Accounting 2.0 at CloudAve
In an ongoing series of reviews and analysis pieces, CloudAve will be taking a deep look into accounting software for the new world.
See the other posts at this tag
Introduction & Background
Time59 is online time and billing software for solo professionals. It’s designed to make the "getting paid" part of running a business as easy as possible. It keeps track of time and expenses, sends out invoices, and keeps track of money that comes in. As such it’s not a full accounting system but rather a project, time and invoicing solution with a bit of expense management thrown in for good measure.
It would be a surprise if Time59 didn’t provide a free trial period – it’s very much the norm for SaaS solutions. After the trial period Time59 runs to fifty bucks per annum.
The user experience
Time59 is pretty simple and easy to user. Signing up is a piece of cake, as is entering customers, projects and time records. Given the somewhat limited functionality that Time59 has it’d be a surprise if the UI wasn’t easy – the challenge for online accounting applications kicks in when more and more functionality needs to be layered onto an existing busy workspace.
The basic functionality
Time59 allows users to set up customers and projects, enter time worked,
and then create invoices.
Time59 avoid double entry by generating invoices directly from the time entered into the time tracking part of the program. Invoices can be emailed or printed directly from the application or alternatively data can be sent QuickBooks to produce invoices there. Time59 has International date and currency format features.
Summary reports can be generated to show a snapshot for the business.
The security issue
Time59 has a reasonable thorough security and privacy statement which covers the usual issues (secure data centres and 128bit SSL). They also give a blanket assurance that;
With the exception of processing your credit card payment for the service, information you enter into Time59 will never be sold, shared, or disclosed to anyone.
And as a catch all they invite people with security or privacy questions to contact them directly.
Time59 takes regular backups and also lets you backup your data by exporting to Excel or ASCII format. Since it is web based you can access it from any location.
APIs – connecting the dots
Tme59 integrates with QuickBooks – being a fairly light offering and a small responsive company – other integration projects should be easy to get off the ground.
Time59 does a pretty good job of providing a feature to their customers. It has to be said that there a whole bunch of people providing a very similar or identical service out there and there is not much to differentiate Time59 from the other solutions. In this "me too" marketplace, it comes down to price – with a low price ticket of $50/annum Time59 is cheap – but the jury is out over whether that, combined with their offering, is sufficiently compelling to attract customers. So Time59 is OK, it does what it does – but there’s nothing to make a business leap up and take notice – in this busy marketplace a point of difference is important.