The latest news about product updates and everything else related to Fanurio.
December 03, 2013
Version 3.0 is now available for download.
This version is available as a free update for all users with a valid annual maintenance plan. Go to the About window to see when your plan expires. If it hasn't expired yet, then you can use this new version. If it has expired and you decide to use it, then you need to renew your plan. If you have any questions about your subscription, please contact us.
This post is longer than usual so my advice is to grab a cup of coffee or tea and then read the whole post. This is a major version so it needs more explaining than minor ones. For a complete list of all the changes, see the change log.
1. The case for a new major version
Fanurio started as a tool that made it easier for self employed people to track time and bill their projects. However, many users told us they want to use Fanurio for more than just billing. For instance, they told us they want to be able to plan their tasks in detail and to record more information about their expenses while other users told us they need to track individual trips so they can bill their mileage. So we listened and decided to make these things possible.
This version is about growing Fanurio from a time tracking and billing application to an application that self employed people can use to manage most aspects of their businesses. Fanurio not only continues to be a reliable time tracking and billing application but it can also be used to plan tasks, manage expenses and record trips whether it's for billing or for tax purposes.
Let's see what this means in more detail.
2. Old projects vs new projects
The key difference between this version and past versions is the project structure.
Old projects managed a list of items that recorded pretty much the same information. An item had a name, a description and billing fields like price and quantity. The only difference between them was their type (services, expenses, and products) and the fact that service items were capable of recording time as well.
The old design works very well if you need to bill a project but not so well if you also need to record specific information for each type of item. For instance, some people need to set a due date for their activities or attach a receipt to their expenses. In order to make it possible to record specific information for each type of item, we decided to split the list of items in three separate lists (tasks, expenses and products) and then added a fourth list for trips.
So the key difference between the old projects and the new projects is that old projects managed a list of items while new projects manage four lists of different elements (tasks, expenses, trips, and products).
Tasks: This version uses tasks instead of service items to organize work and to track time.
Tasks have more fields than service items in order to enable new features like task planning, task organization and progress tracking. However, we are aware that not all fields are relevant to all users so in order to make Fanurio work your way, you can hide optional fields in the New Task and Edit Task dialogs. Just click the Configure button from the bottom left corner and check the fields that you use.
Although projects now manage work with tasks instead of service items, the latter are still used for billing. Here's how it works.
Billable tasks have billing settings like "bill time at $100 / hour". Whenever a task is billed, Fanurio creates a service item with the same billing settings and adds it to the invoice. This is similar to how billing worked before except that tasks can be billed multiple times, something that wasn't possible in the past.
Tasks don't have dependencies, hierarchies or Gantt charts because we want to keep things as simple as possible.
To learn more about tasks, please read the new section on tasks from the user guide.
Expenses: Just like tasks allow you to record more details about your activities, expenses allow you to record more details about the money that you spend. You can hide optional fields that you don't use.
To learn more about expenses, please read the new section on expenses from the user guide.
Trips: The new trips module allows you to record the distance and time you travel with a vehicle whether it's for billing or for tax purposes. Distances can be tracked in miles, kilometers or both. You can also define multiple rates for billable trips.
If you need to record the locations and times of your trips, you need to make these optional fields visible.
To learn more about trips, please read the new section on trips from the user guide.
Products: Products replace product items and have the same functionality.
Unlike old product items, products no longer have the date and notes fields. Products can only be used to bill something so they can only be added to billable projects and can't be used with non-billable projects.
The application also has three new views that allow you to see all tasks, expenses and trips from all projects. If you don't need some of them, you can configure the sidebar to hide the ones that you don't use.
3. Notable new features
The new project structure not only allows you to record more details about your tasks, expenses and trips but it also makes possible new features like date range invoices.
Date range invoices: You no longer have to create a separate service item for each billing period (e.g. Consulting January, Consulting February, etc.) because you can now create a single task (Consulting) and bill it multiple times.
When billing one or more projects, you can specify a billing period that will select only the matching tasks, expenses and trips. This feature is very helpful if you need to create invoices for specific periods of time like last month.
Non-billable projects: You can mark projects that you don't bill as non-billable. Tasks, expenses and trips from a non-billable project will always be non-billable and their billing fields will be hidden.
Non-project invoices: In previous versions you could create an invoice for a client only if it had at least one project with at least one item. This is now optional. Now, you can create invoices for your clients without having to deal with projects.
4. Closing thoughts
It has taken us a lot of time and feedback to get here because we wanted to be sure the new version does everything the previous version did and more. Even though version 3.0 makes possible many new things, our goal was to keep it simple. That's why we'd love to hear from you whether you like the new version or not.
This version wouldn't have been possible without the feedback we received from our users, especially since we released the first alpha version earlier this year. We would like to thank you for all the help you have given us.
I hope you'll enjoy this new version and that it will make you more productive.