TPS Software Inc — TPS Time & Billing
From the Oct. 2011 Review of Time & Billing Systems.
Best Firm Fit: Small and mid-size firms using Microsoft Office.
- Most complete integration with Microsoft Office among products reviewed, allowing for maximum customization of invoices & reports.
- Unique to the other products reviewed, the time entry screen includes a graphical timeline showing how a day’s time was spent.
- Solid integration with QuickBooks.
- No SaaS version or interface available.
- Not as many online resources to learn about the product as its competitors, but it does have good built-in Help.
Since 1999, TPS Software has provided a powerful time and billing software specifically designed to meet the unique needs of public accountants. Some of its stronger features include an extensive well-organized set of management reports, a due date tracker included with the software, and more integration with Microsoft Office than other time and billing systems. TPS stores its information in a Microsoft Access database, has had a SQL version of the software available since 2007, and was recently redesigned on the .NET platform. It can be installed on a local network and Terminal or Citrix servers, but there is no SaaS version available.
Basic System Functions (4 Stars)
New users may experience a learning curve because TPS Software’s interface relies heavily on the use of icons. TPS’s mouseover explanations for each icon’s functions are helpful, and for experienced users the icons save space and facilitate quick navigation. Always displayed near the top of the program window is a toolbar providing icons for quick access to each of the program’s main functions, including client management, timing, billing and reports. With a well-organized look and feel, the windows within the program for entering information contain tabs and resizable spreadsheets that are also sortable by clicking on column headers.
Time Management Capabilities (4.25 Stars)
The time entry screen is in spreadsheet format with fields for the start time, stop time, client, engagement, work code and a description. The description field can open in a separate window, which is ideal for lengthy details, and even includes a spell checker. Both time and expense entries are made on this screen. A color-coded timeline is displayed to give the user an idea of how time was spent as the day progressed and is also helpful for finding overlaps and gaps in entered time. Though not as robust as other time and billing programs, TPS does provide a stopwatch method for entering time. Remote time entry can be accomplished by e-mailing a data file back to the office where it can be imported to the TPS database.
TPS has a three-tiered work code structure for classifying time entries into billable, non-billable, and expense recovery descriptions, all of which can be customized by the firm.
Invoicing Functions (5 Stars)
The billing screen in TPS is in spreadsheet format, with plenty of information helpful for owners and managers in making billing decisions. Customized columns include unbilled, currently billed, and year-to-date billed amounts by default. When a row for a client and engagement is right-clicked, there are options to quick bill, detail bill or progress bill the amounts. Double-clicking on a row shows the WIP, time, A/R, and history related to the client and engagement. Invoices can be printed or e-mailed in batches.
One of the standout features of TPS is invoice customization. Several invoice templates are included with the software can be edited, or firms can create their own. A Library of “Paragraphs,” or commonly used phrases used in invoices, can be set up to be available during invoice creation. Individual invoices generated during the billing process can be opened, changed and saved in Microsoft Word.
Management Features (4.75 Stars)
The employee management screen makes it easy to assign up to 20 standard billing rates for employees, manage overhead rates (what it costs the firm to employ the person), and set up special rates for specific clients and/or engagements. Employee rights can be set as write, read-only or none for approximately 100 aspects of the program. Education and CPE credits can be tracked for each employee, as well. Powered by Crystal Reports, TPS has approximately 300 core reports organized in folders.
Users have the ability to create and assign categories to clients that may be used to group together types of clients (corporation, partnership, etc.) or specific services performed for clients. This year, TPS introduced a client log feature that can be used to enter internal notes for a client, such as dates and descriptions for phone conversations and meetings.
Integration & Data Management (5 Stars)
Microsoft Office integrates deeply with TPS. Contacts can be synchronized with Microsoft Outlook, and reports can be exported as PDF, Excel, Word, CSV, RTF, XML and RPT files. In addition to the ability to open invoices in Microsoft Word, the integration of TPS with Word also enables mass mailing of letters and creation of documents such as bank confirmations with built-in templates.
TPS can synchronize, export and import its clients with customers in QuickBooks. Integration with QuickBooks has been expanded to include transactions in the most recent version. TPS imports items from QuickBooks and exports engagements to QuickBooks jobs. Invoices and payments can also be exported to QuickBooks.
Help/Support (3.5 Stars)
The built-in Help Library is easily accessible by pressing the F1 key or clicking the Help button, and is well-organized and easy to understand. TPS regularly surveys its customers for improvement suggestions and strives to implement them. Many satisfied clients have written testimonials on TPS Software’s website. Support is provided through phone and e-mail to customers who have purchased an annual support and update plan. Updates are announced through e-mails, which users must manually download and install. TPS provides free live training sessions every Wednesday that cover implementation strategies. Links for downloading patches and a few training videos can be found on the support area of the website. However, the site lacks a user forum, and TPS has yet to establish a social media presence for marketing and disseminating helpful information to its customers.
Summary & Pricing
TPS Time and Billing may not have the outward appearance of a sports car with its older design elements, but it has a lot of power under the hood. This is a good fit for a small to mid-size firms with up to 60 employees using Microsoft Office and seeking strong security and reporting capabilities. The one-time license fee is $399 for the first user plus $149 for each additional user actively tracking time. This price includes technical support, updates and online user training for 60 days.
2011 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars
Product Delivery Methods
___ Hosted by Vendor