Cloud computing is very much a buzz word of the moment and refers to the use of online services and storage rather than using local storage or running software on the desktop.
Many Graphic Designers will already be very familiar with using web services through the use of web mail. Web based email services have been popular and widely used for many years and these really are the trail blazers of the cloud computing world.
The services are managed fully through a web browser and can be accessed from anywhere at anytime, as long as the user has their registered user name and password. Modern web mail accounts offer vast amounts of free storage making them a very convenient way of managing email.
Their popularity grew at a time when mobile computing wasn’t as accessible as today, many mobile phones can now be used to send and receive emails, but despite this new flexibility many businesses still see advantages in using cloud services for managing email.
There is also now an expanding range of other services that can make cloud computing an attractive option for Graphic Designers looking to ease the day to day running of their businesses.
Time Tracking and Invoicing Online
One such service that could be very useful for Graphic Designers is an online time tracking and invoicing solution, which can also have the advantage of ensuring that the Graphic Designer’s books are automatically kept in order which can make dealing with tax easier.
For some Graphic Designers, online invoicing and book keeping services have completely replaced the role of an accountant. Some Graphic Designers, however, use these services in combination with an accountant to ensure they are complying with tax law in a manner that is most efficient for them.
Invoicing Tools for Graphic Designers
These are a few popular services currently available and the best of these generally offer similar tools within their services, including:
- Track time spent on projects at a task level
- Keep on top of fixed expenses incurred during projects
- Send and manage invoices from the same interface
- Set up recurring invoices, such as for retained services
- Reports to assist tracking of invoices
- Custom invoice templates to present a professional image to clients
Entering online invoicing service into a search engine will return a wide range of results of companies offering such services. One of the best known is Freshbooks and one of the great features of this service is the API they offer that can make it easy to integrate their tools with an existing online CRM solution. Another younger service that is proving popular with Graphic Design freelancers is Freeagent.
One more option worth a mention is the service offered by Zoho, who will be known by many for their extensive range of cloud computing services that they offer businesses, including online office software. Zoho’s invoicing option allows users to send up to five invoices a month for free.
While some Graphic Designers will never feel comfortable with sharing their account details with an online service, this can be a very convenient and straightforward solution for freelancers and businesses to manage their accounts and invoicing.