Founded in 2007 by A/E industry veterans, Clearview InFocus is a scalable, comprehensive billing and invoicing and project management solution that also includes full financials. This is the flagship product for Clearview and its sole focus; they developed a system that offers mid-sized A/E firms all the functionality they would expect in a high-end A/E solution at an affordable price point.
Unlike other packages out there in the market, an InFocus license includes access to all modules for one price so users have access to anything they need at any time. Its cutting-edge feature set includes real-time accounting, project and resource planning with Gantt controls, a fully customizable dashboard, time and expense tracking, AR, customer management and more.
We really like the system's custom invoicing and reporting capabilities, which are some of the most advanced in the A/E market. InFocus utilizes the Report Definition Language by Microsoft to offer complete reporting control, as well as wizards that can be pieced together in a variety of configurations.
In addition to developing and supporting their software, Clearview also understands that migrating from a legacy system can be a complicated process. Their team of specialists has years of experience migrating clients from systems like SEMA4, Advantage, FMS and more. While the solution itself is extremely intuitive, there's also optional training programs and consulting services.
InFocus is best suited to A/E firms looking for a scalable, affordable system that offers comprehensive features.
Igor from Bigwebapps
Specialty: IT Services
Our firm project leaders are excited about abilities and integrations. it make their jobs easier to manage.
Before we used multiple excel spreadsheets, now Clearview help us organize everithing!
None yet. I like it. No disadvantages at this moment
Need to focus that Clearview represents a breed of software that is best described as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
ERP software is distinguished by its ability to deliver an integrated suite of business applications.
So InFocus include: Accounting, Job Cost Management, Time and Billing, Resource Planning, Marketing Support, and Business Intelligence (BI).
Kevin from EOA Architects
Employees number: 11 to 20 employees
The product isn't difficult to use, and it does have useful features such as the Resource Scheduler and PM Bill Review, but these don't outweigh the negatives.
Let's start with the project planning app. For the initial phase you enter in the Resource Schedule each resource, and then you have to manually enter the allocation (staff level). Then you enter each of their planned hours manually on a weekly basis. Then you have to re-enter each of those same resources, and allocations, manually into each subsequent phase - no ability to copy previous phase. There's also no way to compare used hours to previously planned hours.
But the real fun comes when you try to move previously entered time; you can either do this manually, or you can use the gantt chart from the tool bar, which is like playing Russian Roulette with your hours - you never know where they will end up. First of all, the time bars may or may not correspond to the actual hours you entered, either in duration or location on the calendar. And say you want to move the hours of a phase 3-weeks into the future, you just slide the bar 3-weeks on the calendar. If you're lucky it will move 3-weeks, and if not it could be 3-years. It's basically a worthless tool.
We send out planned hours at the beginning of each week to staff so they know what they're to work on. the only staffing report available in infocus organizes it by project, not by staff member.
We've used a manually generated excel report, Phased Project Reports, for years to track profitability on projects. infocus includes as one of their PM Reports a Project Budget Analysis report - very similar. Except this one compares actual time used in a phase against the overall phase fee, including consultant fees, instead of just the architectural fee. With no way of changing it, its another worthless tool, and we've had to figure a way of converting the raw infocus data into our excel report.
There's only one line per project for consultants, no matter how many you have on a project.
Even after 3-years, there's little confidence in the accuracy of the data, and we are constantly having to confirm important financial information.
We'll be converting to another software in the next couple of months. I can't wait.
Do multiple test runs for the conversion of your existing software to infocus, as that was a major fail of the software for us. This took months to rectify. Make sure that it includes all of the reports that you need, because if you want customized reports, you better be a programmer, or be prepared to pay big $$ for Clearview to produce them for you.
My recommendation would be to use another software.
Loretta from Clarion Associates LLC
Specialty: Other Services
Employees number: 11 to 20 employees
Our company has been with Clearview since 2008 and we've grown with them over the years. What I believe I like best about Clearview is that besides it being fairly easy to use, someone is always available to reach for help via phone or email (during business hours) and they are prompt in responding back. Whether I need a custom report made quickly or training on a new release item they've just put out, it is comforting to know that I'm always going to be taken care of quickly.
I'm really happy with Clearview so really don't have anything specific that I don't like.
Clearview is a great product and has come a long way over the years. If you are interested in purchasing new accounting software for your company, I would suggest comparing Clearview against a couple other similar products out there. Write down exactly what it is you are looking for and what your budget is, as well as what you don't need or want to see with a new program. Converting over from old software to something new is very challenging and isn't something that is done quickly. I think that accounting software is so important and that it should be considered an investment in your company's future.
Barbara from Dalgliesh Gilpin Paxton Architects
Employees number: 11 to 20 employees
This software offered easy conversion from our former software; they were able to bring all of our previous file information forward for project reference. It matched up with our former software in many ways and is easy to learn and use. Clearview Software's staff is very good to work with during the conversion. The training offered is very helpful, and they will always respond quickly and efficiently to any need you may have. Give them both a try; you will like them.
The only downside I have had is not being able to customize the software's reports at my level to the needs. I have had some custom reports and invoices designed to match up with our needs, but it is too costly to have all my report requirements customized. Therefore, sometimes you have to either run three or four reports to gather the information you may require.
I would recommend that they spend time with the Clearview sales staff explaining the wants and needs, ask for a demonstration, and possibly get recommendations from current users.
Deborah from Ashley McGraw Architects
Date: April 2012
As a mid-sized architectural design firm, we have found Clearview InFocus to be the best integrated accounting and project management software on the market. We migrated to InFocus in May 2010 after using two previous industry specific applications, which never performed as promised. The transition to InFocus was well managed and painless. InFocus is highly flexible and easy to learn and use. It is especially forgiving of input errors, with mistakes easily reversed or voided. As designers of large and highly complex institutional projects, we have sophisticated client invoicing needs. InFocus offers every conceivable billing scenario and allows for multiple billing types on the same project.
Likewise, the project management modules are flexible, user friendly, and cover all facets of project documentation. The default and custom reports are extensive and easily changed and manipulated. It is easy to pull data out of InFocus in a myriad of formats and easy to customize reports. Clearview's client support is also great - easily accessible with a highly responsive support team. They provide excellent software support as well as accounting solutions. The integration between the project management and accounting functions is seamless.
InFocus has allowed us to streamline our finance and project management functions and provided real savings in accounting consultant and in-house staff costs. InFocus is the best performing software I have ever had the pleasure to purchase. It exceeds expectations and has more than met every promise of the developer. This is top-notch software with top-notch support. Any size firm in the design industry would be well advised to adopt InFocus for their accounting and project management software.