2014 Review of Commercial Logic APS Advance Practice Management

Best Fit: Firms of 50 or more employees looking for a customizable solution to manage staff, projects, and serve as the firm’s tool for managing client billings.

Strengths

  • Designed to meet the needs of large accounting firms
  • Very impressive customizable dashboards
  • Direct integration with business intelligence software
  • Supports multiple locations and departments

Potential Limitations

  • APS is a best-of-breed application, and is not part of a large suite of solutions for accounting firms.

APS Advance Practice Management is an Australian practice management solution which is exclusively offered in the U.S. by Commercial Logic, Inc.  Data for implementation is gathered by CLI early in the process and the application is custom configured to meet the needs of each specific accounting firm.  CLI is also the publisher of another practice management application, Power PM, which is reviewed separately in this issue.

Click "Continue Reading" to see full review.

 

Full Review:

Basic Product Functions/Features: 5 Stars

APS uses a familiar Outlook-like interface to present projects, tasks, clients, and other accumulated transactions.  All projects and tasks assigned to the user are prominently displayed  in a summary listing. Several screens offer user customization options that allow the user to configure the screen to their preferred workflow.

Time Management Capabilities: 5 Stars

Time entry in APS Advance Practice Management can be performed manually or by the use of automatic timers which are set with a service code, a client, an engagement, and a description of the work or services performed.  Once these items are entered, the timer is started and stopped as the user begins and finishes work on the task until it is complete.  Users can also enter time through a web-based portal or by entering it directly into Microsoft Outlook.

Project Management is performed based on workflow templates that are created during the initial configuration of the application.  Each step (milestone) in a project can be assigned a budget, a responsible employee, and have a targeted due date.  Users can select when assigned milestones are marked as complete, which moves the work to the next person in the process.  This workflow progression continues until all steps are completed and the work is delivered to the client.  Budgeting for each step in the process makes it easier to notice when a portion of the engagement has exceeded its budget and may require a valuation adjustment on the accumulated work in process to write it down to its estimated net realizable value.

Invoicing Functions: 4.75 Stars

APS Advance Practice Management assembles approved time and expense data for each project. The partner or owner simply selects the time and expense data to invoice and then adjusts time up or down as necessary. Each invoice may include customized narratives or may pull from the standard invoice wording. All custom and standard narratives must include an associated billing amount, which is then checked against the invoice total to ensure the integrity of the invoice.

Invoice formats are created with the implementation of the system and are designed to the accounting firm’s specification. Invoices may be printed or exported to PDF or Microsoft Excel formats. New for the current release is the ability to email invoices to clients in bulk. Previously invoices were required to be processed individually prior to emailing to a client. Once the invoice is sent to the client all accounts receivable and payment history is maintained within the solution.

Management Features: 5 Stars

The user-customizable dashboards in the application are very impressive, and can be integrated with APS Advance Practice IQ, a business intelligence tool which integrates with the APS Advance Practice Management software.  APS Advance Practice IQ is a business intelligence solution available and works exclusively with APS Advance Practice Management software. This business intelligence software is browser based, but may be accessed directly within the system and provides a number of advanced reporting features. These reports may be used to benchmark current firm performance and profitability as well as generate dynamic reports on current client projects. Each report may be exported to Microsoft Excel as a Pivot Table for further analysis.

User access can be tightly controlled, and firms can preconfigure all data entry and output screens to limit the options available to users.

Integration & Data Management: 4.5 Stars

In addition to the modules within APS ,users can subscribe to a web-based time tracking tool (TrakTime Central 2013) for $12 per user, per month, with a minimum of five users ($60/mo).  This application is supported over a remote desktop connection to the office from Commercial Logic’s secure data center.  In late 2013, the company extended its support for TrakTime to include integration with QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. CLI’s integrated business intelligence application is also available for an extra monthly charge.

In 2013, the Company announced an integration with the Virtual Cabinet application from Lindenhouse software.  The application also includes add-ins for the Microsoft Office Suite, as well as HP iManage (formerly known as Interwoven Workspace) and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.  The Company has also created custom integrations with many common financial software applications, which allow users to change the practice’s management information tool without having to simultaneously replace its general ledger software or the tools used to provide professional services to clients.

Help/Support/Training: 4.25 Stars

APS Advance Practice Management includes a well thought out help file, as well as detailed information on each menu and report included with the application.  Commercial Logic, Inc., the exclusive U.S. distributor of APS Advance Practice Management, operates a searchable knowledgebase of issues which have been previously encountered.  Support is included with an annual support and maintenance plan, and is available via telephone on weekdays.  Training and consulting from Commercial Logic, including custom interfaces, software configuration, implementation, and end user training are all custom engagements which are quoted based on user requirements at hourly rates. 

Summary and Pricing

APS Advance Practice Management is a flexible tool which allows firms to embed their processes into the software through custom configurations and integrations with other products.  The business intelligence feature is very impressive, and should be examined by large firms who are considering a new practice management application so that they can get some perspective on the advanced functions available in this reasonably priced application.

APS Advance Practice Management includes the core time and billing module, the client contact module, the staff management module and the workflow toolkit for approximately $300 per user.  The optional APS Advance Practice IQ application is sold and implemented separately.

APS Advance Practice Management is a customizable solution which best meets the needs of large accounting firms. The solution is built on the Microsoft SQL server platform.  The application is flexible enough that the firm will need to know how they want to work with the application, and should not be expecting a “standard” implementation with this very powerful and flexible tool kit.  A number of stock dashboards are provided with APS Advance Practice Management, but users will want to configure the metrics tracked to meet their firm’s specific requirements. 

Best Fit: Firms of 50 or more employees looking for a customizable solution to manage staff, projects, and serve as the firm’s tool for managing client billings.

Strengths

  • Designed to meet the needs of large accounting firms
  • Very impressive customizable dashboards
  • Direct integration with business intelligence software
  • Supports multiple locations and departments

Potential Limitations

  • APS is a best-of-breed application, and is not part of a large suite of solutions for accounting firms.

APS Advance Practice Management is an Australian practice management solution which is exclusively offered in the U.S. by Commercial Logic, Inc.  Data for implementation is gathered by CLI early in the process and the application is custom configured to meet the needs of each specific accounting firm.  CLI is also the publisher of another practice management application, Power PM, which is reviewed separately in this issue.

2014 Overall Rating: 4.75 Stars

Loading