I would like to challenge the strapline which greets visitors on act.com's home page
Because everyinteraction matters, Act! gets your business and life together
This simply is not a true representation of the functionality offered by ACT! a true statement would be:-
Although every interaction matters, ACT! allows only supports a few of these and forces the user to use third party software to get their business and life together!
Harsh words I know - I have recommended ACT! to many small business, and I AM an ACT! supporter, but I am very frustrated by so many parts of the software that seem to address only 20-30% of the business process.
The following documents are ALL required by almost 100% of businesses (large or small)
In my case I also need
Remittance to supplier
I enter all the relevant informtation into the Opportunites field though the sales process and these documents need only basic information within ACT (customer name, Company Name, shipping address, billing address, line item description, line item price, total cost, shipping cost, my reference, customer's reference, etc.)
Within ACT! ALL of the data required to produce these documents (and indeed many others) is present in the opportunities table, and it must be possible to easily produce templates which accesses both contact and opportunity data as ACT! already provides a template to produce quotes. BUT the quote document is not editable by the user and no other document can be created by the user which use fields from the opportunities tab within ACT templates.
Like many small businesses I do not have an accounts department, I produce all of my documentation and then file them for the company accountant's review at the end of the financial year. Because of ACT!'s can only produce one of the 6 documents I need for every order I am forced to use individual word/excel files to produce each document manually, typing the data on every form or copy and pasting from ACTQ.
I know that ACT! is not an account package, but I see document production and automation as a completely different function and like most business I only want to enter data ONCE not five or six times!!
I can only presume that because ACT! used to be owned by Sage, they cunningly limited ACT's ability to produce "accounts" documents in the hope that ACT customers would be forced to purchase their other accountancy software. Now that the company is owned by Swiftpage (a company whose core skills is data integration) I seriously hope the following will be added as a priority.
1) Act support for Excel spreadsheets (both natively and as embedded documents within Word docs) so that "mail merge" abilities exisitis in both spreadsheet as well as a word processor.
2) Company and Opportunity (as well as contact) fields available in all template editors.
3) That templates can be produced from either Contacts, Companies or Opportunities so that you are not forced to have the Contact as the key focus of every document (which is the case at the moment)