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CPASoftware (A Division Of Sage Software) — Sage CPA Practice Manager: Time & Billing Edition

From the November 2005 Review of Time
& Billing Software

CPASoftware, which was acquired by Best Software two years ago, who changed
its name to Sage Software earlier this year, remains a separate division of
the software vendor, and continues to produce applications specifically for
accounting firms. Sage CPA Practice Manager: Time & Billing Edition is a
streamlined version of the vendor’s practice management suite, focusing
on time and expense tracking, billing, AR management, client management and
due-date tracking, as well as integration capability with Abra and CPA Payroll.
The program costs $399 for a two-user license, $595 for five users, and $995
for nine concurrent users.

Ease of Use/Program Set Up — 4 Stars
The Time & Billing Edition requires setup of either SQL Lite server or MSDE,
which are included on the program installation disk. Setup may require a little
more time that some programs because of this separate installation process and
subsequent mapping of the database files. The system opens to a well-designed
Windows interface and provides an intuitive client center that eases selection
of clients for either data entry or review purposes. The client list is sortable
and filterable, and displays information such as WIP and AR balances. The system’s
primary screen utilizes text links to access the main functions of the program,
including data entry, billing, AR, contact management, administrative tasks
and reporting options.

Time and expense data entry is performed on consistent tabbed screens that
simplify looking up previous timesheets and show current daily billable, non-billable,
total hours and expense sums on the workscreen. This screen can be customized
to also show month-to-date or banked hours, as well as a user’s appointment
calendar. This can help keep a user aware of budget limits or other restraints.

Time & Billing also allows setting of such limits and uses alerts to notify
the user of potential problems. The time sheets also provide an easy-to-use
calendar for date selection and pull-down selection lists for choosing clients
and task codes, and allows entry of notes that can either be printed with the
invoice or suppressed for internal use only.

As an alternative method of data entry, Time & Billing allows the use
of multiple timers for active tasks, which transfers time, client and code data
to a time sheet automatically when the user is ready to record the time slip.
The system also includes due date monitoring and an In/Out log.

Management Functions — 4 Stars
Sage CPA Practice Manager: Time & Billing Edition can be used for time-based
or fixed rate billing, with the ability to store up to 25 rates per staff member
and can support an unlimited number of employees and clients. The system also
provides limited HR-focused capabilities, such as tracking vacation, holiday
and sick time, as well as CPE coursework. Security features allow management
to override rates or perform manual markups/markdowns, and can limit users to
specific tasks or features of the program. The security settings can also prevent
users from seeing their billable rates, if desired. Authorized users can also
use the system’s management analysis tools to track projects and keep
an eye on productivity ratios.

In addition to housing contact information such as phone, address and e-mail,
the product’s contact management utility interfaces with the program’s
AR to enable posting of payments from the client’s data screen, as well
as management of WIP and the ability to view and drill down to time and expense
entries on invoices. This function also integrates with Microsoft Outlook’s
contact data and allows customization via the addition of user-defined fields.
It also integrates with the reporting function for the generation of client
correspondence and marketing tasks. The program enables management to track
productivity goals with a calendar view to monitor daily hours and budgeted
hours, and provides reminders to release time to WIP. The program can support
PDA and web-based time and expense data entry.

Billing & Reporting — 5 Stars
The invoicing and AR system simplifies many tasks, such as entering payments
against invoices, entering debit or credit memos, and setup of interest rates
for aging AR. It also allows e-mailing or printing of statements and generation
of dunning letters. The system houses a very impressive array of reports (hundreds)
that can be customized, filtered, searched or sorted. Reports can be viewed
on-screen prior to printing, and the included Report Writer, word processing
and spell check functions greatly assist in customization of invoices, letterhead
and other correspondence.

Integration — 4.5 Stars
Sage CPA Practice Manager: Time & Billing Edition integrates directly with
CPA Client Write-Up, AP, AR and many other Sage products, as well external accounting
and tax programs, including ProSystem fx Tax. Staff timesheet data can be exported
to most payroll systems, just as expense data can be paid via the vendor’s
CPA Accounts Payable module, then automatically charged back to the client in
the Time & Billing system. The program also offers contact management integration
with Outlook.

User Support & Help — 4 Stars
Time & Billing contains the usual indexed help function, along with links
to additional help resources. The company includes free support for six months,
which is about three times as long as most other vendors; a support plan is
required thereafter to ensure program updates and continued technical assistance.
The company’s web site includes a support center with a Knowledgebase,
and training is available on-site, online, by phone or at many locations throughout
the year.

2005 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars