How my Automated Invoice Generator Was Built to Solve a Real Life Client Problem

Last Tuesday, during a meeting with a Web Marketing client, a Jos based business owner called asking for the price for my mini Poultry Farm Manager software. 6 hours later – around 8p.m at night – he’d done a bank transfer to me.The next day he called and asked “Do you have software to generate invoices?”

I replied that I did, but that I’d prefer to fulfil the order he’d already placed for the Poultry Manager, before taking that on.

He agreed. 24 hours later, he’d downloaded the customized version of my app that I’d prepared for use by his company.

Yesterday, he confirmed receiving the CDROM containing the video tutorial files, (as well as the app) that I sent to him via FedEx courier.

Today, I shifted my attention to the invoice generator…

[NB: That is, after returning from the hospital with my wife and our new baby boy, born at 2.05a.m yesterday. The family is now officially a complete handball team :-) ]

How my Automated Invoice Generator™ Was Built to Solve a Real Life Client Problem in One Week!

I built this app in 2004, for a small business owner specialized in Computer Installations, Maintenance, Repairs and Supplies.

He had a team of engineers who served a growing client base of companies across the country.

One day, I was working on their premises, developing a Web Marketing System for them, when I witnessed a costly error happen.

One of the engineers was to transport certain items to a client company located in a northern state, from the Lagos office.

He’d done his calculations, and simply needed to type in the names of the items to be supplied, with their unit prices and number purchased etc.

With that done, he posted VAT, derived the subtotal and final total – writing the latter in words as well.

Knowing he was running late, he hurriedly printed it out on letter headed paper, signed it off, and left.

The next day, he called the office to announce that he’d made a major omission in the invoice he’d printed!

He’d left out one of the major items supplied, in the final computation on the invoice.

In addition, the accounts officer at the client company had also discovered a missing zero in the total he’d posted on the invoice.

Instead of N260, 000.00 he’d typed N26, 000.00 as the total amount due.

And that was what he’d written in words as well!

His state of mind at the time had no doubt made him miss what was otherwise a glaring error.

Efforts to Salvage the Situation Failed

For one thing, the MS Word invoice template was on the PC back in Lagos. To get around that problem, his colleague proposed sending him the file via email.

That seemed like a good solution to the dilemma, so he agreed.

Then he remembered that he did not have a copy of the company’s letter headed paper on which he could print the corrected invoice!

Long story short, it was eventually decided, that he would have to come back.

That implied considerable loss of time, effort and money. But without the correctly prepared invoice, processing of payment could not be made on the LPO.

After witnessing the entire episode, I could not help thinking a better way could be found.

It occurred to me that the template they used in MS Word would serve them better if hosted in a MS Excel format, and enhanced using intelligent formula, and Excel-VB automation.

So I told the CEO what I believed could be done. The benefits of having a spreadsheet based Automated Invoice Generation interface that dynamically adapted to the user’s needs were obvious.

He gave me the go ahead to prepare it – for the fee I proposed.

Over the next week, in between progressing work on the Web Marketing System for the company, I liaised with him and his engineers, to build the invoice generator.

By the time it was ready, we had posted names, specifications, and prices for various items like computers, accessories, consumables, replacement parts, services etc.

How the Excel-VB Driven Automated Invoice Generator Works

The app has in cell drop down menus that make typing of item names or quantities virtually unnecessary.

You simply choose what you want from the drop menu.

Subtotals, totals, VAT etc are auto-computed as you select invoice items from the drop menus. The final amount due gets written in words by the app – but an option exists for you to write it yourself.

The software is customizable for different uses.

For instance, a client database can be added where you post names, addresses and other information for as many clients as you have.

Then on the invoice generation interface, you would simply choose the client name and the corresponding details appear on the invoice – saving you time and effort!

I can, for instance, incorporate a floating data entry form (like that used in my Payslip Generator, and Ration Formulator) to make posting of entries easier and faster.

Since building the app in 2004, I have adapted it for use by a medical clinic client in Akoka-Lagos in 2009, and a Petrol and Diesel marketing/supply Client Company in Magodo-Lagos in 2012.

And so it was that a client situation created an opportunity for me to develop a new product that would add to my passive income stream!

Final Words: Request the EXE Trial Version of the Invoice Generator™

I now offer a limited time trial but fully functional EXE version of my Automated Invoice Generator™ at ZERO COST.

[Update (9th Aug. 2015): This EXE trial version is currently NOT available due to issues with the compiler I use to create limited use demos of my Excel-VB app. ]

Request the EXE Trial Version of the Invoice Generator™

Simply email me your name, occupation, phone number and address/country, via tayo at tksola dot com, with “Request for Invoice Generator Trial” in the subject line, and I’ll send it to you.

What follows below is a description of key features and functions of the app

1. The materials/services list and prices update interface:

1. The materials/services list and prices update interface

In the above interface, you can specify the names and other details for EACH product and/or service you offer.

This is also where you will specify your base or cost price and then add a MARGIN profit per product or service item you want to make, such that the Invoice Generator will pick up the DERIVED price or fee when you are generating an invoice.

The video tutorials, as well as guide notes provided in the application will help you get a better understanding.

Also, the interface is quite friendly, so you should have no problem learning to use it by trying to make some dummy entries.

The entries you make in the fields with red colored headers will automatically appear in the drop menus that are provided in the Invoice Generator interface.

2. The invoice generation interface:

2. The invoice generation interface

Here (note red colored back ground) you will make ALL needed entries for generating your invoice – same as you would do when preparing a paper version.

The required output will be produced on a ready-to-print A4 sized template (black and white) showing all your specified entries.

The menu options provided actually allow you – AFTER you enter data for an invoice to be generated – to also use the same info, with appropriate modifications to prepare for printing, a Delivery Note and a Pro Forma Invoice.

Client payment options (with corresponding charges) of LPO, versus Customised, versus Cash can also be specified based on you agreement with a client using a drop menu button.

See screenshot of the resultant invoice below.

Note that a special function that converts numbers to letters(e.g. re-writes 11,000 as Eleven Thousand Naira) is set by default to print out the total monetary value of the invoice payment.

You can simply type into the entry field provided for TOTAL IN WORDS in the invoice preparation template, to make the program ignore the function and use your own specifically worded total amount.

3. Screenshot of the generated invoice – ready to print:

3. Screenshot of the generated invoice – ready to print

[IMPORTANT: This blog's contents are being updated following the transfer to www.tayosolagbade.com from my former domain - Spontaneousdevelopment.com. As a result, some parts of it may not work properly for now. Quick Tip: If a link contains "spontaneousdevelopment.com", simply change it to "tayosolagbade.com" - and it should work. This applies to article links as well as image links. Work continues to update the links(in over 500 articles). Tayo K. Solagbade.]

Practical Livestock Feed Formulation Handbook

Available as a PDF ebook, and also as a spiral bound print manual (from me). Click here for details.

You can also get it as an PDF ebook via my online store.

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$82.5 USD to buy it from my online store (PDF download)

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Payment of N50,000.00 gets you the physical handbook and software on CD with videos etc, PLUS practical one-on-one, in person training with me at a feed mill in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Tayo K. Solagbade*
Performance Improvement Specialist & Multipreneur
*Best Practice Farm Business Support Specialist
& Founder of the MS Excel Heaven Visual Basic Automation Club & Competition(www.excelheaven.biz)



Excel-VB Driven Ration Formulator

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1. Click here to learn more about this app - watch demo videos etc

2. Click here to watch a 4 part video in which I demonstrate how to use this app to formulate rations using real life data sent to me by an Algerian PhD student.

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Click here to download a detailed PDF user guide and watch 15 screen shot user guide tutorials of the Monthly Poultry Farm Manager that I now offer Farm CEOs.

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