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l008com May 16, 2013 12:17 PM
iPhone Invoicing App
I'm looking for an app to send invoices to customer from my phone. I'm posting here because my guess is that the most common job among macnn users is "computer consultant" :D

So right now, I write out a paper bill on my custom made carbon-less copy invoice books. I scribble down their info and time, travel, parts. Tear them off the white copy, I keep the yellow. It works fine, its just so 1970s ya know.

So I've been looking through some iPhone apps but so far, I haven't found anything good. Invoice2Go looked somewhat promising at first, but apparently now they've switched over to a paid service. So you have to buy the app AND you have to pay a service fee. I'll pass

I tried one called "Service Call". Didn't like it at all. Very clumsy, you have to import your contacts, and you have to go into each contact to awkwardly add an invoice. And now you have another full contact book to maintain because it doesn't use your icloud contacts, it imports them into your own book. Plus there was no lite/demo so I wasted $5 on that one, which is annoying.

The app has to be very streamlined. I need to be able to whip up an invoice very fast, often while a customer is hanging over me chatting about computers, with a blank check and a pen in their hand waiting.

The other thing I've noticed is that these apps all try to do too much. They all want to manage your business, keep track of paid and unpaid jobs, keep track of your schedule. I don't need any of that. All I need is the ability to quickly and easily whip up and invoice, and send a copy to a customer, and a bcc to myself. I don't even need to save them. I would also enjoy address book integration, so customer info could be auto-filled from my address book as I'm typing it in.

The last "bug" that every app I tried, had, was email sending. They all pull up a regular email composition window for sending the invoice, and just attach it as a PDF. Like any consultant, I have personal and work emails set up on my phone, and personal is my default. Because these apps sends from a regular compose window and not something custom, it uses the system default "from" account, which is my personal account. But I of course want my invoices to always be sent from my work account, while I want all the general emails I start up to me from my personal account.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know!
This hunt for a good app has really showed me one big hole in the App Store, the lack of demo/trials. It's one thing if you're just checking out games, but if you're trying to find an invoicing app that works, 5 screen shots are not enough. A bulleted list of features is also not enough. You need to really SEE how the app works. You can only do that by using it.
Phileas May 16, 2013 03:35 PM
How about Pages? Set up a template, use as you see fit.
l008com May 16, 2013 05:22 PM
That sounds like it would be the most complicated solution of all. I want to be able to write up an invoice in as few finger strokes as possible. Editing a rich text document on my tiny phone screen is going to make me hate life, I suspect.
Spheric Harlot May 16, 2013 06:09 PM
Phileas May 16, 2013 06:46 PM
Pages on the iPhone is a really, really simple text editor.
Waragainstsleep May 16, 2013 09:02 PM
Your requirement while not all that complex is rather specific. It doesn't sound like the sort of thing where there is already an app that does precisely that (and probably more but you could just ignore the more bit) and nothing else.

A simple text editor with address book plugin and what actually amounts to more complicated than usual email integration features.

If you were prepared to make the sacrifice and switch your work account to default, its possible you could find an off-the-peg solution. If you aren't prepared to compromise, you have two choices as I see it:

1: Use Filemaker 12 and Filemaker Go. You can do whatever you like with Filemaker and I don't see you struggling to build exactly what you want in pretty short order with minimal hassle and minimal self teaching required. Without checking I imagine there is a few address book plugins, if not an iCloud one;

2: Write your own app. If you could write your own apps, I'm guessing you would have just gone ahead and done so already which means paying someone else to do it for you. The upside is you can sell it when its done, but this is going to require a fairly significant outlay.

Filemaker Go is free but Filemaker 12 is going to set you back a couple of hundred bucks and requires a machine with static IP and some ports opening. Since you seem to mind spending $5, I'm guessing neither of these solutions is going to appeal to you very much.

Its possible you could use the trial version of Filemaker to build your 'app', then load the DB file onto your phone and only use it there from then on. I think you could do that, but the address book integration and email is going to far easier on a Mac or PC than it is on an iPhone.

Speaking of 1970s, you know you can take card payments with your phone right?
l008com May 17, 2013 01:48 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep (Post 4230938)
Speaking of 1970s, you know you can take card payments with your phone right?
I did know this. But I want 100% of my money, not 96.5% of it.
Phileas May 17, 2013 07:05 AM
Sometimes the price of frugality is inconvenience.
Doc HM May 17, 2013 09:33 AM
I suspect the "free" bit is going to be the bit that trips you up. If there's an app/service that is that useful why shluld the makers offer it for free.

The closet to your use I can think of is Kashflow, the web based, and very very good, accounting service. It's not free ($19 per month, but he iphone app is free and allows you to create custom invoices and send them from your phone (all be it via the phones email app but your customer does get a nice custom pdf.

I used exactly the low tech solution you use until I switched to cash-flow. The benefits of KF, integration with Mail Chimp, reporting, vat, customer relations, and making it super easy for your accountant at the end of the year more than offset any monthly fee. (IMHO)
Spheric Harlot May 17, 2013 10:55 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Phileas (Post 4230973)
Sometimes the price of frugality is inconvenience.
Or rather, conversely: convenience comes at a cost.
l008com May 23, 2013 05:22 AM
So it turns out you can use the $10 Invoice2go app as a stand alone app, without paying for the add on service. But they don't come out and say that on their website because they want everyone to upgrade to that service. I just talked to tech support and they tried to sell me on it, talking about backups etc. But I've been in business for years and I already have accounting software and invoice and customer management. I just need to replace the physical invoice book. So all the other invoices apps (i downloaded 10 of them) are terrible, so I'll probably just go with Invoice2go. I was toying with the idea of making my own web based one, and integrating it into my existing web based accounting software. It would have been very cool, but who has time for projects like that.
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