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Software Technology, Inc. — Tabs3

the Nov. 2006 Review of Time & Billing Systems

originally for the billing needs of the legal profession, Tabs3 also provides
other time-based service professionals, including accountants, with a time and
expense management and billing application that combines those functions with
AR, reporting, productivity analysis, and other tools. It offers integration
with the company’s practice management application, PracticeMaster, which
offers calendaring, scheduling and contact management. STI also offers optional
accounting modules that include GL, AP and trust accounting. Tabs3 supports
multiple billing methods. A single-user license that can track time for up to
two staff members is $295; a single-user, five-staff option is $495. Multi-user
packages start at $495.

Ease of Use/Navigation Features — 4 Stars
Tabs3 provides assistance in setup of clients, staff and rates through the use
of wizards, and is generally simple to navigate. The interface opens to a double
window, with the smaller window, called Task Folders, providing the primary
navigation menu for the system. This tabbed screen displays icons for accessing
the work areas of the program, which are grouped into categories/tabs for Main,
Client, Transactions, Statement Preparation, Statements, AR, Reports, Month-End,
Integration, Utilities/Maintenance and Setup. Each of these tabbed windows provides
additional icons for tasks specific to that subject.

The Client Information Screen provides access to most tasks, including general
client data, as well as billing options and preferences, budgeting, AR and fund
balances and rates, which can be specific to each client, based on staff, or
a combination. The screen includes a client lookup list, which opens into a
sortable list with basic client data. The program offers some customization
options, including the addition of as many as 60 custom data fields in client
files and personalization of the Task Folders window.

Time data can be entered through the Fees screen or via stopwatch timers.
The system is client-based, so the user first has to open a client’s records
prior to entering the Fees screen, which provides a quick-entry format where
the user selects work code, enters time worked and billable time, and then adds
notes or a description. Multiple timers can run simultaneously, but since only
one client can be open at a time, timers must bill to the same client.
The system provides various windows for viewing specific client navigation,
including the client lookup window that shows billing information in a summary
format, and the client manager feature that shows WIPs, AR, client funds and
trust balances.

Management Functions — 4 Stars
Tabs3 supports any number of clients, but the number of timed staff managed
is dependent upon the license. Each client can have an individual rate table,
and timed staff members can have up to six hourly rates, in addition to six
“new” rates that can be set to replace the existing rates on a specific
date. Staff can also be combined into groups for productivity analysis and other
management functions. Custom rate tables can also be created for individual
projects/engagements. In addition to hour-based billing, the system supports
flat rate, contingency, split and trust-based billing situations. The basic
client contact management functions in Tabs3 allow one contact per business,
although more advanced contact management functions are available through integration
with PracticeMaster. Likewise, basic calendaring and scheduling functions in
Tabs3 provide adequate appointment and task scheduling, but fuller functionality
is available through the practice management system. Tabs3 includes strong expensing
features that aid in monitoring and billing phone calls, faxes, postal costs
and photo copies, in addition to other expense items.

The program’s AR functions support up to five aging periods with interest
application, while reporting and budget thresholds enable management to stay
on top of client accounts and prevent overwork/overbilling that might result
in undesired write-offs. Tabs3 includes a Drop Box for storage of *.PDFs and
other electronic documents, and the system can be used with Palm-based PDAs
in a sync-based method.

Billing & Reporting — 4 Stars
Tabs3 offers an array of more than 100 customizable reports as well as the ability
to create reports with virtually any information included. Standard reports
include AR, activity, productivity, audit, and staff and client options. Tabs3
generates various visual elements, as well, including an array of graphs that
can be included with reports. The system also provides excellent customization
options in its invoice generation, with the ability to drilldown to transaction
and time entry sheets when previewed on-screen. Users can e-mail invoices or
multiple documents directly from within the program, or can output reports and
invoices to *.PDF format. Reports and invoices can be run individually at any
time or can be set up to run in batches.

Integration — 4 Stars
Tabs3 offers integration with MS Outlook primarily for e-mail communications,
but when combined with PracticeMaster it also provides two-way integration of
contact management and task/calendar functions. The program integrates with
QuickBooks for transfer of financial data, and can export reports and invoices
in Word and Excel formats. Palm-based PDAs can be used in a synched environment,
but live web-based access is not available. Jim Degnan, co-founder of Jacksonville,
Florida-based Degnan & Shlafer CPAs (,
finds Tabs3’s integration capabilities an integral component of the system.
“The ability to customize the software and its adaptability to various
professional office operations,” were two of the reasons the firm selected
the product, he said. “Also, the integration with other professional office
software such as Outlook, Worldox Document Management software and Palm have
proven very useful.”

User Support & Help — 4.5 Stars
Tabs sports excellent built-in Help functionality, including various shortcuts
and hot keys, right-click menus and other guidance features. The company offers
an online support center (accessible via a link within the program), along with
FAQs, a documentation library, a monthly newsletter and tutorials. STI offers
support packages and a variety of training options.

2006 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars