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Billing Software

Posted at 22:46 on Tue, 6th March 2007 in finance.

The last few weeks, I've been trialling, well actually paying, and testing the various types of web based billing applications.

What I want is an application that's suitable for a contractor, i.e. billing for services performed on an hourly basis (of a project), but also to be able to host it myself - ideally in a LAMP configuration. At the same time, I also want to be able to have support to bill for recurring services, i.e. hosting, etc.

Freshbooks.com provides this, plus a lot more, but I've found it to be a bit restrictive, and of course, you can't host it yourself - although they do provide an XML API - which I haven't looked at in great detail, but nevertheless, on the surface, looks great.

The two problems I've encountered with Freshbooks.com is:

  1. A simple option for making tax amounts inclusive on all item costs, is not available, and
  2. It doesn't seem to let you use external payment methods - i.e. Direct Debit, and Cheque posting. For some reason, you are forced to use anyone of a dozen Payment Gateways (which require Internet Merchant accounts - i.e. $$$), and/or Paypal - which for most people is a bit restrictive.

I've sent the the support people some inquiries about this, so hopefully, I'll hear something about it soon.

Another Billing application, which does allow you to host it yourself, is ModernBill. The problem I've found with ModernBill however, is that it specifically designed for ISP's selling web hosting, and/or other recurring services. There is no real functionality for projects, and contract invoicing, as is the case with Freshbooks.com.

For the time being (actually the last few years), I've just been using an old version of MYOB. The reason I want to move away from this, is because theres no way for clients to get account statements, or reprint invoices, etc - MYOB is a desktop application with only some basic emailing functionality.

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know :)

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Update 9th March 2007: I ended up discussing it with the freshbooks guys on their forum: Offline Payment Methods.