BQE Software Inc. — BillQuick
From the Oct. 2011 Review of Time & Billing Systems.
Best Firm Fit: Small and mid-sized firms.
- Feature-rich SaaS version available, which can synchronize automatically with the desktop product.
- Native iPhone & Android apps.
- Free Lite version available.
- Tracks personal time off hours & approvals.
- The most extensive integration options with accounting software among products reviewed.
- Strong technical support & online resources.
- With so many options, users may have to do extra work on the front end to learn the product & adjust settings as preferred.
First released in 1996, BillQuick is an automated timekeeping, billing and project management software with a large user base among many professional services industries, including accounting, architectural, legal and consulting. It comes in four different editions, with each offering additional features: Lite, Basic, Pro and Enterprise. Depending on the edition, BillQuick runs on either a Microsoft Access database, Microsoft SQL Express or SQL Server. The single-user Lite version is free and is the number one time and billing software downloaded from CNET.com. BillQuick can be installed on a single-user system, a peer-to-peer network or on a network server environment.
BillQuick Online, the subscription-based SaaS version of the software, has nearly all of the functionality of the desktop product and is compatible with all major browsers for PC, Mac, tablets and smartphones. It can either be hosted by BillQuick or by the customer firm (in which case it is referred to as BillQuick Web Suite). The online data can be automatically synchronized with the desktop product’s database, giving BillQuick an advantage over some time and billing products where remote users must e-mail data and manually import it to the main database. BillQuick also recently released native iPhone and Android apps. This review focuses primarily on the desktop version of BillQuick.
Basic System Functions (5 Stars)
With a modern and aesthetically pleasing design, BillQuick’s interface is remarkably simple and intuitive for a full-featured program. By default, the program opens up to the Navigator screen, which contains icons and links to often-performed actions based on the logged-in user’s role and security permissions. The standard menu bar across the top has icons in the drop-down menus, and a customizable icon-based toolbar can be turned on for quick navigation, as well.
A hideable sidebar on the left side provides well-organized access to the program’s major functions and screens with an appearance similar to Microsoft Outlook. Within the program, multiple windows can be running in a tabbed format similar to modern web browsers.
Time Management Capabilities (5 Stars)
Time can be entered either in the Simple Time Card screen, which shows a weekly view of time entries, or the sheet view, which shows a color-coded list of entries. The columns of the time entry grids are both sortable and filterable. If the user has the appropriate security permissions, new engagements and work codes can be added “on the fly” within the time entry screens. Users can enter notes in a memo field for each time entry, and the memo box has a word processor-like toolbar that includes options for spell check, cut, copy, paste, font styles and size. Check boxes can be marked for the memo to appear on the project journal and/or the invoices.
BillQuick’s on-screen timer behaves like a stopwatch, recording and displaying the time elapsed to the second. It also shows running total of billable dollars based on the user’s rate. The program will remember the data from the timer if the user shuts down the program or if the computer loses power. Multiple timers can be open at the same time with the ability to switch between them. The timer can be set to beep or chime after a certain amount of time as a reminder to the user.
In addition to recording billable and non-billable time, BillQuick can also track personal time off hours and include this information in the program’s approval process.
Invoicing Functions (4.75 Stars)
The Billing Review screen is the hub for billing decision-making in BilllQuick, where users can filter billing data, drill down into the details and then bill on-screen. The program easily handles write-ups, write-downs, discounts and retainers. New in the 2011 version is automatic billing, which provides the ability to bill any project automatically on a specified frequency, and progress billing, which allows billing an amount immediately and entering the time and expenses on a later date.
Invoices, when previewed, allow for double-click drilldown, and individual line items can be edited by right-clicking them. With the click of a button, invoices can be sent as PDFs by email as file attachments to either the client, client manager, project manager or other contact. More than 110 customizable invoice templates come with BillQuick, or users can create their own. Frequently used invoice layouts can also be memorized for repeated use. BillQuick has the ability to accept credit card payments.
Management Features (5 Stars)
BillQuick offers strong project management, budgeting and reporting capabilities, making it a powerful analytics and business intelligence system. BillQuick uses Crystal Reports to generate all reports and invoices. The report center lists standard reports in a well-organized manner and auto-previews the report within the program window. Some of the standard reports display data in a chart or other graphic. These reports, combined with the dashboards that exist throughout the program, provide management with data that can be easily and quickly analyzed.
Extensive security settings can be granted or revoked to employees per module. Security profiles act as templates to quickly set security settings to a user based on his or her position/role in the firm.
Integration & Data Management (5 Stars)
Among comparable time and billing systems, BillQuick’s integration with third-party accounting software commonly used by small and mid-sized firms is the most comprehensive and customizable. Including extensive integration settings and rules, bidirectional synchronization is supported with MYOB, Sage Peachtree, and Intuit’s QuickBooks desktop products. QuickBooks synchronization can be set as real-time, on-schedule or on-demand, and can even handle classes (locations or reporting units). The types of data able to be synchronized include employees, vendors, clients, projects/jobs, time entries, expense logs, invoices and payments.
BillQuick also integrates with Microsoft Office. Reports and invoices can be exported in PDF, Word or Excel format. With the Outlook add-in, appointments can be right-clicked and converted into time entries in BillQuick.
Help/Support (5 Stars)
An auto update feature can prompt the user that updates are available, which can be downloaded from BillQuick’s website. With most of the support staff based in the company’s California office, BillQuick boasts that all support calls are answered in less than five minutes. Issues are typically resolved quickly through live web meetings, and e-mail support is also available. The company offers plans for unlimited support in increments of 12 months. Support is provided for the free Lite edition at $299 annually.
The built-in Help menu is detailed and easy to read. BillQuick’s website is full of support resources, including a knowledgebase, frequently asked questions (FAQs), the latest program downloads, and detailed PDF guides for the following: getting started, integration and data conversion. BillQuick uses a Yahoo! Group as a customer discussion board, and this group is monitored frequently by the support staff. With a strong social media presence, BillQuick shares product news and tips through its LinkedIn user group, Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube channel and blog.
Summary & Pricing
Because of its sleek design, ease of use and powerful integration with accounting programs, BillQuick is an excellent time and billing program for small and mid-sized firms. The base price for the two-user Basic edition is $495, with additional licenses offered at $145. The Pro edition comes with five licenses and costs $1,295; additional licenses may be added for $125 each.
2011 Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Product Delivery Methods:
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