Transitioning to Squava from Harvest & QBO

The inability of Freshbooks, Harvest, and Quickbooks Online to handle customizable, progressive invoices is something that has frustrated me for years. I asked some fellow architects if they had any suggestions for other softwares and Squava was one of the few that I hadn’t tried.  

Squava’s price point is noticeably higher ($40 per person per month - regardless the role of the user vs. Harvest’s $69 per month for 5 users) however, the functionality of Squava more than pays for itself.  I no longer need to use spreadsheets for job costing projects or manually input time information into Smartsheet since Squava integrates time tracking, invoicing, and financial & accounting modules together.

We’re two months into the transition and I am still loving the software! There are still some modules that need to be further developed in Squava (payroll, bank syncing, etc.) but their development team is working on them and will likely be releasing an update by Q2 this year.

Here are some of the reasons that I’m loving Squava:

  • Customer Service: it’s superb! In addition to helping us transition our data from Harvest and Quickbooks Online into Squava (for free) we’ve found the Squava team to be tremendously responsive and helpful. Between phone calls and emails all our questions have been answered.

  • Transition help: Unlike other softwares where you have to pay hundreds of dollars for onboarding help or personalized training; Squava does it for free. We were able to transition about 40 projects out of Harvest and into Squava so that contract amounts, billed fees, and task names carried over. Now that the basic framework is in Squava we’re also bringing over our historical time data as well. I’m not sure how long the transition will stay free but it was a huge selling point for me.

  • Estimates & Invoices: When you setup the estimate for a proposal it easily gets carried forward into time tracking and invoicing. Additionally, Squava lets you do progressive invoicing and shows what was previously billed! Most other softwares we’ve used change the total amount due instead of showing the previous amounts billed so this feature is a breath of fresh air! I mean just look at how clear this project summary is:

  • Dashboards & Cashflow forecasting: There is a really great cashflow forecasting tool built into the software that graphically shows you money in (based on A/R) and money out (based on A/P) and is dynamically updated based on when you set pay dates for the various bills on the A/P. Previously I was using DryRun to do forecasting and syncing it to QBO. Thankfully, now it’s all integrated.

  • Timetracking and expenses: The time tracking software is very intuitive and allows you to add expenses without leaving your timesheet.

  • Data integration: As much as I love a spreadsheet (Excel is my superpower), one of the main reasons I enjoy Squava is because it brings together data that I previously had to manually input into my sheet. Now that we’re growing and I need to streamline tasks to save time I’ve realized the advantage of paying a bit more if it will save me time and headache.  Utilizing Squava saves time and shows me the pertinent information I need (ie. what’s the projected profit on this project?)

Here are some things that Squava is still working on:

  • User interface: What the software lacks in refined graphics it more than makes up for it in valuable content and data aggregation. It look me about an hour to start thinking in Squava lingo but once I had a better understanding of how the software links all the information together it was very easy to get around. (I created a Squava navigation cheatsheet in Smartsheet if you need it).

  • Bank Syncing: This is top of the list of modules their development team is working on and it will be out later this year. Our bookkeeper is fine manually adding our financial info in the meantime.

  • Payroll: This is another module that will come out later this year. In the meantime we’re going to use Squava in lieu of Quickbooks Online for all of our financials (except payroll).

  • Invoice emailing: Currently you can’t send an invoice directly in Squava. Instead the system produces a pdf that you have to email separately. This feature is on the development list as well. For now we’re going to continue using the same Invoice Journal tracking sheet in Smartsheet that we’ve been using with QBO & Harvest. (It’s available through the Smartsheet4Architects course if interested).

As we settle into 2019 our company will continue to use Smartsheet for task/project management, team communication, and scheduling but will be using Squava for timesheets, invoicing, and financial accounting. If you’re looking for a more robust financing software that allows you to track time and easily do progressive invoicing I’d recommend taking a look a Squava. You get what you pay for so don’t let the higher price of the software scare you.

PS. There’s no financial gain for me here. Just sharing our experience with a new software that we enjoy. Curious about any of the softwares we use? Let me know in the comments!