Last week, Marketcircle introduced Billings 3, a huge update to their billing and invoicing application. Billings 3 introduces some great new features and a dramatically changed interface. They are all welcome updates.
We wrote about Billings 2 shortly after it debuted in early 2007, and if you compare 2.0 vs. 3.0 you’ll immediately see a huge number of differences. The interface is much improved, bringing in a more Leopard-like design and more intelligent organization to the application. Marketcircle really listened to their users here and it’s paid off.
Some nice touches include an info pane in the lower left that gives you a quick look at the relevant information for a client. Even the menubar timer got a new design that looks fantastic.
Projects and Accounts
The new modal design incorporates two views: Projects and Account. The aptly-named Projects area incorporates all the kinds of things you’d be doing when working on a project, or estimating potential projects. This includes your project timers, notes, and linked files.
In Accounts, you’ll find all the invoices, estimates, payments, and statements. It’s easy to switch back and forth between the two, and things feel in their right place.
The big new feature for me is grouping of clients. Before Billings 3, the user was unable to organize their clients. This became especially difficult once you have more than a few clients on the list. I also didn’t have anything to do with my clients and projects that weren’t active anymore. All of this is solved with Billings 3.
Other new features include recurring invoices, account statements, and worker names.
A Few Drawbacks
With all the excellent redesigned elements of the app it seems like they barely touched the individual slip window. Given how much of my interaction with Billings seems to orbit around slips and timers, I was a little disappointed to discover it had remained as clumsy as before. It seems like they somehow were able to find a way to make the slip window feel both cluttered and like it’s wasting a lot of space. When one clicks the “Log…” button, a new slip folds down that’s actually larger than the window out of which it’s folding. I’m hoping that they’ll address this in future updates.
Also, for a lot of my work, I require a deposit to get started. There’s no seamless way to send an invoice for a deposit on the work. This seems to be a long-standing issue that people have inquired about in the forums, yet Marketcircle hasn’t indicated they plan to include this in the future.
Daylight integration isn’t much better. We wrote about that back when Billings 2, and it seems since then, the integration, while present, is still rather limited.
The phrase “business software on the Mac” feels like a bit of a contradiction, but Billings seems to do a pretty dang good job of it. Version 2.5 was good, and this update brings some good, solid changes for the better making it an outstanding application.
Disclosure: MarketCircle provided a review license for this article.