Holvi Blog for Makers and Doers

Holvi frontend: what we've achieved in 2015

How to use Holvi · 10/12/15 17:36 · Carlos

It’s been a while since we wrote the last blog post about the evolution of the Holvi frontend. Time flies! It’s also been a year since we released the new version of our customer facing application, which was our biggest ever technology update named Appenzeller. We previously wrote about how we planned and executed this complex project. As 2015 is coming to an end, it’s good to look back at what we’ve achieved.

In this post, we’ll go through some of the improvements and functionalities added to our application in the span of one year. In retrospective, 2015 has been a very feature oriented year for the Holvi product team. Progress is not always as visible on a day to day basis, but looking back at how much our tech team has accomplished feels very satisfying and motivating.

It is now more evident than ever that our investment in the Holvi frontend update has fully paid off. Our speed of execution has increased. On average, we deployed 1 release to production per day. Our development procedures are better defined and more predictable. We have a more modular architecture, which allows us to be much better at adding new building blocks in a maintainable and organised fashion. This also enables us to find defective components easier and fix them quicker. We have also achieved an excellent level of visual uniformity across all the parts of our applications, so our customers can identify the Holvi products at a glimpse. We can continue our growth, knowing that our technology won’t be a limiting factor.

Now let's delve a little deeper into what features we’ve added in the past 12 months to different parts of the Holvi product.

Bookkeeping

  • Financial periods allow to reset budgets after some point in time, so you can focus on the finances for the current period of time. Automatic closing of periods can be scheduled, so you can start with a clean slate each month, quarter or year. Closed period data can always be accessed for reference.
  • Financial dashboard allows you to visualize how your business has been doing in a certain period of time. It can help you answer questions like "How much cash have I received and spent this month?", "How much I invoiced last year? How much is pending to be paid?", "What has been my online store revenue last week?", etc.
  • Cash flow focused feed. The feed is the main source of information about to money movements in your account. Feed entries now are clickable and take you to the entity in question. For example, clicking on an entry of an online store sale will take you directly to the order details; a paid invoice entry will take you to the invoice details, etc. In addition, a secondary notifications list posts announcements related to expense claims received, comments made by other users, etc.
  • Expense claim improvements. Now it is possible to file expense claims directly from inside the account view. Also, the form used for filing expense claims by your partners has been improved and made responsive, so it is more comfortable to use on any device.

Invoicing

  • Credit notes for invoices. With this feature, our customers can can mark unpaid or partly paid invoices as credited to tidy up their bookkeeping.
  • Categories per invoice line: previously it was only possible to set a category for the whole invoice, now each item in the invoice can be categorised differently, which enables better budgeting and bookkeeping.
  • New visual styles for invoices and other PDF generated documents. We are going further in the branding of the different components involved in our platform. Taking as base the visual styles used in our web application we have created our own framework to style PDF documents. The result as you see it is cleaner and more professional looking documents that are consistent with our brand.
  • Small invoice improvement: Now issue date for an invoice is editable when creating the invoice. Also, an optional custom message can be included in invoices, where you can add some disclaimer, or any additional details you may need.

Payments

  • Automatic discovery of BIC codes for IBAN. No more manual BIC entries when you’re making a payment with your Holvi! We even tell you the bank which will receive the payment, so you rest assured your money will arrive to the right place.
  • Scheduling of outbound payments. Individual payments can be programmed to a specific date of execution.

Online store

  • Online store sections enable you to group items in your shop in a meaningful way. Additionally, custom sorting of items in different sections has been implemented as well.
  • Digital downloads: This was a highly requested feature and thanks to this you can sell your digital products directly in the Holvi online store. Simply upload the file to the item and when your customers make a purchase of that item they will receive a link to download the digital content in question. We are offering this service as part of our online store and we don't take any additional fees on sales of digital products unlike other digital product sale providers.
  • Additional analytics to online store. For advanced users of the Holvi online store some analytics platforms have been integrated, so it is possible to track your customers’ behaviour in your online store, namely Google Analytics, Google Adwords and Facebook pixels.
  • Custom terms and conditions to your online store: this allows you to define specific terms to your shop to keep the customers of your online store informed about legal aspects regarding their purchase, or any other practical details like return policies, expected delivery times, etc. If terms and conditions are added, your customers will be requested to accept them during the checkout process.
  • Multiple images to online store items. Another higly requested feature which has finally made its way to our product. There is no limit to the amount of images for an item.

Other product improvements

  • User levels: When sharing your account you can add members as editors or administrators depending on the level of permission to approve payments you want to give to your team members.
  • Replication of invoices, payments and online store items makes your workflow faster than ever. The most relevant details will be copied to a new blank form where the values can be then edited and saved to a new entity.
  • Dropbox exports. This feature is now limited to Dropbox integrations, but it is likely to be extended in the future to let you collect all the documents and reports for certain period of time and get them transferred magically to your Dropbox account. This will make it very easy to share your documents with your accountant.
  • Time zone support might be something you haven’t noticed. To be fully ready for new European countries, we needed to review the way we were displaying dates and times to match the time zone our customers are in. It is also possible to force a specific time zone other than the one you are in, if needed.
  • Autocompletion of addresses. We have integrated Google Location suggestions to help speeding up filling of postal addresses. If you haven't noticed this you can find this helpful feature when filling in the recipient address of an invoice. Also, customers of your online store benefit from this, when their address is collected as part of the checkout flow.
  • Comments can now be added to each and every entity in your Holvi account. You can add notes about an online store purchase, keep discussion with other account members regarding a payment, etc. This helps to improve understanding of your finances when something unexpected happens, for example, a cancelled invoice, some error when making a payment, or in many other scenarios.
  • On the support side, we have added tutorial videos within certain sections of the application, so you can learn more about Holvi and find useful tips without leaving the application. Also, when verifying payments and sending you SMS we check our operator information and detect if there might be some problem delivering the SMS to your phone and assist you in verifying the payment if that is the case.

That's not all

Phew, that was a long list! But if you have made it this far, you should know that these are not the only things we’ve implemented in the past year. There have been some other interesting by-product additions of our frontend update. Our efforts in unifying the visual styles across all our application stack have empowered us to go forward efficiently in other areas.

  • Responsive web application views allow us to adapt to different screen sizes and to provide better interaction for each screen size. Now you can make the most of your Holvi account on your tablet or phone.
  • New mobile app. We developed our Android and iOS mobile apps by using our web application as a core. The main advantages provided by the mobile app on top of the regular application is the possibility to access your accounts faster by using a shorter PIN code instead of a password and also receiving instant notifications to your mobile when there is some activity in your account, like a purchase in your online store, a payment for an invoice, an outbound payment made by another account member, etc.
  • Responsive online stores: yet again thanks to the unification of our styles we were able to refresh the look and feel of the online stores our customer use to sell their product. They look and work great on any device and provide a smoother shopping experience regardless of the device shop visitors are using.

What’s up next?
Our next product goals are summarised in the following core areas:

  • Support for the Holvi Debit Business Card. We are rolling out our card programme shortly. We will provide all the tools our customers need to manage their cards for Holvi business accounts; we will visualize card payments and integrate them efficiently into the Holvi bookkeeping tools.
  • Contacts, contacts, contacts. We are actively working on adding better visibility and management tools to all your financial interactions with different parties. We want to enable you to have a comprehensive overview and quick access to all your business contacts.
  • More streamlined bookkeeping. Holvi already offers powerful tools for categorising payments and tracking VAT, but we really want your Holvi account to become the place where you handle all your business finances. We are currently streamlining Holvi bookkeeping to work with whatever tools your accountant might be using. And it’s going to be simple to use!

Final thoughts
Having written this long piece of text has helped us realize that the difficult process of upgrading our technology was worth it. The benefits of our frontend update are more visible than ever. On a more personal level, I believe even a quarter of those features and improvements I listed would not have been possible with the old technology. I am strongly convinced that we’ve created a great platform that we can successfully continue building on. It also makes it easier to onboard new developers, as we’ve already seen with new colleagues who can easily take on tasks and understand the building blocks and concepts without a lot of assistance.

The future of our frontend looks bright thanks to our talented and experienced team, passion and dedication of our developers, visual and product designers. If you made it this far in this post, chances are you have a technical background and you would like to help us build the awesome. Don't wait any longer and apply to work with us! We want more talented people like you to join us in our fintech disruption journey.

 

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