Chronicle 5: New and Improved Bill Management

Bills are an inevitability of life, but spending a lot of time trying to keep track of them isn’t. It’s not unlikely that, throughout your life, you’ll have to pay mortgage payments, phone service contracts, credit card repayments, etc, and all at different intervals, costs, and dates. It can be a confusing financial landscape, but staying on top of things is something you have to do.

Enter Chronicle, a bill management software now in it’s fifth version that eases the process of keeping track of your due payments, and ones past. With the app, you can add payments of all sorts, be reminded when they’re due and log them once they’re paid. It’s on sell for just $9.99 to celebrate the new launch, and it’s a pretty nice, all-in-one solution, so let’s take a look.

Your First Bill

Once you’ve grabbed Chronicle from the Mac App Store, you’ll want to jump straight into adding your first bill. Fortunately, doing so is only a click of the large + button away. A modal window will popup where you’ll give your bill a name and select one of the app’s nice icons to categories it.

The form will also ask you for a few key details about the payment, such as it’s next due date, the interval in which it’s repeated and, optionally, the amount due, method of payment and a URL if it’s online. You can also be chosen to get reminded a variable number of days prior to it being due, and even tag it to be categorised or found easier later. This is a really simple feature that allows for simple sorting of bills, so you can, say, tag all your entertainment bills together even if they don’t share the same category icon.

Adding a new bill in Chronicle 5 is a painless process.

You can continue to add as many bills, of as many types, as you want to build up a long list of where your money goes.

Logging Payments

Once you have all your various payments setup in Chronicle, it’s time to use it. Perhaps that’s the wrong phrase, though, as Chronicle isn’t an app you necessarily “use”; you just sit back and wait for the time to come when you’re reminded to make a payment.

Through the reminder you setup when adding the initial bill, Chronicle will remind you when a payment is due. Once you’ve made that payment — through any medium — you’ll want to check it off by hitting the Log Payment button for that particular bill. This action results in a new modal window which allows you to enter details such as date paid, the amount you paid, a note and attaching a receipt or invoice to record the payment. Just like when adding the bill itself, logging a payment is a seamless, simple process.

The bill view, with a countdown to the next due date and some statistics of payments past.

When you log a payment, the countdown will be reset to the next due date and that payment itself will begin to show up in the payment history and influence the other figures presented to you for that bill. These figures include a breakdown of payments by season and year-on-year.

Income, Balances and Other Features

Chronicle also allows you to log income sources and figures which will calculate an expected balance after your bills have been paid. This isn’t too much of a complex system — you pretty much just enter a date, interval and amount, nothing more — but gives you a helpful enough figure.

In the main dashboard of the app, you’ll also get to view the Month at a Glance, which consists of a calendar marked with due payments and the amount of paid/due payments in both number and currency.

The “dashboard” of the app lists all your bills — sortable by amounts and due dates — and the “at a glance” views.

There’s little else to Chronicle, which certainly isn’t a disadvantage. Anything more would be a little superfluous above Chronicle’s otherwise simple and intuitive setup.

Design and Interface

Chronicle 5 features a tweaked interface that is more aesthetically pleasing than the versions that lived before it. There are aspects that are both particularly nice — such as the bill icons — and ones that are less than favourable, such as the choice of non-standard ultralight typeface. It’s far from a terrible design, but isn’t perhaps the very best designed OS X app. For a financial app, though, it’s rather nice looking in comparison to its competition!

Part of Chronicle 5′s user interface, demonstrating the app’s icons and choice of fonts, amongst other elements.

Final Thoughts

Chronicle 5 does what it says it will, namely allowing you to manage, record and plan payments for recurring services. It’s intuitive, even though it deals with financial data, and doesn’t overcomplicate things as to block of any potential demographic from using it.

It’s a rather minimal update from version 4, with the bulk being it’s new refreshed interface that, while still not excellent, is significantly better than the previous iteration. Overall, however, it remains one of the best finance apps available on the Mac App Store and get’s a definite recommendation from us!


Summary

A bill manager for OS X that helps you keep track of due payments, bills and subscriptions.

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