BQE Software Inc. — BillQuick 2008

From the Nov. 2008 Review of Time & Billing Systems

BillQuick 2008 is a very solid product. If you are in the market for time and billing software, I would strongly recommend looking at this package. BillQuick has been a good product choice for a number of years, and the release of the 2008 version offers more than 200 improvements and enhancements. With direct integration with QuickBooks, Peachtree, MYOB and Microsoft Office Accounting, this program offers industry-specific versions for accountants, attorneys, architects, engineers, and computer and IT consultants.

One of the things I do when reviewing software is spend a significant amount of time on the vendor’s website. BQE’s website has a very useful product flow diagram, and it gives a good overview of the integration power built into the program. BillQuick Basic 2008 costs $495 for a two-user license; additional user licenses cost $100 each. BillQuick Pro 2008 costs $895 for a five-user license, with additional licenses available for $85 each. BQE offers a web-based version of the program, as well.

Ease of Use & Navigation Features - 5 Stars
BillQuick 2008’s installation screens guided me through an easy install. Once in the program, an intuitive Outlook-like navigation screen makes it very easy to get around. Navigation menus include company setup, firm management, time and expense, billing, and client and project management. Once you click on one of these main areas of the program, the associated screen that appears will ease the processes for accomplishing the related tasks at hand. The time entry, expense entry, client setup and other icons located across the top of the screen make the routine tasks easy to launch with just a click of a button. These shortcuts simplify navigation.

Once in the time and expense entry tab, a workflow allows for time entry in a sheet view, a simple timecard view, or you can actually use a timer and record time in real-time. Each method of entering time is easy and intuitive. In addition, time cards can be completed in Microsoft Outlook. Along with the main tab mentioned above, a wizard’s tab provides a step-by-step setup of several day-to-day tasks such as employees, clients, projects, etc. I really like the overall design of this program as well as the ease of use and navigation features.

A Practitioner Says:
"Our Maryland firm has two partners with an office manager and a CPA who works 20 to 40 hours a week depending on the season. We also have a few part-time employees. We do approximately 200 individual returns each year and have about 50 corporations as clients. BillQuick is very efficient. We find it to be a very good product, and it makes our practice run much more efficiently. It’s hard to quantify, but financially, it’s made money for us because we are able to get our bills out quicker. We were using another package that was aged and inefficient, so we looked at several packages. The people at BillQuick were the biggest determining factor. They held my hand, and walked me through my questions. I would recommend that anyone considering this product should have a plan and a focus on what you want to do and how you want to get there. Ask yourself, 'What information do you want to capture and in what form do you want to capture it?'”

Management Functions - 5 Stars
Whether you are managing clients, staff or projects, I think you will find this program meets the challenge. Each of the navigation screens gives you the ability to drilldown into reports, which makes viewing critical business information easy and quick. If you want control over time approval, the navigation screen makes it simple to submit and have approved time entries by staff members; the same works for expense entries. Managerial reports allow you to analyze employee productivity, profitability by client and engagement, and much more. Clients can be setup with spending caps that will alert managers or the responsible persons on an engagement when those caps have been met. This feature gives the manager a significant amount of control over the management of a project. BillQuick uses a .NET data engine, which provides significantly improved stability and greatly enhanced speed improvements.

From a staff standpoint, you have several billing rate options and multiple rates for a staff member. You can apply an overtime billing rate if necessary, and you can also have different billing rates per client. Tracking employee vacation, sick and holiday time is also an option. New for 2008, you can assign projects, activities and expenses to employees. This complements the program as it was before, where you could assign employees, activities and expenses to projects.

Billing & Reporting - 5 Stars
The billing navigation screen allows for quick drilldowns on reports, including WIP Reports, Project Time Records by Activity and several others. A navigator is also available to walk you through the process of billing review, which allows you to view time entries by client and project. You can group by project manager, client manager and a few others. At this point, you have the option of generating an invoice, creating a phased invoice or producing a retainer invoice. An invoice wizard is available to help new users get oriented with the process.

The invoicing formats are highly customizable. Invoices can be sent electronically, and an option is provided to accept payment via all major credit cards, which can be easily accessed by a link on the invoice itself. At least 145 invoice templates are available as well as over 330 different reports. Invoices and reports can be exported to Excel, Word, PDF and a few other options that make further customization a snap. I think you will find the reporting options to be robust.

Integration - 5 Stars
Whether you are using Quick-Books, Peachtree by Sage, Micro-soft Office Accounting or MYOB, tight integration is available for all. The program also offers direct integration with Intuit’s Complete Payroll. BillQuick also exports to Excel, Word, PDF, HTML and XML. Integration with Outlook for e-mail and calendar to timesheet entry is also a strong plus.

With the mobile workforce we see today, remote integration is also important, and BillQuick Web Suite is BQE’s response. You install Web Suite on your web server, and remote users will run an intelligent ASP.NET utility in their browser that will give them access to their BillQuick modules. Web Suite provides the main time and expense tracking, billing and reporting functionality, and much more. If you have remote workers or multiple offices, this is a solution worth investigating. An eTools add-on is also available that provides automatic data sync from remote locations via e-mail protocol.

User Support & Help - 5 Stars
As I mentioned throughout this review, wizards are available in just about every section of the program to help with different functionality. In addition to the wizards, you’ll find context sensitive Help offered throughout the program. BQE’s website provides an online support center with program documentation, integration guides, newsletters, a knowledgebase, tutorials and demos. You can also get customized training services and access to consultants. Ample user support and Help is available if needed.

2008 Overall Rating: overall rating