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Best Architecture Software 2023: From Back-Office to Front Office

Evaluate the top project management software and design software for architects, including notable features and pros and cons of each.

The right software can help you scale your architecture firm and achieve improved results for your clients. Generally, firms need two types of software: design software for drafting and modeling and business software for back-office, operational tasks. 

With so many options available, we’ve rounded up the ten most popular architecture programs to help you evaluate, choose what to invest in, and, ultimately, better manage your projects. Keep reading to learn more about the best architecture software for your firm and the popular features of each. 

Best Architecture Software for Back-Office Operations

Project management software for architects is designed to help you manage your projects using reporting and analytics, time and expense tracking, billing and invoicing, payment processing, and more.  

Project management software for architects doesn’t include drafting and modeling capabilities. Instead, it allows you to run your firm more successfully by ensuring you stay organized, meet deadlines, and track project progress. This provides you the peace of mind to focus on what you love most.

Let’s review some of the best project management software for architects. 


BQE CORE is an all-in-one project management software created by an architect and engineer for the professional services industry. After struggling to find the right platform for their projects, they founded BQE Software — the perfect fit for architects and engineers, consulting firms, and other professional services. 

The platform excels at helping companies streamline manual processes and track essential metrics and real-time project progress. This allows your firm to maximize productivity and profitability by overcoming project issues like cost overrun, missed deadlines, and poor team performance.  

BQE CORE receives high marks from architecture firms for giving them greater visibility into projects, for its ease of use, customizable dashboards, and 24/7 customer service department. 


  • Dashboard-based project management

  • Custom reports and analytics

  • Time and expense tracking

  • Project accounting

  • Resource allocation tools

  • Phased billing

  • Payroll management

  • Smart timecards and pre-populated timesheets

  • Payments and invoicing

  • CRM

  • To-do lists

  • Gantt charts

  • Mobile app


  • Highly customizable

  • Saves time by automating repetitive tasks, including mapping expenses to invoices

  • Enhances cash flow by speeding up billing 

  • Prevents communication issues, duplicate work, and cost overrun

  • Helps reduce costly, time-consuming errors

  • Makes it easy to understand past performance and improve future projects

  • Integrates with 100+ popular tools, including QuickBooks and Stripe


  • Includes so many features, reports, and customizations that some firms may be overwhelmed trying to take advantage of everything. Luckily, BQE offers award-winning customer support and training to make onboarding and getting to know BQE CORE easy. 

Try a free demo of BQE CORE today. 


Monograph is a practice operations platform for architects and engineers. The centralized platform helps firms use fewer separate tools for project tracking, invoice management, and revenue forecasting. Popular use cases for Monograph include tracking time, turning timesheets into invoices, setting up project phases and milestones, and building budgets. 


  • Time tracking

  • Project schedules

  • Fee tracking

  • Invoicing

  • Task allocation

  • Milestone tracking 

  • Reporting functions

  • Resource management 


  • Real-time insights improve your ability to make quick, informed decisions

  • Pre-populated schedules and budgets help you save time

  • Well-designed interface

  • Relatively simple to set up


  • Limited feature set

  • Lacks third-party integrations

  • Limited customization options for invoicing

  • Unreliable synchronization between Monograph and QuickBooks

  • No mobile app


BigTime is a Professional Services Automation software geared toward professional service companies in the accounting, consulting, IT services, and architecture sectors. It was founded by the owner of an IT consulting firm in 2002 to help other service firm owners solve issues with project billing, resource allocation, employee utilization, and performance reporting. BigTime provides real-time, metrics-driven project management, billing, and time-tracking capabilities. 


  • Time and expense tracking

  • WIP management

  • Task and workflow management

  • Project tracking for multiple projects

  • Project budgets vs. actual hours comparison

  • Timeline visualization with dependencies, critical paths, and milestones 

  • Mobile timesheet app for iPhone and Android


  • Integrates with popular productivity tools like G Suite, Slack, and Zapier

  • Bulk invoice processing boosts efficiency

  • Includes several customizable templates

  • Helpful onboarding process


  • Confusing report customization process

  • Clunky project management features

  • Lacks visual representation of budgets

  • Unclear terminology within software can cause implementation errors

  • Cumbersome data import from systems like QuickBooks

Deltek Ajera

Deltek Ajera is a combination of project management and accounting software built specifically for small architecture and engineering firms. It makes it simple for your company to ensure contract compliance and offer project visibility to your team. With Deltek Ajera, you gain the actionable insight needed to manage projects proactively and profitably, while improving client satisfaction.


  • Real-time updates on projects, costs, and budgets

  • Accounting functionality, including general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and project costing

  • Paperless billing 

  • Payroll services 

  • Time and expense tracking

  • Staff data for utilization and workload forecasting 

  • Mobile app  


  • Provides real-time data to help drive decisions

  • Reduces data entry errors

  • Aligns all of your departments 


  • Outdated interface and functionality

  • Extra payment required for custom invoices and complex report formatting

  • Lacks flexibility

  • Steep learning curve for new users

  • Slow cloud version 


NetSuite is a business software suite that includes accounting, ERP, HR, and CRM. Founded in 1998, NetSuite was the first cloud company and has since helped thousands of businesses add agility and control to their project management. With many features related to ecommerce and inventory management, there may be better options for architecture and engineering firms.


  • Financial management

  • Project accounting

  • Reporting and dashboards

  • Process automation

  • Order management

  • CRM

  • B2C and B2B ecommerce

  • Point of sale

  • Payroll

  • Timesheet management 


  • Provides a single source of truth for business activity

  • High level of customization for reporting

  • Easy to automatically and precisely track inventory


  • Outdated UI

  • Expensive compared to other systems

  • Poor product support, especially for the price

  • Challenging integrations with third-party ecommerce platforms

  • Not built for architecture firms

Best Architecture Software for Front-Office Design

Architecture software for design is crucial for architects to plan, draw, render, and redesign buildings and infrastructure. It includes powerful drafting and modeling tools to help you accurately bring your vision to life, produce quality buildings and interiors, and satisfy clients. 

Building information modeling (BIM) software is worth your investment — 68% of architects say it helps them save time on project delivery, and for 57%, it helps eliminate errors. Let’s dive into five of the most popular front-office design software for architects to ensure you find the right one.


ArchiCAD is BIM software specifically designed for architects. Initially released in 1987, it was the first BIM and CAD software for creating 2D and 3D models on a PC. While AutoCAD is limited to 2D lines, ArchiCAD offers 3D modeling, making it more versatile and popular among architects and urban planners.


  • Façade design

  • 2D drawing and modeling

  • 3D modeling and rendering

  • Expression-based properties

  • Parametric custom profiles

  • Design editing 

  • Document management

  • Collaboration tools


  • Handles entire project lifecycle, from planning through design and implementation

  • Enables you to render photorealistic designs

  • User-friendly interface 

  • Good for beginners

  • Available on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices


  • Not as widely used as some programs, making it harder to coordinate with engineers

  • Less flexibility in customization compared to other design programs

  • Time-consuming setup

  • Limited support between versions


SketchUp is a commonly used modeling software for CAD beginners. Because it has significant limitations for more in-depth projects, it’s best suited to small projects that don’t require much detail. You should plan to primarily use SketchUp for prototyping concepts, not designing a structure from start to end.


  • 3D modeling 

  • 2D drawing

  • Animations 

  • Textures 

  • Lighting effects 

  • Layer manager

  • V-Ray for photorealistic and real-time visualizations 

  • File import and export capabilities


  • Free 3D architecture software version

  • Good for beginners

  • Intuitive interface

  • Easy-to-use for iterations and concept explorations


  • Too unrefined to develop designs in detail

  • No built-in rendering

  • Not collaboration-friendly

  • No included templates


Lumion is rendering software commonly used by architectural firms. It helps you quickly visualize exterior, interior, landscape, or urban designs at scale. An impressive level of detail, including advanced sky and cloud rendering and custom terrain texture, makes it easy to realistically visualize your finalized project and share it with clients.


  • Live rendering

  • BIM modeling

  • Component library

  • Landscape design

  • Animation

  • Effects for images and videos


  • Fast rendering time

  • Extensive archive of elements

  • Compatible with many third-party drafting and modeling solutions, like ArchiCAD and SketchUp

  • 24/7 customer support


  • More expensive than similar programs

  • Limited "undo" functionality

  • Heavy processing power required for rendering

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud software suite. It's mainly used to create, convert, edit, and share PDFs. You can send technical drawings and other documents to clients and colleagues to get edits and feedback while maintaining control over your original files. 


  • PDF text and image editing 

  • Commenting

  • Split PDF 

  • Convert to PDF

  • Export to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or JPG

  • eSignatures

  • Extract PDF pages

  • Smart file protection 

  • Mobile app


  • Widely used among architects and engineers

  • Simplifies collaboration

  • Speeds up editing

  • Integrates with daily-use apps like Microsoft 365 and Outlook

  • Free version

  • Seamless integration with other Adobe apps

  • Secure


  • Formatting issues


  • Outdated user interface

  • Large file sizes

  • Loads slowly

  • Pricey


Revit is a commonly used architect software program for BIM modeling. It streamlines the process of planning, designing, and constructing buildings. Revit helps you save time by automatically updating a model’s changes in all views. It’s also great for collaboration, allowing any team member to access and work on shared models.


  • Parametric modeling

  • 3D massing 

  • Conceptual design tools 

  • Annotating 

  • Atmospheric rendering

  • Cloud rendering

  • Dynamic updating

  • Sequence steps

  • Energy analysis to measure environmental impact 


  • Highly efficient

  • Reduces repetition in modeling

  • Features are specially made for architects

  • Popular in engineering and construction

  • Compatible with AutoCAD

  • Encourages energy-efficient design


  • Files take up a lot of storage


  • Slow to open and save

  • Does not have a native Mac version

  • Steep learning curve for new users

BQE CORE Project Management Software for Architects

The powerful combination of a project management platform and design software allows architecture firms to efficiently manage clients, run a profitable business, and design incredible structures.

Choosing an effective PM solution like BQE CORE helps you save time and focus on delivering your best work. Stay on track, on budget, and keep your team engaged using real-time reporting, automatic billing, and task management. BQE CORE was created by an architect, for architects and professional service industries, giving you all of the tools you need to be successful. 

With BQE CORE, you spend less time on manual processes and more time on project delivery. Real-time visibility into your performance helps you improve productivity and profitability. Try a free demo of BQE CORE today to start achieving better results for your firm.

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