AND CO is an invoicing platform owned by Fiver. And like its parent company, the platform is geared towards freelancers and small businesses. There is more to AND CO than just invoicing. You can accept to get some assistance at almost every stage of running your business, but you can’t expect the tool to be as robust as some of the specialized tools designed for those specific purposes.
- Great onboarding experience.
- Allows automatic payments for recurring invoices.
- Creates detailed contracts with necessary clauses.
- It comes with a time tracker.
- Records expenses.
- The shoebox can store all the necessary documents.
- Hasn’t got one of the best proposal builders.
- No infographics in the proposal section.
Freelancers usually don’t have the luxury of taking care of only the job they are already good at. Even though you are a freelancer, the system perceives you as a business, and you need to fulfill the due process as it is expected from any business.
It means you need to manage accounts like other businesses, request payments like other businesses, and send out proposals like any other business. If these tasks aren’t overwhelming enough for you, there are intricacies within the primary jobs and projects too.
Collectively, these things can be a bit too much to handle for a freelancer and small business. And if they take proper care of this side of the business, they might not have enough left in the tank for other things.
AND CO is one of the invoicing tools you can get to take care of some of the accounting-related work. However, it is common for invoicing tools to do more than just taking care of invoices. They assist users in all kinds of ways to grab a bigger market share.
AND CO is also one of the tools involved in the chase and comes with a suite of useful features. We like how it is the users who are benefitting the most out of the situation.
It should come as no surprise that AND CO follows almost the same theme as Fiverr. We also expect the invoicing tool to heed some lessons from the successful freelancing platform and come up with better services for freelancers.
We will go through the features of AND CO and see the extent to which they can negate the need for any other tool.
The first steps
You would want to list out all the necessary information when you start on the platform.
We have to start by saying that AND CO provides one of the best customer onboarding experiences among all the invoicing tools. You don’t need to look beyond the dashboard to know what you should be doing at the beginning.
You will find all the different cards to guide you through specific sections of the tool. The first one takes you to the account section and helps you fill in the business details. It is then followed by the card that takes you to the client tab to list all the clients. There will be many other cards, and all of them will do enough to familiarize you with the ins and outs of AND CO.
One noticeable feature on the dashboard is the goal-setting section. It is common for freelancers to get stuck in the autopilot mode with so much happening around them. Some feel the lack of motivation, some stop looking at the bigger picture, and some of them find it too difficult to absorb all the commotion around them.
It is in these situations that you need to realign your focus and get back to the hustle. A goal can be the guiding beacon in such situations. AND CO allows you to set a goal for a specific period.
Since this goal comes with a due date, you can keep yourself on toes by setting a competitive enough goal. Goal setting can be tricky at times. You need to stay away from overestimation as well as underestimation of your capabilities.
AND CO has a challenge section that rewards the user after completing the challenge successfully. The challenge essentially makes you use all the features on the platform and gives you a $20 credit for completing the tasks under the challenge. You can get an additional $20 credit for referring the product to someone else.
AND CO left no stone unturned to showcase all the features to the user. The dashboard checklist provides a smooth onboarding experience, and the challenge turns out to be a good enough motivation.
Let us get right down to business and try generating some invoices on the platform. There are primarily two ways to generate an invoice on AND CO. The first one is to create one directly from the invoice section, and the second way is to do it using the projects, tasks, proposals, and other elements available on the platform.
We will take on the second method in the respective sections for those elements. Let us explore the invoice section for now.
You need to list out a client before or during the process of invoice generation. The clients' section on AND CO is a basic one. It asks for only a few details when you set out to add a client into the list.
You can add the business name, name of the client, email address, and postal address. We feel that there could have been a few more options for the user to create a comprehensive profile of the client.
For starters, we don’t understand why they have not included the space for phone numbers in the client profile. Freelancers and their clients connect over the phone all the time, and it makes sense to include the detail along with other client information.
The business address and billing address aren’t necessarily the same in each case. AND CO should have provided the option to add at least one more address in the client section.
If they want the platform to become the control center of operations and accounting for freelancers and businesses, then they must allow the user to create a comprehensive client profile section. They can heed some lessons from Invoice Ninja in this regard. That invoicing tool includes everything right from the phone number to the preferred currency of the client.
Once you enlist a client on AND CO, the clients' table would show you the location of the client, the last time you sent them an email, total projects related to the client, and the income received from that client.
When you get to the invoice section, you can either select one of the listed clients to create an invoice or can create one from scratch. You can then choose one from your existing projects, create a new project, or decide to create a quick invoice instead.
All three methods will make you describe the task and specify the amount you want to charge for it. Subsequently, you have to either add a new client on the platform or choose one from the existing ones.
AND CO gives you the option to integrate the payment gateway with the recipe. It would allow the client to click on the pay button and make payment with ease. You can skip the integration process if you want.
Once you have taken care of the primary elements of the invoice, you can edit it to take care of taxes and discounts. We would have liked to have these options at earlier stages. If you want to modify the currency or region for the invoice, then you can get into the invoice settings to do that.
They will give you an option to preview the invoice before you send it out. You can modify the content of the mail if you feel like it. And with the click of a button, the platform will mail the invoice to the client.
However, they are not done here. You will get alerts from AND CO on whatever happens next with the invoice. You will get alerts when the client views the invoice. If you have connected your bank account with the tool, then you will get notifications on payment of invoices, as well.’
The overall state of invoicing on AND CO is satisfactory, but there is still a lot that can be improved.
Proposals and Contracts
Proposals can make or break your next deal. One side of freelancing that you can’t ignore is the one in which the freelancer is always looking for new opportunities and clients. Most freelancing markets are such that if you remain static, you will go stale.
You often need to send out proposals to new prospects. If they like what they see, then you make more money. Considering the importance of proposals, most invoicing software offer to create beautiful proposals for the user.
Even AND CO comes with the feature, but we were taken aback from what one gets in the name of the proposal. The proposal builder leaves it all on you to make sure that your proposal is professional and pleasing at the same time.
All they will do for you is add some branding and lay out the billing schedule along with the details of both parties. They don’t even bother to provide the user with a potential layout of how things should be on the proposal.
You can insert sections in the document to make it seem more like a proposal. And you have to do it if you want to give yourself any chance. No one is going to like a proposal that contains only the names of two parties along with billing details.
You can insert text, images, tables, columns, and files in your proposal. It is entirely up to you to make the proposal engaging for the reader.
We feel that AND CO could have done a lot better in case of proposals instead of slapping in the billing details on a document.
The contract section, however, portrays a different picture of AND CO. After disappointing us in the proposals section, they managed to redeem some of their glory with an amazing contract builder.
It can be one of the most meticulous and annoying jobs to create a contract. You need to be extremely thorough, and there is no room for error. With AND CO, you don’t need to worry much about the thoroughness.
The initial steps are almost identical for proposals and contracts. All you need to do is specify the details of the project and the client. They follow the Standard Freelance Contract from Freelancers Union, and we think there couldn’t have been a better way.
It categorically goes into all the elements and makes sure you do not miss out on any of the important clauses. They allow editing within the contract, thus allowing you to modify the terms and clauses your way.
The contract builder is a boon for beginners. They do not need to spend time and effort on drafting a contract. Depending on the kind of contract you want from them, you can turn on/off the different clauses using the settings button.
Some of the clauses you can manage with a single click are the right to include work attribution in your portfolio, late fee, non-compete, sexual harassment, and so on. You can also take care of terms of payment and manage ownership within settings.
Both the ways of modifying the contract are equally effective and intuitive, and the contract builder seems capable of satisfying everyone.
You can also create a proposal and contract in a single go using the ‘Proposal + Contract’ feature. You won’t have to add the project details again and again, and it will be more convenient for the client, as well.
The proposal and contracts table lets you monitor the status of various proposals and contracts you have created or sent out. You can integrate payment gateways with these proposals and automatically generate invoices when the client accepts the proposal.
The e-signing feature also makes sense. It would imply that both parties went through the content, and nothing happened by mistake. The prospect will have to first provide an e-signature and only then will he be able to proceed to the payment section.
You would get alerts when the other party agrees with the proposal or signs the contract. If a specific contract proposal worked well for you, then you can use the same format for other projects and clients.
Overall, the proposals and contracts segment was a mixed bag. While the proposals section makes you do most of the legwork, you can stretch those legs while creating the contract.
Once you have a substantial number of clients and projects in your hands, things can get overwhelming at times. Projects are often divided into multiple tasks, and you need to prioritize tasks from multiple projects such that none of the projects get delayed.
If your organizational skills aren’t that great, then AND CO has got you covered in multiple ways. It will help you monitor projects and tasks with ease.
The tool allows you to be detailed while creating a project, and you can break it down into as many tasks as possible. You can mention the duration of the project, along with how you plan on charging for it. It can be at a regular time interval, or you can ask for payment on completion of milestones.
In case you decide to go by milestones, you can set due dates for individual tasks too. AND CO will keep you informed about the deadlines as they come closer. The projects make it easier to generate invoices for the work in the future.
You can have different payment parameters for the different tasks you mention within the project. So, you can have a flat fee system for a few of the tasks while you can charge on an hourly basis for the rest of them. If the service is quantifiable, then you can have a per quantity basis for the payment, as well. You get all the options to ensure you get paid fairly for your work.
Most project management tools boast of having a Kanban system to keep track of the work. And since it is one of the more effective project management techniques, we can comprehend why service providers advertise about it so much.
You don’t get to see any mention of Kanban on AND CO. However, the task manager on the platform works along the lines of Kanban.
There are three categories in which you can filter the tasks- to do, future, and done. The system does a satisfactory job of informing the user about the status of various tasks. Things could’ve been better if there was an option to create custom categories, but the current arrangement is holding the ground pretty well.
The time tracker lets you keep a log of the time you spend on each task. You can use it to calculate the payment, or simply to keep track of how much time you spend on each task. At the end of the day, you can know how long you worked and make sure you remain productive.
As a freelancer, there are tasks other than the ones you mention within a project. These tasks include sending out invoices, contacting the client for payment, and so on. You may forget to take care of some of them at times. AND CO automatically enlists such tasks on the dashboard.
It will tell you about upcoming deadlines, due payments, transaction reviews, and so on. They call them magic tasks, and these tasks can turn out to be a saviour at times.
Another useful feature is the one in which you can snooze tasks. You might be working at something more important when the tool starts bugging you about a task nearing its deadline. You can snooze away that task for later if it can wait.
All the project and task management features on AND CO help you stay focused on what’s necessary and keep the productivity levels optimized. It exceeded our expectations in a lot of ways, and we hope to see even more improvements in the future.
Manage Payments and Track Expenses
Sadly, freelancers often find it difficult to collect payments from clients. They need to constantly send out invoices and reminders to the client about payment. It holds true even in the case of regular work.
The freelancer often finds himself stuck in a difficult situation where refusing to do subsequent work might leave previous unpaid invoices as it is, and doing more work for the client can easily translate into more unpaid invoices.
AND CO comes with a potential solution for this problem. With it, you can not only make sure that you get paid on time, but you won’t have to create invoices for those payments as well.
The recurring payments section allows you to save credit card info of the client for regular payments. For subscribing customers, you can define the duration of the payment cycle along with the amount they need to pay at the end of each cycle.
Once the client approves the subscription, you will get paid automatically at the end of each payment cycle. You won’t have to generate more invoices or send out payment reminders to the client. The feature allows you to channel your efforts on the project rather than worrying about payments.
Freelancers need to pay taxes too. Unlike people with ‘regular jobs’ or working for a company, freelancers usually don’t have conventional ways of generating income. They get it from different sources and in varying amounts.
Apart from income, expenses have also got a role to play in tax calculation. The provisions and calculations vary for different countries, but most of them account for expenses in one way or another.
It can be a headache to account for all the instances of income and expenses. AND CO not only takes care of recording the income with invoices, but it also allows the user to log all the expenses on the platform, as well.
There are multiple ways in which you can keep track of all the expenses using this platform. You can mail receipts to AND CO, and it will record them as expenses. You can also connect your credit cards and bank accounts with AND CO and keep track of expenditure.
They even allow the user to take pictures of receipts with the mobile app and record them as expenses.
You don’t need to be fearful of the tax filing season with this tool. It will organize all your data in the kinds of spreadsheets and reports you want. All you will need to do is file in the numbers and leave all the calculation part to them.
It is features like these that helps AND CO attract more freelancers into its ecosystem.
Reports and Analysis
Numbers help one make better decisions. With the right numbers and reports at your disposal, you can expect yourself making better decisions.
All the invoicing tools come with a reports section in one way or another. You can find some reports on AND CO too. They have a ‘Reports and Statements’ section where you can go and have a look at all the numbers.
You will find three kinds of reports in this section- Income Statement, Expense Report, and Tax Report. The names seem self-explanatory here, but let us graze through these sections anyway.
The Income statement gives you two kinds of reports. You can see the billed income for the selected period, and you can also see the collected income for the period. The billed income section would also include the invoices that haven’t been paid yet but are dated within the period.
The collected section shows you the ones that you have collected. The two reports can help you find the differences between the projections and actual income.
The expense report helps you sort things even better. You can browse the different categories of expenses to have a look at only what’s necessary. The feature allows you to log both personal and professional expenses on the same platform. You can easily monitor how much you spent on things needed for the job and how much of it was for pleasure or to satisfy the basic human needs.
The tax report gives you a boiled-down version of how much tax you collected for the gigs and how much you lost in the form of taxes for the expenses. You can once again sort if for different clients to get a better understanding of the situation.
It is simple enough to vary the date range for all these reports, and thus have more freedom.
While these three reports can be a good source of information, we felt AND CO could’ve done a bit more in the reports section. They did not focus on infographics at all. It gets a lot easier to understand trends with images rather than numbers.
The current state of reports is quite pale, and the only way to make it more interesting is by introducing graphics into the mix.
The Shoebox deserves a special mention. AND CO doesn’t want you to go around go looking for all the documents and receipts that you collected long ago and had no clue of what to do with it.
You can toss in all those files into the shoebox and forget about them until a need arises. The section allows you to create categories, which makes it much easier to go through the files later.
It is entirely up to you to decide what kind of files you want to save. You can sort the files by size, date, and type. Even though it’s just a simple cloud storage feature, it can save the day if used properly.
AND CO is a great tool for invoicing and a lot of other things. You can easily create invoices for all the different tasks and projects, automate invoice generation when needed, and convert proposals into invoices without breaking a sweat.
It makes it easier for the user to keep track of clients and projects. The task management feature makes life easier for the freelancer and helps deliver better output.
With time tracking, you can implement better pricing on a per hour basis. Or one can use it as a time tracking software to take care of productivity.
The proposals section did not please us a lot. It left a lot for the user to do, and did not have many customization options, as well. The contracts section, however, made up for it.
You can create detailed contracts containing all the clauses you want. There aren’t a lot of platforms with such contract creation tools. The contracts on AND CO are as legitimate as they can get, and help you seem like a true professional.
The subscription feature saves you from the headache of asking clients for payments again and again. Automatic payments is one of the highlights of AND CO. The expense tracking section allows the user to be more organized and saves a lot of time and effort while filing taxes.
We felt there could’ve been slightly better reports, but at least you get all the relevant information in an organized manner.
AND CO comes with both free and paid subscription plans. If you are a freelancer, then it is a tool that you’d want to look at.