Software to Connect People, Projects & Profits
From our unique workflow systems that conform to the way you work, to building real client partnerships, we connect people!
Advantage is a software company that has successfully turned a passion into a profession. With over 35 years of experience, we are very well qualified to serve you now and well into the future.
Advantage Software provides a suite of products with features you need to monitor and improve productivity and increase profitability.
Our software is completely scalable to fit the needs of any size business. We build our software with the right mix of browser-based and other tools that maximize productivity, efficiency and profitability. This means something for every associate in every department. Advantage is perfect for full-service advertising agencies of all sizes, creative and production shops, media buying companies, public relations and marketing firms.
Innovative, Flexible Applications to Help Streamline Processes
Advantage applications are designed by the people who use them. Through partnerships with our clients, we’ve developed software products that are robust, feature-rich, and easy to use.
Sapphire is the latest version of Advantage and builds on the Advantage “blue” platform. These new versions transform the electronic workspace by taking a more visual approach to the user experience and the delivery of information bringing clarity and accountability to every aspect of your business.
Applications include tools like CRM, client budgets, job forecasts, job jacket, estimates, vendor quote requests, project schedules, resource and workload management, media planning, media buying, A/P, A/R, check writing, bank reconciliations, customizable client billing, on-line billing approval, general ledger with advanced report writer and extensive management reporting.
Our accounting and finance applications are some of the best on the market today, all designed specifically to handle the needs of agencies. Along with providing maximum flexibility in all areas of accounting and finance, Advantage includes real-time processing, complete audit trails on transactions and many levels of security to facilitate timely month and year-end processing and stress-free audits!
Advantage contains integrations with popular media buying packages provided by Strata, Arbitron, and CoreMedia. Advantage also contains many other tools for importing and exporting data for various purposes such as positive pay, ACH, virtual credit cards, financial data, accounts payable, expense reports, budgets, and more.
Our unique alert system automates and streamlines communications while providing collaboration and file management capabilities. Topics, events, documents and files may be linked to clients, jobs or other levels where all replies and notes are saved.
Webvantage provides browser-based access to dashboards full of important decision-making information, actions and to-do lists as well as easy access to key applications.
Integrated Features Give Every Department a Big Advantage
Advantage connects key departments by automating manual processes and sharing important information. Advantage includes many special features that make your day-to-day workflow run like clockwork.
Role-based processing methods ensure that every individual in each department will enjoy the benefits and make your agency a more efficient, productive and profitable one. Agency leaders and even your clients will benefit from the vast amount of information they can receive from your Advantage enterprise system.
A variety of reporting options provide internal control and the ability to meet client demands on command. Reporting options include flexible formatting of forms such as client invoices and estimates as well as vendor forms like purchase orders and media orders.
The popular Auto-Email PDF feature is used for delivering forms to your clients or vendors with a single click. Reports for every department are available in various formats including Excel. Management reports are extensive providing many ways to study and analyze employee, client and agency productivity and profitability. Our Report Writer takes reporting a step further giving you even more control over the data you can retrieve.
- Billing rates and other billing rules are completely flexible and user-definable using the Billing Rate Hierarchy. Setup rates by client, product, sales class, employee, title, function and other levels. Include rate ‘as of’ dates to control when rates take effect.
- Online Billing Approval allows you to review projects as an alternative to the traditional paper trail created with traditional billing. Account and Project Managers can play a larger role in the billing process by communicating with billers online as the first step in the billing process.
- Adjustments and Transfers are used to view Online Billing Approval details and make appropriate adjustments before billing is processed. These tools allow adjustments to billing while maintaining job costs and a complete audit trail of transactions.
- Easily transfer job time across companies and hard costs across offices. *Advance Billing includes multiple income recognition and reconciliation options to completely automate that process and give complete control over the results. Job forecasts play a role in helping you determine percent complete and your monthly reconciliation amount.
- Coop bill and split invoices across different clients, divisions and products automatically.
- Media is advance billed by default but may be post billed as an alternative. Media accrual and reconciliation is automatic! You’ll be able to provide your clients with information about media purchases compared to actual with variances.
- Invoicing is as flexible as you can imagine with our standard and custom invoice options - provide custom formats without re-typing or manipulating them manually. View draft invoices first, then automatically deliver them to clients PDF format.
- Store an electronic copy of every invoice for quick access from various areas of the system.
Communication, Collaboration & Documents
Use Alerts to communicate and collaborate on everything you do. The uses for Alerts are endless as they provide an organized and streamlined method for communicating electronically through a single application.
- Pop-up Alerts notify team members of important events requiring attention.
- Inform team members on the creation of projects, creative direction, specifications, task assignments, and more.
- Advantage even communicates with you pro-actively on events such as missing time, upcoming tasks, past due tasks, and project budget status.
- Alerts are delivered to the Desktop or through Email which leads to a series of comments and attachments on the subject.
- Everything is organized by key operational levels such as office, client, and job, where a history of events and decisions is kept.
- Include documents or files such as copy, artwork, websites links, or other related files. Use the Document Markup tool to add information and text that travels with the document or image anywhere it’s used in the system.
- Create your own workflow templates and attach them to Alerts. Assignments are then routed intelligently and automatically to team members based on their current state, saving project managers dozens of hours and ensuring immediate and accurate disbursement of tasks at the right time.
- Workflow templates can be created for any process you perform including job openers, creative review and approval, request for proposal, and document approval. The possibilities are endless and allow you to close the gap on missed steps as well as achieve huge gains in efficiency.
- Use Alert Assignments to route digital files for collaboration and commenting, and track their status.
- Route and collaborate on the document or asset with team members and save all correspondence for future reference.
- Security is applied to protect confidential documents.
DOCUMENTS & DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT
The Document Manager is a fully integrated document and digital asset management tool.
- Access documents and assets by office, product, campaign, job, and other levels.
- Upload and track documents or creative assets by simply linking to key levels within Advantage.
- Keep a history of document revisions.
- Metadata is created and attached to each document, making it searchable as well as exportable.
- The commenting tool displays documents and images within the browser where you can add comments and text markups for review and sharing with the team.
- Advantage integrates document markups and collaboration into a single tool that facilitates communication, routing, and tracking of documents in a single system.
DIGITAL PROJECT ISSUE TRACKING
- Track issues by project and route them automatically to the appropriate team member using workflow paths you define. Include unlimited attachments with every issue.
- Team members collaborate on issues using commenting features. Automatic commenting provides a complete audit trail of the actual workflow.
- Globally view the progress of all or individual digital projects and the status of all issues across team inboxes.
- Issue Tracking can also be used for internal IT or ‘trouble’ tickets and any other process that requires routing.
Communicate and collaborate with your clients using the integrated Client Portal. Information on projects, documents, and production or media schedules can be shared effortlessly through this branded, permissions-based web site that you control.
- Alerts are sent via Email that contain a link connecting them directly to the portal from a computer or supported mobile device. New and unread Alerts are prominently displayed.
- Documents and files are available for review and collaboration through Alerts where comments and decisions made are kept in history forever.
- Invoices, forms, and important reports keep clients informed proactively.
- Clients can view and approve creative briefs and project specifications online.
- Calendars display project and media schedules in many different formats. Real-time dashboards and reports provide up-to-the minute information on active projects.
Customer Relationship Management
Client relationship management tools allow you to track communications and activities with current and future clients.
- Company profiles store identifying information about your clients and prospects that can be used for analysis.
- The activity summary provides an interactive tool for tracking current status and all activities.
- Enter and track the value of the business you are working toward using Opportunities which are automatically converted to contracts when you win the business.
- Contracts store agreed upon rates, fees, reporting schedules and other details.
- Advantage sends you reminders when contract renewal dates are approaching and when required reporting is due.
- Scheduled Activities such as calls, to-dos and meetings can be added to the calendar by client or project so that you can track your activities. Scheduled activities are accounted for in overall workload calculations. Time can be recorded with a single click.
- Analyze the results through a series of reports and dashboards designed to measure opportunities, investment and status.
CLIENT CONTRACTS & SERVICE FEES
- The multi-tiered client structure allows you to track multiple divisions and products for reporting purposes.
- Client contracts store the details of fee agreements, documents, reporting requirements and other details.
- Service fee contracts to store fee amounts and billing increments by type.
- The Service Fee Reconciliation application is a user-definable and interactive tool where you can monitor and track fees, time accumulated, and overall profitability in many different views.
The client budget application is fully integrated with forecasts and project plans allowing you to create unlimited budget variations that can be used to help predict revenue and the resources required to generate that revenue.
- Create initial budgets based on client and agency expectations that set the stage for the coming months. Use historical or forecasted data as an aid in creating budgets.
- Use the project forecasting tool to record expected revenue and staff usage or use employee assignments and planned hours from project schedules to update the forecast within the master client budget.
- Actualize the budget and roll-forward the balances, clearly see what is expected for the coming months. Update the forecast monthly to see exactly where you stand.
- Employee utilization forecasts and project schedule assignments allow you to analyze employee resource needs now and into the future.
Whether you’re estimating projects for budgeting purposes or to obtain vendor quote requests, Advantage automates the entire process providing tools to help you estimate project costs quickly and accurately.
- Create estimates automatically from specifications, project schedules, pre-set templates, and extensive copy features.
- Use project history to aid in creating the most accurate estimates possible based on the type of work being done and average costs realized.
- Use vendor quote requests to initiate and track the process of obtaining prices from multiple suppliers - and select the best ones for the project.
- Select preferred vendors and drill down to their related vendor pricing sheets.
- Create and track multiple quotes and revisions. View quotes side-by-side for a quick comparison.
- Calculate cost per unit and cost per thousand on direct mail projects.
- Customize your chart of accounts with up to four segments and thirty characters.
- Manage and report on multiple offices, departments and other profit or costs centers.
- Create unlimited budgets and compare to actual balances on reports and queries. Import budgets from Excel.
- Create and maintain budgets using client forecasted information and actual posted.
- Manage accounting periods by area and keep unlimited periods open while controlling current postings.
- Create standard, reversing, or recurring journal entries.
- Drill down to several levels of detail on system generated journal entries.
- Drill down to the source and view the actual details that created the entry.
- For client billing, drill down to the actual invoice generated.
- Use the Report Writer to create your own statements and online reports with hundreds of different options. Export results to Excel for further customization.
- Detailed reports and queries provide an abundance of information with details at your fingertips - Detail by Account, Detail by Transaction.
- Drill down to source entries from various applications and queries.
- Import standard journal entries. Export general ledger balances and integrate with parent company financials as an option.
Leadership & Management
For Agency Leaders, Advantage means increased productivity and efficiency, tools to track and monitor your business, and the ability to access information on demand. Advantage helps you meet and exceed your goals, plus your interaction with Advantage is simple and fast.
THE EXECUTIVE DASHBOARD
Our Agency Builder applications include a variety of charts and graphs that reside on your Workspace providing the information you need to make important decisions. Workspace objects and widgets include:
- Agency Goals
- Gross Income by Client and Gross Income Share Alert
- Service Fee Analysis
- New Business Investment
- Current Ratio
- Cash Balance
- A/R Cash Forecast / My A/R Cash Forecast
- A/R Aging / My A/R Aging
- Billing Trends
- Agency Links to Financial Statements and other reports.
- Direct Expense and other alerts on key financial events are displayed as they occur.
QUOTE vs. ACTUAL
The Quote vs. Actual workspace object displays projects and their current financial status, quoted vs. actual. You can drill down to details as needed.
- Track and view statistics on the type of projects you produce for any period of time.
- See graphs and trends on projects created, in progress, due, completed, and cancelled by month, quarter, and year.
EMPLOYEE UTILIZATION: PRODUCTIVITY & REALIZATION
- View individual, office and departmental productivity, realization and billability by various categories. Measure direct percent, percent of billable goal and other metrics.
- Compare budgeted hours to actual hours and the remaining balance.
- Drill down to details and produce dozens of data variations without printing a single report.
HOURS & JOB COST ANALYSIS
- Review Client Time estimated, posted, billed and written off for any period of time and by various categories.
- Manage expenses through comprehensive purchase order tracking.
- Utilize a host of other dashboards and reports to manage your business including:
- Agency Profitability
- Client Profitability
- Job Profitability
- Fee Analysis
- Client Time Analysis
- Profit Projections
- Project Quote vs. Actual
- Campaign Progress
- Media Order Activity and Media Sales Activity
Manage all your media from a single system which includes flexible media planning, estimating and ordering applications, customizable order forms, robust reporting, and streamlined communications with other departments. Interfaces with other media systems and tight integration with accounting ensure that buys reconcile correctly.
- Create media plans for all media types using interactive tools that generate flow charts as you design the plan.
- Define the media plan template yourself to capture any type of information desired.
- A spreadsheet-like interface enables you to enter proposed spend broken out by media-specific units and other details you can report on.
- Use the copy feature to quickly and easily build plans using existing data.
- Create client-facing flow charts, reports and dashboards based on the plan data.
- Generate media authorization forms automatically.
- Export plan data in standard formats
- Track and compare actual media purchased and biled to plans using a variety of dashboards and reports.
- Create orders automatically from approved media estimates or by copying existing orders.
- Material due dates, production ad sizes, job numbers, and other key information are pulled from a centralized database in real-time and are tracked and shared with other departments.
- Buy net or gross and populate rates and other key information based on vendor defaults and rate card or client contract records.
- Customize media order forms using the flexible form generator and electronically deliver signed copies to multiple vendors and representatives with a single click.
- The Newspaper ordering application is perfect for agencies that purchase in large volume. Special features allow you to create orders for newspaper inserts or direct mail programs and reconcile in bulk.
- Magazine ordering is simple and easy while providing the ability to calculate special charges and add specific placement details.
- Internet orders include CPM, CPC, and CPA rate types along with other standard features that allow you to create a comprehensive Internet order.
- Out-of-Home ordering includes the ability to select from pre-defined types and has room for other specific placement details.
- Broadcast ordering includes standard, calendar, and daily buy types that allow for flexible buying and billing based on your clients’ requests.
- Quickly find existing orders by any field using the custom search tool.
- Globally edit order details by selecting a campaign and editing all orders at the same time; revisions and cancellations are clearly tracked.
- Reports and interactive calendars to help you review and track important information and upcoming due dates.
- Integration with production adds another level of efficiency. Vendor/publication specifications and deadlines are readily available to production staff during the creative process based on media buys.
- Global Edits allow any staff member to modify multiple orders at once and update headlines, material, job numbers, ad numbers and other information needed for material delivery.
- Media Calendars allow you to view your entire media or traffic schedule in one versatile online application.
- Share media calendars, media authorizations and other key information with clients electronically through the browser-based Client Portal.
- Access a wide variety of media-related operational, management, and client analysis reports that assist in making important decisions.
INVOICE APPROVAL & RECONCILIATION
- Media Accounts Payable invoices can be routed and approved with Advantage. Accounting communicates electronically with media staff on invoices that have been received from vendors and their status. Approved invoices may be paid, and reconciliation for billing is automatic.
- Use Advantage as a stand-alone media buying system or use other buying systems and integrate to consolidate estimate, order, financial, and management information into a single system.
- StrataConnect, CoreConnect, and nFusion provide seamless integration with media orders and vouchers from Strata, CoreMedia, and Arbitron media buying systems. The unique ‘visual’ interface allows for corrections and approvals to be viewed before being processed.
Payables & Receivables
Advantage includes robust yet easy-to-use applications and a huge variety of reports that allow you to process payables and receivables in record time with great results.
- Real-time processing of all records including a full audit trail of all transactions.
- Importing of accounts payable, expense report and income only records.
- Purchase order and insertion order matching and auto-load features to speed up data entry.
- Alerts and controls that help you manage costs that exceed purchase orders and approved estimates.
- Access to related information directly from the payable record including payments, disbursements, recurring invoices, and general ledger entries.
- Automated invoice approvals with the ability to store an electronic copy of the paper invoice with every record.
- Check writing with unique features that help you select exactly what to pay based on sequential liability and other criteria you determine.
- Ability to alert vendors via an automatic Email with payment information when checks are processed.
- Positive pay and electronic processing of payments using the Payment Manager.
- The void checks feature tracks all activity and places payables back to their original state in a single step.
- Vendor queries provide another way for you to view accounts payable details and status from a single location.
- Bank reconciliation is completely automated and even integrated with transactions from your bank using the cleared check import.
- Cash receipts are posted quickly and easily against client invoices or on account as needed. Modifications are done without removing or reversing the original check. Track both client and other cash receipts in a single application.
- Accounts receivable queries allow you to view payment history and open invoices from a single view with the ability to drill down to details and client payments.
The Job Jacket is the central point for all activities. Create your own job jacket templates that allow you to open and track projects based on the type of work being done. Store multiple versions and revisions and access all project-related information from a single location. Use the job jacket to track and monitor workflow.
- Alerts & Assignments
- Documents & Creative Assets
- Creative Briefs
- Work Orders, Change Orders, and your own custom forms
- Cost Estimates & Vendor Quote Requests
- Project Schedules & Timelines
- Purchase Orders
- Quote vs. Actual Analysis
SCHEDULES & TIMELINES
- Project Schedules are flexible and fit into “your” workflow processes; the work area is completely user-defined.
- Create schedule details automatically using preset templates, from the approved estimate, or by copying from similar projects.
- Calculate due dates based on task dependencies throughout the life of the project and make automatic updates based on completion status.
- Check the Calendar for staff availability first then use ‘quick select’ tools to easily make assignments.
- Assign staff members to projects by team or role automatically with complete visibility into individual availability.
- Workload indicators provide warnings on over or under-utilized employees as they are assigned.
- The Employee Finder takes resource management to the next level by intelligently recommending assignments based on role, availability, existing workload and seniority.
- Route off-schedule assignments automatically to the appropriate team members using workflow paths you define.
- Communicate with team members on task, assignments, and project status using Alerts.
- Review and collaborate at the Project and Task levels and record a history of events that occur.
- Quickly edit schedules and task details for multiple projects at once using the Multi View and Calendar applications.
- Employees can update their own task and assignment status with approval by the project manager. Alerts keep everyone informed.
- You’ll find familiar reports and Gantt charts that are created in seconds to replace anything you may be doing manually.
SCHEDULE UPDATES & RISK ANALYSIS
As projects are completed, perform speedy project updates with automatic and group edits using the Project Schedule Multi View.
- Re-calculate schedule dates, assign employees, mark tasks complete, and even change assignments for multiple projects at once.
- Project status is updated automatically based on the current task.
- Print and send reports in various formats to staff members.
- Update multiple, related jobs that depend on each other using Job Predecessors.
- A single click converts your project list to the Calendar, Gantt, Timeline, and Availability views where you can further analyze and edit details. The Gantt charts display schedules in a simple, interactive view.
CALENDAR, WORKLOAD & AVAILABILITY
The Calendar is totally interactive and can be integrated with your Google or Outlook calendars. It allows for easy editing of the schedule and assignments using the drag and drop feature. Even better, is the Timeline View where you can manage projects and see who is working on what, when.
- Drag and drop to edit the timeline.
- Right-click to edit the task and change the assignment or schedule and access other details.
- View the Calendar for a single employee, a selected department, by role, by client, or job.
- How many jobs are in the pipeline, and do we have enough staff to complete pending tasks?
- The Workload view gives you an overview of every project in progress and a status report on hours available.
- Who is available now, and what are our staffing needs going forward? The Availability chart displays department/team or individual availability for up to a year.
- Determine who is over-booked, under-booked, or just right. Drill down to view details by employee and make adjustments on-the-fly.
Ensure that the work done by outside sources is completed according to your specifications and on budget using the Purchase Order application and related features. At the same time, create a financial place-holder on the job so that you don’t lose track of costs.
- Create purchase orders automatically from the approved estimate or using advanced copy features.
- Alerts notify the user when a purchase order does not meet the specified requirements.
- Purchase Order Approval rules may be set by user or department to control large purchases.
- View purchase order status and actual charges directly from the purchase order window.
- Create and automatically email purchase orders to your vendors using your own printing preferences.
- Purchase orders are shown on reports and in query screens throughout the system providing you with the complete picture of committed expenses on every project.
Time & Expenses
Spend more time creating, producing, and delivering your product and less time sifting through the clutter and entering data using the tools that help streamline and optimize every process.
- My Tasks and Task List tools place information about assignments, priorities and due dates at the fingertips of every team member, allowing everyone to easily manage daily tasks and access accurate project information from the electronic Workspace.
- Access all your projects and directly link to alerts, documents, creative brief, specifications, estimate, schedule, and QvA status without drilling into the project.
- Achieve effortless time entry from anywhere with a few clicks from your web browser. Enter time daily in a format by week or day. Time is posted to projects immediately and can be compared to budget or project estimates. Variances are reported immediately.
- Simplify data entry. Customize the timesheet view using Column Preferences. Group, sort, and personalize the time sheet to suit your needs.
- Copy details from previous time sheets, project lists, or a custom template to minimize clicks and ensure accurate and timely results.
- From the Task List, Project or Alert lists, enter time from the tasks you complete using the Stopwatch or single-click access.
- Drill down to quoted and planned hours to see how you’re doing.
- Advantage tracks missing time and sends Email reminders and Alerts to keep you on schedule.
- Expense reporting is simple, efficient, and completely integrated.
- Enter Expenses and apply to client jobs or general agency categories for cash and company credit card expenditures.
- Mileage and other rates are inserted automatically.
- Enter comments and upload copies of receipts for each entry.
- Submit for supervisor approval. Once approved, entries are ready for accounting to final-approve and pay.
- Approval status and payment details are available for every entry.
- Expense reports and receipts are available electronically forever.