Monday, September 19, 2011

Worthless Products for Freelancers: MacFreelance

Okay, I know this is supposed to be a blog mostly about cold calls, but I'm noticing lately that there are a lot of horrific products and services out there being marketed to writers and other freelance professionals, so from time to time I'm going to diverge a bit and post about them.

Granted, these are my experiences and mine alone. That being said, I will not to post until I have been using a product for a reasonable amount a time (6 months to a year) -- unless its truly a scam of some sort that should be avoided at all costs.

Today, I'll talk about the product that inspired me to post reviews on occasion -- a quirky little piece of accounting software called MacFreelance.

A quick overview: MacFreelance is supposed to be a billing and accounts receivable-only software. One nice thing that it's supposed to do is time your projects (good info for us writers). It also supposedly produces some basic AR reports.

My one-star review, posted on Amazon today:

I'm a freelance writer and bought this software rather impulsively when I got tired of making my own invoices. I've had it about a year now. It has been nothing but an enormous headache that rarely does what it's supposed to do. If I could give it negative stars, I would.

Take the reports feature, for example. I have NEVER (not for lack of trying) been able to produce a report with date parameters. I set them, but MacFreelance ignores them and just shows all-time statistics, which are worthless.

The email invoice feature also screws up -- if I try to email an invoice directly from the invoice book, it sends it to the LAST client I emailed, not the client who's name is on the invoice. (Very embarrassing).

It inexplicably "loses" time, which means you have to watch it like a hawk, because if you accidentally close the wrong window, or even switch to another client while it's timing something, the timer will stop and the accumulated time will be wiped out.

It's pointless for tracking overdue invoices -- deadlines are supposed to go on the iCal, but I'd say it's about 50/50 that they actually show up.

The makers -- and some reviewers -- giggle coyly and say, well, it's quirky, you have to have the settings exactly right. I would posit that it's so quirky as to be functionally worthless, unless you have hours of free time to wrestle with it, try new settings and make it perfectly happy.

I could go on and on.

There are never any updates, so the problems never get fixed and it never gets more user friendly.


It's also pointless, in my opinion, to have software specifically for accounts receivable. For accounting purposes, I'll be upgrading to Quicken next month, which does everything this software does and much, much more. I wish I would have skipped MacFreelance and gone straight to Quicken to begin with.


If I could give MacFreelance negative stars, I would. If I sold a product this worthless to a client at any price, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Seriously thinking about trying to get my money back from the merchant.

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