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BillingTracker Pro 3

By Mark D. Wilson


BillingTracker Pro 3 from Fifth Walk is a full-featured billing program in a small package. It makes keeping track of time, billing clients, managing accounts receivable and keeping an eye on the bottom line extremely simple for the busy professional.


Timekeeping is a cinch with the easy-to-use timer or from the Manage Daily Work screen. The timer lets you switch between two projects (when you are interrupted by a phone call, for instance), or you can input time directly with a few clicks of the mouse.


Billing clients is just as easy. Choose the client you want to bill, and all the work is done in one click. The program handles hourly, project-based, contingent-fee and retainer billing. It’s a snap to insert customized payment terms, modify wording on statements and reports, and import a company logo to print on your bills. The preformatted bills are laid out well, and they are customizable to your firm’s individual needs. You can create a multitude of reports on almost every aspect of time, billing, productivity and accounts receivable with a few mouse clicks.


I found the interface easy to use and easy to figure out. I was instantly adding clients, inputting project information and bringing up the timer to start billing — all without reading the instruction manual. The menu choices are clear and easy to grasp, and most are available as icons at the top of the BillingTracker window. The pop-up windows for billing, reports, timer and so forth are straightforward.


I did find a couple of minor drawbacks to the program.


First, while you can set an hourly rate for an individual user to override the set project hourly rate, you can only set one rate per user. So if you have a paralegal billing at one rate for one client and another rate for a different client, the system will not handle this. However, in any given time log entry, you can change the rate manually.


Second, the description field for the timer is limited to about 100 characters (300 characters for entering time directly). That might sound like a lot until you try telling the client what you did for four hours this morning. Lastly, you can only switch between two timers. On busy days, I often go back and forth between four or five projects at any given time. Two timers might not be adequate. Thankfully, you will be able to switch among four timers in the next version of BillingTracker, scheduled for a spring 2006 release.


All in all, this is a great program. The features are, with the noted exceptions, top notch. The program is easy to use, data can be exported seamlessly into many formats (Micro­soft Excel spreadsheets, for example), and the interface is uncluttered and user-friendly. If a single hourly rate per biller is something you can live with, you will not find anything in BillingTracker’s league for  the same price. While it can’t compare to the more full-featured programs such as Timeslips, it costs less than half as much. For the money, I think this ­program is a solid winner.


BillingTracker Pro 3

Fifth Walk • (866) 893-8741 • www.billingtracker.com • $89 per user, with
discounts for multiple users • Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP.

Pros: Easy-to-use, full-featured billing program for the small office.

Cons: Limited to one hourly rate per biller, limited description field, only two billing timers at one time.

Verdict: Highly recommend if cons are not a problem. Very easy to figure out and use, excellent interface, and it has nicely formatted bills and reports.


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Updated 08/25/06
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