In the billing screen, users have the option between the following: quick bill, which bills all WIP and reduces it to zero; partial bill, which bills a selection of transactions; and progress bill, which creates a credit against WIP. The user can then enter an amount to bill to override the standard WIP amount (or enter a percentage of the WIP to bill), then select a reason for the write up or write down from a drop-down list. Within the billing review window for quick reference, there are tabs to view a client’s invoice history and a 24-month view that summarizes billing, production and accounts receivable by month.
During the process of generating an invoice, a user can change the wording and style in a built-in application that has the look and feel of popular word processing programs. The user then has the option to print the invoice, e-mail it, do both or skip invoice output altogether. Practice Management comes with 70 standard reports, which users can customize or create their own using the built-in Report Writer.
Included in the time entry window is an alerts tab with a list of warnings that can include when a client reaches an accounts receivable limit or when a project reaches a certain percentage of budget. It can also alert to approaching due dates. Alerts can be customized and can appear in pop-up windows when the program is opened.
For quick view and analysis, there are two types of dashboards built into the practice management program: the firm dashboard, which shows a summary of the firm’s work in process, billing, and accounts receivable for a period and can be displayed by partner as well as in a pie chart or other graphical summary. The employee dashboard shows a weekly and monthly recap of both posted and billable time, displaying the daily totals as well as budget and actual productivity ratios. The employee dashboard also shows total CPE, vacation and sick time that has been taken.
Though the default security settings are at the lowest level, they can be set on an employee-by-employee basis to grant or deny access to almost any type of action and data for each feature of the program. Security settings can be easily copied from one employee to another. The software can require passwords at log in, and supervisors have the ability to reset passwords or make them expire.
Integration & Data Management:
Other programs from the ProSystem fx Suite integrate thoroughly with Practice Management. It can export employee hours to Sage Abra Payroll and export WIP, billing and receipt totals to the GL of Sage MAS 90, 200 and 500. Reports can be sent as e-mail attachments or exported as PDF, RTF, HTML or Excel files.
ProSystem has a built-in SQL utilities feature, with which a user with administrative security privileges can perform data file tasks such as backing up the database. Program updates are not automatic and must be maintained by the firm.
CCH has a knowledgebase on its support website, which is ideal for solving error messages and known issues. The most recent additions to the support site include tutorial videos and a community forum, though there has been little activity since it was launched in March. CCH also provides support by phone, web ticketing, real-time chat and remote support, proclaiming on its support site, “You can go to lunch or work on something else while we [remotely] fix the issue.” Live technical support is included in pricing, and CCH provides extended hours and weekend support during tax season.
Summary & Pricing
Because of its strong integration capabilities, ProSystem fx Practice Management is a solid choice for firms using other components of the ProSystem fx Suite. Several firms not using the suite purchase the practice management portion as a standalone product because of its powerful time, project, marketing and client management features. The price of a 10-user basic system that does not include contact management is $2,260. The version that includes all components is $4,325.
2011 Overall Rating: