Broadway Billing Systems — Bill4Time
From the Oct. 2011 Review of Time & Billing Systems.
Best Firm Fit: Small and mid-sized firms wanting to do all time and billing in the cloud.
- Many options for capturing time, including a desktop widget & mobile apps.
- Easy integration with PayPal for collecting online payments.
- Scheduling integration with Outlook, Google Calendar & iCal.
- Billing rate flexibility for specific clients, projects, activities & time entries.
- Limited customization of invoices & reports within the program, though Bill4Time designs customized templates at no charge.
Sporting a web-based software model, a desktop widget and a mobile app, Bill4Time is a versatile time and billing solution used among a variety of legal, accounting and other professional firms. A user visiting Bill4Time’s website may think it caters primarily to the legal profession. However, during the initial setup, it can be configured with industry-specific settings for accounting firms.
With so many ways to access the product, there are also many ways to enter time. As a result, Bill4Time can satisfy a diverse user base with different habits and methods of tracking time. Bill4Time includes features for billing, scheduling, project management and document management, allowing users to upload and attach documents to projects.
Basic System Functions (4.25 Stars)
Bill4Time’s layout is clean and easy to navigate. The program opens to a customizable dashboard with widgets where most of the features can be accessed. The menu bar at the top contains links to each of the main areas of the program as well as a search box that allows users to find a client name or project at any time. System settings can be configured to turn features on and off, which allows the interface to be customized to a firm’s needs.
Time Management Capabilities (4.5 Stars)
When a new project is created, the user can choose between billing a flat fee or hourly rates. The web product’s time and expense screen shows a given day’s time in a spreadsheet format by client and project. Entering a new time or expense launches a new browser window, where users can enter detailed descriptions and have options to mark the time as billable or exclude it from the invoice.
Starting a timer in the web product is extremely easy in Bill4Time with a small clock icon at the top of the screen. When pressed, it opens a list of active timers that can be started, paused or converted to time entries, as well as a button to create a new timer. The desktop widget performs the same functions but can be used when a computer is offline, synchronizing when the computer is online again. Time and expenses can be entered and synchronized with a user’s account using Bill4Time Mobile, a free app available for mobile devices including iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.
Invoicing Functions (4.25 Stars)
Default billing rates can be set for employees, but the program provides enough flexibility to define rates for any client, project, activity or time entry. The new invoice batch screen shows a list of unbilled time entries, which can be checked off for billing. The invoice detail screen includes options for write-ups and write-downs. Invoices can be printed or e-mailed as PDF attachments. Invoices can also be sent with a “pay now” button that allows payments to be received by credit card via PayPal’s secure payment page.
Bill4Time has four standard built-in invoice templates. An invoice template editor allows firms to design their own templates and add a company logo, contact information, and standard invoice messages. The customization is limited, however, as certain things such as colors, font and text size can’t be changed within the program. However, if requested by a firm, Bill4Time will design a customized template at no additional charge.
Management Features (4.25 Stars)
User permissions can be modified to restrict specific users’ access to clients and functions of the program. Within the user management page, a login history can also be viewed. Users can “subscribe” to a project and receive e-mail notifications when certain events occur related to that project (e.g. when time is entered, the status is updated, file attachments are uploaded, etc.).
The report dashboard contains links to a number of preconfigured reports, including WIP summaries grouped by client and project, user time and billable amounts, client histories, and calendar-based user efficiency and productivity reports.
Integration & Data Management (4 Stars)
Reports can be printed to PDF or exported to Excel format. The QuickBooks Connect tool transfers finalized invoice totals (the total of labor, expenses, payments and adjustments) to both the desktop and online versions of QuickBooks. Bill4Time’s scheduling feature sends appointments to Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar and iCal. Currently, the QuickBooks and scheduling integrations are only one-way, but the company plans to add two-way synchronization in the future. All program integrations are included with no additional fees.
With help from technical support, subscribed users can import data into Bill4Time from CSV or Excel files.
All data is stored in a SAS70 Type II certified data center, and data is transmitted using 128-bit SSL encryption. System administrators can locally backup all data as often as desired by downloading a zip file.
Help/Support (5 Stars)
E-mail and phone support is included in the product subscription, and since the software is web-based, upgrades are automatic. Free weekly webinars are offered and cover the basics for new users and more advanced features for current customers. User guides are available for download from the website. The support site also contains a knowledgebase for frequently asked questions (FAQs) and discussions about the product. Bill4Time can be found on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, where many helpful tutorial videos are shared. Bill4Time’s website includes a blog for announcing new features and providing time management tips.
Summary & Pricing
Bill4Time is an excellent choice for small to mid-sized accounting firms that want to do their time and billing completely with a web-based program, especially those that will take advantage of the mobile application and PayPal integration. Bill4Time has a free version for one user with up to three clients and five projects. The Lite version goes up to 20 clients and 30 projects at $19.99 per month and $9.99 for additional users. The Pro plan, at $39.99 per month and $19.99 for additional users, allows for unlimited clients and projects. Volume discounts are available for large companies.
2011 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars
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