Tracking time on a daily basis? In my work as a web designer, tracking time that I spend on projects, traveling for clients as well keeping together all financial items in a project, is vital. On the Mac, I have long been a user of Billings, by Marketcircle. They have made an iPhone version of the app available, that also syncs with the Mac version.
Marketcircle specializes in productivity apps on the Mac with iPhone versions of the same ones. Billings is one of their big apps (with productivity suite, Daylite, being the other) and they have definitely taken to the iPhone platform and understood the function of good user interface design.
Launching Billings Touch brings you to a home screen with easy (and elegant) buttons to add different types of slips (time or fixed) as well as milage, expenses and item quantities or to use a blueprint for the new slip. Underneath that, you see a graph that you can have show either the amount of money you have logged in the week, or the amount of time.
The other areas of the Billings Touch interface are equally smartly designed, mixing the normal view modes of the iPhone OS with custom design (as the home page), making the interface truly gorgeous.
If you need to add a new client to billings while on the go, you can add one either fully from scratch or by using a contact as the base, pulling the information out from the correct address book card of your choice.
If you sync it, it will have already pulled over your contacts and contact groups, but if you find that you need a new contact group, that is also easily created.
Managing Slips and Projects
If you sync to Billings on the Mac, all projects and slips will already sync over, but the app is fully useful on its own. Even if you sync, the ability to create slips and projects on the go, is of course important.
After locating a client, you can add a new project that you can give all the data that you can on the Mac version, due dates, start days as well as hourly base-price can all be set. You can of course add notes as well.
When a project has been added to client, you can start adding slips to it. These are essentially different parts of the projects, whether it is tracked time for certain parts, the charge for driven milage or a product that you are selling.
A limitation in Billings Touch is the invoicing capability. While you can create full invoices from the slips, set invoice dates, the terms and due date, as well as add notes, you can only select form the pre-built styles. This also means that you cannot make your own invoice style, nor will the ones you have in Billings on your Mac sync over to Billings Touch.
Even though this is a limitation in the iPhone OS, with a lacking PDF creation engine, the invoicing feature is not as useful to me, as I want my invoices to be sent out in my own style that I have designed.
Syncing with the Mac
The syncing with the Mac version works very well and this is far from surprising. Marketcircle has great experience under their belt with syncing, with their Daylite application syncing over the internet using server technology. Happily for the individual with no server setup, Billings Touch sync easily through Wi-Fi syncing.
This works without any problems for me, every time I sync, as syncing rightfully should do.
Billings and Billings Touch in combination is in my opinion the best combination when it comes to tracking time, both on your Mac and your iPhone together. With powerful project and slip features, as well as account and invoicing built right in, Billings Touch work great for both the individual designer as well as the large agency.
Adding the gorgeous interface into the mix and you have an application that could really only improve vastly by figuring out a way to make custom invoicing styles available.