Review: ProfitTrain

ProfitTrain helps small businesses track work and create invoices. (March 12th, 2010)

ProfitTrain helps freelancers and small businesses keep track of their work and create invoices. It is simple to add new clients, generate invoices, and reports.

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Clickable Bliss

Price: $49.95 US

The Good

  • Nice user interface. Easy to setup and use. Integrated with Address Book and Mail.

The Bad

  • Must scroll to find New Client additions.

Billable, a simple invoicing application for Mac OS X 10.5 and up, has been given a makeover by the folks at Clickable Bliss. In addition to some welcome new features they have renamed it to ProfitTrain and it's right on time!

ProfitTrain helps freelancers and small businesses keep track of their work and create invoices. It helps you track payments and business expenses, generate reports, and input custom line items for services or parts you sell most often. You can customize your invoices with different text fields and your own logo, plus output the invoice several ways.

Let me explain my enthusiasm for this upgrade and redesign. I have used Billable for 2 years in my own small business. My financial workflow consists of Billable for invoicing and Apple's Numbers for the rest of the financials. I really like the design of Billable and I've often wished that the developers would expand its features and capabilities. In this new release of ProfitTrain, they have done just that.

When you launch ProfitTrain you're asked to either setup a new company or import an existing Billable company. I chose the latter and the import progressed perfectly. I chose Edit from the Businesses pop-up menu to verify all my business settings, such as address, phone number, email and website addresses, tax rate, hourly rate, and due date. Profit Train also lets you setup multiple businesses and toggle back and forth between them right from the toolbar.

profittrain businesseditor

Business Editor Window

The import from my Billable application also brought in all my existing clients and their information. It is simple to add new clients; you just click the plus (+) button at the bottom of the Clients column, double-click the New Client entry, and fill in the information. One miscue in this process is that the new client drops down to take its place in the "N" section of the Client list. This forces you to scroll down to it in order to edit it. It'd be nice if it stayed put until you were done editing and then took its place in line.

You can link new clients to their entry in the Address Book with a click of the little address card icon. Check the box titled "Get changes from Address Book" and the client information synchs with any future changes to the Address Book entry. You can set different tax rates, hourly rates, and due dates for each client or have all of them use the business's default settings.

client inspector

Client Inspector Window-Contact Tab

ProfitTrain calls line items for services and parts that you use most often Line Item Blueprints. For example, I sell many hard drives, so I can add a line item blueprint for each size and model hard drive. On new invoices, I choose the part from a pop-up menu. Additionally, you can choose whether to charge tax per line item, which makes it easy to generate a mixed invoice of both taxable and non-taxable items.


Line Item Blueprints Window

The invoices that come with ProfitTrain are basic and simple, but you can customize them if you wish. It takes a little bit of under-the-hood HTML tweaking, but the developers give you all the instructions in the Help menu and even point you to a downloadable set of files to get you started.


Sample Invoice

After you finish adding information to an invoice, you publish it to the client's database, which closes it and sets it to payment mode. At this time you have several options. You can print a hard copy, generate a PDF and send it directly to the client's email without leaving the application, open the PDF in Preview, or save the PDF to disk.


Publishing Options

On the business accounting side, ProfitTrain includes a few basic features, such as tracking monthly expenses, monthly income, taxes invoiced, and unpaid invoices. You can generate reports on any of these parameters for any time period you wish.

Income Report

Income Report

ProfitTrain does what it says it will do and it does it very well. I have already transitioned my small business over from Billable and I'm very happy. I've searched for years for a simple Mac application for small businesses and this is the best one I've found. I hope that the developers continue to add even more business features, but as it is now this is one serious piece of software for freelancers and small businesses alike at a reasonable price. New licenses are $49.95 and Billable upgrades are $24.95.

by Patrick Clark


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