Don’t Let Time Slip Away

Lots of service-oriented small businesses bill clients based on the number of hours that they work. From lawyers and architects to accountants and designers, keeping track of hours is both crucial to a company’s fiscal well being and a royal challenge. Responding to customer requests, and with an eye toward helping SMBs increase efficiency, Sage Software, a Norcross, Georgia-based company recently released the 2006 version of its venerable time and tracking software, Timeslips.

Any successful software application gets updated every year or so, and Timeslips, which has been on the market since 1985, is no exception. The 2006 iteration contains both fresh new features and refreshed existing ones. “We listened to feedback from our customers who told us that they wanted more intuitive and easy-to-use features,” said Lisa Frank, a Sage product-marketing manager.

Timeslips Today
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Sage targets small businesses with anywhere from one to 50 employees, and says that a service company’s typical billing cycle includes tracking time and expenses, generating bills and entering the transactions. The latest additions and changes that Sage has made are designed to shorten that cycle and to improve a company’s operational efficiency. “Timeslips 2006 can help you spend less time tracking your hours and filling in your time so you can spend it on billable activities or other tasks,” said Frank.

The new features in Timeslips include:

Interactive Reports
Designed to let you “drill down” to quickly see the source of reporting data, make and save any necessary changes — change an incorrect billing rate, for example — and instantly update the report.

Reprint Unpaid Bills
This feature turns reprinting unpaid and partially paid bills into a one-step process. You can sort the list by the largest balance or by the bill date, and then send the reprinted bills — by mail or e-mail — to remind clients of their outstanding balances.

Bill Designer
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Print to Excel
Designed to let you export reports to Microsoft Excel — either to an existing Excel file or you can create a brand new worksheet. Sage said the feature lets you modify the report in Excel and perform custom calculations on Timeslips data.

Smart Configure
Use only the features and functions that you need. Smart Configure is designed to detect the features you don’t use. It then asks you if you want the disable them or to teach you more about them. Frank said the disabled features can be turned on again at any time, and that any data previously stored in them will not be lost.

Print Bills to Pre-printed Forms
The software includes pre-formatted bill templates that match common invoice forms. Sage designed a tool that let’s you customize the forms (for which you pay extra) with your company logo, etc., and then you can print the template onto the paper form. Sage says this gives your invoices a more professional look.

Timeslips 2006 by Sage, for a single-user license, sells for $449.99. The multi-user license (up to five people) costs $799.99, and a multi-user license (up to 10 seats) sells for $1449.99.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of

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