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Cobalt Blog
  • Cobalt

The position

Accounting is one of the most conservative sectors there are. Both the accountant and the financial people at the companies stick to what they know - even if that often means printing out reports for them. Also accounting on itself is more complicated then we think it is. GST in some countries, multiple currency support, tax laws and reporting requirements can all have slight differences. Each country has it’s own rules. That means there are lots of local accountancy applications and expensive and clucky, but that’s what they use and will keep using.
But… Cobalt’s objective is by no means replacing these pro-applications. We want to create a dashboard for the company, the perfect software for the daily paper work and a tool that gives clear and tidy reports and numbers to your accountant.

FAQ #3: The projects’ prices

One of the strengths of Cobalt is the ability to attach different price categories to a project.

Project tab

Here you see an example of a record label. The project where we zoom into is a random cd produced by the company. They publish the cd and distribute it worldwide. You see they have different prices for different regions or distribution ways.

faq3_pricetypes
 

Invoices Out tab

Now, if we create an invoice we can not only select the project but also select which price you want to use.
faq3_invoice2There is also an option to create a freeform line to the invoice this means you only select a project, not a projects’ price.



Reports tab

faq3_reportsmallOf course at the “Reports” tab you find details on the totals of the sales and it’s categories. Of course you can personalize the different price categories yourself. You can do this at the settings tab. If you’re making websites you can make eg “development”, “design”, “research”, or if you organise events you can make it “presales” and “at the door”. If you have any trouble at this feel free to ask us advice.

FAQ #2: Can you explain the projects a little bit better?

Projects are the core of Cobalt. See it as a general term for any category you can make. Maybe that’s not always clear instantly.  If you want a good overview of a certain aspect of your company, create a project for it. Maybe you sell mostly products? Then see the product as a project.

faq_projects1

Eg If you run a small kite shop this can be a possible option:

  • Toy Kites (project group)
    • Purple kite
    • Orange kite
  • Professional Kites (project group)
    • Powerkite delta F100
    • Powerkite delta F121
    • Powerkite 4-liner

You have project and project groups. Start by creating the project groups. After that you can start making projects attached to a project group. Also we advice you to create a general project group, with this example you’ll have something like:

  • General (project group)
    • General
    • Rent
    • Accounting
    • Promotion
    • Salaries
  • Toy Kites (project group)
    • Purple kite
    • One line
  • Professional Kites (project group)
    • Powerkite delta
    • One line

FAQ #1: how does the linking with the payments work?

This is the first in an FAQ serie where we’ll try to explain some of Cobalt’s features in a clear way. One of the key features in Cobalt is how the invoices are linked to their payments. Keeping track of all your payments is really important and in Cobalt there are several ways to make the links.

faq_paymentlinks

1. There are two ways to fill in the payments:
  • Create or edit an invoice and choose “Add a payment”. Cobalt will add a payment entry in the payments section and link it with your invoice. This is perfect for cash receivings.
  • The safest and most professional way.  Import your credit card or bank info statement in the payment section. Create or edit an invoice and choose “Link payment”. Cobalt will search in the payments section if there is a payment for the client from the invoice. Choose a payment entry and the link is made. Additionally, you can also make a link in the other direction, from the payments to the invoice section.

2. Deleting payment:
  • From the invoices (in & out) sections. If you check the details of the payment links from an invoice you’ll see that cobalt makes a difference between the ways you made the payment link (see above 1a and 1b). If you did choose Add payment (1a) you can edit and delete the payment straight from the invoice tab. If you have made a real “safe” link (1b) you can only delete or edit the link, not the payment entry.
  • From the payment section. If you delete a payment entry in the payment section then you just delete it.

What can you do with all this?

It might look a bit cumbersome to enter all your payments, but it’s the only way to keep track of your accountancy.

  • It means that you’ll see instantly what got paid, on which account and on which date, and what people owe you. You can resend an invoice if you like.
  • You can see what you paid, when and how and what you still have to pay.
  • You’ll also see if of an invoice is missing. That happens more then you think. eg A restaurant charged you 45eur for a business dinner but you forgot to put the bill in the accountancy.
  • You’ll be able to make exports and overviews for the acccountant

Major update online

Followers of our blog might think we were slacking but in the last months we worked continuously on Cobalt.

We fixed lots of little bugs, improved the database, worked on the usability. Some of the new features:

1_exportsCvs export option for contacts, invoices out, invoices in, payments

2_invoicesin

Quick inline editing of invoices in/expenses

3_payments

Quick inline editing of payments

4_multiplepayments

Possibility to link multiple invoices to a payment

5b_internaltransferInternal transfer option in payments section

Freshbooks vs Cobalt

People ask me all the time what’s the additional value between cobalt and Freshbooks, the leader in the online invoicing market.

freshbooks
Well, there is a big difference on the base. For Cobalt a project is on it’s own. You link an invoice with a project and that’s it. At Freshbooks they have a different approach. For them you work on projects for a client. So if you have an expense (in cobalt that’s ‘invoice in’) then you have the option to assign it to a client, and additionally choose one of the projects you work on for them. That means if you have a project or a product you’re working on that’s not assigned to a specific client you’re in trouble. Freshbooks has more a time tracking approach: you work for a client and sporadically you have expenses for that client.

Working on Cobalt

workingoncobalt

Looking for twenty beta testers

In the coming weeks we’re rolling out some updates on the application. To make sure everything runs smootly we’re looking some people that want to test out the new features. After all the work we’re looking for some real world feedback! If you’re interested drop me an email at dave@cobaltapp.com or DM me at twitter @davedriesmans

Survey of 17 accounting applications

Small Business Trends is a blog on business, management & start-ups focusing. They did a little research on the accountancy market and choose 17 bookkeeping apps priced for small businesses “that they think you might want to check out”. Cobalt is one of them: 17 targeted choices

Favo cocoa-cloud apps to improve your workflow

We don’t have to tell you there is a trend developing: cloud computing is the talk of the day and even the traditional software companies have (or are working on) decent internet applications. We’ll have a hotly competitive field here!
Some things don’t belong in the cloud (Final Cut Pro in a browser?) but cloud computing is the way to go if it’s all about sharing data. But we think it even gets better if you can combine cloud software with native software. Native software still gives you a snappier and faster interface, and makes it possible to keep working without internet access and that’s more then you would love. Here’s a little list that makes our lives as mac os x users a lot better. Products that combine the best of two worlds to enhance your workflow.

Droplr

Droplr is all about small file sharing on max os x: send images or small notes to friends, embed urls in twitter etc… Here a little video introdution:


Droplr is designed and developed by Josh Bryant of TinyCrumb and Levi Nunnink of Culturezoo. Download it at droplr.com

Cloud App

cloudappApplication in private beta from the excellent spanish icon and user interface designer Jonatan Castro. His studio, Midtone Design, released a first version in september. Cloud app is a bit a generic name for what it does now: uploading images. Drag an image to the application and it uploads the image to a server.
It’s really good but needs some improvement, and maybe more features to make it true. getcloudapp.com

Scrup

scrupsplashOpen source application made by one of the swedish designers at Spotify, Rasmus Andersson.
Scrup is for screenshots only. When you take one, it saves and uploads the file (to a server of your choice) and returns an url. That’s all, but really handy. Snow Leopard only.
Scrup 
 

Dropbox


Top notch! Dropbox works like an additional hard drive on your computer. You put stuff in there and it synchs with your webspace at Dropbox, and that all in a really simple and intuitive way. You can open up folders for friends and even publish a public link. You get 2Gig for free so you’re able to work with big files from the start.
Additional you can also use for version back up. You change a file and later regret the changes you made, don’t worry— you can go back to Dropbox’s web site and retrieve an older version.
dropbox.com

Evernote


Personal favourite. Evernote is designed for universal 24-7 access. You can use it on your desktop, online, or via your phone to keep your files and notes synced and up to date in all locations. You can also push screenshots and web pages straight to your Evernote account. Evernote works like a quick searchable and taggable notebook, and with built-in ocr you can also scan images. Evernote isn’t mac os x only, you’ll also find it for Windows, iPhone and even Android.
evernote.com