Fresh Faces: Joe Scarpa

March 11, 2008

Photo of Joe ScarpaMy name is Joe Scarpa and I’m the founder and “chief healer” at Mac House Calls, an Apple-certified computer services company.

“We are able to accept credit cards on-site via FreshBooks’ integration with Authorize.Net.”

About two years ago I made my first attempt at automating our invoicing process. I devised a system that ran on Palm OS based on a package from an upstate software company.

Overall it was pretty slick; our consultants used the software on their Palm Treo handhelds to create invoices and time slips, complete with job notes. Through a custom interface, the information from the Treos was imported into our accounting system, MYOB. It was really easy to create invoices on a Treo; just a few clicks did the trick.

This was a giant step forward from our previous system (paper with carbon copies, hand-entered into the accounting system), but it still had numerous shortcomings:

  • It was very difficult to enter job notes. Typing on the Treo keyboard was cumbersome, and as a result we found our consultants often waited until the end of the day to do this, rather than at the time the work was complete.
  • We had no integrated way of handling credit card payments. We mostly ended up calling these in by phone.
  • The Palm-based system didn’t allow us to leave the customer a receipt at the time services were rendered. Instead, receipts were e-mailed out from our accounting system after having been imported.

“The FreshBooks interface is fast and intuitive.”

These shortcomings rendered this method more labour-intensive and error-prone than we wanted, so right around the time we were ready to replace the Treos with iPhones, I started looking for another solution.

Thanks to FreshBooks, here’s our new and improved process:

  1. A customer calls for an appointment. If the customer is new, he’s added to MYOB; a drag-and-drop interface copies him to Address Book, and into FreshBooks via its API.
  2. The consultant finishes the work and creates an entry on-site in FreshBooks. We are able to accept any kind of payment, including credit cards via FreshBooks’ integration with Authorize.Net. The customer receives a printed invoice on the spot, and an e-mail with a link to the invoice online.
  3. Via the FreshBooks API, each FreshBooks invoice created during the day is imported into MYOB.

That’s it! This system has really worked out for us.

We’re pleased with how the team at FreshBooks worked with us to address any issues that came up while working through things. Our Web-based system is more reliable and less error-prone than our previous system. The FreshBooks interface is fast and intuitive, and its API uses standard XML, so it was easy to understand and easy to work with, using both C and AppleScript.

Our customers are impressed with our streamlined processes, and we’re pleased with the bottom-line benefits.

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.