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  • Invoicing/Billing from the iPhone - FreshBooks and MiniBooks

    I love FreshBooks. I really do. Mostly because... I hate invoicing. I really do. I have QuickBooks. I have Word. And I have Googled "word invoice template" more times than I care to ever have done such a thing. It's just... every time I send a client an invoice (I do consulting and web design as a sort of hobby/job), I don't like it. QuickBooks is clunky, Word is bloated, and nothing really worked well for me as an invoicing system.

    Enter FreshBooks. I've been using FreshBooks a while now (over a year), and... its beautiful. It makes sense, its easy, and its online. Set up your clients, and when you want to invoice someone... just press New Invoice. And all the billing features are solid. You can email invoices directly to client, or snail mail (which FreshBooks will then handle). Clients can send checks back, or you have an option to allow them to pay you directly from the invoice using PayPal. The service is completely free (except for stamp fees) for up to 3 clients, then they charge $14/month for up to 25 clients, and $27/mo for up to 100.

    So you can imagine I was excited when they released an iPhone app last year. Except... it kinda sucked. I mean, it kinda connected and showed some stuff... but it didn't feel nice like the interface on their site. I tried it a few days and deleted it, and forgot about it - back to the web for me. Which is where MiniBooks comes in. I sat down with Mitch Solway of Freshbooks recently at a FreshBooks event here in Tampa (full disclosure - he paid for my Kung Pao Chicken, which came with a fortune cookie that confirmed "disbelief destroys the magic") and asked him what was up with that, and he let me know about MiniBooks, which I've been trying out since then.

    MiniBooks is everything a FreshBooks app (and billing and invoicing, accordingly) should be. Its easy to view your clients, the design is great, and everything works the way you'd think it would. The lite version is free (up to 3 clients, all features enabled), and the full version is $9.99 - and well worth it. The full version merely allows you to manage more than 3 clients.

    If you bill by the hour, the app also does well on the timer front, even giving you an option when you stop the timer to submit the time directly to an invoice and save or send/edit. It's brilliantly effective - my buddy uses it for his landscaping business, and when he gets out to folks' houses and finishes his work, he emails them an invoice directly from his iPhone now, on the spot.

    If you aren't stuck working for The Man these days, and handle your own invoicing/billing - do yourself a favor and check out FreshBooks, then install MiniBooks on your iPhone.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Invoicing/Billing from the iPhone - FreshBooks and MiniBooks started by Kyle Matthews View original post
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. blkcadi's Avatar
      blkcadi -
      Great find p_f, this will work for me.
    1. RonHC's Avatar
      RonHC -
      Nice find
    1. JazJon's Avatar
      JazJon -
      Sweet, I know just the right friend that could really use this!
    1. GHOSTYAIRO's Avatar
      What's the odds, I wasn't stuck working for the man about 7 months ago, and I was waiting for something like this to appear, now I'm stuck again and my boss can enjoy using it
      Great app though congrats devs.
    1. C.44's Avatar
      C.44 -
      Wait you still need the subscription itself with the 10 dollar app right ? I was looking into Freshbooks a few days ago and i thought their iphone app was quite weak aswell, which is why i didn't look into it any further.

      Also, how safe is your data on their servers ? I really don't like my companies data on someone elses server to be honest.
    1. Melech518's Avatar
      Melech518 -
      this is a great app...will do just what i need
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      Pretty sweet. Now i need a business to invoice people...
    1. rayannelangdon's Avatar
      rayannelangdon -
      Awesome review, Kyle, witty sir! : )

      @C.44: Yeah, you need to be a FreshBooks user to use MiniBooks because the accounts are tied to one another. There are free/lite versions for both, though!

      As for your security concerns, I can't really tell you not to be worried, but I will anyway ; ) We backup your data on daily, weekly and bi-weekly rotations at multiple locations, to safeguard you against an unforeseeable catastrophe. And all information sent to and from our servers is encrypted with 256-bit encryption. Other concerns might be addressed here: Security Safeguards: Firewall Security, Data Backup & SSL Encryption and if not, get in touch and I'll set things straight! : ) I'm: rayanne at freshbooks.com.

      A bunch of folks who weren't big fans of our time tracking application LOVE MiniBooks, so you might like to give it a go -- even with the free account.

      Rayanne Langdon -- Queen of Hearts, FreshBooks.com
    1. mdc929's Avatar
      mdc929 -
      great find!
      my dad and his landscaping company could deffinately take advantage of this
    1. Interloper's Avatar
      Interloper -
      Minibooks is 14.99 now
    1. DaveiPhone's Avatar
      DaveiPhone -
      I love FreshBooks, and have been using it for about a year now. The web app is very slick and saves me a lot of time. Their iPhone app is lacking, but it's free and does the most critical jobs for me, which are tracking time and assigning it to a particular client and task.

      Minibooks is a great start, but it misses the mark for me, because it lacks two critical features which are present in the native FreshBooks web app.

      1) It doesn't assign an invoice number and follow your existing sequence. This is pretty huge to me.

      2) There doesn't appear to be a way to directly generate an invoice from a submitted timer within Minibooks.

      I would love to get to a point where I can actually send the client the invoice while still at the job site, without using the Freshbooks web app. Unfortunately, this app doesn't get me there. I hope they address these issues soon.