Revealed: the finalists for the 2012 Crunchies

Five finalists have been chosen in 20 different categories for the 2012 Crunchies awards, and we’re proud to release the worthy nominees today. Voting for the winners starts today, and the winners will be announced January 31st.

Create Freshbooks Invoices in Salesforce

Online invoicing service FreshBooks today announced a new integration with Salesforce, enabling Salesforce users to automatically bill through FreshBooks without leaving the Saleforce interface. The integration is made possible through the use of a third-party app, DataSynch OnDemand for FreshBooks & Salesforce by Pervasive Software.

7 Handy iPhone Apps For Your Work

iphoneWe at WebWorkerDaily review a lot of web apps. Since many of us — and many of you — have iPhones (s aapl), I like to keep tabs on web apps we’ve written about, to see whether they get a companion iPhone app. So here’s a list of seven useful iPhone apps for some of the better web apps that we’ve reviewed.

  1. Shoeboxed. Organize your receipts and business cards through this service (see our review here). With the web app, you scan in what you want to save and organize or mail in your “shoebox” of items to scan and let Shoeboxed do it for you. The results are searchable and easy to organize. With the iPhone app, you can take a photo to digitize a receipt or card. Read More about 7 Handy iPhone Apps For Your Work

MiniBooks: Putting FreshBooks On the iPhone and iPod Touch

Freshbooks logoFreshBooks users with iPhones or iPod Touches (s aapl) can now manage their FreshBooks account while on the go with MiniBooks, an app from Groovy Squared. The app synchronizes with your FreshBook account, so you can access your data even if you lose your network connection.

MiniBooks comes with the following features:

  • Clients: Search for clients and contact them with the iPhone’s phone and email applications.
  • Invoices: Create, edit, search, view and email invoices from within the app. You can also view the status of the invoice and record payments.
  • Timers: Start and stop timers that can track multiple activities on one screen. Active timers will keep running even if you close MiniBooks.
  • Estimates: Create, edit and email estimates that you can turn into invoices. Read More about MiniBooks: Putting FreshBooks On the iPhone and iPod Touch

Outright Teams Up With PayPal & Expensify to Ease Your Bookkeeping Woes

Outright LogoThe tools that we use to run our businesses and organize our lives are supposed to make thing easier. We choose them because we identify a need — a pain point — and are looking for a solution. In my experiences working with small business, bookkeeping is a common area where most folks are looking for some help.

In my review of bookkeeping and tax prep service Outright back in April, I highlighted not only its ease of use, but also its ability to play nicely and communicate with other apps. As a bookkeeping app is just a part of the chain of tracking income and expenses, these connections to your existing data are critical and keep data entry times to an absolute minimum.

I’m thrilled to hear that the Outright folks are extending this reach, with two major additions to the list of apps that Outright is compatible with being released today. Both should really help the typical small business keep finances and expenses in check.

Read More about Outright Teams Up With PayPal & Expensify to Ease Your Bookkeeping Woes

A Comparison of Freshbooks vs. Harvest vs. Blinksale

logosWith so many invoicing web apps available (many of them covered here on WebWorkerDaily), choosing one can be a daunting task. Even limiting your options to the most popular services doesn’t help that much, as the costs of the various plans vary so little. So we were excited to see that Stuart Bowness, of Victoria, B.C.-based design studio Simple Station, has posted a useful comparative review of three of the most popular invoicing apps: Freshbooks, Havest and Blinksale.

Bowness used the apps in his business for about a year each, and his in-depth, insightful observations of the merits and issues with each of the services are based on long-term, real-world usage and worth noting.

Especially interesting are his notes of problems or quirks with each of the apps, which could be very handy when it comes to picking the right service for your business. According to Bowness, Freshbooks’ time tracking is “difficult when you have multiple employees,” its project management is “dismal” and its reports “suck.” Blinksale, meanwhile, offers neither integrated time tracking nor the ability to integrate with a payment gateway, he says, and cannot create estimates. Harvest is similarly unable to create estimates or integrate with a payment gateway, according to Bowness, and recurring invoices are not handled that well. And he finds it “ridiculous” that SSL support is only available with the $90-per-month plan.

Freshbooks is the most feature-rich, Bowness notes, but while it does everything, he says that it “doesn’t do anything particularly well” and its interface is not intuitive. And Blinksale is perfect if you are a freelancer, but not if you have staff. Bowness’ personal favorite is Harvest, which delivers simplicity while boasting a substantial feature set (although not as complete as Freshbooks’).

Which do you prefer: Harvest, Freshbooks or Blinksale?

To Pay Or Not to Pay: When to Move Beyond Free

The other day I noticed that someone had posted a quick poll on LinkedIn. I thought a poll like that might be a good tool to use for informal market research so I clicked on the link to create my own. However, I was met with a message saying that I needed to upgrade my account to access the polling feature. I perused the prices, then quickly determined I wasn’t going to upgrade.

This isn’t the first time I’ve considered upgrading my LinkedIn account and decided against it, which led me to start thinking about all of the “freemium” apps — basically free apps with premium upgrades — I’ve been using. I started feeling guilty about taking advantage of the “free” in freemium services, especially because I’ve had the opportunity to interview founders of these companies, many of whom confess to struggling over pricing. So what makes us decide to pay for an app?