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If you haven’t noticed, the writers here at TAB like to write about invoicing applications. Some of our recent reviews include Billings, OnTheJob and Involer. But forget all of those other invoicing applications. I just found the one true ring of invoicing and time management: GrandTotal + TimeLog from Media Atelier.
I have been testing this application bundle for the past two weeks ,and I am very impressed with the quality and overall user experience. Because of its integration with Address Book, iCal, MobileMe, and iWork, it really feels like it’s a native app.
As an invoicing application, GrandTotal has an impressive feature set. Here is a short list of the many things GrandTotal can do:
- The ability to create recurring invoices
- An invoice editor that lets you customize your own layout (using existing templates or creating your own)
- Quotes & account statements
- Flexible tax settings & multiple currency support
- Integration with Address Book and TimeLog
- Catalog for recurring and fixed amount items
- Reminders for due & overdue invoice
- Many export options, including PD
Version 1.2 was released this week and with it came the following new features:
- iPhone application (more below)
- All-new UI for the Preferences dialog box
- Ability to create an invoice with just the Gross total
- Addition of a Recent list to the Overview
As I mentioned, the application is very easy to use. Let’s take a look at the main UI (items are intentionally blurred to protect the innocent):
GrandTotal Overview Tab – Recent/Open Invoices
GrandTotal Preferences – TimeLog Integration
As a time-tracking application, TimeLog’s feature set is also very impressive. Here is a short list:
- Uses iCal calendars and calculates the time spent on projects. You can assign clients to your projects from the Address Book. Your timesheets are then synced with MobileMe, ensuring they are current no matter which Mac you use.
- There is a menu item that lets you manage your time easily. You can start and stop the Timer with just one click.
- TimeLog can track the applications you use and then display the usage in the TimeLine. One caveat here is that it tracks everything you do. The developer does not have blacklist functionality yet, but he is working on it.
- Export your timesheet to Pages or Numbers — this is great for sharing your data with others prior to sending out an invoice.
- Integrates with GrandTotal — all of your timesheet data is easily available in GrandTotal for quick processing of invoices.
TimeLog Main Window
New to version 1.2 of GrandTotal is an iPhone app that lets you review your invoices while on-the-go. The best part? It’s free.
In the app, you can view Overdue, Due and Open invoices. You then click the invoices to see the full details as well as the contact information of the client. The client information is “hot” in that it will take you to your address book contact entry so that you can call/email/text them. A nice feature to have would be to re-send any outstanding invoices via the iPhone app.
The one requirement in using the iPhone app is that you must have a MobileMe account to sync your GrandTotal data. Otherwise, the app doesn’t work (which will be a deal breaker for some).
GrandTotal iPhone App Main Screen
GrandTotal iPhone App Invoice Detail Screen
The tag-team of these two products provides a pretty powerful punch in managing your time as well as your billing. The user interface for both GrandTotal and TimeLog is exceptional and makes it pretty easy to get set up for your small business.
Further, you now have iPhone integration so that you can review your invoices and their current standing with your customers. This way, it’s just a quick call away for asking the question: “Is the payment on it’s way out?”
However, are these two apps the best out there? Have we reached invoicing nirvana? Well, I would say it’s pretty close — if you don’t mind a few items:
- The price. Compared to the competition, which averages about $40, to purchase both GrandTotal and TimeLog be prepared to spend about $75.
- iCal integration is excellent, although there is a big caveat. I would discourage you from using any existing calendars as TimeLog changes the data to existing iCal meeting entries.
- Application management. In the competitive space, both Billings and OnTheJob contain the majority of features in one, rather than two applications.
At the end of the day, you can overcome these issues if you want to have the most full-featured time management and invoicing products on the market.
The developer says that more is on the horizon. Maybe an iPhone app for TimeLog? Possible integration with accounting applications? Stay tuned. One thing is for sure, based upon what we have with GrandTotal and TimeLog, we can only continue to expect great things in the future from Media Atelier.