BaccS review by Chris

Source: Yahoo groups conversation (link)

Copy/pasted as-is, without any changes

Hello all,

I've been meaning to share my impressions about BaccS for a while, and Rob's email has reminded me to do so.

I read Lorenzo's original email with some interest as I had been looking for an alternative to my Excel spreadsheet solution for quite a while. My spreadsheet certainly works, but it is less efficient than I would like, and manually creating and crosschecking all invoices (even using my templates) seems to take so much time. I tried out some other solutions, both online and on my own computer, but I wasn't happy enough with any of them to abandon my spreadsheet. I also tried to create an Access database, but it ended in failure! I thought that BaccS sounded like a good idea and decided to give it a try. I ran the trial version for a fortnight and tested both the dummy data and some data of my own. I liked what I saw so I bought a licence a few weeks ago. Like Lorenzo, I felt that the price was very affordable for the functionalities it provides and I also liked the way that the developer took ideas on board and implemented them.

When I purchased a licence, I uninstalled the trial version and installed a new version from scratch. I then spent the guts of an afternoon inputting my own data - clients, rates, job types, jobs that hadn't yet been invoiced etc. These can be imported using excel templates which are provided - I used these to upload my client list and manually entered everything else. I found that there was an order to be followed when setting up the software for the first time - eg enter currencies first, followed by units and prices - and the time I had spent experimenting with the trial version helped me understand this. As SafeTex mentioned, there are certain fields that can't be filled manually (eg 'Invoice number' on the Job creation page - this is filled automatically when the invoice is created) and maybe these could possibly be greyed out in later versions to avoid confusion. Some fields rely on information previously entered in 'catalogs' (eg currency, rate, units, work types) so if the information has not been entered in the catalogs, these fields cannot be filled or the dropdown list remains empty. (Note that if you enter info in catalogs while a form is open, you may need to refresh the data on the form you're trying to fill - there's a 'refresh data' button on every page for this.)

I know in my own case, I needed quite a bit of time to enter all the data. However, once this was entered, it was easy to use the software on a daily basis to enter jobs, mark jobs as complete, and to invoice various jobs. Any time I ran into a problem, I emailed Eugene (the developer) and he always replied promptly. He either explained what I was doing wrong, or marked the issue as a bug and it would be fixed in the next build - I can't recall having to wait more than a day for a new build to fix a bug.

As noted by Lorenzo, I feel that a little investment (both financial and in terms of time) on my part will go a long way. Any suggestions for improvements or feature requests that I have made have all been implemented shortly afterwards and I think this is extremely helpful. Although I tried to customise the invoice template myself, I got completely confused so I ended up emailing the developer a pdf of my current email and my requirements and he created a custom template that I could use. From what I can see, most of the information (jobs, clients, invoices etc) can be exported to various formats (pdf, csv, excel, word, html) and I use this for backups. (There is also a backup function that saves everything to an xml file, but I like having backed-up information in easy-to-read plain text.)

I find the information on the dashboard is useful - it provides an overview of jobs received/in progress etc, unpaid invoices, jobs to be invoiced, and a customer balance statement. I think it's easier than trying to keep track of things in my spreadsheet. I'm using both systems in parallel at the moment, and I haven't run into any problems. All going well, I plan on using BaccS exclusively in the near future. I have to say that I'm happy with the EUR30 or so I spent and I think it's a worthwhile investment.

I hope this is useful.

All the best,