What to Look for When Choosing on a Time and Billing Solution
So, you've decided, or you are at least thinking about, changing to a different solution for your time and billing.
Well, this brief document is designed to give you some food for thought. We hope that the information
provided here will assist you in finding, evaluating and ultimately choosing the right solution
your company. However, we want to be perfectly straight with you, we are DTBusiness and we offer a product
. We feel that LAWS/Pro
is not only the right software package for most law practices, but it
is the most complete, integrated solution on the market today. Based on that fact, and the fact that we
have been providing law practice management for over 30 years, we offer these tips to you.
Here is our list of things to look for. They are in no specific order. As you review specific solutions,
go through each of the areas outlined below and look at the products in detail. Compare them all side by side.
The last thing you want is to choose a solution that will put you back where you are today.
One of the first things you'll encounter in implementing any package is the conversion. We have found
that most people keep their data in a variety of places. This may include within a billing program,
a calendar program, a contact manager, an accounting program, in spreadsheets, and on mobile devices
or other synchronizing applications. Moving this data from where it is to where it needs to be is
often a major task and one that can take an immense amount of time to accomplish.
Make a specific list of what data you have and where it lives now.
Find out what tools and services are offered by each product vendor.
Find out the additional costs associated. Costs usually vary based on how much data is brought over.
You may reduce these costs by only converting current data and leaving older, historical data
on your existing products. You will also want to understand how long the conversion
will take. Depending upon your data and requirements, data conversion may cost
substantially more than the licensing of the software products involved.
DTBusiness offers free data conversion with the prepayment of your first year
There are some restrictions to this offer but in most
cases we can convert your data in its entirety and load it into LAWS/Pro
We usually convert everything - meaning you still have all your history.
After some initial investigation, we are usually able to extract your existing
data from a variety of sources, clean it up, load it into LAWS/Pro
and get you
up and running in less than a day.
Click Here to see our LAWS/Pro pricing structure and conversion fees.
Look deep into each time and billing software package to determine how much true depth and features they have.
For example, if a matter setup only provides space to specify a matter description,
then the software may not be able to track things like a claim number,
the date an action was initially filed, the storage location of a closed file,
or handle matter specific invoice formatting. Look closely at how
the firm, attorneys, clients, matters and billing codes are defined. If the
setup sections do not have any detailed options then it's a good indication
that the software may have very little depth.
The practice of law is complex and diverse. Each attorney has their own unique
way of doing things. Some need to report on specific things to get a handle on their practice
and cases. If the information needed to break everything down is not on file then
it will be difficult if not impossible to get any reports on it. You may not need all the features
in a program but it should facilitate a lot of different options so you have a good
chance of having what you might need. One size does not fit all.
is built on 30 years of working with legal professionals. It is simple to use
yet at the same time has a long list of options and features including over 300
different reports. Over the years we have listened and learned from our customers and we continue
to add and enhance to make LAWS/Pro
the best in every regard.
Click here to see a partial list of the LAWS/Pro reports
A good software solution should work with you and the way that you do business. You should
not have to change
the way you work to fit the software. For example, If you use client codes
that are based on the clients name and other info, you should not be forced to change to use
numeric codes. Or, if you use a specific G/L chart of accounts, you shouldn't have to change and use another.
Making radical changes such as these can disrupt your office and cause longer training times.
Your new software should, as much as possible, fit your way of life.
LAWS/Pro has standard setups to get you up and running quickly. It also has the ability
to set specific options that fit your firm such as auto numbering of new matters,
customized display of information on pages, etc. LAWS/Pro even let's you use customer
terminology. So you could refer to your "matters" as "projects" if you so choose.
One of the most time consuming aspects of many law office management software solutions is the task of moving data from one
program to another. This may consist of moving entries from a calendar to a billing program,
moving billing data to an accounting program, or moving client records from a calendar to a
case management system. Each of these tasks are not only time consuming but they are
very inefficient and error prone. If you find solutions that interface or integrate with each other
then these issues can be decreased or altogether eliminated
. That makes your practice
not only more efficient but also more accurate.
LAWS/Pro is a totally integrated product. It includes calendaring, time entry, billing, accounts receivable,
disbursements, general ledger, trust accounting, contact management and document storage.
That means that if you put something on the calendar, then mark it complete it will be scheduled for invoicing
to the client. If a check is written as a client cost it will be added to the clients invoice.
During invoicing, payments can be applied directly from trust accounts and everything is
accurately recorded in a general ledger system. There is no double entry and no differences in reconciliations.
Remote access is a key element of doing business today. Virtually every company uses remote access
for email, calendaring and even accessing their computers from home. There are a lot of utility programs
out there to help you in getting remote access. Some of these include tools like PC-Anywhere, GoToMyPC,
LogMeIn, Remote Desktop and Cytrix. These tools not only place additional operating costs but they
are also less than perfect to work with. Working remotely using these tools is not quite like being
at the office using your computer there. When evaluating what is available, test your solutions
in a remote environment. See how they will perform and if you can do all that you need to accomplish.
Take time to understand the true cost of all pieces. If you have several software packages
that make up the total solution then price each one and roll it together. If a software
package requires a backend database server then include the cost of the hardware and software
required for that server. Get the initial cost and the annual maintenance costs for each.
If they require technical expertise to install or upgrade, include that cost as well.
If they require installation on each computer in your office then multiply that cost and
include it. Often sales people will minimize the cost and just focus on the initial cost for licensing.
Including these other factors will provide you with a better, true cost
is a total solution which eliminates the purchase of multiple products.
Since it is web-based it requires no additional hardware to be installed
at your office. Backups are done by DTBusiness which further reduces your costs. All this is available
for one low subscription cost.
Click here to see the LAWS/Pro pricing.
Bells and Whistles
Look into each solution and see what they offer to make your practice even better. Ask
if they have hints and tips available to help you optimize and increase your profitability.
What features do they offer that may be easy to implement and give you that extra professional
edge. Is the company looking at integrating new, current technologies into their software?
Is the software being enhanced on a regular basis? You may not need these features but they're
sure nice to have available should you decide that you do.
Look deep into technical support. Yes you will most likely need it sometime. Do they have expertise in the product?
Are they easy to reach and helpful? Are they overseas and reading from a manual? Are you routed through
layers of automated trees on the phone just to get to them? Do you have to pay extra for telephone versus
Internet support? Do they just help in technical areas of their product or can they also assist
with general accounting or operational questions? You are going to be paying for maintenance,
make sure you have good support available with people who can help make it all work.
DTBusiness has top rated customer support. A good percentage of our support calls are questions regarding
accounting and law practice management. We provide experts who take the time to walk you through the
options and they offer advice based on years of experience. We take time to understand and help
our customers be successful.
Choosing a Time and Billing Software Solution
We hope you find these tips useful. Often times we get caught up by sales people and don't look at the details.
By taking the time to look deeper you can find the right solution for you. Our experience has shown that
many, if not most people, tend to hate their time and billing software. It has issues, requires an immense amount
of their time and is costly. We can say that LAWS/Pro
is the time and billing software
solution and that we resolve all those issues but that's what
every other vendor out there will tell you as well. Unfortunately it will require your efforts to weed out the falsehoods and to find
what really works. Our hope is that when you take time to do that discovery, you'll take a look at LAWS/Pro
We already know it's the best out there on the market but we want you to see that for yourself.
If you have any questions feel free to contact us and we'd be more than happy to answer them.
We can even put you in contact with some of our customers who can tell you what they experienced.
Click here to Contact DTBusiness Support