“It takes 2 seconds to create an invoice” -Travis Van, ITDatabase

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This is what Travis Van, the founder of ITDatabase had to say about Zoho Invoice.

is a San Francisco based start-up, founded in 2007. It provides
analytical tools for dissecting coverage related to specific tech
topics, competitors, and

other parameters – and helps tech companies
get the aggregate views they need to make important marketing and PR

Here are some excerpts from our conversation with Travis Van.

How did you come up with the idea to start ITDatabase?

real problem we wanted to solve was that for nearly any tech topic, there are
hundreds and often thousands of people writing about it. New authors –
especially bloggers – pop up every day. Authors that wrote about
netbooks and other consumer electronics yesterday are today writing
about Cloud Computing or some other enterprise tech. It’s very
difficult to keep up with the changing focus for publications and
authors – and we felt that there was an opportunity to index all this
content in a much more organized way than anything that was available.
And after years of using every other available tool in the industry we
felt that there was an opportunity to build a tech media research tool
that was much more compatible with PR / marketing folks’ every day

How did you become a Zoho Invoice user?

did a web search for

online invoicing software
. I had quickly learned
that in our sales process, some customers enroll immediately, while
others have much longer approval processes. It became sort of a mess to
keep track of who is at what stage, and it was a bit overwhelming. So I
wanted an easy way to keep track of all of the outstanding invoices,
and I also wanted some reporting to be able to see historical customer
win and renewal dates.

What do you like the most about Zoho Invoice?

me it’s really the simplicity. You hear software developers describe
minimalistic design as the hardest goal for any product to accomplish.
I think Zoho Invoice accomplishes that. It doesn’t impose a bunch of
unnecessary features or configurations on the user. It provides the
perfect tool for the person to get exactly done what they want, and as
a result it is extremely efficient to use. It takes 2 seconds to create
a customer and 2 seconds to

create an invoice
and send it out to them
and then you have a paper trail of when you sent the invoice to the
customer, when its due, etc.. When they pay you, you can add the
payment and have a receipt sent to them instantly. For someone like me
with no background in finance, who is casually floating in and out of
looking at what our outstanding invoices are, what kind of revenues I
can expect in the next 6 months or 3 months – it’s just very nice to
use an invoicing tool that is so straightforward. With Zoho Invoice I’ve never had
a question as to how anything works, it is extremely user friendly.

price I’m paying for keeping my

invoices tracked
within Zoho isn’t much
compared to the time it saves me. Zoho Invoice has really helped me cut
out the time I spend on accounting. I would rather spend that time pursuing other features and improvements for our product. 

So what is Travis Van all about besides work and ITDatabase?

a two year old kid and a start-up, I’m not exactly the most exciting
profile in leisure time activity. But when I’m not working or spending
time with my family, I like to golf or surf. I’m not very good at
either, but that doesn’t stop me. Probably my favorite is just hanging
out at home and trying to cook something new.

You can also share your invoicing story with us, like Travis did.

Write to us now!

Zoho CRM, Invoice & Projects Integration With Gmail Contextual Gadgets

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For a while now, we have been stressing the importance of ‘contextual information integration’ where the focus is on user’s data and context and not the application. To demonstrate this, we have integrated several Zoho Apps and users have reaped the benefits of such integration.

Today, we are expanding this to a third party app – Gmail. Earlier this year, along with Google Apps Marketplace, Google announced Contextual Gadgets for Gmail enabling third party applications to integrate into an email message in Gmail. This falls inline with our approach to contextual integration, so we decided to integrate our Business Apps into Gmail through Gmail Contextual Gadgets.

So, what does this mean to you as a user?

When you receive an email from your customer in Gmail, our CRM Gadget can display the customer information (pulled from Zoho CRM) along with the notes, contact info etc within the email. Similarly, the Invoice gadget can display information like overdue or unpaid Invoices from that customer, all without leaving that email message.

This is just the beginning. There are ​​​​​​​​​many other things you can do through these contextual gadgets. Here are a few …

Zoho CRM

  • With a click, you can search to see if the sender exists in your CRM system
  • From the email, you can add the sender to Zoho CRM as a Contact or a Lead
  • You can add a Potential to a Contact or update it right from the email message
  • If the sender is already present in your CRM database, you can view existing details within the email message
  • You can Add/View Tasks or Notes to the sender within the email message

Additional information about this is

available here

Zoho Invoice

Zoho​​​ Invoice integrates tightly with Google Apps through the contextual gadget and offers this functionality.

  • If the sender is present in the system, his information is pulled from Zoho Invoice and displayed within the email
  • Email History: All emails sent from Zoho Invoice to this user are listed within the gadget
  • You can see all unpaid invoices with status as ‘Unpaid’ or ‘Open’ for the sender
  • You can view the payments received from the sender within the gadget

Additional information about this is

available here

Zoho Projects

We talked about our Zoho Projects contextual gadget


As you see, the possibilities of contextual integration are endless. This is just the beginning. We will be rolling out additional functionality to these gadgets moving forward, and of course, additional Zoho Apps will make their way into Google Apps Marketplace. If you’d like to see any specific app integrated, please drop us a line.

As always, we can’t wait to hear your feedback.

PS: We’d like to thank Google team for their continuous support. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Hello Zoho Invoice! Zoho Creator here!

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Close on the heels of the Zoho Creator – Zoho CRM integration initiative, here is one more reason to cheer. Yet another business application, Zoho Invoice can now talk to Zoho Creator… yeah you heard that right.. not only can you snap up customer orders in an instant, you can also send them their invoice .. right from within Zoho Creator in seconds.

We’ve come up with 2 new Deluge tasks dedicated to this effect. The  zoho.invoice.createdraft() task creates a draft invoice, one that may undergo further changes and the details of which aren’t being reflected in the sales records just yet, at Zoho Invoice.  Our other task zoho.invoice.createinvoice() creates an invoice with an open status, which simply means that the customer has received our goods/services and is yet to make partial or complete payment for the same. Invoices can be generated for single or multiple items depending upon your need.  And if a record for the particular customer already exists in Zoho Invoice, you can do the rate calculations from the existing record itself.

Us having a fully detailed support document explaining this feature in all its glory isn’t news. So head over to the help center for the nitty gritties of this feature and yes, those of you who badly wanted this to be in place.. There you go!

New Gadget for Zoho Invoice

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In the last post for Zoho Gadgets, we promised having gadgets for the Zoho business apps. First in line is Zoho Invoice. Zoho Invoice is now available as a gadget and this can be embedded wherever you want – Zoho Business’ Dashboard, iGoogle, Facebook, Orkut, any Open Social XML compatible site or any web app/page where you can embed an iframe.

You can view a list of your latest invoices and estimates. You can add new invoices too.

You can view an invoice in detail. Also possible is editing, printing and seeing the invoice as pdf.

The Zoho Invoice gadget embedded in an iGoogle page

The Zoho Invoice gadget as part of the Zoho Business Desktop (Dashboard)

Hope you like this new Zoho Invoice gadget. Try it out. More importantly, do let us know what more functionality you would like to see in this gadget.