At long last, Marketcircle has released Billings Pro for iPad. The time-tracking and invoicing app has made the leap from the desktop to Apple's tablet, and offers independent and small business owners the freedom to get things done while out in the field. Here's a look at the most recent version of Billings Pro for iPad.
Earlier this year, Marketcircle discontinued Billings and encouraged users to switch to Billings Pro. Why? One of the main reasons was sync. Many users need to generate invoices on the go, and have them waiting on all compatible devices. Since Billings required manual sync of two devices on the same Wi-Fi network, that had to change.
Billings Pro syncs data between Marketcircle's servers and the user's devices. This isn't client/server syncing that sends data on demand, but real-time sync that is handled seamlessly in the background. It's what Marketcircle calls "distributed computing."
When working on a version of Billings Pro for the iPad, Marketcircle's developers focused on these guiding ideas:
Users will use this while "in the field" with their customers.
The iPad would let them design an invoice that looked and, in many ways, behaved like a paper invoice.
The result is Billings Pro for iPad.
The app uses a paper/folders metaphor. It looks nice and is immediately understandable. The home screen features three main sections: Invoices, Projects and Clients. Each section is organized in a clever way. The row of invoices shows what's overdue or what's about to come due first. Projects are sorted by modification date and clients, again, by when you most recently worked with one.
The invoices are well executed and look nice. When editing an invoice, it looks similar to its paper counterpart. In fact, since the full-sized iPad's screen is about the same size as an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper, it's like working with a real-world invoice. From the invoice editor, you can enter new client information, add a slip, change existing client information and more.
Billings Pro for iPad makes it easy to customize invoices, too. You can add a background or other images that are consistent with your company or band, all from within the iPad app. If a photo is in your camera roll, you can add it. Color and font options are available, too. If you're the type who gets carried away with cosmetic changes, don't worry. Marketcircle will save you from yourself. You only can use two fonts (one main and one accent) and three colors (a base and two accents).
Each invoice gets a unique number, of course, and that requires communication with the server. If you're outside of an active, compatible network as you make an invoice, it will be placed in a queue for sync as soon as a network connection is available.
Billings Pro looks great on the iPad and should serve mobile business owners and freelancers well. I used Billings for years and look forward to making the transition to Billings Pro myself. Billings Pro for the iPad is available for free from the iOS App Store.
Billings Pro requires a subscription that starts at $5 per month for a freelance plan which includes 5 invoices, 5 estimates and 5 statements each month. You can also pay $99 for a year subscription that provides unlimited invoices, unlimited estimates and unlimited statements. All plans allow you to add unlimited number clients and projects.