I’ve never been particularly good at tracking my time. Over the years I’ve tried spreadsheets, kitchen timers and notepads. Over the last year or so, though, I’ve been using Freckle, and while I don’t use it as consistently as I should, it’s the best solution that I’ve found.
Freckle is a joy to use, the syntax is easy to learn and the reporting and the “pulse” view is great. What that said, it’s always been kind of a hassle to take this info from Freckle and build my invoices, so I was thrilled to hear that the Freckle team had added invoicing to the service.
I’ve been using Freckle for a while and have a lot of time recorded in there, so I was pleased that I could choose a date and call items before my cutoff as “already billed.” This let me set a clean slate for billable time moving forward for invoicing purposes.
Creating invoices is simple and in true Freckle fashion you can just hop right in. No need to set up anything in advance — choose your project, click “invoice,” adjust the date options if required, and you’re set. You can add your company and client information during invoice creation.
When you create your invoice you can choose to include a full reporting of the time spent or just a total. I like having this choice as it lets me accommodate the needs of the client and our billing terms. For those clients where I can just provide totals the quick reports in Freckle have always let me pull up what I needed, and I could just enter that into my other invoicing app. It was when I needed to provide a full account of my time in detail that it became time-consuming, cutting and pasting line-by-line. It’s a joy to just get that data right onto my invoices now.
This is a first release, though, and still in beta, and while I didn’t have any problems with it, there are some enhancements I’d still like to see.
For each invoice created Freckle provides a link that I can send to my client, or I can easily print a PDF or hard copy. But that means that I still have to go and mail or email my invoices — I guess I’ve been spoiled by my existing service that just takes care of all of that for me automatically.
There is also no way to charge a mixed rate. My company offers different services that often bill at different rates — with Freckle the rate is entered once and applied to every line. An override for specific lines would be great.
Finally, there is no link to Paypal or other payment gateway. Most of my clients pay by check so this isn’t a deal breaker for everyone but there are some who prefer Paypal or credit card and that integration makes it so much easier for them — and I obviously like to make it easy for folks to pay me.
Overall, for the clients and projects that I can fit into its functionality, the addition of invoicing is useful, but I quite can’t get rid of my other invoicing apps just yet.
Invoicing is included with any paid Freckle account plan.
How do you manage your time tracking and invoicing?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise