An App to Consolidate and Streamline Your Invoices

Last Updated Jun 28, 2011 9:07 AM EDT

Yesterday, I talked about the bane of many a small business -- invoices. If you found yourself nodding along to the 7 common invoicing blunders I mentioned, then you might be interested in a solution: an online integrated invoicing system. In the past, I've mentioned other invoicing tools, like WorkingPoint, but I've recently found a compelling new alternative.

Tradeshift is an online invoicing service where you can trade invoices with partners and clients easily and efficiently.

The site is smartly designed; it's easy to navigate and simple to learn. Once you set up a free account, you can start sending PDF invoices to anyone in your accounting system. But the site's real power is revealed when you persuade your business partners to also join; then you can exchange invoices online. It's always a challenge to get folks to make an investment like this -- remember what it was like when LinkedIn first showed up? -- but it takes literally 90 seconds to get an account, and it's free.

Creating invoices is blissfully straightforward, and you can edit various aspects of your invoice to make it more relevant to your business needs. You can add attachments to your invoices, specify payment methods, and more. That said, it's surprisingly manual -- you can't set up recurring events or save resources to insert into future invoices.

The site's dashboard approach lets you work invoices, manage your business network (other companies who have linked to you via Tradeshift) and install apps that extend the functionality of Tradeshift. There are apps to connect Tradeshift with PayPal, to create purchase orders, and use Tradeshift via your Android phone, among others. You can also submit ideas for -- and vote on -- potential Tradeshift apps. Based on one at the top of the stack (a way to set up recurring invoices) it's clear that other Tradeshift customers recognize some of the shortcomings in this service.

Tradeshift is a promising online invoicing tool. It addresses some of the key blunders I mentioned yesterday, but it's obvious that the service has some room to grow. If you're looking for a simple way to manage your invoices, though, Tradeshift might be a good bargain.

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