Many small businesses, partnerships and sole traders spend a lot of time doing their accounts. Wait a minute: no they don’t. What they actually spend a lot of time on is preparing estimates, creating and issuing invoices, chasing them up, doing client-related paperwork (keeping contact details up to date, managing multiple contacts) and so on. Lots of accounts-related paperwork then, but not too much actual accounting.
That’s where Totals Basic comes in. It’s designed to help you track clients, projects and payments, helping you to produce invoices, estimates, delivery and credit notes, order confirmations and so on. Neatly organised, it uses a Finder-style overview window so you can drill down from main categories (for example ‘Clients’) to a list of documents associated with those categories, down to the individual documents themselves.
Being able to do everything from a single window like this is good because it means you can familiarise yourself with the way things work more quickly. Totals makes it easy to set global preferences like currency, taxes, number formats, invoice fields, when payments are due and so on, but you can also change these on the fly so that, for example, a new invoice becomes due in 10 days rather than the standard 28, or an estimate uses the net rather than gross prices.
Totals ships with a couple of invoice styles but you can create your own using the Layout Designer which lets you insert simple graphics, add a company logo, change fill and background colours and line everything up neatly; not the best design tool we’ve seen but not the worst either. Finished invoices, estimates and so on can be saved as PDFs, printed out or sent to clients using your default e-mail program.
Partway finished Help file aside, Totals isn’t quite as intuitive as it thinks it is and occasionally we found ourselves casting around for the right way to do something. For example, having set up a project and made some notes about it, adding relevant documents like estimates and invoices seemed a bit opaque. It really should be possible to do this kind of thing with drag and drop. We’d also like to see more professionally designed templates included for invoices and estimates, and reports that were a bit more sophisticated than just date-based summaries.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Totals comes in two versions: Basic, reviewed here, and Pro, which costs 20 Euros more but adds support for multiple databases and networking, making it suitable not just for small businesses but also for departmental use.