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Office Tools Pro — Office Tools Pro 2007

From the Nov. 2007 Review of Time
& Billing Systems

Office Tools Pro provides accountants and other time-centric service professionals
with time and expense tracking and invoicing tools, along with other features
designed to enhance practice efficiency. In addition to the time, expense and
invoicing functions, the program includes integrated AR, due-date tracking,
phone call tracking, to-do lists, customizable reporting, project management,
paperless records storage, scheduling, contact management and firm productivity
tools. This all-in-one approach to firm productivity provides a strong suite
of integrated applications for professional accounting firms. The program can
be used as a stand-alone program or implemented across networked office environments.
The full version of Office Tools Pro is priced at $550 for a single user and
$1,250 for a five-user license. A sole proprietor package, with support for
only one timed employee, costs $350. Lite versions of the program are also available.

Ease of Use/Navigation Features — 4.5 Stars
Office Tools Pro uses an interface that centers on contact management functions,
offering quick access to client selection lists and data, as well as client
invoices, AR and aging, communications, and detailed histories. Toolbars and
traditional pull-down menus also offer access to the program’s key features.
Office Tools Pro’s primary client selection list provides many search
and filter options, while client data screens offer tabbed access to information
categories and allow creation of projects, appointments, entering phone calls,
adding notes, generating invoices, viewing histories, or quickly accessing the
program’s time entry sheets. The system also allows for customized data
fields. While within a client’s records, contact information is kept on-screen
in the Contact Frame, while a user-specific Activity List at the bottom of the
window shows due dates, to-dos, phone calls, messages, ongoing tasks and other
items. The default “Staff View” screen provides a single screen
where staff can key unlimited time cards into a datasheet for any and all clients.

Office Tools Pro offers calendar time entry sheets and timers. The calendar
sheets allow staff to easily convert completed appointments into billable time
or to enter data using selection lists. The time data-entry screens also include
fields and selection lists for applying expenses and mileage to clients, as
well as adding notes or attaching documents to client records. Multiple timers
can be opened simultaneously, and, since they are accessed from within a client’s
files, when using one, a time entry is automatically posted to the client. This
then allows the user to note tasks, project and work descriptions and, if an
authorized user, to set billable or non-billable amounts. Call and messaging
features help track time used for client communications and include reminders,
notes and follow-up features.

Management Functions — 4.5 Stars
Office Tools Pro includes great contact management features that keep client
data quickly accessible, while maintaining contact data at the top of the screen
regardless of what the current task is. The program makes it easy to set clients
as prospects or to track vendors and other entities. It also simplifies adding
and storing documents with client files, the addition of comments and notes
that can be included or omitted from invoicing, offers phone call management,
and provides customizable client letters and templates. The program also enables
the tracking of user-defined information through the addition of customized
data fields.

Office Tools Pro can bill either flat-rate or time-based, and can be used
to manage time for any number of staff. The program supports multiple rates
per staff member, multiple rates per project or tasks, and includes expense
tracking options with the ability for review management to apply mark-ups or
mark-downs, as necessary. An audit trail-like feature tracks all project and
client histories.

Office Tools Pro also offers strong appointment scheduling functions that
allow creation of timesheets from events and copying of events. It also tracks
reminders and to-do items, and offers daily, weekly and monthly views. An integrated
appointment confirmation system can generate customized letters and reminder
calls to clients. The program’s document management capabilities enable
the firm to store, manage and access files electronically, including Excel,
PDF and Word files; images; and e-mails. Office Tools Pro offers synching with
PDAs for remote entry of data and contact management.

Billing & Reporting — 5 Stars
The program’s invoicing options are easily accessible from within client
files, with total customization options and detailed, drilldown functions. The
program houses more than 200 reports, invoice templates and client letters,
all of which can be customized. Report options include WIPs; AR and aging; various
financials; YTD hours; and client, staff and task productivity reports.

Integration — 4.5 Stars
Office Tools Pro integrates with QuickBooks for sharing of client data, banking
information, invoices and receivables, and can import from other programs that
can export into common text file formats. The system utilizes Microsoft Word
and Excel for reporting customization options and can output data into these
formats plus Access and PDF. Further integration with Outlook is included for
contact management functions. Remote data entry to Palm-based PDAs can be synched
back into the system.

User Support & Help — 4.5 Stars
Office Tools Pro sports a very user-friendly interface that includes descriptions
for each of the fields and icons, as well as right-click menus and content-sensitive
Help features. The company offers print and electronic user manuals, as well
as an online support center that includes access to a knowledgebase, tips, training
options and technical assistance. Phone support and product updates are included
for one year with program pricing.

2007 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars