Accounting software for others of us

Written by Vladimir on February 24, 2011 – 4:15 pm -

Micro-businesses require somewhat different things from accounting (or money management, if you wish) software than other types of businesses. What are our current options?

Heavy artillery

Lot of people choose a “safe route” and use tools that are recommended by others (often by their accountants), not even considering the other possibilities. First of all, we don’t need all bells and whistles that some of existing solutions offer. Even those which are intended for small businesses are too much for us, by both features and price. Well, that’s not really surprising, as small companies by definitions are those who have fewer than 50 employees in EU or 500 employees in USA. Our needs are simply different.

But let’s disregard these points for a moment. Let’s say that we don’t mind if software is more powerful that we need, we are ready to learn how it works, and we don’t care if it costs more. One of the most popular solutions doesn’t sell their software to outside a few of countries. They simply don’t care as they are probably satisfied with sales level as it is, which leaves other of us once again out of luck.

Sticks and stones

As micro-business ourselves, all these years, while waiting for a better solution, we used a combination of several applications. For example, we set up bill reminders in personal finance software, print invoices from a spreadsheet and use a simple internal tool that automates the process at least a bit. This tool lets us enter basic data more easily (client, description, amount), and it connects to a MS Excel to fill data into a template that we prepared in advance.

This system works, but it’s far from perfect. Data is scattered, there’s too much steps involved, it’s error-prone and we can forget about most reporting and analysis.

Good idea, but not my cup of tea

Lately other software developers noticed this gap too and decided to fill it. Unfortunately, probably because of the all Web 2.0 buzz, they decided that it should be best to make it as a web based application. Some of these tools are actually pretty nice, but to keep this kind of data on the web could be a great deal-breaker. Besides, some tasks are more easily and comfortably done with an old-fashioned desktop application. You mileage may vary, though.

* * *

If you belong to a group not satisfied with any of three options, you might want to subscribe to our feed or mailing list and receive news about our development progress. As always, you are welcomed to tell us that we are either wrong or right, by commenting here or by sending us an email. So, what do you currently use? What’s a deal-breaker for you? What would you like to see in this kind of software?

Tags: , , ,
Posted in MicroBiz Balance | Comments Off on Accounting software for others of us

Sneak-peek of the main window

Written by Vladimir on February 16, 2011 – 1:46 pm -

MicroBiz Balance screen shot

A screen shot, right from the development desktop

As the software is still in development, we are open to any suggestions you might have. Everything mentioned here is how we imagine the software should look like, but it doesn’t mean that we are right. 🙂 So please feel free to challenge us with your thoughts.

The current development of MicroBiz Balance is, I would say, at somewhere between 50 and 60% from the publishing first beta according to our original plan, but depending on your feedback, this plan could change in both directions.

Here’s a screen shot of the current product state, the very first time shown outside the office we are working in. It’s not much, but you can see the general layout.

Main areas are Dashboard, Accounts, Invoices, Data and Reports.

The Dashboard

Dashboard contains list of accounts with current and future balances. Future balance depends on transactions marked as “Plan” (see the grayed out item in the right-hand list on the screen shot). It will also show a glance on important items, such are unpaid invoices, bills and other upcoming planned transactions.


You can see Accounts area in the screen shot. At the left there’s a list of accounts grouped by type (Home or Business) with their current balances. On the right, there’s a list of transactions for the selected account (inline editing possible). Grayed-out line is a transaction marked as “Plan“, so you’ll have to do something with it at some point (make it official, delete it, postpone it by changing date). Planned items will be auto-generated when appropriate and included in some reports, so you can easily see what could happen with your finances in the future.

Invoices (and Bills?)

Through this area you will be able to create and manage outgoing invoices (and possibly incoming bills, we are still not sure). After you create invoice, it will be automatically entered as a planned transaction. We are also giving lot of thoughts about customizing the look of invoices, but that’s a topic for another post.


Here you will be able to manage all data that doesn’t belong to other areas: partners, categories, tax rates, invoice item templates, currencies, etc.


It is probably clear what this area will contain, but it might be worth mentioning our plans to allow creating custom reports, maybe not for v1.0, but definitely in the future. As with customizing invoice look, it’s a subject for another post.

* * *

Thoughts? What else would you like to see in the first version and what you consider as unnecessary?

Posted in MicroBiz Balance | Comments Off on Sneak-peek of the main window

Here we go…

Written by Vladimir on February 15, 2011 – 3:33 pm -

We would like to make an up-front introduction of the software that we are developing right now: MicroBiz Balance, the accounting solution for startups, freelancers and other micro-businesses. As a micro-company ourselves, we need a solution that falls between too-simple personal finance applications and too-complicated full-blown business accounting applications. If you belong to this group too, you might want to check home page for more details.

During next days we will inform you about our thoughts and development progress, and you are more than welcomed to share your comments and ideas by commenting to blog posts or sending us an email. This could be a great opportunity for you to actively involve into the development and get an appropriate reward at the end.

Stay tuned…

Posted in MicroBiz Balance | Comments Off on Here we go…