Introducing : Timetracking for your bugs

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A typical work day of a team member in a software development team :

You’re a team member in charge of a performance module and currently working on few critical bugs that needs to be delivered for a customer before this weekend.

Here’s how you can effectively use Zoho BugTracker to organize and fix bugs fast :

  • Create a business rule with module as Performance and severity as Critical. All the bugs with this module name and severity gets automatically assigned to you in Zoho BugTracker
  • There needs to be a way to categorize these reported bugs. Our BugTracker allows you to easily categorize them as open, to be analyzed, to be tested and add more Custom Status using Status and Workflow option under Bug Settings
  • Once categorized you can Sort and View bugs based on due or created date in the Bugs View. You can create a new custom field called This Week and use Bulk Update option to select and update the bugs to be fixed for This Week and you’re done. Every day when you login you can see the bugs progress in the Feeds panel under In Progress view.
  • As the weekend approaches, you need to record the entire week’s efforts. For this, make use of Weekly timesheets to record the time spent to fix the bugs for this particular customer and of course you can also Generate Invoices using Zoho Invoice and follow for payments.
  • If you wish to notify your Boss you can do so by adding him or her as Follower to know what you have been working on.
  • Finally, if you want you can deactivate this business rule using Activate or Deactivate option under Business Rules.

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10 Reasons Why Tracking Time Matters

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‘Time tracking is such a waste of time!’

I’ve often heard people say that. Honestly, if you are a freelancer, you’ll know that time accounting is a serious task  as you get  paid by the hour. So why is time tracking all that important?  Top of the mind, this is why I think:

1. Albert Einstein had only 24 hours. So do youTime-Tracking
No one is saying you are not a genius like him. Of course you are! But when you are heading a project, you cannot whip out extra time in the last minute.

Quick Tip: PLAN. Go back to the basics. Make a task list and stick to it.

2. Energy Drainers – Count them in too
Your mobile, email, internet and staring at the clock itself will eat away your carefully planned time. They have a unique way to disrupt your carefully planned time. Tracking your time helps to keep them at bay.

Quick Tip: While planning, set aside some time for energy drainers.

3. Bill your time right
Would you like to be paid by the hour for your expertise or by fixing a rate for the ultimate finished product.  As a freelancer your time’s worth should be estimated carefully before you bill your client on the basis of project hours, staff hours or task hours.

Quick Tip: Spend some time to know which project billing method suits you the best.

4. Heard of umm ‘delegating’
Ever noticed the amount of time you spend on actually doing what you love and the time spent on administrative tasks to get to do what you want to do? Share your workload.

Quick Tip: Add more people to the project and let them track their own time.

5. We all procrastinate – No exception
“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday”. Ahem I didn’t say that…Don Marquis did and I kind of agree. We procrastinate filling up those timesheets that when the day dawns to send the invoice, we rush and do a shoddy work of essaying the work we did.

Quick Tip: Do it small bits like once in 3 days instead of once a week.

6. ‘I don’t remember ‘ – syndrome
Not everyone is blessed with exceptional memory. As a freelancer, chances are you will be working on multiple projects and for many clients. The simple things might skip your mind when you finally get to your timesheets.

Quick Tip: Use the notes and write it down when it’s fresh in the mind.

7. Busy bees are awfully busy all the time
“I’ll fill it when I’m not so busy”. Well THAT… somehow never happens. Even if it does, then point no 5 and 6 pitch in and the rest is history. Prise out some time everyday to keep track of what you’ve achieved and where you are headed.

Quick Tip: Keep your mobile handy. Before starting the task, click start the timer. Let the app do the tracking.

8.My client ‘KNOWS’ the work I do
I know he does. But let’s be honest, you might be the best person working on the job but you are not the only one. Why make your client track your work when you can do an awesome job of it yourself. Remember… clients observe.

Quick Tip: Send out an immensely detailed invoice of the tasks accomplished with description. It’ll speak a lot about your professionalism.

9. Increased sense of accomplishment
Don’t know about you, but I love the happy fuzzy feeling that comes when a task is complete. It lets me know that I’m almost close to that finishing line and gives me that additional motivation to get the rest of the job done.

Quick Tip: Track your tasks and their progress regularly. Nothing disturbs the mind like a pending task.

10.It’s a friday job
It’s friday today and I know for a fact I have far more interesting things to do than fill up timesheets. So do you!   You often have to reverse engineer your way to noting down what you did the entire week.

Quick Tip: Spend 5 min a day to write down the key tasks. Elaborate later.

Well these were some of the reasons why I thought tracking time is so crucial. Would love to know why you track time. Share your inputs right here in the comments below.

Importing data from Blinksale to Zoho Invoice

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We have been getting quite a few requests from our customers as to how they can import data from their Blinksale account to Zoho Invoice.  Earlier we used to send manual procedures and assist customers individually but still it was not easy for our customers to import the data.

Now with the last upgrade, we have made this import lot easier.  Here is how you can import your data from Blinksale to Zoho Invoice –

  1. Sign-in to Zoho Invoice and click on the “Settings” link at the top right.
  2. Now, click on the “Import from Blinksale” link at the left under the “Import & Export Settings”
  3. Fill in the requested details and click on the “Import” button

All your invoices and customers along with their associated details will be imported into Zoho Invoice.

We also recommend you to take a look at the following wiki doc – “Importing data from Blinksale” in which we have listed out the known issues.

After moving to Zoho Invoice, if I want to switch to some other invoicing service how easy or difficult will it be?

We sincerely hope you won’t do that :)   Anyway it is your choice.

You can export data out of Zoho Invoice anytime you want.  All you have to do is export the data from Zoho Invoice, change it to the format supported by that particular service and import it into that service.  We have a pretty comprehensive set of options to export your data.  We help exporting the data in CSV, TSV, XLS, JSON and other standard formats.  For further details you can refer the blog post that I made on importing and exporting options in Zoho Invoice.

What Next?

We are also working on our APIs and we will be releasing them shortly.  APIs will definitely add to the list of import/export options and will make the job of importing/exporting data lot easier.

Give this a try and share your comments.

Regards

Siva

Importing/exporting contacts from/to your mail clients (Address Book) – Announcing support for vCards in Zoho Invoice

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Now it is easy for you to move your contacts between Zoho Invoice and your mail clients (address books) like Microsoft Outlook, Mac Address Book, GMail, Yahoo mail etc.  Yes, we are happy to announce the support for vCard import and export, the most commonly used standard to manage and transfer contact information.

How do I import the contacts from my mail client to Zoho Invoice?

  1. The first step will be to export the contacts from your mail client in vCard format.  The procedure to export contact information as vCard differs for each mail client.  Here I have explained the procedure for one of the most popular mailing service – GMail.  Shortly we will be publishing the procedure for other popular mail clients in our help docs.
    • Sign-in to your GMail account.
    • Click on the “Contacts” link and select the contacts you want to export.
    • Click on the “Export” link and select “vCard format” for exporting the data.
    • Click on the “Export” button and save the file.
  2. Now Sing-in to your Zoho Invoice account.
  3. Click on the “Customers” tab and click on the “Contacts” link on the left.
  4. Click on the “Import Contacts” link at the top right.
  5. Click on the “Import” link next to “vCard”.  Browse and give the file that you have saved from your mail client.
  6. All your contacts will be imported into Zoho Invoice.

Note: We will re-use the “last name” of the contact for Company/organization name if it is not specified for the contact.

How do I export the contacts from Zoho Invoice?

  1. Sign-in to your Zoho Invoice account.
  2. Click on the “Customers” tab and click on the “Contacts” link on the left.
  3. Now click on the “Export Contacts” link at the top right.
  4. In the export page that comes up, click on the “Download” link next to “vCard”.
  5. All your contacts will be exported as a single vCard file.

You also have to option to import or export your contacts individually from the contact’s details page.

Hope you find this feature useful; don’t forget to share your comments with us, as it goes a long way in improving our service.

Regards
Siva

Freedom to move your data whenever and wherever you need to – Support for Import and Export in Zoho Invoice

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Now you have complete flexibility and freedom to move your data in and out of Zoho Invoice at your will.  Yes, we are happy to announce the support for import and export functionality in Zoho Invoice, a feature long awaited but well worth the wait.

What can you import or export?

Your complete set of data!

Yes, you can import or export your customer information, contacts, the items you sell (products or services), invoices and quotes.

What are the formats supported?

We have support for most of the standard formats.

  • Data can be exported in CSV (Comma Separated Values), TSV (Tab Separated Values), XLS (Spreadsheet) and JSON formats.  Additionally we also support exporting of customer and contact information in vCards (.vcf files) format.
  • You can import your data in CSV (Comma Separated Values) or TSV (Tab Separated Values) formats.  Additionally we also support vCard format for importing your contacts or customer information

If you feel, we have missed out any important format drop us a note.  We will be more than happy to add support for that format.

Couple of screenshots for a quick look:

Importing contact information into Zoho Invoice:

Importing contacts in Zoho Invoice

Exporting invoices from Zoho Invoice:

Exporting invoices from Zoho Invoice

Please feel free to share your comments.  You can try out this feature by signing into Zoho Invoice now.

Happy invoicing,
Siva

Sending your first invoice – Video

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Reading documents is a pain, watching and learning is easy and fun. Yes, we understand this. That is why we have come up with a video to demonstrate the basic features of our invoicing service.

The video obviously does not walk you through each and every feature of the service, but quickly demonstrates how to create and send invoices to your clients. I have embedded the video below for a quick view-

For better quality checkout #

Hope you find this useful. We would like to hear from you, feel free to share your comments.

This is just our first video, we have more to follow!

Happy Invoicing!
Siva

Attach purchase order, expense receipts and other supporting documents with your invoices

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We are happy to announce the support for attaching documents while sending your invoices. Now you can attach your purchase order (PO), expense receipts and other supporting documents with your invoices.

How to attach documents?

You can attach documents while sending the invoice to your client. It is like attaching documents to your e-mail.

  1. Click on the “Send” button in the invoice details page.
  2. In the “Send Invoice” screen that comes up, click on the “Add” link in the attachment window to add your attachments.

Look at the image below for details:

Attaching PO with Invoice

What Next?

We will be enhancing this feature further. Instead of searching and attaching the documents while sending invoice to your client. We will give you options, to attach documents to the invoice as and when they are ready. Say for example, you will be able to attach an expense receipt to an invoice upon incurring that expense. While sending the invoice, the documents will be automatically attached to the invoice; of course you will have the option to remove the attachments.

Hope you find this feature useful. We would like to hear from you, feel free to share your comments.

Check into this feature by signing into Zoho Invoice now.

Happy invoicing,
Siva