by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 10 April 2012
While it is true that accounting can become mundane and boring (which profession isn't?), the same cannot be said of online accounting software.
There are several ways that firms can make accounting simple and easy for users through integrations and simple interfaces. This week, we will take a look at a solution that does just that and more. We will review BQE BillQuick , an automated timekeeping, billing, and project management solution. We will look at its features, interface, and see how it can be of use to you.
Designing A Different Billing Solution
BillQuick is part of BQE software, which was founded in 1995. The solution, itself, was developed after BQE's chief executive watched his office manager struggle with completing billing on time. Accounting software on the market did not provide answers. "Most products on the market required users to have a degree in accounting," says Shafat Qazi, CEO and Founder of BQE Software."We wanted something simple and intelligent."
So, the folks at BQE Software decided to build BillQuick as a simple and affordable solution.
Shafat touts the simplicity of the solution. "We are focused on streamlining daily tasks," he says. This philosophy is reflected in the design and implementation of multiple features in the system, including automating repetitive tasks, displaying critical performance metrics on-screen and supporting on-the-go time and expense entry via a mobile app.
The solution also extends the concept of customization. Thus, instead of providing just an API, you can customize BillQuick using an SDK or software development kit. "Using our SDK, you can integrate data from other systems, like payroll, automatically with BillQuick ," he says.
The solution is also available across multiple platforms. Recently, they launched native Android and iPhone app.
Working With BillQuick
After watching an introductory video of the solution (which touted project management as one of its benefits), one of my first questions to Shafat was about the use of an accounting solution as a project management solution. "For professional service firms, time tracking is directly linked to projects that employees work on," he explained. "This is why project management is such an integral part of our software." So, you can get a snapshot of your profitability, billability and efficiency by using the Project Center and to help identify projects needing attention, simple red dots indicate the ones at-risk. You can also configure appropriate security access and roles for users.
The Collection Center is similar to the Project Center in that it displays critical business performance metrics but the main difference is that it provides everything needed to help with your collection efforts. Thus, it provides you with contact information, notes from previous conversations and real-time metrics to make informed decisions instantly. You can also generate bills automatically using data available in the system. The automated billing feature follows standard billing rules and automatically creates project invoices for review based on frequencies specified by the user. The other type of billing, known as progress billing, enables you to bill an amount immediately and enter the time and expense data at a later date. You can also create multiple invoice types, including percent complete and recurring using over 150 invoice templates.
The Report Center is a perfect example of how smart programming can make difficult tasks easy. Once a report is selected, BillQuick's intelligent algorithm analyzes it, figures out the applicable filters, provides a list of similar reports, and displays an instant preview of the report. BillQuick also remembers the last filters applied the next time you run the same report. This smart technology works with all reports including the ones created by users themselves! In addition, you can Memorize reports and filters, tag your Favorites, and rerun previous reports with a click. Considering that an average BillQuick user runs over 1,000 reports per year, these features are a huge time-saver.
The Basics: What Does The Interface Look Like?
The interface is a menu-based one. A horizontal navigation panel enables you to switch between menus and options. You can also configure personal icon-based menu items in a sidebar that enables you to navigate between most-used systems. I personally liked that each screen contained options for filtering data.
That said, the interface could do with further simplicity because, in its current state, it seems cluttered with options. Part of this is because of the numerous useful features contained in the system. However, the solution's developers should consider de-cluttering the interface by condensing menu options using icons.
BillQuick has an extensive and large presence across social media channels including task and training videos on Youtube, an online user forum, and product pages on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, the solution offers two forms of support for users: BQE SilverCare and BQE GoldCare . While the former provides users with the latest software and access to an online knowledge base and forum, the latter adds assisted support Monday through Friday to the mix.
Is It For You?
The combination of project management and business intelligence with billing solutions is intriguing. I would definitely recommend this solution to small and medium-sized businesses that want to take their accounting solution to the next level.