Right On Time: 5 Tools to Help You Manage Your Billing

 

 

For every lawyer, timekeeping is precious.

 

It is paramount.

 

It is vital.

 

It’s your basic bread and butter.

 

Without a reliable timekeeping system, lawyers and legal staff cannot accurately keep track of what they are doing for a particular client, which greatly impacts their ability to properly bill that client.

 

It’s important to use a reliable timekeeping system to help your firm track time spent on cases and projects to capture all time for billing purposes and to help you evaluate how your firm’s time is being spent and whether you feel it is being spent productively.

 

There are tons of billing and time tracking apps and systems on the market. Today, Select Court Reporters will assess 5 timekeeping applications that can help you and your employees maintain a punctual and organized system of keeping your time.

 

With that said, let’s get started:

 

 

 

1. BigTime Tracking & Invoicing

 

BigTime is a time tracking and invoicing software that allows you to manually keep track of your time as you move along. It offers the ability to keep your time on your desktop and via your mobile device through the BigTime app. BigTime integrates with Quickbooks Online and Quickbooks desktop. It allows you to set specific billing rates for each attorney and paralegal and it offers up things like direct invoicing from the website, project management, resource allocation, and expense tracking.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Manage your clients. 360-degree view of your clients & engagements. Mobile access to contacts & address books. Activity & engagement tracking. Integrated teams/budgets. Total control over who gets access to what.

 

 

Tame your workflow. Personal and firm-wide engagement tracking. Client and engagement-specific activities. Recurring engagements. Real-time workflow management.

 

 

Track and Bill WIP. Time and expense tracking. Mobile tools. One-click invoicing for T&M or fixed-fee engagements. Full suite of WIP-related reports.

 

 

Increase your entire team’s IQ. Flexible reporting. Project/engagement and staffer utilization. WIP tracking and engagement workflow. Real-time dashboards and reports. A time and billing software with your business intelligence in mind.

 

 

 

 

2. Chrometa

 

Chrometa is a timekeeping software that enables users to passively capture their time as they work, eliminating the epidemic of lost time due to memory loss. Attorneys are people and sometimes people forget to write things down. It’s a common issue for all humans. Chrometa eliminates that issue by tracking everything that you do on your computer and any device on which the Chrometa application is installed.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Automated Time Tracking: Chrometa’s automatic time trackers for Mac and PC capture your computer-based time as you work. When you work on Office documents (ex. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Adobe, Photoshop, Outlook) or when visiting a website on Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox, Chrometa’s time tracker records what you’re working on , including which application, along with other info that helps you identify the task after the fact.

 

Assign time to Clients and Projects: By setting up keyword-based rules, keyword(s), email address(es), phone number(s), etc., you can “teach” Chrometa how to create most of your Timesheet for you each day. Which means you’ll only need to do some quick cleanup and annotations, resulting in the most comprehensive and accurate timesheet you’ve ever created so that you can get paid for ALL of your time (aka hard work).

 

Create invoices: Chrometa exports your timesheet to major attorney billing and practice management systems. You can create and send invoices from within Chrometa or sync them with Quickbooks online.

 

 

 

3. TimeSolv

 

TimeSolv helps lawyers increase their billable time and get paid faster. They are the most comprehensive, yet easy-to-use cloud legal billing software, proven since 1999 with over $5.2 billion billed. TimeSolv can be used offline and online. Compatible with PCs and Macs, iPad and other tablets, iPhones and Android app, TimeSolv also helps you get paid faster with LawPay and Client Portal. They offer a 30-day free trial.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Effective Design: An elegant, user-centered design that allows you to get your work done faster and easier. Efficiency is the name of the game.

 

Mobile Friendliness: Mobile app available for iOS and Android. When you’re on the go, it’s easy to make time entries. Never miss a billable hour!

 

Customer Support: Always free. From learning TimeSolv, to migrating information, to the simplest questions, TimeSolv is always available.

 

Quickbooks Sync: Doesn’t matter if you’re using QuickBooks desktop or online versions. TimeSolv syncs bi-directionally with both, so the days of double entry are over.

 

Mac or Windows: The war is over and TimeSolv has declared both sides the winner! They’re in the cloud, so use whatever platform you’d like.

 

Stellar Hosting: State-of-the-art development platform. Amazon AWS cloud computing infrastructure. ‘Nuff said.

 

 

 

4. actiTime

 

actiTIME is a solution that provides a convenient way to manage project scope, assign tasks, track time, and analyze your business performance based on the collected data.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Simple Time Tracking: actiTIME makes time tracking as simple as it can be. Record time spent on work assignments, leave comments or submit a day off in a weekly timesheet.

 

Work Scope Management: Customize you work structure, create project scope faster than ever, add details to each task, assign tasks, make use of built-in reminders, lock completed work from changes, and keep projects on task with actiTime’s user-friendly database and applications.

 

 

Reports and Data Analysis: Analyze team performance, compare estimates with actual project results, run cost and billing reports, create and edit PDF invoices, etc.

 

 

 

5. Tikit Carpe Diem

 

Tikit Carpe Diem is an easy to use, intuitive web-based timekeeping system that incorporates all the elements of timekeeping into a single solution. With exceptional functionality and ease of use, timekeeping is made easy, billing becomes timely, cash flow is improved and time is never lost as a result of clever ‘best match’ technology.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Record time anywhere anytime – truly mobile time recording: The adaptability of Carpe Diem means you can capture and manage billable time across every platform consistently, whether you’re on a train, plane, in the office, online, or offline.

 

Time recording made easy: Carpe Diem supplies a chronological view of each working day so that all billable time is all in one place.

 

Time finder technology: What makes Carpe Diem unique is its ‘Time finder’ technology. Unlike all other timekeeping solutions on the market, users are not confronted with hundreds of possible missed-time entries, simply the ones that should be recorded. ‘Time finder’ also allows users to auto-populate timesheets based on their digital footprint, or to find missing time by responding to intelligent prompts.

 

Predictive assistance and glossary: Predictive assistance auto-completes forms with predictive searches, and provides in-line spell checks, so the process of entering information is quick, easy and smooth. The powerful best match technology embeds activity data directly within the timekeeping workflow, automatically populating timesheets so you don’t start with a blank page to laboriously fill in.  The glossary feature allows you to attach shorthand terms to words or phrases you use often, so instead of having to type everything over again, simply type your shorthand and the field will be populated.

 

 

State of the art reporting: A powerful management console allows firms to effectively monitor and measure timekeeping performance and identify how much billable time is still available. Fully customizable metrics and dashboards supply actionable management information at the press of a button.

 

Fully compliant: Integrated e-billing and ethical wall validation improve compliance, reduce risk and improve cash flow. Finance teams can track and reduce the lag between activity, time-capture, billing, and cash. This functionality also means firms can quickly generate real-time billing reports that give clients more confidence in the firm and enrich the client relationships.

 

 

With so many different billing applications on the market in 2018, we know it can be overwhelming to sift through all of them, especially when hopping from page to page on the Internet. That’s why Select wanted to provide you with a short, comprehensive list of some of the more well-known and widely used systems to eliminate time wasted on sites that may not suit you or your firm.

 

After all, time is money!

 

Wishing you the best of luck with your time keeping this year and the beyond!

 

 

 

Select Court Reporters is an Orlando court reporting firm providing exemplary services to attorneys and law firms throughout Central Florida. If you are looking for a Winter Springs court reporter, an Oviedo court reporter, a Winter Park court reporter, a Maitland court reporter, or if you need Orlando court reporting services, Apopka court reporting services, Altamonte Springs court reporting services, or Kissimmee court reporting services, Select has both the experience and the availability to meet your needs. We are currently expanding our client base in Seminole and Orange Counties and would love to connect with you.

 

Contact us today to discuss how we can help!

 

Phone: (407) 977 – 7725

 

Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com

 

“Select Court Reporters you can count on!”

Let Loose This Summer!

 

 

 

Attorneys work hard.

 

 

This is an incontrovertible truth.

 

 

If you happen to be one of those hardworking attorneys, it’s important that you take time to play hard as well. Striking balance between work and play can be difficult. It takes courage and a willingness to say “no” when the occasion calls. For instance, if you cannot handle taking on yet another case, it’s time to get real with your colleagues and let them know you’re overloaded.

 

 

An excellent attorney becomes only a “good” attorney when stretched too thin.

 

 

You want to maintain your status of excellence, so you need to be aware of what you can and cannot handle.

 

 

The main point here is: you are not a robot and you should not be treated as one.

 

 

That said, making sure that you let loose every now and then can be a healthy way to keep your excellence in check, and one of the best ways to do that is to take your vacation time.

 

 

There have been a number of studies backing up this idea. Vacation is considered by some researchers to be “recovery from work” – a vital period wherein we, as humans, take time to let our brains heal from constant overthinking and overstimulation. One study found that “repeated or prolonged physiological activation may disturb an organism’s precarious homeostatic (sympathetic – parasympathetic) balance which will manifest in chronic overactivity or inactivity of crucial bodily systems (e.g., the immune system).”

 

 

What does that mean?

 

 

No vacation = overactive immunity.

 

 

This is likely due to prolonged and chronic periods of stress without restful escape.

 

 

Another study by Canadian researchers Joudrey and Wallace reported that “active” leisure pursuits (such as golf!) and vacations helped buffer or decrease job stress among a sample of approximately 900 lawyers. Moreover, British researcher, Scott McCabe, has stated that vacations’ “personal benefits have been found to include: rest and recuperation from work; provision of new experiences leading to a broadening of horizons and the opportunity for learning and intercultural communication; promotion of peace and understanding; personal and social development; visiting friends and relatives; religious pilgrimage and health; and, subjective well-being”.

 

 

So, the next time you’re thinking about chucking the vacay for another 60 hours in the office, you might want to rethink that decision. After all, a well-rested, re-energized attorney is much better than a brain-dead, overly fatigued attorney.

 

 

Now close this article and go schedule your vacation, my friend!

 

 

 

Select Court Reporters is proud to work with attorneys throughout Central Florida. We provide exemplary legal support to law firms in Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Apopka, Kissimmee, Winter Garden, Clermont, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, etc. Contact us today to discuss your priorities and legal support needs. Phone: (407) 977 – 7725 Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com

Client-Based Marketing and Why Law Firms Should Do It

 

 

 

Marketing in the legal field is no longer limited to print ads, television commercials, and radio spots. The process extends far beyond the stereotypical advertising gimmick, into the realm of daily work life. Marketing should be a part of every firm’s regular routine. Promoting the firm is vital to maintaining current clients, retaining new ones, and even for obtaining reputable employees.

 

Because let’s be honest—everyone wants to work for the savvy and successful law firm.

 

Truth be told, the majority of legal marketing is done through word of mouth, so print ads, while somewhat beneficial, are not generally the funnel through which new clientele will flow. Real marketing begins with the clients a law firm or attorney already has. Consider them liquid capital. If a firm invests in them, it will see a great return. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but the most important method—other than winning cases—is communication. Whenever a firm or attorney communicates with a client, they are given a chance to market their business. Open and frequent communication with clients is key to creating a strong business relationship. If a client feels taken care of by a particular firm or attorney, that client will have no qualms about referring a friend or business associate in need of legal services. Moreover, every time an attorney or member of the legal staff communicates with a client via email, phone, or at an in-person meeting, a firm has direct access to pitch new business to the client. Marketing should be a part of every piece of written communication, every telephone conversation, and every client conference.

 

In order to make this possible—without spamming—firms need to develop a strategy. Logos and business slogans should always be part of email signatures and letters, but beyond the visual aspects of advertising, we have emotional psychology—the heart of marketing. At the end of the day, whether a client refers a law firm to a friend or associate depends on whether they have developed trust in that law firm. This is where non-visual marketing comes into play. Firms should make it a weekly routine to call or email clients to check in and update them on the status of their case. Even if there has been no movement on the case whatsoever, touching base with a client to let them know and to see how they are doing can make all the difference down the road.

 

Humans like to feel appreciated.

 

A firm’s unique communication process should also include perceptive listening. If a legal secretary or receptionist is speaking to a client, or even a potential client, she or he should be mindful of what that person is saying. If a client mentions offhand that they are starting a new business with a friend, the legal secretary should take note of this and pass it along to the attorney so they can reach out to them to either assist with the formation of the company or provide the name of an associate who can help them. Even in situations where a firm does not end up taking a particular case, the interaction that potential client had with the firm is integral to obtaining clients later on. These brief exchanges make an impact. They are “prime real estate”—an opportunity to get in front of a person and promote a firm’s prowess.  Therefore, educating the legal staff in the principles of marketing and relationship building should be an important goal for all firms, no matter the law type.

 

Take it from Paul J. Meyer: “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”

 

Select Court Reporters is proud to provide exemplary court reporting services to attorneys and firms in Central Florida, including but not limited to, Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Apopka, Kissimmee, etc. Contact us today to discuss your priorities and legal support needs: (407) 977 – 7725 or selectcourtreporters@gmail.com.

 

Reflecting on Your Firm or Business Losses Can Turn Them Into Wins…

 

As you embark on 2018, it’s important to look back and reflect on the past year to see what you have learned, what has worked for you and your business, and perhaps more importantly, what has not. Outlining your successes and your failures can be a very rewarding experience. It can contribute to growth and help you streamline parts of your business that may need a little fine-tuning. While looking into the face of your failures can be a bit daunting, it is a necessary exercise if you expect to improve your firm or business’ bottom line. Think of it as going to the doctor: if you are exhibiting symptoms of illness, you cannot possibly get better if you do not have an examination to diagnose the problem. Knowing what needs to be treated is essential to “curing” your firm and business’ disorders.

 

Here are a few tips on how you can get it done:

 

1.   Meet & Conquer. 

Set a date and time to sit down with your staff to work through some of your losses over the last year. Make a note of items that contributed to those losses. Did you have trouble with research? Was communication poor? How about overall strategy? Identify the trouble areas for each loss and make a list of the things that need improvement.

 

2.   Identify Solutions.

Once you have figured out the issues that contributed to your losses, take time to brainstorm solutions. Identify ways that can help you avoid those problems next go round. Be sure to ask for your staff’s input—they are usually the ones working on tasks within a case or project, so it’s important to get their feedback to determine whether solutions will actually work when it comes time to implement them.

 

3.   Set up a Strategy.

Once you and your staff have agreed on solutions, it’s time to map out a strategy to implement them in your daily work life. Our suggestion: put together a policies manual for you and your employees to refer back to until the new strategy becomes a routine. That way you won’t find yourself slipping back into old habits and experiencing the same losses.

 

4.   Celebrate Your Wins.

Whenever you experience wins due to your new solutions and strategies, celebrate them! The more you celebrate and express gratitude for your work and the work of your staff, the more you will feel inclined to continue new strategies and to seek out solutions whenever problems arise. A simple shift in perspective can make all the difference, so be sure to pat yourself on the back as often as you can!

 

“If you don’t celebrate success, it won’t celebrate you.”

Julian Hall

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Select Court Reporters proudly serves the Central Florida legal community. If you are located in Seminole, Orange, Osceola, or even Volusia county, we are primed and ready to provide you with reliable court reporters to support you and your firm. Contact us today to discuss your needs.