Timeslips 2011 – First Look

Sage Timeslips 2011 was previewed today at the Sage Insights Conference, and the finalproduct  release dates were announced. Product shipments will begin to customers on June 18, 2010. It was noted at the conference that this is the 25th anniversary of the Timeslips product, quite an achievement in the turbulent world of technology.

This year’s release focuses on four product areas:

  1. Performance improvements, especially in the bill approval process
  2. “de-infestation”, a rather curious term which essentially means that a lot of the “third party” subroutines which have been part of the code base for years have been removed (e.g., the calendar picklist function, graphing, etc.). These changes  will be generally transparent to users, but should lead to performance improvements, and will  pave the way for a more comprehensive re-work of the product to prepare for the emerging 64-bit operating system platforms. The current version will presently run in the “x86” area of a 64-bit server.
  3. Reporting and Billing Engine enhancements, including the addition of more custom fields, additional custom calculations, and overall performance improvements in billing and reporting
  4. New features based on customer surveys and the development “backlog” from previous editions that never made it to the final release.

Some of the more interesting (and requested) new features include the following:

  • Beefed-up slip entry restrictions – where in the past clients could be put on “restriction” so that a warning was generated if charges were entered against that client record, the restriction can now actually prevent the charge from being processed at all (based on user security);
  • Editing of slip descriptions can now be made from the box on the lower left side of the slip listing window, a marked improvement in user workflow;
  • Custom fields for clients, timekeepers, and activities have been increased from 30 per area to 90; these custom fields can be further organized into “types”, and will be displayed on sub-tabs opening from the “Custom” tab on the “master” record. This should open up many new possibilities for integrating data from external applications into the billing system, to be used for reporting filters and sorts;
  • PDF-generated invoices can now be assigned a unique naming scheme based on “tokens” supplemented by user-entered text (e.g., CustNo+date+invoice#)
  • Cash receipts entries can now have a payment “type” (e.g., cash, check, VISA, MC, etc.) associated with the payment, and the user can custom define payment types
  • Timeslips will now allow processing of electronic payments, via the new Sage Payments Solutions service; credit card transactions can be processed directly from the cash receipts screen;
  • New workstation-level configuration settings will permit a user to disable various external “links” (e.g., to TalPro, Outlook, etc.) eliminating the annoying alert message that appears when the user logs in and does not have the external application running

All in all, Sage Timeslips 2011 appears to be a worthwhile product upgrade, which should both add stability and performance enhancements to the product while also introducing some interesting new functionality and configuration opportunities.

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