Office Tools Pro -- Office Tools Pro

From the August 2008 Review of Document Storage Programs

The Office Tools Pro document storage system is designed as a component of a very tightly integrated suite of office automation applications that includes time & billing, scheduling, contact management, and more. The document management component can be purchased stand-alone, but based on the pricing model you’re better off purchasing the whole package and leveraging whichever of the other functions you can.

Usability -- 4 Stars
For all of the functionality that is bundled into the Office Tools Pro suite, it is surprisingly easy to navigate. They have improved this interface since last year’s review. The system provides a single point of entry to the entire suite of applications so you can quickly get to the information you need.

Document Organization -- 5 Stars
The documents are organized by a series of metadata tags (indexes) upon which you can sort. This includes file name, year, project, category, assigned staff and date modified. You can file documents by client or contact. A unique document listing option is to list all documents by client and assigned staff within the client or vice versa; this allows you to see all of the documents that are currently assigned to a specific staff member.

Integration -- 4 Stars
Due to the nature of the Office Tools Pro suite, the integration is strongest within its own suite of applications. No direct integration is available with tax or accounting applications. You will have to upload those files from Windows Explorer into Office Tools Pro or save them from their original application directly into Office Tools Pro through a “drop folder” from which the user will be prompted to select which client the file belongs to. All files stored in Office Tools Pro can be accessed in Windows Explorer, as well as any location that will notify you of a file to be uploaded. Integration with MS Office includes the ability to create a document directly from a template file with one click of a button. An Add-in is now available to save any document through a toolbar directly from MS Word, Excel and Outlook. All Outlook e-mail can be selectively or automatically stored from an import function. Documents can be sent as e-mail attachments directly from Office Tools Pro.

Annotation -- 4 Stars
No proprietary viewer is available, which means annotations are handled at the native application level. However, with the integration to the project management tool, you can assign a note to a file and then assign the document to a staff member.

Overall Value -- 4 Stars
It’s a little difficult to rate Office Tools Pro against the other solutions reviewed in an apples-to-apples comparison. What Office Tools Pro lacks in terms of integration with other tax and accounting packages, it makes up for in its integrated suite of office automation applications. If you are a sole practitioner or small firm, you may find this to be a compelling solution for your overall practice management. Pricing is $500 for a single user and $225 for each additional user. Online and on-site training are available for additional fees. However, technical support is included with the product for no additional charge.

2008 Overall Rating: 4 Stars