LexisNexis — Time Matters

Originally developed for legal professionals, LexisNexis also offers Time Matters in versions for accounting firms and other professionals, providing a centralized practice management system that offers time and expense tracking, scheduling, contact management communications tools, due date monitoring, project management, invoicing, research, document management and other functions. The program also offers integration with BlackBerry and iPhone wireless devices, enabling remote data entry and access to system features. Pricing for TimeMatters starts at $700 for a single user, with additional users costing $400 each, with renewals offered at a discount. Time Matters has become an excellent and truly comprehensive practice management suite, providing outstanding communications tracking, document management, contact management, calendaring, and time and expense management features. The system is best suited to mid-sized and larger practices with defined workflow processes.

From the June 2009 Review of Practice Management Systems

Time Matters installs quickly and guides the administrator through various setup tasks, with the ability to select appropriate terminology type (accounting, legal, engineering, etc.) and default start screens for each user based on their job function. This default interface opens within a subwindow, providing tasks specific to that function. The Navigator menu provides a broad overview of personal to-do lists, events and calendar views, along with access to activities, communications, billing and other options.

In addition to this subwindow, the main interface for the program provides an icon toolbar for key function areas, including calendaring, contact management, document management, messaging and time tracking features. Each of these included modules provides navigation menus and search functions, with intuitive overview screens, work areas and general process flows. Most time data-entry functions are accessed via the Navigator, since Time Matters uses the calendars and schedule features as the primary method of tracking time. From this screen, users can quickly add billable time and expenses, access contact lists and projects, generate reports, or attach documents to a client’s records.

The system’s client/contact management functions offer good depth, with spreadsheet selection windows that provide extensive sorting, filter and search options, as well as Power View options that allow for multiple presentations of client data. Within client records, Time Matters offers the ability to track an overwhelming amount of detail, with tabbed screens for accessing a variety of information areas, as well as management of client email and phone communications, billing, and an audit trail-like timeline that displays all client activity. Users can also create more than 30 customized data fields.

Billing screens can be accessed either through an individual client or via the Billing menu, which provides an overview of all billable items, once again in a spreadsheet view and with several options for sorting and filtering. These records offer drilldown access to timesheets and other supporting documents.

The central features of Time Matters are its calendars and scheduling functions, which offer great user-based customization options, overviews, multi-staff views and to-do lists, with the ability to quickly turn a calendar item into a billable timesheet. The scheduling system also includes alerts and reminders, and provides good due date monitoring. The system’s email and calendaring functions integrate with Outlook and enable the creation of vCards and iCals from within Time Matters.

The program’s client/contact management functions, as noted above, offer extensive data tracking, enabling firms to maintain a good depth of information. In addition to the capable document management system included with the program, which includes version control tracking and other tools, Time Matters also provides excellent communication tracking functions, allowing users to manage incoming and outgoing traditional mail and courier items, email, phone calls and faxes, and link these communications to client engagements. The program’s billing module includes options for invoicing time and expenses, writing items up or down, editing client visible comments, and creating client letters using a built-in word processing function.

Time Matters offers remote access for most smartphone users, supporting iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices. Since LexisNexis is one of the leading legal research and information providers, the availability of this research through the Time Matters system is also a valuable feature.

A comprehensive collection of reports within Time Matters offers users the ability to track profitability and productivity based on users and clients, as well as to generate reports for time, expenses, AR, WIPs, projects and YTD summaries. The programs reports are customizable and can be saved for future use, and offer the ability to group and filter output. Reports can be saved to PDF, Word and other formats, and can be easily stored in the program’s document management system.

Time Matters integrates with IP-based phone systems for one-click calling of contacts and tracking of calls, as well as with Outlook for numerous purposes, including client communication tracking, scheduling and contact management. As previously noted, remote entry functions support iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows devices. The system also offers integration and data synchronization with QuickBooks, Timeslips and ACT!

Time Matters includes an extensive number of right-click menu options, from creating vCards or calendar events from contacts, to customizable program features such as note fields and report output. The program’s Help menu includes a traditional index, plus videos, automated program updates and links to online support, where users have access to a knowledgebase, how-to articles, overviews of system functions and troubleshooting tools. LexisNexis also offers live and web-based training options. Technical support is included in system pricing.

Since LexisNexis added most of the features of its former Billing Matters program into Time Matters, the system has become an excellent and truly comprehensive practice management suite, providing outstanding communications tracking, document management, contact management, calendaring, and time and expense management features. The system is best suited to mid-sized and larger practices with defined workflow processes.