what will.
Then you can set up your notification preferences (we here at SnapMunk prefer hard core snoopage):
There are other options around tax rates, client portal security (you can force / set passwords on a per-client basis), custom fields, and even how your invoice numbers are formatted and prefixed. Trust us; it’s pretty much everything. But as of now, we’re more than ready to run.
So we just whip up an invoice in a matter of minutes (they can be one-offs or reoccurring), again while checking a live preview below the data entry:
At this point, we’re not going to lie; we’re only about one sword short of feeling like a legit ninja, just without a bunch of crazy training and meditation on some secluded mountain-hut in Bhutan.
There is of course the option to create quotes, in support of which is this ridiculously straight forward configuration option:
Invoice Ninja: Even More Highlights
We could go on for a while, but we’ll just wrap up with three more highlights.
First one: Tasks & time tracking. Beyond just adding fixed unit line items, you can actually create tasks assigned to clients and time the task so that a detailed on-the-clock element can be turned into an invoice:
Second one: newly added Enterprise features. Again, don’t be fooled by the design simplicity of this platform; it is not just for the Moms & Pops and their odd little shops. Just recently Invoice Ninja added the ability to add external documents as attachments to invoice emails—contracts, presentations, illustrations, etc.—and the ability to configure multiple levels of user access: Administrator, Create rights, View rights, and Edit rights.
Third one: Open Source Self-Hosting. A little on the technical side, but just as cool as anything else. In short, if you want to entirely take the reins (which would make you an Invoice Shōgun?), you can just pop over to the Self-Hosting area of their website, download their code (complemented by their Developer Guide) and then after setting up the necessary infrastructure layers, run the platform on your own servers, as your own in-house product. All yours, all the time; open source, no cost. If you’ve got the technical resources, you’ve got the option.
Invoice Ninja: Disruptive Pricing
Despite the presumed stealth of your run-of-the-mill ninjas, there are a lot of things about this software that make it pretty “disruptive” to the existing space. But as much as we appreciate the functionality, the most disruptive part of this whole thing might very well be the pricing: most of the stuff we showed you is free.
The base package, which gets you a ton of stuff, starts at $0, forever. From there, you get a ton more stuff for a whopping (read: negligible) $8/month. So even when it’s not totally free, it’s kinda free. That’s cheaper than Netflix, and we’re pretty sure it will make you—and save you—a lot more money. Don’t believe us? Check out the pricing:
For a robust feature set, almost infinite integrations and unlimited invoicing, the solution is literally hundreds of dollars cheaper than several alternatives in the market. And that make sense. Ninjas aren’t known for their greed, glitz and glamour. They’re are all about the essentials and the exceptional. And kicking ass. They’re definitely known for kicking ass too.
This piece has been sponsored by Invoice Ninja. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that support SnapMunk.