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iBiz is a time-billing and invoicing application by IGG Software, the makers of iBank ( ) and iPaste ( ). Aimed at self-employed and small-business work environments, it features a clean, Mac-like interface and provides integration with iCal and Address Book.
After installation, you can create new client records and add job events and sub-events to your projects. For each client, job events (the equivalent of a project) and sub-events (the tasks performed to complete a project) are created to establish a workflow. These items can then be individually tracked and updated. Invoices, tasks, and graphical and text-based reports can also be set up to report returns and losses for each project. You can open a job event and determine its pay structure, as well as compute taxes and add price mark-ups. Once entered, a job can be tracked via the use of a timer, which measures the time spent at your job tasks and multiplies it by an established pay rate. You can also track the time you spend working on individual electronic files.
Standard forms, such as invoices, can be created via provided templates. You can also create customized reports, with the resulting graphs displaying percentages and breakdowns of your project data.
In addition to invoicing and time-billing features, a filtering system helps group and categorize projects. Criteria such as whether a project has been completed, invoiced, or whether payment has been received can be tracked via check boxes and later filtered to show which projects require attention.
iBiz doesn’t skimp when it comes to integration with other Apple apps. Project events and deadlines can be sent to iCal as to-dos and events, while full iCal calendars can be imported into iBiz to help keep deadlines in order. Finally, a widget available from IGG Software’s Web site helps with casual iBiz entries. You can start and stop the widget’s timer to track your tasks and keep track of your billing.
The road ahead
While excellent on many levels, iBiz is hampered by its non-intuitive interface, which makes becoming proficient with the software slow. I had to perform some functions multiple times before I got them down to memory and could find them in the interface. It also has some iCal-related bugs. A quick run through the program’s electronic manual was necessary for me to get a full grip on the program, but a visit to IGG Software’s Web forums and online support proved helpful in answering several of my questions.
Though the program prides itself on iCal integration, there were problems exporting to-dos and events from iCal to iBiz. In instances where exports succeeded, a lack of feedback or confirmation made me wonder whether the export had performed correctly.
Macworld’s buying advice
A strong performer with a difficult learning curve, iBiz 2.5.3 achieves what it sets out to do by putting projects, clients, and tasks in a logical order, allowing for easy billing and invoicing.
[ Chris Barylick is a technology journalist whose work has appeared in MacAddict, the UPI news wire , and the Washington Post . He is owner of Mac Menders, a Washington, D.C.-based technical consulting firm. ]You can create reports that track the time you spend on billable tasks in IGG Software’s iBiz.An iBiz widget allows users to start and stop tasks for billing purposes on the fly.