BQE Core and BigTime are two popular project management platforms for time tracking, project tracking, invoicing, and reporting in architecture and engineering (A&E) firms. However, each has strengths and weaknesses, and one may be a better choice for you depending on your needs, budget, and size.
We’ve closely examined these two platforms by reviewing their features, pricing, and user reviews. In this article, we’ll take a close look at BQE Core vs BigTime to help you decide which project management tool is right for your A&E firm.
Let’s dive right in.
BQE Core - Strengths and Weaknesses
BQE Core is an all-in-one, project management solution tailored for architecture, engineering, and professional service firms. It automates various aspects of firm management, offering back office automation and front office insights. According to BQE Core, this integration of tools and data-driven capabilities makes firm management more agile and informed, aiming to increase efficiency and improve project outcomes.
BQE Core offers an extensive list of features for A&E firms, including:
- Project Management: Offers real-time insights to keep projects on time and under budget, enhancing project efficiency.
- Reporting & Analytics: Provides automated, actionable reports for better-informed decision-making.
- Payment Processing: Enables acceptance of automated clearing house (ACH) and credit card payments, improving cash flow and security.
- Billing & Invoicing: Streamlines billing and invoicing processes for quicker and more efficient payment.
- Human Resources: Automates and streamlines people management, including tracking benefits, PTO, performance reviews, and compensation.
- Integrations: Facilitates seamless integration with key tools like QuickBooks Online, Office 365, and Dropbox, and offers custom integrations via open APIs.
- Project Accounting: Not detailed on the website, but likely involves integrating business accounting with project management for a comprehensive financial overview.
- Time & Expense Tracking: Automates manual processes and provides centralized time and expense tracking to improve cash flow and save time.
- Mobile: Offers mobile apps for iOS and Android, allowing work from anywhere.
- CRM: Aids in monitoring and improving marketing and sales campaigns to boost ROI.
BQE Core does not present detailed pricing on their website. However, they share that their pricing is per-user and designed to be clear and intuitive.
The platform offers a "Foundations" module as the base, which includes various features like time and expense tracking, billing and invoicing, project management, and reporting and analytics.
Firms have the option to add additional modules such as accounting, CRM, and HR for extra functionality.
The exact pricing varies based on the chosen modules and the number of users, and BQE Core provides custom quotes upon request.
Reviews and Ratings
There are 700+ reviews for BQE Core on Capterra. We’ve analyzed the reviews to identify the three things customers most enjoy about BQE Core and three things with which customers struggle.
According to Capterra reviews, here are BQE Core’s strengths and weaknesses.
BQE Core Strengths:
- Comprehensive Feature Set: Praised for its all-in-one functionality covering various aspects of firm management.
- Intuitive Interface: Users appreciate its user-friendly design, simplifying navigation and task management.
- Effective Customer Support: The support team is acknowledged for being knowledgeable and responsive.
BQE Core Weaknesses:
- Customization and Flexibility: Some users desire more options for customizing the software to their specific needs.
- Interface and Usability: Some users report the interface to be somewhat overwhelming due to the abundance of features and steps required to access features.
- Software Performance: Reports of occasional performance issues and bugs that could be optimized for a smoother experience.
BigTime - Strengths and Weaknesses
BigTime is a comprehensive project management software solution that caters specifically to professional services businesses, 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. BigTime 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’s long list of features includes:
- 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 Defence 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'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 firms 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 large enterprises, 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 and 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.
- Comprehensive Project Management Features: BigTime software is recognized for its extensive project management capabilities.
- Efficient Time Tracking: The software’s time tracking feature is highlighted for its accuracy and usefulness in project management.
- Expense Tracking and Billing: BigTime excels in billing, expense tracking, and invoicing, streamlining expense management.
- 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.
When evaluating BQE Core and BigTime for A&E firms, a nuanced approach is necessary:
- BQE Core offers an all-in-one solution with an intuitive interface and strong customer support. However, it could benefit from more customization options and a less overwhelming interface.
- BigTime stands out for its project management, time tracking, and billing capabilities. It does, however, need enhancements in stability and user interface, and a wider range of integrations.
While both systems provide comprehensive project management and financial tools, they each have unique strengths and areas for improvement. The choice between them depends on the specific needs and size of the A&E firm. Essential features might be accessible only in higher pricing tiers.
For A&E firms seeking a solution that precisely fits their requirements, alternatives like Monograph could offer a more specialized approach.
BQE Core vs BigTime - Top Alternatives
While BQE Core and BigTime are great for some A&E firms, many will continue exploring other options. If neither seems like the right fit for your firm, here are some of the strongest alternatives to BQE Core and BigTime:
When comparing Monograph vs BQE Core, A&E firms note that Monograph increases employee engagement, simplifies workflows, and provides fast and friendly support.
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:
- Make data-driven decisions.
- Reduce time spent on admin tasks by up to 50%.
- Dramatically increase revenue by 3x in some cases.
Monograph provides A&E firms with clarity into their budgets, projects, time, and clients so their entire team can make smarter decisions. It 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.
What do existing customers have to say about Monograph?
“Monograph is indispensable. It’s like an iPhone. Just easy to use. We can take a step back and think about the things we ultimately need to be concerned with.” - Tom Jacobs, Co-Managing Partner, KSP
“Now I get to spend more time with quality control because I’m not spending days trying to figure out staffing, projections, and schedules. I’m able to sit down with clients or with our drawing sets to make sure that we’re putting out the best product possible.” - Dave Buescher, COO, HDG
“Monograph has the secret sauce to fix a huge problem - people not being able to understand and manage their data, whether it’s dollars, time units, or staff - you name it.” - Thomas J. Zoli, Director of Architecture, Workshop APD
Want to see it for yourself?
Click here to get started with Monograph today.
2. Deltek Ajera
Deltek Ajera is an all-encompassing project management and accounting solution tailored for architecture and engineering firms. Recognized for its integrated approach, Ajera combines essential functionalities such as payroll, project management, and financial reporting into a single platform.
However, there are some drawbacks for A&E firms in Deltek Ajera according to user reviews on G2. While robust, Deltek Ajera faces criticism from users, especially in architectural and engineering sectors, in several areas. These include:
- User Interface: The software's interface is considered outdated and challenging to navigate, necessitating a more modern, user-friendly design.
- Feature Implementation: Users note a lack of responsiveness in incorporating frequently requested features, suggesting a need for more attentive user feedback integration.
- Complex Processes: Complex billing and staffing functionalities are reportedly cumbersome, indicating a need for simplification.
- Error Resolution and Reliability: Frequent technical errors disrupt user experience, highlighting the need for enhanced software reliability.
- Customization and Flexibility: Limited customization options and inflexibility, particularly in project management, call for more adaptable and user-tailored features.
When comparing Monograph vs Deltek Ajera, many A&E firms choose Monograph due to its ease of use, affordable pricing, and incredible support team.
Harvest stands out as a user-friendly time tracking and invoicing tool for A&E firms. Its straightforward and insightful features facilitate teams to:
- Efficiently track time and expenses, turning them into comprehensive invoices.
- Maintain projects on schedule and within budget with advanced reporting tools.
- Implement and integrate swiftly with existing systems, enhancing overall productivity.
However, according to user reviews on G2, there are some significant drawbacks for A&E firms using Harvest. While Harvest is a useful tool for time tracking and invoicing, A&E firms have identified several areas for improvement, including:
- Reporting Capabilities: Users seek more advanced reporting features for deeper insights into time tracking, budget adherence, and project scope.
- Account Maintenance UI: The current account maintenance interface could be more intuitive and user-friendly.
- Integration with Project Management Tools: There's a need for broader integration with various project management platforms to enhance workflow management.
- Flexibility in Notifications and Reporting: Users desire greater customization in notifications and report generation to meet specific needs.
- Budget Tracking and Invoicing: Issues with budget tracking and invoicing accuracy, such as budget numbers inconsistencies and USD invoice calculations, need to be addressed for better financial management.
When comparing Monograph vs Harvest, many A&E firms choose Monograph due to its easy-to-use interface, affordable pricing, and incredible support team.
Get Started with Monograph
Monograph is an all-in-one platform built exclusively for architecture and engineering workflows. This means A&E firms can quickly track time, manage budgets, and staff their team in a seamless way that aligns with firm operations. Plus, Monograph consistently pushes out new and valuable features and updates based on customer feedback. With Monograph you can:
- Eliminate uncertainties with easy and precise budgets.
- Avoid setbacks and boost project performance and profit.
- Drive productivity across your team to reach your goals faster.
- Reduce revenue leakage and strengthen client relationships.
Ready to see for yourself? Click here to get started and see if Monograph is the right fit for you.