Act4Advisors cloud counterpart, Web4Advisors, has been in development and is now in testing.
The base program utilizes ACT! Premium web access and customizes the interface to allow financial planners and investment advisors the use over a hosted. cloud based CRM offering.
Features include Contact and client management features such as names, addresses and phones for client, spouse and children including personal data fields for birth dates, tax ID, drivers license. etc. Extensible data includes Notes, Histories, Calendar, Task list and Opportunities tracking. This allows the user to track insurance policies, annuities and investment account information via the cloud.
All of the ACT Premium! for Web features area available including the ability to use online AND offline data access.
Users can have access to the data via ACT! Premium and/or Internet Explorer. Optionally, ‘dual’ access is available.
In classic Sage Software form, the annual release of ACT! by Sage 2010 (v12) was just released.
Like most new releases, defects (bugs) have already been discovered and 2 (yes two) hotfixes have already been released.
Over the years, we have instructed our customers to inquire from us before upgrading their ACT! software. ACT! 2010 is the poster child for the reason behind our madness. Initial releases are always buggy.
Let’s talk about what is exciting about the new features:
- Social Networking via a Web Info tab (sound familiar?). Act4Advisors has had a WebInfo tab since August of 2003!!! Finally, ACT! has its own and Sage happened to name it the same thing we have always called ours….Web Info. The Social Networking integration allows direct access to your contact’s LinkedIn, Plaxo or Facebook info from within ACT!. There are a number of other sites that have integration built in including a Google Map inside of the tab. This is a cool feature but not a ‘gotta have’.
- A new and updated interface has made changes to the sidebar and toolbars. You can search for a contact now via a box on the left hand NAV bar. The buttons on the toolbar are larger and easier to read and access.
- Swiftpage Email is now incorporated (for an additional fee) with ACT! by Sage 2010. ACT! Email Marketing feature allows you to create web based email and drip marketing campaigns without having to leave ACT!. The software also gives you immediate action items based on when an email is read and how many times.
- Opportunities are now their own entity and are more customizable!!! Now, you can manage Opportunities like you would contacts, groups or companies.
- New Dashboards give you quick an immediate access to fields that weren’t available in previous versions.
- The New Reports interface allows you to save a list of your favorite reports without having to browse the reports folder.
- ACT! now supports the iCalendar format giving you the ability to send your calendar to other iCalendar apps such as Google Calendar.
- New ACT! OLEDB Provide is available for external report engines such as Crystal Reports.
- Now includes native integration to the iPhone.
- vCard compatibility is new in 2010 giving you’re the ability to easily bring in contact data from a vCard format.
The question for all is, “Should I go ahead and upgrade?” The answer is…yes but not now.
There have been various inconveniences (bugs) noted in the new version that Sage will hopefully fix with its first service pack. We suggest you wait for this and then call Allied Financial Software to upgrade.
Customers that purchase their ACT! upgrade from us will received free updates to Act4Advisors making it work with the new ACT! Customers that purchase ACT! upgrades elsewhere will have a small fee for the update.
Also, if you decide to try or subscribe to the Email Marketing module, please add Allied Financial Software as Reseller.
Still using ACT! 6.0?
If you plan on buying a new computer, here are a few things you should know: ACT! 6.0 has limited compatibility with Microsoft Vista and is not supported. Also ACT! 6.0 is not compatible with Microsoft Office 2007.
ACT! by Sage 2009 with 4Advisors 3.0 Addon for ACT! is compatible with Microsoft Vista, Office 2007 and on 64 bit computers! ACT! is loaded with great new features such as Advanced queries, improved workflow process, dashboard, secondary contacts, company records, dynamic groups, security, highly improved email integration with Outlook, and so much more.
10 Critical things you can’t do with ACT! 6.0 but you can with ACT! by Sage 2009 or ACT! Premium Solutions.
1. Security – Anyone with rights to your ACT! 6.0 database files can take a copy of your ACT database without your knowledge and the password is easily hacked. The new ACT! includes a secure Microsoft SQL database, password rules, and 2 additional user rights for more added security. ACT! by Sage Premium adds field access restrictions and the ability to restrict access to certain contact records within a database. Securing the database with ACT! by Sage Premium now extends to selected contact, company and group records plus field level controls (open, read-only or hidden). Contact and field access rights can now be assigned to individual users or set by team.
2. Use Microsoft Outlook instead of ACT!’s email client. Stay in Outlook and easily attach sent and received emails to contacts in your database. Attached email access can be set private or public to secure what is shared with fellow database users. You can even create an Outlook Rule to automatically attach incoming emails to the desired ACT contact..
3. Unique Activity Types and Custom Priorities – Your activities are more than just Calls, Meetings, and To-Do’s and your priorities are not just High, Medium and Low. ACT! by Sage 2009 allows you to create unique activity types and your own Priorities for those activities (instead of just High, Medium and Low). Now, your most profitable time and activities are prioritized with much finer detail. For example, set activity types for Birthdays, Anniversaries, Money Due, Service, Review and more!
4. Enhanced Activity Series – Activity Series in ACT! 6 automatically assign ALL activities to the scheduling user based on a start date or due date. ACT! by Sage 2009 allows you each activity to be pre-assigned to any user in the database so that each activity is scheduled for the correct user. The enhancement also allows each activity to be scheduled before or after a ‘target’ date negating the need for scheduling multiple activity series. Also, rescheduling any activity in a series will cause ACT to prompt to reschedule 1. all activities in the series or just the single one being rescheduled.
5. Company Records – You can manage a company’s record and not just individual contacts. New company records provides combined views of all the history, activity, notes, opportunities, and documents for all the contacts of a company, project, division segment or territory. Track employee benefits, qualified plans and other employer related data inside of the Company record.
6. Dynamic Memberships for Groups and Companies – ACT 6 allowed group rules to assign specific contact records into groups. However, these membership rules would not remove those contacts from the group if they no longer met those rules. ACT! by Sage 2009 provides a new dynamic membership where contacts are added or removed automatically based on the fields criteria. This happens automatically too, not just when the group rules are executed. It also allows date fields with date ranges to automatically populate. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Reviews, RMD and more date fields can automatically get populated.
7. New Field Types, Dropdowns, More Elegant Design – ACT! by Sage allows new fields such as add logical check-box fields (yes/no, true/false), memo (unlimited text) and even picture fields to your database. Drop down lists are also easier to manage.
8. Multiple secondary contacts – ACT! provides a secondary contacts table allowing unlimited additional contacts to be added within an existing contact primary record.
9. Dashboards/Opportunities/Reports – ACT! now includes a snapshot view of your important data, all within one view including graphs for better understanding. Opportunity management functions in ACT 6 were very limited and passed completely unused in many ACT databases. The new opportunity management design has evolved greatly, rich in flexibility and reporting features, now allowing you to stay on top of your progress and objectives.
10. Scheduled Automatic Backup and database maintenance feature is now included in all versions of ACT! 2009. Set the time and frequency and the backups are done automatically in the off hours when no one is in the database.
ACT! by Sage now uses Microsoft’s SQL database engine and Microsoft .NET technology to open up features and integration with other programs. As a result, there is a richness of add-on products, tools, techniques and enhancements far beyond anything possible on the old ACT! platform.
ACT!’s commitment to Microsoft SQL means that the database is far less likely to get corrupted and works much more efficiently for larger amounts of data.
Act4Advisors is an ACT! database that we have customized. It was created using the ACT! by Sage software.
ACT! by Sage for Financial Professionals (AFFP) is a different version of ACT! itself. When you open any ACT! database with AFFP, AFFP will add all of its proprietary fields to the database. The problem is that many of the AFFP fields added are already fields included in Act4Advisors. When you open the Act4Advisors database, fields such as Tax ID, Children, Accounts, Insurance and many more will be duplicated and added to the database. This means you will have a lot of unused fields in the database.
As a result, we recommend that you consider upgrading your ACT! software. You can then backup your AFFP database and restore it using ACT!. You can then import that database into our Act4Advisors database.
I am currently redesigning the website and demo for Scan&Organize Addon for ACT! v4. This program has many improvements including attaching to activity series, automatically creating folders for contact and group records, automatically add subfolders when creating a new folder for each record, attach to emails, etc… I should have the website ready by next week and the new demo by March.
If you are a financial professional using ACT!, you should look at Act4Advisors Addon for ACT! CRM. ScanandOrganize is included with the purchase of Act4Advisors. Act4Advisors interface to ACT! CRM is so much easier to use than ACT! for Financial Professionals and some other products out there. We have had many users tell us they have tried ACT! for Financial Professionals because ACT! Support insisted that they do and found it was a mistake.
Daily I help many financial professionals and their assistants on how to use ACT!. Some of the common questions are how do I create a nice word template?, how do I customize labels to read formal or informal salutations?, how do I export/import data from a mailing list?, etc… I will create movie tutorials very soon on these topics. Email me if you have any questions on these topics or if you would like to see a specific topic covered.
What’s New in ACT! by Sage Solutions 2009 (11.0)?
Work More Effectively, Maximize Productivity, and Better Serve Your Contacts
Feedback from customers like you who work with ACT! every day is invaluable to us—in fact, we rely on it when we develop new versions. We observe how customers work with ACT! and ask what would help them work even more effectively. Experience the results for yourself in ACT! Solutions 2009.
You receive powerful new features and significant enhancements to areas of the product that you use every day, such as Microsoft® Outlook® integration, calendar and activity visibility, and search functionality. All this enables you to work more effectively, become more productive, and better serve your contacts.
Tighter Outlook Integration Provides Options for Tracking and Organizing E-mail
New and improved Outlook integration features afford you the flexibility to track and organize e-mails in ACT! en masse or on a case-by-case basis. Or, automate these functions so you can set them once and forget about them. Calendar integration features enable you to create ACT! activities from Outlook for tracking important action items received via e-mail, and copy your ACT! and Outlook calendars automatically1 or with just one click.
Greater Calendar and Activity Visibility Help You Stay On Top of Your Day
Improvements to calendar printing and viewing make it easy for you to get relevant snapshots of your schedule and give you a heads up on your scheduled activities at-a-glance. This way you can stay on top of your day and realize maximum productivity gains.
Powerful Lookups and Search Functionality Quickly Give You the Details You Need
Lookups and search functionality have been streamlined, helping you find the particular contact or contact details you need quickly, in one lookup-friendly place. Build the most basic or complex searches using a tool that has been simplified and enhanced. And easily recall recent lookups to save time in your day.
More Database Functions and Automation Options Help Maintain ACT! Details
With more database functions and automation options, you can spend time managing what is most important to your bottom line and feel confident your ACT! details are fully maintained. Now, ACT! automatically handles periodic database maintenance tasks and provides you with a variety of options for tailoring maintenance to fit your needs. Additionally, know exactly how your ACT! sync is progressing with the streamlined progress bar, reduce the size of your backup files by excluding attachments, and more.
What’s new in Act4Advisors v3?
> New Tabs! New Look!
> Scan and Organize v4 is included with the purchase of 4Advisors 3.0
> Improved Preferred Mailing Feature
The Preferred Mailing Address feature automatically inserts the desired address into labels, envelopes, and letters. We have added new labels, envelope, and letter templates to reflect what is populated in the Preferred Mailing Address fields. The New Lock Address feature allows you to lock the Mail Name. See example below.
Lock Address Feature: Enter in all the addresses then choose the desired preferred mailing address.
I chose “Home” in this example.
The MailName field is automatically populated with the Contact name for example “Sample Client”.
I wanted my labels, envelopes, and letters to show “Mr. and Mrs. Sample Client“ oppose to “Sample Client” so I made my change.
I then selected Lock Address. When performing the “Update Preferred Mailing Address”, all selected “Lock Address” will not be affected.
Your critical information, all in one place
Financial services professionals that use the widely acclaimed ACT! software know the power and advantages it brings to their financial practice. ACT! CRM Software has proven itself by bringing ease of use and powerful features that even a novice can master in just a few minutes. In order to get the most out of ACT!, users need a customized ACT! CRM interface for business tracking and easy access to data that is essential to their practice.
Special Offer: Basic Bundles starting at $389 includes ACT! by Sage is the #1 selling contact and customer manager software bundled with Scan&Organize, and Act4Advisors Addon for ACT! – a customized ACT! CRM software for Financial Planners, Investment Advisors, and Insurance Professionals.
More Details Demo Buy Now!
I’m currently redoing our website software4advisors.com. We have added more addon products and will continue to add more. If you are an ACC or a software vendor and would like to add your products to our website, please contact me.
We haven’t forgotten about our Canadian Neighbors – The next project is to create a Canadian Layout 1024×768 and 1280×1024.
I also plan on creating “How to do” tutorials web articles and movies. I’ve had a lot of support clients ask me how to properly run labels and write/edit letters. I will post on our kb site shortly after the new website is done. Scott will also add Best Practice articles (if he ever has the time).
We have a big project lingering in our to-do list and that is Web4Advisors. We have created and finished this database 4 years ago and never released it due to possible security issues. We may revisit and beta test. For those who are interested please contact me.
“A middle ground CRM program that will meet many advisors’ needs.”
“If ACT! is such a great product, why do you need ACT4Advisors? The answer is simple: ACT! is designed for general sales, not specifically for the financial-services industry. It is possible to customize ACT! to meet the needs of financial advisors, but to do so would be time consuming. Wouldn’t you be better off purchasing a set of industry specific layouts, templates, and reports that were already customized for advisors? Well, that is exactly what ACT4Advisors offers.”
“While Cuomo’s firm does not track all of its clients’ investments from within ACT4Advisors, she still finds the Security Quote field on the Investment tab very useful. “A number of clients call from time to time for stock quotes,” she says. “If I enter the stocks in the Security Quote field, I can obtain quotes right from their contact record within ACT4Advisors.”
“The primary advantage of ACT4Advisors is that advisors receive a highly customized version of ACT! at a very affordable price. “ACT! combined with ACT4Advisors is a bargain,” says Michael Dubis, president of Touchstone Financial, in Madison, Wisc. ”
“It’s easy to use,” says Dubis. “It’s detailed enough to be just right, but not too detailed that you never want to use it.”
“Cuomo agrees: “It’s really powerful, but not difficult.”
“The group of users I spoke with had good things to say about service and support. Dubis described ACT4Advisor as “very responsive and patient.”
“With ACT!’s large user base, there’s a good chance that some of your staff is familiar with the program, which means that your training cost will be minimized. Finding competent temps or virtual work partners to perform various tasks within ACT! shouldn’t prove much of a challenge either.”
Author: Joel P. Bruckenstein ~ Morningstar Advisor April 2003
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