Stories by Richard Morochove

Simple Web-based invoicing service has limitations

If you run a small service business and want a simple way to bill customers for your work, FreshBooks.com could be just what you need. This Web-based invoicing service is easy to set up and use, and relatively inexpensive: It's just US$14 per month if you have fewer than 25 clients. (For a higher fee, you can use it to manage as many as 5000 customers.) If you want a complete accounting package, however, you must supplement FreshBooks with third-party software at extra cost.

Keep your business e-mail private

What are the consequences if you e-mail sensitive business information, such as financial statements or a report with evidence of employee wrongdoing, and it falls into the wrong hands?

Microsoft Office Live puts your business online

Microsoft's <a href="http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/officelive/default.aspx">Office Live</a> offers a mix of services for the small business looking to establish an online presence. In addition to Web site and e-mail account management, some editions of Office Live also deliver business services such as contact and time management, and facilitate sharing documents with customers.

Yahoo's improved ad service

There's no quicker solution than pay-per-click search-engine advertising to boost the number of visitors to your e-commerce Web site. But which PPC service should you use?

Selecting a Domain Name

If you want to market your products and services online, one of the most important initial steps is selecting a domain name.

Accounting software adds Web services

Intuit and Microsoft have each updated their small-business accounting packages to include integration with popular Web services from online giants Google and eBay, respectively. The new features aim to boost your company's sales--assuming your business relies on such services.

Free Web-based financial app

Intuit QuickBooks users who'd like a light dose of their finances topped off with the news and weather might want to check out MyBizHomepage. The advertiser-supported Web service is free (although registration is required) and lets you monitor key financial figures from your QuickBooks file while also supplying you with useful news information.

QuickBase helps workgroups collaborate

Workgroups in need of help managing their projects will appreciate Intuit's QuickBase. This Web-based program offers a flexible means of coordinating sales, marketing, customer service, and other business projects. I looked at the final version of the recently revamped application and discovered that, while larger companies requiring QuickBase's power will find a lot to like, smaller shops will likely deem the program too costly.

Is Skype ready for business

For years big businesses have used Voice over IP systems--phone services that use the Internet--to save on telephone costs. But it's only recently that small businesses, which typically aren't ready (or willing) to make a wholesale witch away from traditional local phone service, have been checking out the cost savings and voice quality by using VOIP on a line or two.

E-commerce on a budget

We all know it costs money to make money. Yet after you tally up the cost of an application fee for a merchant account at your bank (which allows you to process credit card charges), monthly fees for the online gateway to the transaction clearinghouse that authorizes each charge, the monthly statement fee, and the bank's percentage commission and transaction charge on each sale, can a small business still earn a decent profit online?

Timeslips 10 Turns Hours into Dollars

Consultants, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals who bill by the hour need a program like Timeslips 10 to handle their bookkeeping requirements. The latest version of Sage U.S. Inc. Holdings' popular time and billing program includes support for accrual accounting for work-in-process--an improvement that simplifies measuring the profitability of longer projects. I looked at a shipping copy.

WordPerfect Office 2000 Has Accounting

The first major office suite to incorporate an entire accounting program (Peachtree Accounting's First Accounting) is Corel Corp.'s WordPerfect Office 2000 Small Business Edition. Suitable for firms with five employees or less, First Accounting lets you invoice customers, pay supplier bills, and do payroll and inventory tracking.

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