Managing invoices by email

SpotInvoice is our simple invoicing tool: visual invoice design lets you see exactly what you'll end up with, and PDF printing gets you a perfect invoice every time. Try Spot Invoice now

The work flow of invoicing was one of the things that consumed us when we were building out Spot Invoice: we felt a lot of the existing invoicing products were too complex. We've used (relatively) awesome tools that still required complex input sequences and data entry into multiple places for the most routine of updates. These were great to start out with or if you have truly complicated invoicing requirements but for simple invoicing tasks became a burden after a while: you log in, go here, go here, go here, click here, type here, type here, all so we can record that we spent $10.95 on a certificate from NameCheap (our favorite certificate vendor, by the way). This was one of our motivations when designing Spot Invoice: the default interface IS the invoice. You open it up, add your line items, hit Save (or it autosaves) and you go on about your day. We're pretty pleased with it: quick, easy, straightforward. The question we then asked ourselves was: could the routine invoice work be done even quicker?

The vast majority of the time all we're doing is recording our hours at the end of the day: once a month we want to print out the invoice and send it to the client (yay!) and occasionally we want to modify a line item, but the incidence of those is dwarfed by simple updates. There had to be a nice, clean way to make those take even less time. While thinking about this we wandered across the nice folks at idonethis.com, which helps teams collect progress reports over email, and we realized: that's it. Everyone is already in their email client: all we needed to do was make it so you can update your invoices by sending an email and we'd be golden! Routine updates wouldn't need you to even log into https://spotinvoice.com: you'd just fire off an email and your invoices would get updated.

Once we picked that up, the rest of it flowed smoothly. The implementation is pretty simple: any properly formatted email sent to inbox@spotinvoice.com is connected to the right account (based on the sender's email address), routed to the right invoice (based on the subject line; if no match is found a new invoice is created!) and then parsed for instructions. The instructions let you add both single items and quantity based items to the invoice using fairly simple syntax: Each line in the email's body should be formatted as shown below.

<price> <description> (for example, (100 SSL Certificate purchase)

or

<quantity> <units> @ <unit price> <description> (for example, (2 hrs @ 100 Installed the SSL certificate and configured NGINX). The image below shows an example.

For the more forgetful among us (present company included) we'll even send you daily, weekly or monthly reminders: you can simply respond to the email with your updates! Additional options allow you to mark an invoice as having been sent to the client or paid by the client. To see more information about all the options take a look at https://www.spotinvoice.com/#/tour/emailinput.

Email is already a major part of most people's workflow: now, you can use it to keep your invoices updated as well. Updating invoices by email is available right now to all users during the initial 14-day trial period or on a Pro or Premium plan: take a look at the documentation and see if Spot Invoice is right for you. Let us know if there are any questions we can answer.