BusinessWare Technologies has recently completed a significant upgrade to its AvailSuite line of field service software, with comprehensive tax reports, improved user interface, and QuickBooks synchronization. The company also splitted the standard version of AvailSuite, with its lineup now comprised of Standard and Personal. Standard version is appropriate for companies with 5-50 employees because of its networking capabilities. It organizes customer information, manages products and/or services, schedules and dispatches staff, helps to keep expenses under control, handles invoicing, synchronizes data with QuickBooks, and much more. The Personal version is available for micro businesses or one-person companies. It has most features of the Standard version, but with limited number of employees. Pricing for Standard is $299 for a single-user license (with non-limited number of technicians); pricing for Personal is $69.99.
Standard and Personal version are built on the same code base, allowing for instant upgrading or quick migration between them. This supports business growth and allows staying with the same program and avoiding retraining of staff.
Help & Support Options
A new software product requires some time for learning even how to start working with it. AvailSuite quick start wizard provides excellent assistance during the process of setting up company information, adding employees and customers, creating orders and invoices, entering payments, and running reports. You can choose “Show me” tutorial movie or “Do it for me” option. The quick start wizard could be accessed at any time by clicking on “Quick Start” button in the main menu. This built-in assistance feature and traditional Help (press F1 button to access) are very useful. Free unlimited email support is provided for both Personal and Standard versions.
Ease of Use Functionality
Main menu provides seven general areas of work: Sales, Production, Receivables, Payables, Inventory, Reports, and Calendar.
AvailSuite offers several customization features that enable users to set up layouts of navigation panel and pages. You can hide groups of main menu or replace them with a small icon and view only those that are used frequently. All pages can be customizable in the same way – you can add or hide columns, change their places, sorting them, grouping data etc. For instance, Customers view could have 1 or 21 columns.
Sales. This is Customer management module where you can click on a client and immediately view or add new orders, tasks, invoices, payments, service history and next task date, default discount, billing address, notes and so on in a single window. The system provides excellent assistance with a workflow, for instance, if you add an order, you will be asked about creating a task for this order, and then you can schedule your appointments. Recurring Task Wizard will assist you with scheduling recurring appointments. You can set very flexible recurrence pattern, like “every 3rd Friday each month”, or “on Monday and Thursday every 2nd week”.
If you want to work with your customer base, you can view your recurring appointments to be done in the next 7 or 10 days and send reminders for service to your customers by email. View one-time jobs performed within last month to make the list of customers you want to call and schedule next appointment.
All orders have a status, so they could be viewed as Draft orders, Complete Orders, Negotiated Orders, Canceled Orders, and On Hold Orders. Also you can quickly get some statistic data about orders sorted by customers or by month.
Here you can also create invoices. As far as the system keeps info of all your customers, so when you create a new invoice, their billing information is automatically included, and you can specify the tasks they need to pay for from the drop-down list. Invoices could be customized. To include your company logo and set up the text to be printed on the invoices you must fill out company settings form and then all this information will automatically appear in your documents. All documents may be printed or emailed to clients as PDF files directly from the system.
Production. This is a module to manage employees and all expenses you made to provide your services. You can enter/view all information about an employee such as name, address, photo, working days and time, hourly rate and/or monthly wage; add new task or time card – all in one window.
Employees could submit time spent reports using Time Cards functionality. This is very useful feature to track working time so you can always be certain that every employee’s time claim was accurate.
Employees could have various level of access. If you want your technician to view tasks and submit his/her time cards, you must specify his/her login name and password in “System access” tab of employee card.
Receivables and Payables. AvailSuite`s accounting functions are very basic, so for more complicated accounting you need to have additional software like QuickBooks. In account receivables module you can analyze your customers` debts as well as all invoices and payments sorted by customer and by month. On accounts payments screen you will see payments to your vendors and employees and invoices from your vendors grouped by status as Drafts, Negotiated, Completed, Cancelled, and On Hold.
Inventory. AvailSuite Standard now offers support for multiple warehouse locations, with the ability to track vendors, purchase orders and all products you have, their location, warranty information, on-hand quantities, price and so on. Using the Vendors module, you can quickly review your buying history, credit limit and discount offered, and all about vendors – their contact info, grace period, terms, and price list.
This feature is more than tracking your inventory. AvailSuite notifies you on a shortage of items in stock when saving an order. Also you can view a list of products, the quantity of which is less than a given threshold value. You can create and print Purchase Orders, track their status and your payments, view POs grouped by vendor or by month.
Reports. This is one of the things you need business management software for. AvailSuite provides about 40 reports about all aspects of business, allowing owners to have key information at their fingertips. Users have one-click access to Profit & Loss report, P&L comparisons, payables aging, purchase orders or whatever items are needed. A menu groups all available reports by various categories such as Sales reports, Receivables reports, Payables reports, Inventory reports. All reports can be exported into PDF, XML, XTML, Word and Excel for further modification.
Calendar. This is the one of the distinguished AvailSuite`s features, very flexible and easy to use. It allows scheduling appointments directly on the Calendar screen and coordinating technicians` workload, so you can view all tasks of all your technicians in one screen or view only personal schedules. After an appointment is on your calendar, you can set up an alert to remind you when the appointment is approaching.
AvailSuite’s Calendar has all the point-and-click and drag-and-drop capabilities to easy scheduling. You can move tasks from one day to another day with a single mouse movement or re-assign them from one person to another. Resizing task bar will change the task’s duration. Double-clicking on the task bar opens a screen with complete task details. On the same screen you can view all unassigned tasks.
Once the scheduling is done, you can print the daily job lists for employees and get them started.
Tiny business should strive to become a large one, so an easy upgrade path is needed. You’ve got it. Starting with one license if AvailSuite Standard, you can buy some additional ones, and AvailSute will work in multi-user mode. Adding new users is just a matter of buying the appropriate number of user licenses.
If you outgrow AvailSuite Personal, moving up to another product requires little effort. So whether or not you’ll stay small, AvailSuite Personal is the best way to start. No other business management software fits so well with micro businesses and start-ups.
New users can import existing data (customers, vendors, services, and inventory) from their legacy software using Microsoft Excel files. A wizard makes the tedious setup process palatable. If your software can’t save data in Excel files, try to send an inquiry about migration process to BusinessWare Tech`s support team. Currently they run a promotional campaign and offer data migration for free.
One of the most common errors is that software customization and adding new features would be very expensive so it’s useless to ask about it. Have you ever thought that on the other side there is a software product manager who’s thinking about the same new features but he doesn’t add them to software development plan because “No one asked about them”? So please ask all what you want. That manager is waiting for your feedback and she/he will appreciate it.