Published in Accounting Today May 2010
Most of the applications in this roundup are tightly focused on recording time, issuing client invoices, and recording payments. Office Tools Professional provides these capabilities as well.
BUT WAIT….THERE’S MORE!.
Office Tools Professional also provides a fairly complete office management system for a small to midsized practice. In addition to the time and expense recording/ invoicing features, the software also provides contact management to-dos, scheduling, project tracking, and more. While Office Tools Professional used to be modular, (letting you pick and choose which modules you wanted to purchase), the vendor now sells it as a complete application and priced depending on the number of users. There are, however, optional products available, such as online backup and training.
Unlike most of the T&B applications on the market, Office Tools Professional does not use a proprietary database. Instead, it runs on top of the Microsoft SQL. MS SQL 2005 Express which is provided with the software, and installs and is configured automatically as part of the overall installation.
The price of Office Tools Professional has risen a bit since the last time we reviewed it. But if you can use the other features beyond T&B, it’s still a very good deal.
Once installed and configured with your practice’s data, Office Tools Professional is pretty intuitive. PowerPoint presentations are available by download to help you through the different task areas this Practice Management Software provides.
Navigation is from a ribbon bar at the top of the screen that has labeled icons for each of the major functions. Clicking on one of them brings up a top screen for that task set. In many cases, data entry can be performed on that screen, though other tasks may require a click on a button to bring up additional screens.
The time and billing functions are pretty clear-cut. Data entry is done with the familiar time card analog, and expenses can also be entered on a similar screen. Multiple timers are available so that you don’t have to close one client to time work on another. There are several boilerplate invoices, and while they can be edited, there is not as much customization as some of the other T&B packages provide. This lack of customizability is also true of the available reports, though filters are offered to let you zero in on the desired information.