Alternatives

5 BQE Core Alternatives For A&E Firms

5 BQE Core Alternatives For A&E Firms
Contents

BQE Core is a specialized project management tool for architecture, engineering, and professional service firms. It automates firm management, combining back office functions with front office insights. This approach aims to boost efficiency and project success. BQE Core's features include project management, reporting, payment processing, and more. The platform offers flexible pricing based on user count and selected modules.

BQE Core screenshot shared on softwareadvice.com

Despite its strengths, BQE Core has some drawbacks. User reviews on Capterra reveal issues with customization, interface complexity, and occasional software bugs. These limitations have led to firms wasting time in workflows and struggling to get their teams to fully adopt the software. This suggests a need for alternatives.

Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives to BQE Core! We’ve put together 5 top BQE alternatives for architecture and engineering (A&E) firms, analyzed user reviews, and collected data from each option so you can determine what works best for you.

Let’s get started.

1. Monograph

Monograph is a web-based, project management platform built exclusively for architecture and engineering firms. According to Capterra, customers love its user-friendly interface, seamless workflows, and frequent updates. A&E firms leverage Monograph to:

Monograph provides A&E firms with clarity into their budgets, projects, time, and clients so their entire team can make smarter decisions. 

Monograph’s project overview helps A&E firms easily track projects

Features & Benefits

In addition to from providing expected project management features like time tracking, Monograph offers a slew of benefits that include:

Monograph enables firms to quickly assign staff and allocate hours across all projects.

Monograph is a modern choice for A&E firms seeking high performance at an affordable price. As a result, Monograph has quickly become the go-to project management solution for more than 1,000 A&E firms and growing.

Pricing & Plans

Monograph offers two pricing plans to suit the needs of A&E firms: Track and Grow. 

  • Track: The limited plan that is most suitable for A&E firms of 5 employees or fewer. Track users get access to real-time tracking of time and fee across all firm projects, budgets, and clients. Pricing for Track starts at $25/user/mo. 
  • Grow: The full-access and unlimited plan suitable for firms that want to improve and optimize their performance. The Grow plan includes everything in Track plus reports and forecasting across projects, budgets, time, and clients. Pricing for Grow starts at $45/user/mo.

Monograph also differentiates itself by being one of the few options with incredible training and support and zero hidden fees. Onboarding and ongoing support for users is included in the price of Monograph. This makes it a great choice for A&E firms that prefer a white-glove approach with personalized guidance and support.

Reviews & Ratings

Swatchroom, a design firm based in Washington, D.C., said of Monograph, “I have downloaded every major software and tried at least 30-40 different platforms. None of them compare to the ease of use, simplicity, graphic style, and overall effectiveness of Monograph.”

According to user reviews on Capterra, firms that use Monograph love its:

  • Time-tracking capabilities: Monograph is praised for its efficient time-tracking capabilities, allowing users to easily backtrack and invoice previously untracked time. Users appreciate the clear view of completed tasks and the straightforward task assignment process.
  • Centralized project management: Monograph's all-in-one approach to time tracking, billing, and project management is highly valued by users. They enjoy the convenience of accessing all necessary tools in one place and the accurate control over project plans, fees, and staffing.
  • Continuous improvement and frequent updates: Monograph’s ongoing development and regular updates are well-received by users, who appreciate the commitment to innovation and responsiveness to feedback. This approach demonstrates Monograph's dedication to meeting the evolving needs of its users.
  • User-friendly interface: The user-friendly and intuitive interface is especially lauded by designers and architects. Users love the industry-specific features and visually appealing tools like the Gantt chart and budget tracking graph due to their effectiveness in providing quick and clear project insights.
  • Integration with QuickBooks Online: The integration of Monograph with QuickBooks is appreciated for its simplicity, streamlining client information management. Users find the manual transfer of time between QuickBooks and Monograph to be straightforward, and they are optimistic about potential enhancements for even smoother operations.
Monograph’s easy-to-use interface makes it easy for A&E firms to leverage reports.

When considering Monograph vs BQE Core, users that made the switch from BQE Core to Monograph say:

“We tried [BQE Core]...but it was just impossible, too complicated and not developed for our needs. I like the way [Monograph] is built for our industry, the [team] understands our unique way of managing operations and business. It saves a lot of hours and I really look forward to those free hours on getting more projects.” —Juan L., Director of Operations

“Our consultants agreed that [Monograph] has a much easier interface. We can keep more accurate time, we can more easily see projections for billings, and we can easily balance workload.” —-Kristina H., Principal

“Monograph is truly beautiful to work with in so many aspects. [Our Product Specialist] was a huge help for me in understanding the different components and capabilities that Monograph can offer our firm. I can’t wait to dive deeper into this software; it is going to save our company so much time and headache! Thanks Monograph team for everything - keep doing things this way!” —Morgan B., Business Manager  

2. BigTime

BigTime is a comprehensive project management software solution that caters specifically to professional services firms, including architecture, engineering, and professional service firms. It focuses on enhancing the effectiveness of such businesses, assisting in planning, managing, and getting paid for client work.

The platform offers a range of features to support these goals, including time and expense tracking, resource planning, project management, invoicing, financial management, reporting, analytics, and integrations.

BigTime screenshot shared on softwareadvice.com

Features & Benefits

BigTime offers comprehensive features that include:

  • Project management: Provides full visibility into project progress for effective management and oversight, including budget coordination, Gantt charts, and automated notifications​​.
  • Resource planning: Offers tools to optimize team performance, including skills-based resource allocation and productivity monitoring​​.
  • Financial management: Includes features for project budgeting and forecasting, managing project KPIs, and tracking project expenses with VAT management​​​​​​.
  • Billing and invoicing: Streamlines the billing process, includes professional invoice templates, and integrates with existing accounting software to enhance AR workflows​​.
  • Time and expense tracking: Provides a centralized system for tracking project costs, revenues, profitability, and Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) compliant timesheet management​​.
  • Integrations: Offers a range of integrations with software like QuickBooks, Salesforce, Lacerte, and Jira to enhance workflow efficiency and connectivity.
BigTime screenshot shared on softwareadvice.com

Pricing & Plans

BigTime's pricing structure is designed to cater to a range of needs for A&E firms, offering four distinct tiers. Each tier is priced per user, per month, with an annual billing cycle.

  • Essentials ($20/user/month): This entry-level plan is suitable for small businesses or those new to project management software, offering fundamental features for time and expense tracking.
  • Advanced ($35/user/month): This plan includes more advanced features, ideal for growing firms requiring more robust project management tools.
  • Premier ($45/user/month): Catering to larger firms, this tier offers comprehensive project management and financial management tools.
  • Projector (from $60/user/month): The highest tier, suitable for large or complex operations, offering extensive customization and advanced features.

For firms with more than 10 users, BigTime waives a $500 platform fee. This tiered pricing allows firms to select a plan that best fits their size and needs, ensuring they only pay for the features they require. However, the downside is that helpful features may exist behind a paywall depending on which plan you choose. 

Reviews & Ratings

There are 1,300+ reviews for BigTime on G2. We’ve analyzed the reviews to identify the three things customers most enjoy about BigTime and three things with which customers struggle. 

According to user reviews on G2, here are BigTime’s strengths and weaknesses.

BigTime strengths:

  • Comprehensive project management features: BigTime has extensive project management capabilities.
  • Efficient time tracking: Users highlight the software’s time tracking feature for its accuracy and usefulness in project management.
  • Expense tracking and billing: BigTime excels in billing, expense tracking, and invoicing, streamlining expense management.

BigTime weaknesses:

  • Bug fixes and stability: Some users report occasional bugs and synchronization errors, highlighting the need for stability improvements.
  • User interface and ease of setup: Users note that the interface and setup process could be further refined as it can feel long and difficult.
  • Integration options: Expansion of integration options with a broader range of software and platforms is desired.

3. Harvest

Harvest is a project management software designed to meet the needs of A&E firms. It provides a suite of features aimed at simplifying key aspects of project management, such as time tracking, invoicing, and budget oversight. 

The software aims to address common challenges faced in the A&E sector, offering tools for detailed reporting and integration with various other platforms. Harvest's platform is structured to support the day-to-day operations of A&E firms, helping them manage projects more efficiently and effectively.

Harvest image from softwareadvice.com

Features & Benefits

Harvest’s features are not as robust as some competitors, but it still offers a nice selection, including:

  • Time tracking: Harvest simplifies logging time on projects, allowing users to focus on core activities like building great ideas​​.
  • Invoicing & payments: It facilitates the creation of invoices with tracked expenses directly from the mobile app, streamlining the billing process​​. Harvest automatically transforms billable hours into invoices, facilitating online payment by clients​​.
  • Fees for each task: Users can define unique fees for each task, ensuring budget alignment with project plans​​.
  • Billable time management: The software aids in managing billable time in relation to fixed client fees​​.
  • Project management: Detailed reports from Harvest offer real-time insights into project profitability and budget compliance​​.
  • Integrations: It integrates with platforms like Asana, Slack, ClickUp, and Trello, enhancing workflow efficiency​​.
Harvest screenshot shared on softwareadvice.com

Pricing & Plans

At the time of this writing, Harvest plans start at $10.80 per user/month, covering unlimited projects and team members. This plan includes features like time tracking, custom reminders, invoicing, online payments, detailed reporting, integrations, budget and cost tracking, and expense management.

Harvest offers a separate tool called Harvest Forecast, which focuses on advanced time planning and team management features. Priced at $5 per person per month, it includes visual time planning, utilization overviews, and integration with Harvest, among other features. 

The separate billing of Harvest and Forecast suggests that some advanced functionalities require additional payment beyond the standard Harvest subscription.

Reviews & Ratings

There are 700+ reviews for Harvest on G2. We’ve analyzed the reviews to identify the three things customers most enjoy about Harvest and three things with which customers struggle. 

According to user reviews on G2, here are Harvest’s strengths and weaknesses.

Harvest strengths:

  • Easy and efficient time tracking: Users find Harvest's time tracking feature user-friendly and efficient.
  • Total budget feature: The total budget feature is beneficial for managing project spending limits.
  • Reliability and functionality: Users appreciate the platform’s reliability and useful mobile and desktop applications.

Harvest weaknesses:

  • Enhanced Reporting Capabilities: Users desire more detailed and insightful reporting features.
  • Improved Account Maintenance UI: The account maintenance UI requires refinement for better user experience.
  • More Flexibility in Notifications and Reporting: Users seek greater customization in notifications and reports.

4. Deltek Ajera

Deltek Ajera is a cloud-based ERP solution designed for A&E firms. It offers a range of features covering accounting, project management, human capital management, sourcing, and specifications.

The software aims to provide A&E businesses with tools to manage complex projects, enhance productivity, and maintain budget control. Deltek Ajera is intended for A&E firms of various sizes, focusing on streamlining their project processes and providing visibility into projects and resources.

Deltek Ajera screenshot from softwareadvice.com 

Features & Benefits

Deltek Ajera’s features and benefits aim to streamline project management, enhance resource planning, and improve overall business operations for A&E firms:

  • One ERP cloud solution: Deltek Ajera provides a single enterprise resource planning (ERP) cloud solution for various business needs, including accounting, project management, human capital management, sourcing, and specifications​​.
  • Visibility and control: The platform offers visibility into projects, resources, and business operations, enabling firms to efficiently manage and deliver projects under budget and on schedule​​.
  • Pipeline management: It allows firms to proactively manage their project pipeline, leverage market intelligence, and nurture client relationships with its dedicated customer relationship management (CRM) system​​.
  • Improved project scheduling: Ajera helps users allocate the right resources to the right projects at the right time, increasing productivity, and providing visibility into project performance and profitability​​.
  • Efficient project development and delivery: The software includes tools for construction specifications, field work management, and information management, ensuring efficient project delivery​​.
  • HR Tasks: It offers end-to-end solutions for human capital management, focusing on recruitment, hiring, retention, and development of talent in the competitive A&E market​​.
  • 360° project management and visibility: The ERP solution provides comprehensive project management tools, enhancing revenue maximization and scalability for A&E firms of all sizes​​.
Deltek Ajera screenshot from softwareadvice.com 

Pricing & Plans

Deltek Ajera does not publicly share detailed pricing information. Interested parties need to contact them directly to get specific pricing details for their software​​.

However, additional costs associated with Deltek Ajera include:

  • Customization: Customizing the software to specific organizational needs can be costly, particularly if it requires significant development or integration work. The costs can range from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars​​.
  • Data migration: Migrating data from old systems to Deltek Ajera can be a time-consuming and costly process, especially with large or complex data sets. The average cost for this process also varies widely​​.
  • Training: Training costs depend on the complexity of the software and the duration of the training. It can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per employee​​.
  • Maintenance: Ongoing maintenance and support can be a significant annual cost, especially if the software requires frequent updates or has a high rate of bugs or issues​​.

Altogether, this indicates that firms interested in using Deltek Ajera must be prepared to invest in the software without the option of a trial period to test its features.

Reviews & Ratings

We’ve analyzed the G2 reviews to identify the three things customers most enjoy about Deltek Ajera and three things with which customers struggle. 

According to user reviews on G2, here are Deltek Ajera’s strengths and weaknesses.

Deltek Ajera strengths:

  • Training and webinars: Users appreciate Deltek Ajera's educational resources, including monthly and quarterly webinars.
  • Architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) Focus: Deltek Ajera is tailored for the A&E industry, offering a more specialized solution than generic accounting software.
  • Cloud-Based and remote access: The cloud-based nature of the software provides flexibility for remote access, beneficial for consultants and field workers.

Deltek Ajera weaknesses:

  • User Interface Modernization: Users cite a need for a more modern and intuitive user interface.
  • Streamlining Complex Processes: Simplifying complex billing and staffing processes is a key area for improvement.
  • Error Resolution and Reliability: Users report technical issues and errors that need addressing for a smoother experience.

5. Unanet

Unanet is a comprehensive ERP solution designed for A&E firms. It's tailored to unify various organizational functions into a cohesive, productive team, providing modern and easy-to-use tools suitable for diverse work environments including in-office, remote, or field work​​.

Image sourced from Unanet

Features & Benefits

Unanet offers a range of features designed to support A&E firms in various aspects of their business operations. These features aim to enhance project management, streamline processes, and provide valuable insights for decision-making.

  • Project management: Unanet offers modern tools for efficient project planning and execution, aiming to enhance client satisfaction and profitability​​.
  • Resource management: The platform helps balance projects and optimize team allocation with intuitive schedules and forecasts​​.
  • Time & expense management: It features easy-to-use mobile tools for time and expense tracking, reducing errors and streamlining billing​​.
  • Accounting & financial management: Unanet includes built-in controls and workflows to manage accounting tasks, reduce errors, and provide trustworthy financial insights​​.
  • Reporting & analytics: It delivers trusted, real-time data and analytics, simplifying the reporting process​​.
Image sourced from Unanet

Pricing & Plans

The specific pricing details for Unanet are not immediately available on their website. It's likely that Unanet involves similar types of additional costs to Deltek Ajera, but specific figures or ranges would require direct inquiry with Unanet. 

Reviews & Ratings

There are 200+ reviews for Unanet on G2. We’ve analyzed the reviews to identify the three things customers most enjoy about Unanet and three things with which customers struggle. 

According to user reviews on G2, here are Unanet’s strengths and weaknesses.

Unanet strengths:

  • Timekeeping and budgeting: Users find timekeeping and budget management processes simple and efficient.
  • Real-Time cost reporting: The ability to access up-to-date financial status of projects is highly valued.
  • Indirect rate calculations and reports: Users appreciate the indirect rate calculations and comprehensive reporting features.

Unanet weaknesses: 

  • Interface modernization: Users report the platform needs an update to make the interface more modern and intuitive.
  • More reporting options and features: Users seek more flexibility and options in report generation and customization.
  • Streamlining historical data import: The process of importing historical data into the system needs improvement.

The Best BQE Core Alternatives

In the dynamic world of project management software, finding the right tool that aligns with the needs of your A&E firm is crucial. BQE Core is a well-known solution in the industry, but it may not be the ideal fit for every organization due to issues with customization, interface complexity, and occasional software bugs or slow speeds.

Images of Monograph's easy, simple, and intuitive interface.

Monograph is a standout option, particularly for those in the architecture and engineering sectors due to its ease of use, robust features, and incredible support.

Here’s an overview of Monograph:

  • Key strengths: User-friendly interface, seamless workflows, frequent updates.
  • Benefits: Data-driven decision-making, reduced admin tasks, increased revenue.
  • Pricing: Two plans — Track and Grow, starting at $25 per user/month.
  • User reviews: Praised for time-tracking, centralized management, continuous improvement, user-friendly interface, and QuickBooks integration.
  • Why it's the best: Most suitable for the A&E industry with a balance of features, user experience, and pricing.

Other alternatives to consider:

  • BigTime: Comprehensive project management features but has issues with interface and setup.
  • Harvest: Known for easy time tracking but needs more detailed reporting capabilities.
  • Deltek Ajera: Offers a cloud-based ERP solution but lacks transparent pricing details.
  • Unanet: Good for timekeeping and budgeting, yet requires interface modernization.

What’s your next step? 

Get started with Monograph to explore whether it’s the right fit for your firm.

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