From the August 2010 Review of Time & Billing Systems.
Abak is a multi-user, client/server-based system for tracking and invoicing time and expenses for accounting, engineering, architecture, and other firms whose primary product is professional time.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS:
A menu bar on the left, and common record navigation buttons on-screen make it intuitive to get around within the program. While the program is used by accounting firms, it is not designed solely for tax and accounting professionals and extends to other service-based markets. Abak Softwares is based in Canada, and provides for either English or French presentation. Some of the system terms can be redefined, such as changing Resource to Timekeeper.
TIME TRACKING CAPABILITIES:
Rapid time entry can be done in the Fast Entry screen, which presents a weekly view and running totals by Client and Engagement across, by day at the bottom, and finally by week. The user can quickly see that the individual entries total to a standard workweek.
Using the detailed time entry screen, the user may input a more detailed description of the activity including notes, which may be carried to the invoice if desired. An optional on-screen timer records in increments of one second. This could be useful for timekeepers who switch between tasks for short periods of time. Expense entry follows the same pattern, using either a fast or a detailed screen.
When each employee is initially setup, another employee and two alternates may be designated as intermediary and final approvers for time and expense entries. This neat little feature provides control and can also prevent bottlenecks in billing when managers are unavailable to review and issue approvals. An optional module allows for remote entry of time and expenses online; however, other functions are done on the local network.
The product offers good support for multiple hourly rates for employees and for creating custom-designed fields throughout the system. A provision for overtime pay and billing rates is available, but not for other HR type data entry.
Each client engagement can be created with budgets as hours or days, or fixed price, and the management reports will include these values for progress reports. Heavy customization of invoices allows the firm to generate billing that is pleasing to the eye, and in the format the client wants. Each client may have billing done in either Euros, Canadian dollars or U.S. dollars. Projects or engagements may have Enriched Notes, with full formatting by common options such as font, bolding, color, etc. Again, lots of customized fields are available, and editable invoice formats for each client are easy to maintain.
The system manager has a great deal of control over the permissions for each user through the definition and assignment of roles. User-defined fields are provided in standard data types for use as needed. The reporting system includes a good selection for the most common types of management and analysis needs, and custom reports can be created.
Managers have the option to set alerts when time and expense entries have reached budgeted amounts. Also, engagements may be divided into phases, with their own time lines, bill rates and budgets.
INTEGRATION & DATA MANAGEMENT:
Abak is designed to be a data-entry and management platform for time, expense and invoicing, with good provisions for exporting data to common accounting packages. By defining the GL accounts for income and expenses, the exported data should integrate very well. Abak can also export payroll data for popular payroll systems. Any screen listing or report can be exported in an Excel format.