Blog

Announcements and news about Easy Books.

Hardware Keyboards on iOS

Submitted by mathew on Fri, 02/03/2018 - 15:44

iOS has supported external Bluetooth keyboards for years now. I've even made a couple of small changes to the app in order to better support external keyboards for two people I know are using them.

But with the Smart Keyboard and Apple's apparent intention to pitch the iPad as more of an alternative to a notebook, I decided to add full support for keyboards into Easy Books.

My intention was to see if I could avoid touching the screen completely, and use Easy Books purely in "keyboard mode". I'm pleased to say I managed!

It's possible to launch the app from the iPad Spotlight screen (Cmd + Space), then navigate the app using the arrow keys. The Return key is equivalent to tapping the selected row. More about these and other shortcut keys later.

My Paperless Workflow (Revisited)

Submitted by mathew on Thu, 21/12/2017 - 14:47

It's been over five years since I wrote my original post about my paperless workflow. I still have a paperless office and it's been working really well.

The basic idea is to keep everything digitally instead of keeping physical paperwork. I've found it to be a time saver and I'm much more organised with paperwork than I used to be.

Some things have changed. I still pay for an Evernote account but I don't use it for bookkeeping anymore. Since I updated Easy Books with the new Attachments feature I'm storing all my receipts and statements in it, and the system works better than ever now each receipt is "attached" to the transaction it refers to. If anyone needs to see an original receipt for an entry, it's right there!

Embracing the Notch

Submitted by mathew on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 08:28

Apple announced the iPhone X on 12 September 2017, and shortly after updated the tools to allow developers to update their apps. I wanted to make sure Easy Books was ready to run on the new iPhone as quickly as possible. Almost all the work was completed the next day.

But the phone itself wasn't available until 3 November, and while the simulator helps a lot, it's not a replacement for a real device. I needed to get hold of one to make sure Easy Books was really okay on the new phone.

What to expect in Easy Books for iOS 11

Submitted by mathew on Thu, 31/08/2017 - 17:15

It's been especially busy since early June, when Apple announced the features in iOS 11, Apple's newest version of iOS. This year I watched the keynote in the company of other developers in San Jose, CA. Everyone was excited about changes coming to the iPad, especially drag and drop.

I was also interested in the document scanner built into the new version of the Notes app. While there isn’t an API for the scanner itself, Apple have provided APIs for rectangle recognition and tracking. These make it easier to include a document scanner in third party apps. And it’s something I’ve been looking to add for a long time, plus it’s a feature some of you have asked for: see April 2017 Survey Results.

Both of these features inspired changes in the next version of Easy Books.

April 2017 Survey Results

Submitted by mathew on Thu, 25/05/2017 - 17:36

I rarely use formal surveys. But for second time since 2009 I decided I should gather some feedback which would help me work out where to concentrate my development efforts. The survey went out to 1,000 people and if you took the time to fill it in, thank you!

I collected 115 responses over a week and processed them to group common answers together.

I asked the rather open ended question "why do you use Easy Books?".

The Advantages of Hybrid Cloud Accounting

Submitted by mathew on Mon, 15/05/2017 - 12:07

It wasn't that long ago I started my business (Geode Software). But a lot has changed since.

I remember starting the business and opening a bank account. Then I knew I would need to keep records of all my invoices and expenses. And I would need to keep the receipts. I set up a software package on a PC and I ran everything from there. I made regular backups, and I burned them to a CD.

Everything used to run from the one machine, from entering data to running reports. All processing was done locally - there was no 'cloud' component!

Security Update (Feb 2017)

Submitted by mathew on Fri, 17/02/2017 - 16:13

As you may have gathered from my previous blog posts, I'm keen to maintain my focus on security and I like to stay ahead of any potential problems.

This post concerns the security of the connection between the app (Easy Books or Easy Invoice) and the Online Sync service.

Communications between the apps and the service is only permitted over an encrypted connection, you may be aware of the "S" in HTTPS which stands for "secure". SSL is another term for this, although this was deprecated years ago in favour of a more general term TLS ("Transport Layer Security").

Introducing Subscription Pricing

Submitted by mathew on Wed, 02/11/2016 - 18:06

We are making changes to Easy Books because we want to develop and improve it at a faster pace.

We have moved to a pricing model that makes it fairer for our customers and more closely relates to our own costs. At the same time, we have retired our old pricing model and it is no longer be possible to purchase an add-on outside a subscription. However, we aim to allow anyone who has previously purchased an add-on to continue to use it on the same device. The vast majority of our existing customers will be unaffected by the changes.

Have you ever needed to remove Easy Books from your device?

Submitted by mathew on Tue, 18/10/2016 - 11:34

If Easy Books is such a great app, why on earth would we even suggest such a thing? Well, there are some good reasons why you might want to remove the app, even temporarily.

  • You want to give (or lend) your Mac or iPad to someone else, and you don't want them to view your accounts.
  • There is a problem with your device and you have to take it to a repair centre or the Apple Store.
  • You don't use Easy Books anymore and you want to clear space on your device. :'(

What started as a quick blog post has now been given its own page in the user guide!

Read on...

Responsive Web Design

Submitted by mathew on Fri, 07/10/2016 - 12:22

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach to web site design that allows a site's content to scale gracefully from large screen down to small screen devices. Using a standard layout that favours large screens means anyone viewing the site on a small screen needs to zoom in to content they want to read. Conversely, by using a responsive design, the same content is displayed in a way that works well on any size of screen.

I'm very pleased with how the new site has turned out. It really is much easier to read on the iPhone than before and yet still looks good on iPad and desktops.

What to expect in Easy Books for iOS 10 and macOS Sierra

Submitted by mathew on Wed, 24/08/2016 - 12:51

Apple host a developer conference every June called WWDC, and this year was no different. We usually watch the keynote presentation, although really this is aimed at the world's press rather than the developer community. The real 'meat' of the conference starts afterwards, kicking off with the "State of the union" in which Apple reveal more detailed information about OS changes. This underlying software that runs iOS devices and Mac computers is released between September and October.

So we're usually very busy from June to September making sure Easy Books works well on the new OS. Sometimes there are changes in the OS we think will benefit our customers and we adopt them quickly to be ready for September. But we also have more mundane issues such as re-testing and developing the app to stay up to date with changes. When Apple change an API, or just change some internal behaviour in the OS, it affects Easy Books and we need to spend time making the app work on the new OS as well as the old versions.

Do you need an accountant who knows Easy Books?

Submitted by mathew on Wed, 25/05/2016 - 14:54

Over the years, quite a few people have asked whether we can recommend an accountant. Preferably someone who already knows Easy Books and can handle Year End and VAT returns.

We can't vouch for these accountants because we haven't used them ourselves. But with their permission we have prepared a short list of accountants based in UK. They all use Easy Books and our Online Sync service. Using it they can correct errors, handle the year end and VAT periods for you, meaning you don't need to worry about entering journal transactions yourself!

Restoring past purchases

Submitted by mathew on Tue, 12/01/2016 - 14:07

We handle many support requests for people who purchased add-ons for Easy Books and want to use them on a new Mac. This is especially true just after Christmas, I suppose that's the peak time for sales of new Macs!

The process should be simple, just re-download Easy Books and click Already purchased on the add-ons screen. However, we sell Easy Books direct from the web site and Apple sell a version from their Mac App Store. The two editions are essentially the same, and each can restore purchases. But only those made in the same edition - whether Mac App Store or Web Site.

So what can go wrong?

Foreign Currency support in Easy Books

Submitted by mathew on Thu, 27/08/2015 - 17:52

I'm pleased to announce Easy Books now supports multiple currencies. Easy Books handles 150+ currencies with exchange rates updated hourly. It also tracks historical rates, just add transactions and let Easy Books find the rate applicable at the time. Run a Profit & Loss report to show all your realised and unrealised gains.

If you have a bank account in a foreign currency you can now set it up in Easy Books. If you invoice one of your customers in a different currency, you can do that too. The app will keep track of the amounts in each currency. This means the value of these accounts changes from day to day as exchange rates change. Earning JPY 100,000 from a sale at the start of the month may have a different value to the business when payment is received at a later date. Easy Books keeps track of the exchange rate gains or losses and records them in the financial reports.

Cash Accounting in Easy Books

Submitted by mathew on Mon, 11/05/2015 - 16:53

Over the years quite a few people have asked me whether Easy Books supports cash accounting. I'm pleased to say that it now does. As I'm writing this the feature is only available in the beta version of the app but - all being well - it will be released soon.

Are you a human? An alternative to CAPTCHA

Submitted by mathew on Fri, 03/04/2015 - 00:33

I recently received an email from Amazon Web Services, our hosting provider for all our database, web and email servers. The email flagged up an issue to us that an unusually high number of messages we had sent have been reported as spam. In total, 57 emails were reported as spam in the last 11,000. We have a support agreement with AWS and each time I've had cause to contact them they have always provided excellent support.

Publishing Updates to Software in the Mac App Store

Submitted by mathew on Thu, 02/10/2014 - 16:29

(EDIT: Jan 2015) Easy Books for Mac has now been updated in the Mac App Store. Latest stats show 90% of Macs running Easy Books for the first time in the previous week are running OS X Yosemite. This makes this post somewhat obsolete.

Easy Books for Mac is published as two editions, one is available from this web site (easybooksapp.com) and the other is available from Apple's Mac App Store. Both are essentially the same and have the same features. Both accept payment in-app and can restore previous purchases to another Mac in much the same way. Both are kept up to date, the web site edition checking for new updates on launch, the Mac App Store edition as part of Apple's central software update process.

I've recently run into a problem which I've already seen a good solution to over on the (iOS) App Store.

What's New in Easy Books 4.0 for Mac OS X Yosemite?

Submitted by mathew on Sat, 30/08/2014 - 08:37

Easy Books for Mac has been having a facelift recently to tie in with the upcoming release of Apple's newest version of OS X "Yosemite". The most striking difference is how the translucent sidebar now takes on the personality of the content behind it. Change your desktop background and that change shines through all your apps on macOS. But the changes aren't just skin deep, there are some great new features too.

The future of Easy Invoice

Submitted by mathew on Fri, 30/05/2014 - 14:41

Easy Invoice is an app with a tight focus on producing estimates, invoices and statements. It shares a lot of the same technology with Easy Books and has a similar user interface.

But the app hasn't been a success. Maybe it's because there are already quite a number of apps in the App Store offering invoicing. The app hasn't appeared high enough in search results to get enough downloads and like many apps in the store, Easy Invoice has never generated much of an income.