Is Manager for me?

So I’ve just set up a new self employed business. I need to generate simple, invoices based on an hourly rate, (sometimes with expenses), and produce basic profit/loss reports.

Previously, I’ve just used an open office invoicing template, and manually copied data over to a p/l spreadsheet. I don’t need any tax calculations or complex accounting, just type in hours, rate, expenses on the invoice spreadsheet box and that’s it.

I’m sure Manager could easily do what I need but I have no idea where to start, just setting up a suitable basic invoice seems to involve coding, and when I click on the Guides, I just seem to get a two or three word description of what they are, no detail on what they actually do or how to do it.

Is Manager for me or should I go back to my old methods?

Use Manager. Your business sounds just like mine.

The Guides are currently under revision, so some of them are very cursory. While there isn’t an obvious link on the web site, older documentation is still available at I don’t think everything there is completely up to date, but the general ideas should be obvious.

You will probably need to activate only a few of the tabs in addition to the default ones, probably Bank Accounts, Expense Claims, Customers, Sales Invoices, Billable Time, Disbursements, and possibly Fixed Assets. The easiest way to arrange your chart of accounts may be to match the reporting categories on your national tax reporting forms.

Understand that Manager is a double-entry accounting platform. If you’re not up to speed on the principles of double-entry accounting, have a look at You can learn everything you need to know there.

It depends on what results you want to achieve?

If Open Office does everything that you require it to do, then I don’t recommend changing, but I would advise you to sit down and think about your accounts from a long term point of view.

I started off years ago with a simple spreadsheet - 3 tabs, Quotes, invoices and Purchas orders. Then mail merged into word. Sounds similar to what you have currently set up. In the beginning it was perfect as the business was new and I did not get a lot of transactions and I only had one division of the business.

But the business grew over time in number of transactions, I diversified my work etc.

I found huge limitations with the excel spreadsheet/mail merge as time went on. For example, I had to trawl through the spreadsheet to find the part code of a laptop that I bought for a client, so that I could quote for a new client. Manager has an inventory option which allows me to quickly find the part code. Secondly, I had to copy info from that spreadsheet to another spreadsheet to see what my VAT bill was going to be. Manager allows me to see real time what my eventual VAT tax bill is going to be as I process each transaction. Manager allows me to see immediately how much money is coming in from sales, how much money is going out for purchases and this allows me to keep track of cash flow.

Manager allows me to see how much profit I make from sales of goods, how much from IT Support, how much from website services, how much from network cabling installation services. I could never do that with the Excel Spreadsheet.

In short, don’t think of Manager as a program to just record your invoices and expenses. If that is all you want to do then your excel spreadsheet open office solution is more than sufficient. But if you want to know which customer is your most profitable, if you want to know what you make the most/least money from and so many other questions like this, you cannot do this (easily) with spreadsheets and open office.

Manager is run by one developer, which means that he has limited time at his disposal, so things like documentation sometimes get left behind. I agree that the guides are a bit too brief, but he has only just started to update the guides in the last couple of weeks. What I like about Manager is that he fixes problems far quicker than any other company I have ever dealt with, he is interested in listening to feedback so will add new features if he feels that enough people will benefit from the feature and the best feature is that the program is so simple to use.

On the Partners page there is a link to a youtube channel giving you a bit more of an overview of Manager and there is also a company that can design your sales invoice template for you.

Of all the accounting programs that I reviewed three months ago, I chose Manager because its so easy to use and I like the layout and GUI concept of the program. Its also a very small program as well.

Spreadsheets are perfect if you just want to record invoices and expenses just to bill the clients, but if you want to get information out of the spreadsheet such as what services make you the most money or client that is the most profitable or real time cash flow information or anything like that, spreadsheets are just not up to the job. I learnt this the hard way as I started off with spreadsheets which were adequate at the time but as the business grew became hopelessly unsatisfactory.

Hope this info helps.

1 Like

No, fortunately it does not, or I wouldn’t be in business. You make a few simple selections and fill in basic information under Settings. You will want to record your business details, obviously. But you need to delve into coding only if you want to customize the invoice. The default one is very professional and may take you to the end of your days.

Thanks foks

Ah, the joys of self employment, spending a bank holiday working through tutorials on accounts software! :smile:

Just want to put my bit in. I do accounts for self employed, small companies. I recomend and use Manager to all of them. I hope one day as they grow they will up grade to cloud etc.This is a really good system, easy to set up and use and the support is amazing. I know this system will grow along with all my clients. I am just amazed at how good it is and does not cost a years profit to run or get support. and the forum makes good bed time reading you never know what you will learn.

Here’s my bit as well

I was sceptical when this program first started and as it was online I was worried about my details going places that I didn’t know of (I’m not a huge cloud believer purely for security issues, and even when I was using MYOB, they could not categorically assure anyone that the cloud is 100% secure when they tried to convert me to using cloud based MYOB) but I have been impressed with this program and the valiant efforts that Lubos puts into it.

I don’t have to manually calculate BAS for example… and overall I like the program that much that I even went to the trouble of entering my previous 3 years of data that was in MYOB, so it is all in the same place.

Best of all even my accountant is impressed by the double accounting and the (free) cost of the desktop program that includes upgrades and support…which could continue as long as the appreciative users at least contribute to the forums

Thanks for the positive comments chaps, I have chosen to use Manager. However I’ve no idea what BAS is, should I :smile:

Wherever you are, I’d imagine you have the equivalent. If not, I want to move there. :wink: