App roundup: Timekeeping and billing (Part II: The Quickening)
I got a lot of feedback from commenters yesterday about the app roundup of timekeeping and billing software. Turns out that little part about not having a comprehensive list didn't satisfy anyone!
So let's add to our list, and include five more apps and services to make you a billing maestro and timekeeping maven:
iBiz is a very friendly app that integrates with plenty of other Mac apps like iCal, Address Book, Automator and Spotlight to help you manage your time.
You can set normal timers to start and stop manually, as with many other titles, but you can also assign certain documents to timers. So, for example, if you have a folder of project files, you can tell iBiz to watch that folder, and the timer will start any time you open any of those files. Très precis.
iBiz also offers a client/server application to help time tracking among small (Bonjour-connected) teams. With it, you can set employee permissions, group rates, and create to-do and job event lists.
Like Billable, iBiz lets you customize invoices and estimates through a series of HTML templates. If you don't want to roll your own, they have a sizable library of templates on their website.
Possibly the most popular app I missed was Billings, from Marketcircle. Billings and Billable are very similar, with Billings pulling ahead with a WYSIWYG invoice designer, Address Book integration, and help with estimating.
Along with the standard suite of timers and job tracking, Billings also comes pre-loaded with tax information for over 120 countries. You can also modify tax settings yourself to meet your area's own tax requirements.
Also, Billings includes a beefy reporting tool that you can customize just as easily as you can customize invoices. Billings offers drag-and-drop objects that you can place on the document. You can also add images, as well as change colors and fonts.
Billings 2.5 is $59, and has a 21-day free trial available. The software is universal binary, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later with at least a 1024 x 768 display resolution.
TimeLog is a unique timekeeping solution that integrates with iCal to record and manage the time you spend on projects. If you keep your calendars in sync between multiple computers with Mobile Me, TimeLog on all your workstations will keep up with you.
In addition to starting and stopping a traditional timer, you can drag new appointments into calendars in iCal, and the elapsed time of those appointments will be recorded in TimeLog.
Also extremely helpful (if not slightly creepy) is that TimeLog watches what apps you use, in case you forgot to start a timer. So if you started that Illustrator project without switching TimeLog tasks, you still know when exactly you made the switch, and can adjust your time accordingly.
TimeLog doesn't include any invoicing features, but does export your task lists to either Pages or Numbers for further formatting into client-facing correspondence.
TimeLog 4.3.6 is €19, available in 11 languages, and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or higher.
OfficeTime, like Billings, is a time keeping, estimating, reporting, and invoicing tool, but includes features for teams.
Employees can enter time themselves, and team leaders can run reports, view utilization rates, and create invoices. Everyone can also publish their timesheets as iCal calendars for schedules at a glance. OfficeTime offers template-based invoicing, as well.
Harvest lets administrators set up employees with time tracking, which can be entered via the web, a custom iPhone site (also handy with Fluid), or a Dashboard widget. Time can be easily entered on a weekly or daily basis, depending on how precise you want to get.
Harvest also plays nicely with Basecamp, importing projects and employees. It will also export files for Micrsoft Excel, and also to QuickBooks (essential for many). Add to that OpenID support and a customizable color scheme, and you've got a nice system for your small business.
Harvest ranges in price from $12 to $90 monthly, depending on the size of your team and the number of projects you want to track. A free 30-day trial is also available.
Still not enough?
If that's not enough billing and timekeeping for you, well, then your needs are out of my league. Sorry. Hopefully, though, between this and our last roundup, you can find something that fits your needs. Good luck, and happy freelancing!
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