IBiz 4.0.1 is a billing and time management application that helps track the work you do, permits you to bill clients for finished work, and then tracks payments so you receive payment for the work you do. The iBiz interface is kind of similar in organization and structure to Billings ( Macworld rated four out of 5 mice ), another time management and invoicing program, but is different in that it takes a client- instead of a project-based approach to handling your work.
After a preliminary setup process, iBiz opens to a main window with 4 sections. These 4 panes contain clients, projects related to clients, job events related to projects, and to dos related to your customers, but not really linked to a particular project or job event. To use iBiz you first have to add clients, which is one of the steps in the opening setup process. IBiz stores your customer info in an iBiz group in OS X’s addresses book app, so while you can create new clients inside iBiz, you have got to manage those clients using contacts book.
This has turned into a general practice with many programs in this brand, but it’s not a practice that I’m fond of as I prefer, in obsessive compulsive fashion, to keep my business contacts stored in my business accounting application and separate from my private contacts. Job events are items that you use to trace your time and ultimately bill your customers. Projects in iBiz are largely an umbrella for your job events.
So, if you lay tile for a job, you’d choose a customer, create a new project for that customer, for example main bedroom Bath, then create associated job events such as time worked, materials acquired, and travel costs. To make this process less complicated iBiz allows you to group Job Events so you can collect materials acquired like tile, grout, and tile sealer under a single heading.
IBiz also permits you to designate a flat or per piece compensation rate for items like tile and grout or charge a per mile rate for travel. You may also add a markup % to anything you bill for. IBiz also has a handy tool for tracking the time you spend on documents you may work on in the course of a chargeable project.
So, if you charge for the primary design on a tile project, and you employ a program on your personal computer to make that design, you may use iBiz’s Document Monitor to trace each minute you’re employed on that design document. You can even mark any job events you create as non-billable so they appear on invoices but without your customers getting charged for them. Due dates for projects may also be simply added to iCal and updated via Apple sync services any time you are making a change either in iBiz or iCal.
For invoicing and reports, iBiz sports a new report creation tool and 15 professionally designed report and invoice templates. These are actually enough to get you successfully running, but not nearly as complicated or of as top of the range as what’s offered with Billings. Further–and this is a complaint I have with each business tracking application–creating your own templates could be a real bother.
IBiz is no good or bad than similar applications of this sort at template creation and revising, but I’m dying for a program that offers real page layout tools, like drag and drop field placement and alignment tools, and simple English paperwork on what mysterious internal field names. Sadly , iBiz has some issues in syncing with iCal ( Macworld rated 4.5 out of five mice ), and I ran into the following eventuality : at first, iCal synching worked fine, but successive updates worked wrongly. As an example, changing a Project in iBiz from one iCal calendar to another ended in copy entries in iCal and changing the date of a Job Event in iCal wasn’t reflected in iBiz after syncing. I also had consistent issues with new invoices showing a 0 balance due for items that essentially had balances.
It seems the zero balance resulted from my checking a box that I by mistake thought indicated the job was complete. While technically this was my mistake, it was due to poor interface design. That check box essentially implies the job had already been invoiced, but there wasn’t any clear indication anywhere I had marked these roles as invoiced. IBiz 4.0.1 offers wonderful, client-focused tools for tracking and billing the time you spend on your projects. The program is flexible, permitting you to bill not only for time expended, but per item, for mileage, or at a fixed rate.
While iBiz doesn’t offer the broad range of templates built into programs like Billings, what it does offer is sufficient to get your info to clients and start you down the way to getting the cash you’ve earned into the bank.