”Just like a big company”, thanks to Abak360

Actions talk louder than words they say. After having implemented Abak360 software, Daniel Hallé is convinced of the efficiency this solution developed in Quebec.

Daniel Hallé is a chartered professional accountant (CPA) and a certified management accountant (CMA). He also is associate director, for consulting services at Connexe Technologie, a Quebec City based enterprise specialized in the implementation of solutions, development and consulting services.

”I’m a project manager and I had to compare different software in my career, says Mr. Hallé. I also had to make technology choices for others, Abak360 has always been a preferred system for timesheets, billing and integration with financial systems.”

Manual and double entries

When he arrived at Connexe Technologie in September 2013, Daniel Hallé immediately decided to replace the billing procedures. At that time invoicing was done with Excel.

The situation, back in time, at Connexe Technologie may sound familiar: before Abak360 we had to perform numerous manual operations, enter data twice, for billing, accounting, etc..

This is a method that, inevitably, is time consuming and source of potential errors. There was no such expense accounts management either.

Abak 360: Automation, safe and simple

At Connexe Technologie, the implementation of Abak360 software was really quickand simple. ”The implantation goes fast ; it is a matter of days, mentions Daniel Hallé. Customizing your entry codes takes a bit of time . Except for that, the use of software is really simple.”

Mr.Hallé adds that the support of Abak ‘s team is really efficient :” Support is excellent, whether it’s by phone or e-mail. We received great assistance during the implantation process too.”

Abak360 helped getting rid of the majority of manual operations and double entries, especially for accounting. Everything is now automated. ”At the end of each month, we close work in progress, and we generate the invoices the very same evening, explains Daniel Hallé. There is no loss of time.   He adds: ”I worked 15 years for big accounting firms. Abak 360 operates the same way, but in a much faster way, especially for small enterprises, not to forget the bigger ones!”

Abak is a fully hosted solution based on the concept of SAAS (software as a service). This option simplifies customer’s processes: no need to worry about updates. Updates and upgrades are taken care of by Abak. In addition to that, the history of invoicing is safely kept online, which avoids the need of having numerous backup versions.

From time sheets to accounting integration

Connexe Technologie uses different types of billing, real time invoicing or based on fixed price , based of the type of mission they fulfil.

Abak360 offers the versatility required and enable its customers to manage a complete cycle of activities, from time sheets, to invoicing, integrating work in progress, until the final step : integration with the accounting system. Abak software also gives the opportunity to fill out and modify time sheets online (web access and smartphone app).

”We’re equipped like a big company!” concludes Daniel Hallé

Here is how, an acoustic engineering firm, brings order in their administration process thanks to Abak360 software.

Is your time and billing management system entirely depending on multiple Excel documents?

Excel is a great multitask software indeed, but turning it into the mainstay of a time management system may lead to a messy situation.

This is exactly the situation Patching Associates Acoustical Engineering, an Alberta based company, was facing before they started using Abak 360 software.

”We used Excel documents to keep track of time and expenses spent on projects, explains Neil Morozumi, partner and acoustic engineer. We also had to follow-up time data spent on
miscellaneous activities . The problem is, none of all these Excel files where in touch with each other. It was a real mess : there were files everywhere!”

This lack of coordination was unsuitable for this company specialized in sound reduction, and active in the energy, transportation, as well as in industrial sectors.

The problem was even more important for Patching, because this system was suspected to cause financial losses.

”Each employee had to enter their time twice, for the billing process and for internal purposes, says M. Morozumi. This double entry procedure generated mistakes, without telling how easy it can be to forget invoicing.”

” It’s impossible to go back in time to check, but we have a serious doubt that, often, we haven’t invoiced the full price ”, says Neil.

In search of a solution.

Founded in 1988, Patching employs approximately 20 persons with various levels of expertise.

When it was time to welcome new partners, like Neil Morozumi, the company realized they should give themselves tools to evaluate the firm’s performance, in order to implement an appropriate strategic planning system.

” We looked at many options, but most of them where majorly focusing on billing, explains the engineer. In addition to that, several software were designed for big enterprises (500 employees and more) that was not the right fit for us.”

Patching needed a complete solution, which at the same time could manage projects, time spent on them and related expenses as well as employees time banks.
A personal contact of one of their partners recommended Abak360.
” Abak360 was highly recommended to us, explains Neil Morozumi. When we looked closer at the software, we figured out this was exactly what we needed. In addition that, Abak360 is perfectly adapted for the engineering industry.”

Abak 360 : a powerful and multipurpose system.

After the implantation of Abak360, a very short period of adaptation was required for the Patching team, ‘’because it’s a very different system” compared to the one previously in place.

Nowadays, the company saves a lot of time and nobody has to enter the necessary information twice.

”Like I said recently to someone who looks forward to purchase Abak360, Neil Morozumi explains, it’s not a system that will solve all the problems on Earth, we still need to enter data in it and discipline is required, but it’s very simple. If your company works with Excel, you will appreciate Abak360 for its flexibility and versatility.”

The engineer adds that the initial setup requires a little bit of work, ”but the Abak people will help you out.”

He noted that the enterprise is always ready to provide support in order to adapt the needs of their clients. ” And the Abak team answers fast!”

He also says that Abak360 is a simple system, often updated, which included various pre-sets related to project management, for example, and offers a great flexibility for the production of useful reports.

”The biggest difference between Abak and other enterprises of the same kind, concludes Neil Morozumi, is not only software itself, but also the great team working there.”

Abak 360: release of 7.8.

Several novelties and improvements appear in Abak 360 7.8. our latest version which has been released in May 2014. Those updates have been mainly brought to Abak Web, our online application which operates together with our Abak Classic (the Windows based application).

Main novelties

Draft invoices: it is now possible, directly from the web version, to generate draft invoices based on logged transactions (timesheets and expenses).

Batch invoicing: once draft invoices have been checked and approved, invoices can be generated in batches in Abak Web.

Invoices generated in Abak Web can be printed or sent by email in PDF format, and it is possible to join a document with the invoice (billing backup).

All types of transactions (time and expenses) can now be approved not only in the resource module, but also at the project level.

It is now possible to take pictures of documents with your smart phone (IOS or Android) and to add them to a timesheet or an expense entry in Abak Mobile, our application for smart phones users.

Secondary improvements
The agenda in Abak Web has been improved and relooked.

In addition to the possibility of adding documents in Abak Web, it is now possible to manage documents, that is to say for instance zip those which are not relevant anymore, remove them from the module where they were in Abak and store them at another location .

Document management: possibility to add documents to a timesheet, a project phase, or a draft invoice

When a user wishes to transfer transactions from a project to another one, it is now possible to lock both source and target projects rather than locking up the whole transaction transfer module.

Two new improved versions of Transactions List report have been inserted in both in both Abak Classic and Abak Web.

For fixed price projects it is now possible to allow limitation on work in progress on billable balance in both Abak Classic and Abak Web.

Possibility to prevent logging transactions in Abak Web beyond a given date .
The old Abak logo has been replaced by the new logo of Abak 360 in both Abak Classic and Abak Web.

Main novelties :

1 Draft invoicing  displaying  billable transactions

Image-1 AN

2  Main novelties- batch invoicing

Image-2 AN

3 Main novelties- approval per project

Image-3 AN

4 Secundary improvements – Document management

Image-4 AN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time and expense tracking software for R&D projects

Tax credits on R&D projects constitute a significant financial source that contributes to the growth of your company. However, preparing credit application files often represents a time consuming and rather painful process both at administrative and organizational levels.

Are these issues familiar?

  • Permeability between different projects: how to log the actual time against the appropriate project? Most of the time, various R&D projects are carried out simultaneously and may be related to similar tasks. Therefore, unless you have a flexible tool to manage those projects, time recording may become unreliable and tedious.
    Create project templates in Abak360, duplicate them each and every time you launch a new R&D project, and assign employees to the project. Reliable data entries will be logged against the right project, by the appropriate resources. Quick and efficient!

  • Everyone can log time on a project according to one’s own method (task description for instance). Quite often employees will not log their time and related expenses on a day to day basis. In the absence of a systematic input method used by all, data entries may vary depending on individuals, their attendance, and their attention to details. Thus, the information might not be realistic, nor reliable.
    In Abak 360 create all the tasks and expenses types that you need. List those tasks and expenses types in your project, organize them in phases and sub phases. All employees assigned to the project will access the same list of tasks and expenses.

  • Correlating time/expense entries and documentation: tax credit applications require detailed documentation in regard to the projects and the time devoted to them. In most of cases, documents and receipts are not correlated with the time/expense tracking solution.
    Abak360 includes a powerful document management tool which allows storage of documents in electronic format for a given project. Centralizing all information on a R&D project including documentation will save you precious time.
  • Omissions and errors regarding hours and expenses logged on a R&D project are quite common.
    With Abak360 It is possible to limit the risk of errors and omissions by building phase based project architecture. Moreover automatic alerts will be triggered when a project has reached a problematic or critical situation (in regards to the budget for instance or on planned quantities). Abak360 will warn you when a project is drifting away from its boundaries.

  • Managing expenses for R&D project is quite often difficult. Are all the expenses planned, have they all been approved. Are the expenses assigned to the right project?
    Planning and budgeting your expenses is easy in Abak 360. Within your project tree you even can plan you expenses per phase and per sub-phase. Invoices and receipts (in electronic format) will be kept in the project file.

  • Preparing an application for a R&D tax credit requires a lot of time. Very often information is scattered throughout different files.
    Abak 360 standardizes and secures your project management process. Further, all the information related to the project is centralized onto one platform (time and expense entries, budget, report, documents, resources assignations, and notes on project). With Abak360, you spare a lot of time. No rush anymore to complete and send your application for tax return on time.

Document Management

There was a time, not so long ago, when metal cabinets heavily loaded with files were the only solution to preserve and file documents. This time now belongs to the past and paper is gradually replaced by the more convenient electronic format, less bulky, and easily sent to multiple recipients.image pour blogue  documents
Storage and classification of documents in electronic format are performed on directories located on the computer disk, in emails, on server, or in cloud mode.

Indeed, though this solution is rather convenient when one wishes to manage a virtual library, limitations will soon appear. We will get back to this topic a little later.
Demand generating supply, new tools and concepts quickly appeared on the market.
Indeed, terms such as Electronic Document Management and Content Management (better known under the term Enterprise Content Management -ECM) are now common. There are numerous document management systems.
Collectively known as content management solutions, they meet very diverse needs. Let us mention a few of them:
• Document management
• Web  content  management (WCM Web Content Management)
• Multimedia document management (DAM (Digital Asset Management)
• Archives management,
• Email management ,
• Content analysis of digital documents (Content Analytics  or Content Analysis). The aim is to manage the content of numerous unstructured documents in order to automatically analyze and identify trends in those documents.
What are the benefits of document management?
Utilizing a document management system offers numerous benefits. However, it is mandatory that the solution is integrated in a software suite which brings together the various modules required for appropriate and effective project management. In fact, quite often, organizations will have a whole range of management tools:
• Time Management
• Budget Management
• Management of the deliverables
• Management of changes occurring in projects
• Management of work in progress and billing
• Management of time banks
• Document management etc.
The problem that arises does not involve the tools themselves.  The problematic rather lies in the fact that those different systems do not communicate with each other. Therefore, the benefit of these solutions is dissolved in the time needed to forward information from one application to another with all the risks of mistakes and forgetfulness that this delicate operation involves.
Ideally, the document management tool must be available on a versatile software platform, easily operated by the project manager, that is to say; no need to use multiple software, and direct access to all components of the project:
• Budget
• Project WBS
• Allocation of resources
• Monitoring the availability of resources
• Transactions (timesheets, expenses)
• Management of vendor invoices
• Billing
• Financial Reports
• Notes on project
• And  other documents related to the project itself.

The direct benefits are time saving and centralization of information.
Abak360 was recently fitted with a versatile document management module. It is thus possible for the user to centralize all documentation relating to a project directly in the project folder (receipts, pictures, layouts, and any other type of documents). An employee who enters his/her time and expenses also has the ability to electronically attach receipts to the expense account.

For further information do not hesitate to contact us.

Installation of your management software: local or hosted mode?

Small and Medium Enterprises of today are generally equipped with a growing number of software of all types. If many of these solutions can be quickly installed by the users on their workstations, it is quite different for server based software. Among those  programs  we include management software and particularly time management software, time and billing software and project management software.

 Why choosing hosted mode?mode hébergé

Therefore, the question about the location of software arises. Will it be installed on the client server or is it better to consider a hosted mode?

The reasons for the final choice are multiple and depend on various factors, including:

Technical factors:

  • Is my IT structure compatible with the technical requirements? Memory and technical characteristics are elements that need to be validated before the installation.
  • What is the condition of my IT infrastructure? Is my server recent enough to consider using my new software for the years to come? Should I consider short-term investment on new servers?

Economic factors:

  • Often SME’s do not have an IT department within their organization. Therefore, each intervention on the computer equipment has to be conducted by an external company. Rates are very often quite high. Moreover, the customer will depend on the availability of the service provider.
  • Numerous SME’s do not have any server. The implementation of such equipment can be expensive.

Organizational Factors:

  • More and more often, SME’s and even larger companies, focus on gainful activities directly related to their field of expertise, and prefer to delegate administrative and maintenance tasks to specialized companies (software hosting, outsourcing, document management, etc. )

Hosted Products

In terms of hosting software there are two types of solutions:

The SAAS solution : SAAS, means software as a service. Software is hosted on a server based outside of the company. The term SAAS includes a range of several management solutions (CRM, ERP, Time Management, Project Management, etc.). The service is offered as a subscription in rental mode. The application is accessible through an Internet connection.

The ASP solution: ASP means application service provider. In other terms, the provider (most of time the software editor) proposes a hosted mode for software that are initially designed on a client / server architecture. The proposed applications are not developed in the Web. The principle of data access and pricing of the hosting package are similar we find in SAAS solutions. However, in a world where mobility and flexibility are systematically associated with Internet, proposing a ASP solution may seem outdated and obsolete.

What about Abak hosting solution?

Abak offers its customers a range of applications including client/server software called Abak Classic, an Abak Web application and an Abak Mobile application for smartphone users. This package includes a huge number of functionalities. Keywords are flexibility and ease of use.

Abak installed in hosted mode presents itself as a hybrid halfway between SAAS and ASP. The main advantage of this configuration is to enable the user to choose his software mode with no impact to the logged data, Abak Web and Abak Classic sharing the same database.

Who is the provider of data hosting service?

There are three types of providers:

  • The software editor.
  • An internet service provider with whom the software publisher has an agreement.
  • A service provider designated by the customer.

In our case, Abak has an agreement with Oricom, http://www.oricom.ca/ , an important provider of Internet services for the Quebec region.

What are the benefits of a hosted mode?

  • There is no need to involve a technician or an IT service provider for the maintenance of computer equipment to the requirements of the software product (prerequisite, technical compliance). This results in substantial savings.
  • If the client does business with external technicians, he no longer needs to setup   appointments for an operation to be performed on his computers.
  • The business data is of primary importance. The risk of losing it due to viruses, mishandling, fire or any other reason is not an option. Hosted mode data is completely safe.
  • The provider of hosting services is a professional who follows and stays aware of the  latest technical developments in his field of expertise.
  • Software always runs on the latest version.
  • The client no longer has to worry about backups
  • In case of an internal computer crash, the client data is preserved.
  • Finally, data is easily accessible, wherever the user might be (using Abak Web for example).

How to choose a provider of hosting services? 

Before going towards a hosted mode, it is recommended to answer the following questions:

  • Is the service provider the software editor himself?
  • Should it be the case, what is his experience in this field?
  • What is the percentage of customers in hosted mode?
  • What happens to data in the event of bankruptcy of the publisher or the internet provider for example?
  • Are the source codes available via an escrow agreement?
  • Is the data encrypted?
  • If the software publisher is not the provider of data hosting service, it is important to know who the end supplier is.
  • What is his experience? What about his reputation?
  • Where is he located? A customer in North America, whose data would be hosted in a remote foreign country for example, could be confronted by all kinds of problematic situations (technical, contractual, financial, language, time zones etc.)
  • How secure are the premises?
  • How often are backups performed?
  • What are the hosting costs?
  • Where are kept the backups? It is important not to store backups in the same location as in the server room.
  • What are the procedures to recover a copy of the most recent backup in case of crash.
  • Who is the first line of contact support; software vendor, or provider of hosting services?

Ideally the user should not have to deal directly with the provider of hosting services. The software editor should first set all the details for his customers and inform them on how the hosted mode works. This is the procedure followed by Abak when we host our time management, billing and project cost management software. Feel free to contact us for further information. More than 35% of our actual customers have chosen the hosted mode.

Cyber Abak_October 2013

Hello everyone!
We hope your vacation has been enjoyable. It is time to return to work, to plan the last quarter of 2013 or for some of you to close the year on September 30th. Times are quite hectic for the Abak team. We started the last quarter at full speed. What’s up? 7.7., the new version of Abak, of course, but also several new events with are related to our merger with Sirius Conseils. We shall unveil those events in the coming months, through social media, our web site and the next CyberAbak. In the meantime thank you for your loyalty.

Abak Group Sirius – what news?

Contest Sirius-Abak

Version 7.7: What’s new?

It’s time to move to Abak Web

Training sessions AbaKast fall 2013

Join us on social Medias

Survey

Holidays

LAUNCH OF « WIN A TRIP WITH GROUP SIRIUS » CONTEST

As you already know Abak Software is part of Sirius Conseils Group.

To promote the launching of its new image, Sirius Conseils Group organizes a contest open to Sirius and Abak customers. For more details on this contest, please click on the following link.

Feel free to participate !

http://www.siriusconseils.com/_pdf/20130923_SIRIUS_Launch-Rules-Contest.pdf

Outsourcing

The principle

The basic principle of outsourcing is to subcontract activities, especially administrative tasks, to a company specializing in such services. The goal of outsourcing is to relieve the client of the stress of activities that might, as important and imperative as they are, however prove to be a drag on growth. These activities require ongoing attention, sometimes skills the client doesn’t have, and quite often those tasks do not generate any profit.Impartition

In regards to Abak customers, outsourcing is the ideal solution for:

  • Small businesses: very often those companies consider subcontracting as an opportunity to minimize administrative tasks and to enable them to concentrate on lucrative actions. In addition, it also happens that these organizations do not have in their staff the resources with the required skills to perform those administrative and financial tasks.
  • Medium-sized enterprises: they sometimes face a situation that will temporarily mobilise a large portion of their workforce (getting a major contract for example). Hiring additional staff being not necessarily justified, companies will move towards outsourcing services.

Earnings

Why use outsourcing services?

Here are a few examples of benefits generated by outsourcing:

  • Free the organisation from non-profitable and repetitive activities,
  • Allow client to focus on strategic activities,
  • Work of better quality carried out by specialists,
  • Reduce cost of salaries,
  • Reallocation of resources to key activities,
  • Competitiveness improvement by focusing staff efforts on strategic activities,
  • Limit investment in new resources.

Risks

A coin has two sides. It is therefore necessary to consider the risks of outsourcing:

  • There might be hidden costs. This is why it’s important, when subscribing, to list the required services and to know their costs.
  • Depending on the volume of assigned work, the client might become dependent on his supplier and then progressively lose control of his schedule. The latest being dependant on the delivery of services from the outsourcing firm.
  • Some companies improvise themselves as providers of outsourcing services. Poor quality of work can be the result, requiring a careful monitoring. In such circumstances all the benefits of outsourcing are lost in monitoring activities.
  • Reputation: the risk of delivering a work of poor quality performed by an outsourcing service can spoil the reputation of the company.
  • Control – having to continuously control the work of the outsourcing service monopolizes valuable time.
  • Very often, the client shares confidential information with the outsourcing firm. Controlling this information is then essential.
  • Mistakes. The outsourcing firm can make mistakes and consequences might vary depending on the gravity of the mistake(s).

Preliminary Selections

Here are some advices for selecting an outsourcing firm:

  • The potential provider needs a good reputation and must be recognized as a specialist,
  • The outsourcing firm must have a proven financial stability,
  • References: do not hesitate to ask and check the references of the potential providers,
  • Sign a confidentiality agreement,
  • Begin outsourcing services through a probationary period,
  • Sign a contract that lists the range of services and exclusions, as well as the applicable rates and terms conditions of billing and payment,
  • Ideally agree on a fixed monthly cost.

Abak Software Inc. proposes outsourcing services which are related to the functionalities of Abak Software:

  • Creation of projects in Abak
  • Billing
  • Management of work in progress
  • Reports
  • Project follow-up
  • Budget management
  • Time Banks Management
  • Validation of expense accounts

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Cyber Abak – June 2013

Hello everyone!

The summer days are on the horizon and holidays are approaching fast. No lack of work on our side and we are working hard to finalize this summer the new version of Abak that will focus primarily on our Abak Web application. In any case there are many other interesting things to explore in this CyberAbak so enjoy the reading.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 198 other followers