Published in Accounting Technology® – July 2008 Business Know-how™

CPA firms with more modest budgets will find a powerful ally with the Office Tools Pro practice management Suite. The entire bundle is priced very aggressively starting at $300.00 for a single-user system, including time and billing, contact management, scheduling, document management, due date management and integration to QuickBooks and Microsoft Office.

Power users will love the fact that each screen packs a lot of information. And the program manages to do so without appearing overly cluttered or confusing. Rather than use a lot of confusing icons, the system relies on clearly labeled buttons to begin most tasks. If you are forever squinting at tiny icons found within Windows programs, you’ll like the Office Tools Pro’s approach to screen layout.

Due-date monitoring, which is part of the suite, features a screen for viewing all extended due dates as well as who has responsibility for making sure each item is completed on time. Check boxes clearly display the dates when tasks have been met. Each task can be set so that a notification is automatically sent to the responsible staff person. While you are editing one task, the screen displays a lookup list of other tasks you’re responsible for. This can assist in managing your time and allows for more streamlined data entry since you don’t have to leave the main entry screen to review other pending (and sometimes related) tasks.

Office Tools Pro, a very affordable product, is most suited to the smaller sized firm. While it has some quirks, the price is right and the program has enough to offer that it’s worth a look.

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