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Good Billing Software for small firm?

Good Billing Software for small firm?

Good Billing Software for small firm?

(OP)
Anybody know of good billing software to keep track of progects and time for a 10 person engineering firm?

We currently use quick books and timesheets.  We dont have a good P&L reports and it is very limited.

We are looking into Ajera by Axium and Wind2 Software.  
Any suggestions?

Thank you

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

We used Quickbooks in the past. Even tho it is a powerful program, it isn't really "dialed-in" to the preferences of a particular company operation.
After much hand-wringing and fuss, we finally started devising our own, in-house written Excell spredsheet workbook to accomplish this. The timesheets are done in Excell, and all is linked to the the master time-trackink/projects workbook. This took about 2 years to perfect, but was worth it.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

I wrote an Access database to do the job that FalsePrecision described--in 6 work days.  I guess it is just using the right tool for the job.

David

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

Peachtree is a little more powerful, but a little less user friendly.  I believe it has a good P&L reporting capability.

We had discussed the option of going the Access route and decided against it because of the in-house development and maintenance commitment and dependancy.  If you hire someone to work with your own system you won't find anyone familiar with the interface you developed.  However, someone could be familiar with PT or QB.  If you share you data with an accountant, they probably have a copy of PT or QB that they are familiar with.

New computer viruses?  That could be nice.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

zdas-
I didn't want to sound like it took us 2 years to develop our system- what I meant it was improved over a period of 2 years, from a very "ugly but it works" to a more sophisticated package.
I suppose Excell has very limited database capabilties, but we managed to put in all the bells & whistles.

Regards
Ron

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

FalsePrecision,
I used to teach database theory, and Excel is what I used to call a "use of data" while Access is a "source of data".  I've seen people do amazing things with Excel, but for data capture and validation it always takes many times the effort that it would have in a database package (even including the learning curve to get up to speed on the database).  

I've got this knee-jerk reaction to "we built ________ in Excel" that makes me say "why did you work so hard?".  It is just one of my many character flaws.

David

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

zdas,
Understood..no one in our office has a database background, and learning Access was not possible at the time. We may have used the wrong tool, but for the right reasons.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

You might give it a try.  If you have folks that can do the level of work in Excel that you described, they will pick Acess up quickly and ask themselfs my pet question "why did we work so hard?"

David

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

My company specialized in Access database development, and I have an application already written that could be modified very simply for your use.  It records all work performed and can even be connected to Quickbooks for billing.  

www.pro-soft.net

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

When we consider using Excell for replacing commercially-available software, we know the programming effort is very large, but there is a pay-off with the much reduced effort that it take to use the system. One of our pet peeves is the tendency of Windows programs to require different windows or dialog boxes to input data or to view results.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

Wind2 will do the job, but has its quirks and is complex and can be somewhat difficult to properly learn.  However, it has all kinds of reports and features that you will probably want with an engineering services firm. Tracking revenues and costs by projects, timesheet entry, automatic invoice generation, etc. etc. There are other programs available, which may be better and/or easier to use, but I would be sure to get one that is geared towards services firms.  With a 10 person firm, I don't think I would try to run the accounting off a spreadsheet.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

bvi-
Why would a spreadsheet not be advisable for a 10-person firm?

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

At 10 people, you are already presumably a $1MM business, more or less, and I would think moving beyond the spreadsheet type of operation.  I would think you would want an integrated system to receive time entries, job costs, track projects, generate invoices, etc.  Just my opinion.  It is of course possible to run a 10 person business with even pencil, paper and calculator.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

bvi-
 Our Excell does all of the above. There is no limitation. That is why we perfected it over such a long period of time.   It just doesn't have the "pretty, glossy" look that Quickbooks or Peachtree, etc, has.

When you look at QB & PT etc, they just don't have the "set-up" look for a small, consulting engineering company.

I offered this as an alternative to what the original post was suggesting.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

Bill Quick is designed exactly for this. It is easy to use for the person entering time and billing information but difficult to use and contains lots of bugs(at least the versions I used, they may have updated it) for whoever is administrating it. There is also a program called Timeslips which I have not used but I do have a demo disk from it so you can probably get one from the website. I use Quick Books Professional Services edition but I am solo. Its not bad and think would be ok for 10 people. At one point, in a prior job I began to develop a customized program in Access. It was not that difficult with a reference book and some programming knowledge. I think a computer expert could develop a completely customized program in a relatively short time(and hopefully for a relatively small fee).

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

We also use Billquick-it does have some bugs, but overall it is quite good.  Lots of reports availalble.  Install can be a pain, especially if you have to reformat a hard drive and reinstall some time after your tech support runs out. One feature we like is the Palm program, where people can input time to their Palm and download it to the main database periodically.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

What about Quick books Professional Services Edition?  I took a look at their demo, and it does handle time cards.  Is any one using this software?

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

I have Quickbooks pro 2000 and it has a timer.  It is a bit crashy/glitchy but it hasn't lost any time that I can see.  I am looking for a replacement timer for it.  There are lots of companies that sell them but they range from $25 to $900.  I don't know which is best to buy.

Quickbooks Pro is funny, it doesn't always give me what I want to see. So I do cashflow (expense and income) in Excel.  It is easier and anyone can open it. Invoicing and time management I do in Quickbooks.  It tells you when an invoice is overdue automatically and will calculate interest on it.  Which I like.

What are the timers like in the new versions of Quickbooks?  I might go and buy one of the add-on timers if I can research them enough. At $500 that is as much as Quickbooks itself but it is still an important part of the business.  The feature handling Timecards sounds like manual entry??

Regards Rick Marmei

Rick Marmei - Tool Designer
http://axis-design.org

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

We have Quickbooks Professional 2005 ... It works fairly well for engineers ...

We have used this program for 13 years ... we have looked at probably a dozen other programs, including several listed in the posts.  But for small companies Quickbooks works best.  It allows you to have employee timecards downloaded directly into the program, etc.  Very powerful, and quick learning curve ... you just have to follow there structural for maximum use.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

I'm out of my level of expertise here - but we currently use Sema4. From what I hear, my accounting department loves it. We started using the program when we were less than 20 people. It now supports three offices with over 50 people.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

I use Quickbooks, though the best solution from what I've heard is to work with bookeeping/accounting to develop a custom system.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

We use SQL Ledger <www.sql-ledger.org>for our accounting software, and JourneyX <www.journeyx.com> for timesheets. These are Scalable to Enterprise level software suites (which is great if you plan to grow), and another added benefit is they are free (if you stay small) The 1 down side is they run on a Linux Box only. (but, hell the investment in only $300 for a file server, accounting, and time tracking software.... plus they are very easy to use....

Wes C.

RE: Good Billing Software for small firm?

Quote (CivAlan):


What about Quick books Professional Services Edition?  I took a look at their demo, and it does handle time cards.  Is any one using this software?

Quote (RCEJD):


We have Quickbooks Professional 2005 ... It works fairly well for engineers ...


Agreeing with both of these posts...

Quickbooks Pro (current edition) is a great choice for small firms.  You should stay away from lesser version, because they don't allow the user the ability to customize forms, or record P.O. or project numbers.  This is the minimum version to use for a truly "professional" business.

If you are savvy, or have a nerd on staff who is overly eager to please, Quickbooks Pro can be very impressively customized - to the point that you can't tell that it's QB. (not the standard bars and white space forms)

The only bad part is, Quicken is also in business.  Some of the features are fee-based, or third party.  It can be annoying, or it can be helpful.  Payroll is one of the annoying ones.  Credit card processing is one of the helpful.




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