Sprout Apps Launches Free WordPress Invoicing Plugin

Last month, Sprout Apps announced that it would soon be launching a suite of business apps targeted at WordPress freelancers and small businesses. While the company is still in pre-launch operations, Sprout Invoices was just released on WordPress.org as part of the launch plan.

Dan Cameron, the founder of Sprout Apps, believes there are some distinct advantages to managing common business-related tasks in the admin. The Sprout Apps product suite aims to streamline and brand all client communications, making your WordPress site the center of activity for your business. Cameron hopes that users will opt for a homegrown WordPress solution that fits right into their websites, instead of relegating business tasks to third-party applications with narrow customization options.

The Sprout Invoices plugin unifies the workflow of estimate creation and invoice management. It allows you to receive estimate requests via a default form, or you can integrate it with Gravity Forms or Ninja Forms. The plugin automatically creates estimates based on the requests you receive and you can easily manage their status in the admin:

easy-estimate-management

Once an estimate is accepted, the plugin automatically generates the invoice to speed up the process of being paid. Sprout Invoicing has built-in support for deposit payments.

sprout-invoice

Sprout Invoicing allows for custom estimate and invoice templates, which you can brand for your business via a standards WordPress theme template. Notification editing allows for plain-text or HTML, so you can also match the branding in your email communications.

The plugin’s dashboard lets you know how your business is doing at a glance, with charts and summaries:

sprout-invoicing-dashboard

Sprout Invoicing also includes dynamic reports, which allow for date filtering, sorting, search, and exporting – all of the features you would normally expect from your standard invoicing app.

dynamic-reports

The free Sprout Invoicing plugin allows you to accept payment via Paypal Pro or send customers to Paypal to pay invoices. The Sprout App marketplace includes additional upgrades and payment add-ons.

Sprout Invoicing features at a glance include:

  • Advanced Estimate and Invoice Admin
  • 200+ filters and actions for hooking into the plugin and altering anything
  • Customizable invoice and estimate templates
  • Discounts
  • Deposit Payments
  • Taxes
  • Client records with multiple points of contact
  • Nested line items
  • Pre-defined tasks/line items
  • AJAX throughout to speed up workflow

In the future, Cameron plans to add importing from WP-Invoice, Harvest, and Freshbooks. Other major features on the roadmap include time tracking, recurring payments, and payment terms.

If you are currently using commercial invoicing software and want to save your small business a little bit of cash, Sprout Invoices looks like a promising WordPress-based alternative. You can download it for free from WordPress.org.

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23 Comments


  1. I’ve been using the paid version for a couple of weeks now and I have to say I’m really impressed with Dan’s speed of support and general care for his customers. I abhor Freshbooks, they’re way too expensive and their support is “meh”. I’m excited to see what Dan comes up with down the road as well.

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  2. I’ve seen with WP Invoice in the past… very nice. I’m sure this plugin is nice too (downloading it as we speak). For me, these type of plugins are only worth considering in a localhost environment, for 2 reasons, and either of these reasons are good enough not to use them on a live site – 1. SECURITY and 2. SERVER RESOURCES, specially when using a shared hosting account. I’d rather spend my server’s resources on plugins that actually have anything to do with the web site.

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    1. Nick – Yes that certainly makes sense. It would be lame if you couldn’t send out invoices if somehow your hosting for your site went down. Not sure all the features would work on a local site – especially if you have emails turned off.

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    2. Hello Nick,

      Server Resources – The impact that Sprout Invoices has on your site is rather minimal, since it doesn’t interfere with any front-end views/traffic. The only front-end views that would be impacted is when/if an estimate or invoice is viewed. I could provide more technical details of why SI will have minimal impact on your site, e.g. object caching, etc..

      That said, if you’re worried about resources than it might be time to find a host that helps you enough that you don’t need to worry about this at all.

      Security – I don’t understand this concern at all. Sprout Invoices conforms to all WP coding practices and has had security auditing (and will continue to). If you have any specific concerns let me know, I want to make it clear that SI is as secure as your WordPress install. Hopefully it’s not running only locally :)

      Let me know here (or contact me directly) and I’ll answer any questions or concerns you might have.

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      1. Dan, just like you are not questioning my intelligence, I’m not going to question your knowledge or your willingness to lie.

        Let me start with some facts before going to the 2 points of contention here:

        Fact 1: This kind of a plugin is not a necessity for a site to run, is is just a luxury, since there are many offline tools to create invoices.
        Fact 2: Once you start storing personal data on any web site, you are painting a bigger target for that site to attract hackers.
        Fact 3: WordPress is the most targeted platform by hackers.
        Fact: Any web site is hackable, there is no such thing as a safe site, just like there is no such thing as a perfect software.

        OK, now let me discuss your objections to my initial points:

        Server Resources: Even if your plugin’s footprint is minimal, and even if I’m on the most powerful web server, there still will be some slowdown. As far as search engines go, speed is one of the most important factors, so even 1 milliseconds matters. Would I risk my ranking for a plugin that I can really do without, specially when there are tons of other offline solutions? – the answer is simply “no way”.

        Security: You painted half the picture here. So let me paint the whole story, and let’s see what you can come up with:

        I do believe you when you say that this plugin conforms to all WP coding practices, and has no security concerns. But that’s not the whole story. From the facts, I already established that WordPress sites attract more hackers, and storing personal data will make things even worse. No matter how safe your plugin is, there are still very good chances one can hack the site due to:

        1. A hole in WordPress itself. WP is never safe – they released WP 4.0 yesterday, they will release security fixes within 2 weeks – they always do!
        2. Themes
        3. Plugins
        4. The server is not setup properly.
        5. A dishonest employee from the hosting company, can walk right up to the server, and steal all your private data.

        All I’m saying, by using such plugin, I’m making myself a bigger target for the hackers, and possibly my search engine rankings might suffer – which is not necessary, since I can always use another offline tool.

        I hope you now understand my security concerns.

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      2. First, I want to apologize and say that I didn’t intend to sound rude or insult you in anyway. Truly.

        Your take is very interesting and well thought out, I just completely disagree. I’ve been working in the e-commerce side of WordPress for 5+ years, on a very successful project with a very large user base, I never once heard/seen an attack on their site as a result of the e-commerce plugin they had installed. Nor was the plugin exploited. Under those conditions you would expect someone to target these sites regularly, since the content was much more valuable to an attacker than a client list (that Sprout Invoices creates).

        As you can tell I’ve done this for years; while a WP site could be exploited because of a core security issue it’s not fair to impose the security risk on any plugins or themes (unless the attack vector was created by the plugin/theme).

        I consider the majority of the “sensitive” data stored on a site using Sprout Invoices has the same value as the form data stored with estimate/lead form submissions; people trust form plugins to store submissions so I see very little difference with Sprout Invoices. The payment data stored is useless since API tokens can’t be used by any other person, since they’re tied to the API credentials and the site owner.

        That said…
        I’m sorry you w/couldn’t trust any Sprout Apps with any business process for you site. I think you’re missing out (especially with other plugins, e.g. contact form plugins) but it’s a matter of choice and it’s yours to make.

        Thanks for the feedback.

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    1. There was a major issue in our local development setup that caused notice suppression. I’m taking this very seriously and I’m embarrassed to say the least. Please give us another try and you’ll see that we’re not “bad developers”…we just made a mistake and we’re trying out best to resolve every issue we find.

      If you were to download the latest version on the plugin repo you’ll see that the notices are gone (not suppressed–fixed). If you see any others please let us know, I tried my best to find everything but wanted to get an update out as soon as I saw the issue.

      You can use the sproutapps.co contact form to contact me personally or the WP.org forums.

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      1. Thank you for bringing it up, I most likely would of missed that update entirely otherwise. I updated my post as well, it’s not that mean anymore and the plugin actually works now. Keep up the good work!

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  3. Quickbooks does a great job of this if you take the time to learn it. Wonder if this ties back into it and automatically uploads to it so you don’t have to re-neter the data? Invoices are typically the least of a Entrepreneurs list of things to be concerned with :). Getting their chart of account together and understanding how much a good set of books can help them is however very important. It helps you get credit and partners later on. Do you think this is app looking for an audience or an audience that really needs the app?

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    1. I’m confident enough to say that Sprout Invoices isn’t for everyone, especially if they need fully featured accounting software. The market, as I see it, for Sprout Invoices is for those freelancers (like myself) and small businesses that use services like Harvest and Freshbooks to provide estimates and invoices to (prospective/current) clients.

      Sprout Invoices does go further though, it’s major benefit is the user’s full control. Customized invoicing and estimate templates, branding, site integration with lead forms, … the list is long.

      Hope that helps.

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  4. This is not a free plugin. When I downloaded this yesterday it did look like a free product with optional addons. This morning I have come to use it and I find that it is now a subscription plugin and the free version (no longer available) does not work at all. I feel like I have been misled and I will be wary of Sprout App products in future. I certainly won’t be buying a license for a product that I can’t even try out.

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    1. Hello Lisa, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having issues with the latest version of Sprout invoices. What exactly is not working now that worked before. There are upgrades to a paid version of Sprout invoices, however it is not a subscription only plug-in. The paid version of Sprout invoices is a premium product that adds new features, the free version is limited in comparison but it’s fully featured.

      Please contact me. You can use the contact form on our site, or use the support forum on WP.org.

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    1. Hello, are you experiencing the same issue? I’m really interested to hear what you have to say. This is not something that I want anyone to experience, ever.

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  5. What I’d like to know is can this help with multiple dropdown menus in a website? Or what app can?

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  6. I’d love to offer a discount for anyone purchasing a paid version of Sprout Invoices, for either the yearly or monthly subscription.

    At the moment our current promotion is simple:

    1) If you liked the free version (and are looking to upgrade) write a review.
    https://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-reviews/sprout-invoices

    2) After your review is submitted send me a link to ama ((at)) sproutapps.co and I’ll reply back with a promo code.

    Thank you all!

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    1. Our invoicing plug-in needs to interface with Stripe and so I went to WP.org and looked for plug-ins that are tagged with “invoice” and “Stripe”, and these are the only two that show up:
      Sprout
      WP-Invoice

      Dan, I’m reluctant to ask this because I suspect you’re biased, but given that WP-Invoice has had almost 137,000 downloads compared to 2,500 for Sprout, why should I go with Sprout? I’m especially curious to know what happens if you don’t get a larger user base in terms of long-term support.

      Thanks

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