I have been using a web based product called ActiveCollab for sometime now …
I have been using ActiveCollab since version 4. When ActiveCollab 5 was introduced it had a complete redesign, less features and a more slick user interface.
More features have been introduced to ActiveCollab 5 though since it was first released.
ActiveCollab is a project management system that also handles Time Tracking and Invoicing plus more.
I will continue using ActiveCollab for projects / task management however for other areas of my business I have created my own internal tool which I have named “Toolkit”.
I built my own system because I wanted a system that would do the following …
Fixed fee and retainer projects are entered into the Toolkit. The Toolkit can then estimate monthly and yearly earnings based on the projects entered. The projects also includes a way for me to manage all the projects I am working on.
The Toolkit has an area in which all incomings can be entered. The incomings can then be exported in a format appropriate for my accountant.
The Toolkit has an area in which all outgoings can be entered. The outgoings can then be exported in a format appropriate for my accountant.
The Toolkit has an area in which all mileages can be entered. The mileages can then be exported in a format appropriate for my accountant.
The Toolkit has an area in which leads can be managed. I actually pulled this area out of the Neptune – Lead Tracker – http://www.neptuneleadtracker.com software system.
The Toolkit includes an area in which all the companies and people I have worked for can be managed. ActiveCollab does actually include this feature but the Toolkit version allows more advanced search features and has fields on the create / update forms to match my exact needs.
The Toolkit includes an area in which all time entries can be tracked. ActiveCollab does have this feature.
The Toolkit includes an area in which invoices can be created. Invoices can also be generated from time entries. ActiveCollab does include this feature but the Toolkit version matches my exact needs precisely.
The Toolkit includes an area to keep notes. ActiveCollab does include this feature.
The Toolkit includes an area to upload files. ActiveCollab does include this feature.
ActiveCollab has a more slick, beautiful user interface but in terms of functionality built specifically for myself obviously the Toolkit wins.
The Toolkit is primarily made up of CRUD screens, no fancy UI / Ajax heavy screens here. Just datagrids and buttons.
I am in the process of live testing the Toolkit I have built and will be moving various functions of my business over to the Toolkit.