There’s a pattern in the enhancements being introduced into new versions of billing and practice management software – it’s all about capturing time.
For professionals, where the main commodity sold is time, capturing a few more billable hours per day can make a big difference at the end of the year. It seems that software vendors are recognizing this with their newest releases.
Time Matters v12 and PCLaw v12 have introduced the Time Entry Advisor. These tools are designed to identify billable time for which a time entry has not been made. Write an email or create a document and the Time Entry Advisor is there to make sure you bill the client. Both Time Matters and PCLaw can be set up so that your time can be captured from your mobile device or any internet hotspot or connection. The mobile solution is free to those with an Annual Maintenance and Support Plan. The mobile solution also includes the ability to view calendar, contact and matter information at a high level.
Amicus Attorney offers Time Entry Assistant. This serves the same purpose as it captures the activities you perform each day within the program, from email, phone calls and documents to events and to dos. Gavel & Gown has now added Amicus TimeTracker. Amicus TimeTracker gives you the ability to see and do your time entries on your smartphone, “anytime, anywhere!” Amicus TimeTracker is free for those on a maintenance plan.
Sage Timeslips offers eCenter as way to capture time and expenses from anywhere you have an internet connection – smartphone, tablet or computer. Available as a monthly per user subscription, it can be turned on or off as needed. We suspect that Sage will be adding features to Timeslips’ next version to make it easier to capture that time you might miss.
Tabs3 / PracticeMaster also offers time capture features within the program and Tabs3 Remote Entry. Those who want more, and purchase Tabs3 and PracticeMaster Platinum, can opt for mobile access to their data with Tabs3 Connect.
You are not locked in to these programs, there are lots of options. Chrometa is designed to run on your existing system and automatically capture and categorize your time. It creates a file that can be imported into other programs, such as Timeslips. Programs like WorkTrakr, by Proximiti Communications, Inc., and AirTime Manger are designed to use your smartphone to capture the time you spend. By entering time as soon as possible, you are less likely to forget to do it later. Time spent on phone calls can be captured automatically, and you are prompted to pick the client to whom the time should be noted. These packages can send the data to your firm in a format for importing into your current billing solution. There are also apps like ISlips and ITimekeep for IPhones, IPads and Android devices.
If you use QuickBooks you have options as well. Products like SpringAhead and BigTime are designed to capture your time from wherever you can access the internet. You can send the time to QuickBooks for billing or create invoices and send the receivable to QuickBooks for tracking.
With so many alternatives, how do you choose?
- First look at the software you are currently using and what features are available.
- Then look at your needs, including what type of devices you are using, where you want to work, and what you want the software to help you with.
- If the available features in your current software don’t fully meet your needs, then it is time to look at add-ons.
Besides going out to the product websites to look at demos and features, you can call us. Time & Cents Consultants has looked closely at many solutions and we can help you find and implement the right fit.
We have mentioned many products in this newsletter, you can contact us for more information.