TPS Software Inc — TPS Time & Billing
From the Sept. 2012 review of time and billing systems.
Best Fit: Small and mid-size professional accounting practices with fixed rate or hourly billing, and seeking the customization functions offered by integration with Microsoft Office.
- Intuitive navigation and processes designed by accountants
- Extensive integration with Microsoft Office and QuickBooks
- Graphical views of daily time per activity per user
- Built in AR and full billing functions
- No SaaS version or mobile apps available, but can be hosted by ASP
- Limited online resources
TPS Software provides a comprehensive time and billing system designed specifically for accounting firms, with extensive features that include a full accounts receivable module, WIP and receivables analysis, multiple write up and write down options, customizable client invoicing and the ability to group multiple businesses related to a single client. The system includes strong integration with Microsoft office and QuickBooks, and is based on the Microsoft Access database.
Basic System Functions: 4.25 Stars
TPS was developed by accountants, and offers appropriate terminology (clients and engagements, for example), along with many navigation and workflow processes familiar to seasoned professionals. Available in either Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL versions, the initial work screen in TPS opens into a mostly blank screen that offers a toolbar of icons and pull-down menus for accessing the program’s main feature areas, including the client management center, time entry functions, work codes, employee management, billing, firm settings, due date monitoring, reporting and other functions. When initially starting with the program, firms can import client data from QuickBooks or Outlook into TPS.
The main client selection screen offers a spreadsheet view displaying contact information and other basic data, with the ability to filter and search. Detailed client data screens offer a tabbed view for entering and managing billing information, contacts, engagements, due dates, rates and other functions that vary from client to client. Firms can also add custom, user-defined fields. Similar clients can also be grouped for AR and WIP related purposes.
Time Management Capabilities: 4.25 Stars
TPS offers a unique time data entry screen that opens into a spreadsheet view, allowing users to enter data for a selected day, and simultaneously uses this information to generate a visual graphic that shows how the user spent their time during that day. Time can be assigned to specific client engagements and tasks, with full descriptions and notes (with a spell checker) that can be included or removed from final invoicing. A stopwatch timer is also available to use as tasks are being performed.
The system’s client management functions enable detailed tracking of contact information and management, including the ability to set up prospective clients and engagements. The project management functions in TPS are based on the assigning of work codes. Each client can have any number of engagements and sub-projects, each with specific tasking that can be billed at a flat fee or by varying billing rates. Each staff member can have up to 20 billing rates, as well as special rates for specific clients and engagements. Tasks can be identified as non-billable, and users can perform write-ups and write-downs, charge offs or other actions.
After initial entry of time data, the program’s permissions features can be used as an approval process, requiring more senior staff to review prior to posting and actual billing of the client. The program does not offer HR functions, but personal time off can be tracked as a non-billable firm project.
Invoicing Functions: 4.5 Stars
TPS offers several billing options, including a feature utility that streamlines tasks. Users can simply click on a client in the billing screen, and then generate a summary or detailed invoice, produce progress billing, generate final, interim or partial bills, or set or delete provisional marks. An additional Inquiry option offers four detail sections for Time that has not been transferred to WIP, WIP items not yet invoiced, adding unpaid AR invoices and viewing the client invoice history. Invoices can be printed or e-mailed from the system individually or in batches.
For customization of invoices, the system offers a “Library of Paragraphs,” which houses commonly used phrases the firm uses in invoices. These items can then be easily added, with the program enabling customization of reports and invoices using Word, Excel and other Microsoft programs.
Accounts receivable functions include user definable finance charges, aging reports and statements, along with WIP and AR analysis, and period comparison reporting. TPS does not offer expense tracking capabilities.
Management Features: 4.75 Stars
For individual and group time sheet views, the system provides graphical overviews of activities performed during the day. The system also offers a strong due date monitoring utility, making it simple to track upcoming deadlines or milestones. Users can easily see the status of projects and tasks, as well as the staff member responsible for them.
TPS offers analysis of WIP and accounts receivable, along with a library of standard reports that can be easily customized in Word. System security features are based on user access rights, with the ability to allow access to specific tasks and functions.
Integration & Data Management: 4.75 Stars
In addition to syncing with Microsoft Outlook and QuickBooks for client management functions, all reports and invoices from TPS can be exported as PDF, Excel, Word, CSV, RTF, XML or RPT file. This allows for very simple customization of invoices, enables quick email and digital storage, as well as the ability to import the data into a number of programs.
A remote data entry function is available, by which the data can be synched into the program when the user is again in the office. Neither live remote access to the program or mobile apps are offered.
Help/Support: 4 Stars
TPS includes a traditional help utility with indexed information and guidance, along with some right-click menus within the program. The company’s online support website offers downloadable updates to the program and SQL, FAQs, training videos and additional training options. Live and email technical support is free for the first 60 days, thereafter requiring the addition of a support plan.
Summary & Pricing
With integrated AR, full billing functionality and integration with QuickBooks and Microsoft products, TPS Time and Billing provides a streamlined approach to managing client engagements and invoicing, particularly for smaller firms looking for an all-in-one system. The initial cost of the program is $399 for a single user, plus $149 for each additional user. Annual renewals are discounted.