CaseWare International Inc — CaseWare Time 2011
From the August 2011 Review of Practice Management Systems
Firms currently using CaseWare Working Papers.
CaseWare Time is a comprehensive practice management solution offering time and billing, project tracking, accounts receivable, and other tools that support the day-to-day management of a professional services firm, all in real-time reporting. Time is able to handle time sheets for an unlimited number of staff and an unlimited number of work codes and descriptions. With the ability to integrate with Microsoft Outlook, CaseWare Time can serve as an effective contact management system and provide features for easy client communication and marketing. CaseWare Time runs on Microsoft SQL Server, and will install SQL Express if the firm does not already have SQL installed.
Basic System Functions:
The Workflow layout, designed to guide users through their tasks, is composed of three windows: the Document Manager on the left, containing a list of documents in a Windows Explorer-type fashion; the Main Window in the middle, with data and links to program areas; and the Navigator on the right, displaying steps in the Workflow applicable to the user. The top of the screen contains familiar looking icons and toolbars, including one to start, pause or stop the timer, and browser-like buttons to go back, forward and refresh pages. All of these windows and toolbars can be resized, dragged and moved to accomodate a user’s personal preference.
Time Management Capabilities:
CaseWare Time has a spreadsheet-style interface with columns to record many details, including work codes, client numbers and names, project numbers and subprojects, hours and memos. The time entry screen can show a “mini dashboard” summary of hourly totals for a period, such as daily, monthly and year-to-date. Using an optional add-on called Websheet, CaseWare Time users can enter, view and edit their time and expenses remotely on a web page formatted to fit the screen sizes of desktops, as well as browsers on either an iPad or a smartphone.
The program includes a built-in timer that, by default, is part of one of the toolbars at the top of the screen, which may be helpful to some users because the timer status is always visible when the CaseWare Time window is open instead of being a separate window that may be hidden behind it. The timer will not start until all of the details for the time are entered, forcing users to choose a client number and work code before recording time. By clicking on the record button in the timer, the program opens a popup window for entering an optional memo description and then saves the recorded time to the Time Entries dialog.
Time does not offer built-in HR and staff management features other than the ability to record nonchargeable work codes.
After selecting a client and project number from pull-down menus in the billing screen, the user can check off time and expenses for billing, and has the option to allocate any write up or write down to a staff member or prorate it among the staff. A customized automatic numbering system can be set up for invoices. The program includes 200 reports that can be organized in hierarchical folders, making them easily accessible. Invoices can be opened in CaseView, an embedded word processor also used in the CaseWare Working Papers product, and be reworded, formatted and customized to the user’s satisfaction.
Depending on a user’s security settings, firm statistics in terms of productivity, performance, progress and time sheets can be viewed in the Status Panel, a dashboard of sorts, for a given time period. This dashboard can be set as the user’s home page. Web dashboards are also available with WebApps, a web collaboration product, which can be linked to the data on the SQL server. These web dashboards can show gadgets, including financial information, period chart, staff expenses and time, and they have a look and feel similar to iGoogle (a logged-in user’s personalized Google page).
Included in the software is a feature to allow staff members designated as “approvers” to authorize time and expense entries line-by-line before they are billed. CaseWare Time allows for highly customizable security rights for users in an easy interface with check boxes for commands grouped by category. Access rights may be defined individually or by specific security groups to which users are assigned.
Integration & Data Management:
Time can export invoice, cash receipts, credit notes, and approved time and expense transactions to the CaseWare Working Papers general ledger. The program can import data from applications not supported by Time through Excel and ASCII files.
CaseWare Time includes a PDF driver, so documents can be converted to PDF and automatically sent by e-mail as an attachment without needing third-party software. CaseWare Today, an optional add-on for Time, is a two-way integration tool that synchronizes contacts, projects, clients and staff with Microsoft Outlook.
Accessing the built-in Help features in CaseWare Time is easily done by pressing the F1 key while in a particular menu item or field, and the Help screen will appear to provide guidance regarding that menu item or field’s function. CaseWare Time has a diagnostics screen that warns users about missing information and areas in the file that are not functioning properly, and also assists technical support to quickly identify and resolve error messages. The program includes tools for server maintenance and for backing up and restoring the SQL database.
CaseWare’s support website provides “QuickVids” (video tutorials) with helpful explanations of some of Time’s more complex features, such as the Equation Editor, project conversion and year-end close. Also provided are articles for performing other difficult functions, a list of enhancements for the latest version, and program updates available for download, which must be installed manually. However, CaseWare’s website offers little resources for training a new average user on the basic functions of the system and lacks an online community.
Summary & Pricing
CaseWare Time is a comprehensive practice management system able to handle multi-departmental and multi-location firms. The system is best suited to large professional practices, particularly those using other CaseWare products such as Working Papers because of the similar interface and integration. The cost is $1,000 for a five timekeeper license, which is annually renewable at 50% of the license value.
2011 Overall Rating