All of us deal with bills in one way or another, whether through running a house, car, family, education, or expensive software obsession. It’s easy to lose track of what needs to be paid, and at what time. Rather than having an elaborate system of sticky notes, Chronicle aims to provide a central resource for storing all your bills and recording payments.
The application is still young with a number of areas for improvement. That said, I’m a fan of the concept, iCal integration, handy reminders, and quirky, original interface.
Adding and Editing Bills
When opening Chronicle for the first time, you’re provided with a list of all the different bills you have entered in the database:
The first thing to note is the display of a different icon for each bill. An extensive range of these are available and, whilst their design could use a little tweaking, they provide a decent visual code for which category a bill falls into. If a bill recurs regularly, the list displays when the next is due, or whether the current bill is overdue.
Adding a new bill requests the following information:
The majority of areas are covered, although it would be great to see some form of support for adding tags. In addition, there doesn’t appear to be a way to add a one off payment which doesn’t recur. Bills can either include a postal address for paying via mail, or a URL for sending payment via a website.
When adding a bill, a corresponding listing is also created in iCal. This contains a iCal reminder, set to display a message a few days before the bill is due. These reminders can be enabled or disabled via the ‘Reminders’ option in the menu bar.
Bill Details & Payments
When clicking a bill for further information, the interface swaps to a wooden desk, with a sticky note portraying the details of the current bill. All the information you could need is simple to locate, with the option ‘Payment Info’ either showing the address to which payment should be sent, or acting as a direct URL link to the provided website. Clicking the ‘Show History’ button within a bill will display a list of all the payments which have been paid towards this particular expense.
When you come to pay a bill, the payment can be entered through Chronicle. You’re also able to attach a receipt to the bill, corresponding with a particular payment.
Whilst adding a payment works well, unfortunately there is no way to edit or delete an entry once inputted. This is a fairly major drawback of the application, and something which does need fixing in a future release.
Preferences & Areas for Improvement
A few preference options allow you to modify different aspects of the app. These include the ability to change the background image used, currency displayed, and the number of days in advance to display a bill reminder:
The application is relatively simple, offering a very basic set of functionality for managing recurring bills and payments towards them. As I mentioned previously, development seems to be ongoing. A number of small issues regarding the interface and usability still need to be addressed before it’s an application I’d consider using on a more regular basis.
The concept seems good, and I like the informal layout of the interface. Viewing a bill and associated payments laid out on a “virtual desk” is something which provides a functional bridge between a paper system and a software tool. I’m certainly interested to see how Chronicle will grow and develop over the coming months.
A trial version is available, giving you the ability to add two bills to the database. The full version costs $17, and includes all future updates.