The billing functions in Practice CS provide support for flat-fee, progress-based or time-based billing environments, including firms who bill against client retainers. The system does not offer a dedicated purchase order management utility, but can manage various client billing types, including work-in-progress and compare budget-from-estimate, allowing firm management to better track productivity on projects.
Timekeeping and expense data-entry screens are simple and intuitive, with pull-down selection lists for most fields, including client, account, project and other information. Built-in AR functions offer streamlined management and communication tools, along with summary and detailed aging reports. The .NET platform enables extensive customization of the program, allowing users to tailor their dashboard screens to display their most used program areas, while also enabling firms to customize data collection fields to meet their workflow needs.
Practice CS has dashboard views for practice areas, including staff, client and firm management functions, as well as a home dashboard that can be customized by each user, with the ability to even add RSS news feeds from websites, and add links to external sources. Staff-specific dashboards can also be customized to allow employees to view their work tasks, schedule, projects, Outlook email integration and other items.
The system offers extensive time and billing reporting, with customizable invoices and statements, as well as the ability to create reports or to customize the standard available reports, which include options for production, billing, collections, reconciliations, listings, and departmental summaries. Reports can be saved as PDFs for paperless management. Security features allow access rights to be limited based on clients, workgroups or even specific system functions.
Integration & Data Management:
Practice CS offers extensive integration with the other programs in the CS Professional Suite, including the vendor’s tax, portals, engagement and document management applications. Additionally, the system synchs with Microsoft Outlook for contact management and, with the Solutions Portlet utility on the Client Dashboard, can link other documents and materials to client folders, including Word and Excel files or Checkpoint and other online sources. The system does not offer direct integration with outside accounting programs, and direct data output to PDF, XLS, RTF, TXT, HTML and TIFF formats), along with the ability to email invoices and client communications directly from within the system. Practice CS also offers remote time and expense data-entry options and is the first professional practice management system to offer an electronic credit card client payment option integrated into the program. It is offered through the CS Payment service in the NetClient CS portals system.
Practice CS includes numerous assistive features throughout the program, including right-click menus, field-specific information, spell-checking and a traditional Help index, along with links to various support tools. Online resources include a knowledgebase, documentation, marketing resources, tips, tutorial videos, the ARNE online user community and program updates, which can be scheduled to automatically download. Live technical support is included in system pricing.
Summary & Pricing
For professional practices seeking a comprehensive suite of accounting, tax and client service programs, the CS Professional Suite has virtually everything in its fully integrated, consistent and streamlined offering. Practice CS offers exceptional tools for managing staff time, productivity, expenses, clients and projects, and offers extensive reporting options. Pricing starts at about $1,800 for a five-user license, with the project, client and staff management modules available as add-on features.