I’ve been trying out Billings Pro and I recommend the program to small business owners, including those with employees who telecommute or employees that are on the road often.
According to the program’s maker, Marketcircle, “Billings Pro is a professional multi-user time tracking and invoicing solution for the Mac and iPhone, with a Web interface called Timecard for non-management staff. Timecard lets workers track time from any modern, standards compliant mobile or desktop browser, on any operating system.” The application is a multi-user version of Billings 3, an award-winning invoicing and time-tracking program for single users (I’ve used it for the past year or so and I like it too).
There are several components to Billings Pro, allowing managers and employees to keep track of time anywhere:
-Billings Pro client (Mac OS X 10.6 or newer) – used by managers to enter invoices and payments, approve slips and take care of other administrative tasks.
-Billings Pro Touch – the iPhone app that allows all users to enter time, expenses and slips (these become items on an invoice).
-Timecard – web-based time tracker that runs on the latest version of any browser (on a computer or smartphone).
-Billings Pro Server – this is what keeps the whole system together. The server is installed on a stationary Mac (installation doesn’t require an expert) and it “stores all the data in an industrial grade database.”
-Switchboard – online portal through which users access the Billings Pro database.
Overall Billings Pro makes for smooth sailing with invoicing and time keeping. The server, iPhone app and other components allow multiple users easily to use the system and for managers to sync all the entries and create invoices without a hassle. Billings Pro comes with more than 30 invoice templates that range from corporate-looking to those with colorful designs. The iPhone app allows users to make time and expense entries offline and to sync their entries with the server once they access the internet with their phones. Users can also submit slips via the app for managers to approve through the Billings Pro Mac client, which features a quickly accessible tab that allows managers easily to approve slips. Also, client information can be easily imported from the Address Book or Daylite, which is a project management program by Marketcircle.
The simplicity of design and use of Billings Pro are also present in the reports feature, which is especially good for those of us who are not big fans of numbers but who need to keep an eye on accounting and overall business operations. A few of the reports are Accounts Summary, Activity by Category and Estimate vs. Actual and all are concise and look nice. It’s refreshing to see an invoicing program that shows just the information that is relevant as opposed to rows and columns of numbers that have nothing to do with the wanted information.
Since I work only on a laptop (that travels with me everywhere) I had trouble with the Server because it is really intended to run on a stationary computer. My support representative, who was rather helpful, pointed this out to me.
Something I would have changed in Billings Pro (and Billings 3) is the fact that I can’t turn an estimate into an invoice at the click of a button. I can go into an estimate slip and add it to my list of working slips then create an invoice from there, which is good for workers who need to time their work but it’s a bit of an inconvenience for those who charge at flat rates. I also wish there were a way to restart the timer in Billings Touch because if a worker mistakenly hits “stop timing” instead of “pause timer” there’s no way to get back into the slip and work on it again. The solution has been to start a new timer, which is not a big deal but could add a few too many slips to an invoice.
Users can try the full version of Billings Pro for free for 30 days. The full version with email support costs 139,95€ per user and there is also a Starter Bundle package that costs 999,95€ for up to 5 users that comes with a year of premium support. On its own premium support comes at 439,95€ per year. There are other plans for the software and for premium support that users may check out on the Marketcircle website.
I recommend the software for small business owners with stationary offices looking for a painless time and invoice management program.
(Full disclosure: Marketcircle gave me a free license of Billings Pro as was the case with some other software I have reviewed.)
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