Invoicing System

City Farm Chicago

Report

Background

From conversations with the client (with the farm perspective) and Aaron and David (with the Resource Center perspective), we determined that the paper-and-pencil system being used at the farm is not the best method for recording transactions. This method is accessible for everyone who works at City Farm, and its lo-fi process has "worked" for the past few years. The information from the paper-and-pencil records is sent to the Resource Center on a regular basis, and the information from this record is then input in a spreadsheet. However, the Resource Center is tracking this information for several organizations, and last year, City Farm discovered that several invoices had been overlooked, so they had revenue.

Process

RingItUp Interface
Ring It Up interface

We considered several factors in analyzing invoicing systems to solve this problem: the people using the system, the setting of system use, the desired product of this process, and the ease of use for the product. City Farm depends on many volunteers, and if the system is too complex, all of these users won't be able to access it easily. For the client, a printed receipt that would be available immediately after the purchase would be best. The implemented system also needs to mesh with the recording system already in place at the Resource Center. The client said that a power solution could be reached once a decision about the best system was made, so this factor didn't need to play a large role in the recommendation.

Behind the Final Report

We examined nearly 40 invoicing systems. We gathered a range of product types, from smartphone applications to web-based applications, and to get a sense of the scope of options. We presented a client with a brief overview of several options to show this breadth, but we narrowed to four applications that best met the criteria for what this system needs to do for City Farm:

These options represent several types of solutions, so the client will be able to select the kind of system that works best with the physical space where they work and with the process that they use for recording transactions.