Abak Software - Abak Time & Billing
From the Oct. 2011 Review of Time & Billing Systems.
Best Firm Fit: Small and mid-sized accounting firms, especially those integrating with certain accounting software (Sage Simply Accounting, Sage Accpac ERP, Avantage and Acomba).
- Three-level approval system for time & expenses.
- Web-based interface for a few of the program’s functions.
- Help file is difficult to navigate, and online resources are not as strong as its competitors.
With customers of all types of professional services firms, including engineering, architecture, consulting and accounting, Abak is a complete time, project and billing management system. Integration with a variety of accounting and payroll systems is one of the selling points. It can also handle multiple currencies, including the Euro, Canadian Dollar and U.S. Dollar.
The program is locally installed or hosted on a SQL Server or SQL Express. Abak recently launched a web -based interface that performs a limited number of the program’s key functions, such as entering and approving time and expense entries. The web product also manages clients, projects, contacts and vendors.
Basic System Functions (3 Stars)
With the company based in Canada, Abak is developed for the English and French languages. The program’s design may seem a little dated, but it is not too difficult to navigate. The menu icons on the left side of the program link to the program’s primary areas. Most areas of the program have standard icon menus across the top for creating, opening, deleting and copying items. Terminology can be customized, such as renaming projects to jobs. Custom fields can be added to most areas, including projects, clients and resources.
Time Management Capabilities (4.5 Stars)
Abak has screens for both fast and detailed time entries. The fast view lists each day of the week in the columns and is especially helpful for those billing all of their time in a given week to a few large clients. The detailed time entry screen has a form-based time entry interface, with fields for entering details such as a client name, project, task and description. A check box provides the option of printing the detail on the invoice. Expenses are similarly entered, and preconfigured rates (mileage, for example) are supported.
Users can either enter the start and end times and have the software calculate the amount of time spent or they can override the quantity of time worked. A simple timer that opens in a popup window can track time to the second and transfer it to the timesheet detail.
One of the stronger features of Abak is a three-level approval system. Managers can check boxes to approve time and expense entries, and a log is kept for the approvals of each item and for each level of management.
Invoicing Functions (4 Stars)
Invoicing in Abak is a two-step process, the first of which is creating a draft invoice. Abak’s automatic invoicing feature shows a list of projects with unbilled work in process based on a given criteria, and can create draft invoices automatically. Users can make changes to items in an invoice, select an invoice format and approve it, at which point it is posted and can’t be modified. Invoices can be previewed, printed for paper mailing or e-mailed, and then transferred to the firm’s accounts receivable system.
The program comes with three basic invoice templates; however, firms can create their own standards with the invoice customizer module.
Management Features (4.75 Stars)
Employees can be linked to security groups for restrictions to certain modules and information in the program. Users can be granted full access, read-only or no access to a long list of program features. Management can receive alerts when certain events occur, such as when someone’s timesheet hits a certain number of hours or when a project is over budget by a certain percentage.
Powered by Crystal Reports, Abak provides several tools for management to measure project budgets, client profitability and work in progress for each client. Approximately 25 preconfigured reports are included with the ability to also create custom reports. Some of Abak’s reports include graphical representations, such as bar graphs or pie charts. The system keeps a log of all generated reports.
Integration & Data Management (4 Stars)
Abak integrates with Sage ERP Accpac, Sage Simply Accounting , QuickBooks, Avantage and Acomba to transfer timesheet, expenses and invoices. Invoices are exported as separate entries into accounting systems rather than combined summary entries. It also transfers timesheet hours directly to applications, including Sage ERP Accpac, QuickBooks, and ADP. Abak can import information from and export to several file formats including Excel, Word, ASCII and XML.
Help/Support (3.75 Stars)
Technical support and updates are included in the product price. The standard Help file contains explanations for the program’s features along with some screenshots, but it is not quite as easy to navigate as other programs’ Help files. By pressing the F1 key when an input field is active, a popup text box with context-sensitive explanations appears. Abak provides special training webcasts (cleverly called “AbaKasts”) for small groups once a month at a cost of $99 per person. Though relatively new to the social media realm, Abak has an active blog with product news, tips and tricks, and a little bit of fun mixed in.
Summary & Pricing
Abak should be considered among small and mid-sized accounting firms that need multi-level approval of time and expenses as well as integration with certain accounting systems. The base price is $120 per year per user. The additional cost for Abak to integrate with an accounting system is $13.20 per year per employee. Remote time entry is also available for additional fees.
2011 Overall Rating: 4 Stars
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