There are many ways to track your time, whether or not you are billing. If you do bill for your time you want to use a program that can bill for your time in a way that meets your requirements or use a program that communicates with your billing program. We have previously written about choosing billing software but we haven’t discussed time entry.
Depending on the software you are using you may have a variety of ways to capture your time. Some examples include TSheets for users of QuickBooks, e-center or iSlips for users of Timeslips, Tabs3 Connect for users of Tabs3, or TM Go for users of Time Matters. There are also programs like Chrometa and iTimekeep that are independent track time and offer various types of integration as well as additional benefits.
As mentioned, the first thing to consider is what software you use for billing. The next thing to consider is where you are working and want to capture your time – your office, your phone, etc. if looking at out of office solutions think about whether you usually have internet access or if you will need something that can capture time while offline and then synchronize when you are back in the office or connected to the internet. If using software that will synchronize with your billing software it is important to understand how automatic the process is or how much manual intervention is needed.
Another factor to consider is how actively you want to capture time. Programs like Chrometa or Timeslips TimeCapture can monitor everything you do on your computer and provide the information to create time entries in your software, rather than you running timers or noting your workflow. Some may find this beneficial, others intrusive.
Next think about how you want to use your time tracking software. If you are capturing the time outside of your billing program what kinds of reports do you want and what features do you need. Do you want to be able to look back at work that has not yet been billed? Do you need dictation or spell checking? Should the software do rounding or can that be left to your billing program? Do you want specific descriptions either by default or using macros to expand text you type? These features can make the software easier to use?
Some time tracking software may offer additional features, sometimes for an additional fee. A program like iTimekeep can make sure you are compliant with electronic billing rules including word use, description length. iTimekeep lets you setup your own firm guidelines and provides easy access to help prevent electronic billing submission kickbacks.
Each firm, and possibly each individual in the firm, may have different needs. So how do you find the right combination for your firm? You could spend hours doing research on the internet, through the bar association, at trade shows or by talking to others about what they use. Perhaps a better option is to think about your needs as described above and then CONTACT US. We can help you identify options that work with what you have now or discuss alternatives if appropriate. Our goal is to help you find the solution that is best for you and your firm.