2011 Review of Chrometa

Chrometa
888-340-6425
www.Chrometa.com

 

From the Oct. 2011 Review of Time & Billing Systems.

Best Firm Fit: Small firms with simple billing needs, or firms of any size for timekeeping.

Strengths

  • Innovative system for automatically tracking time.
  • Integration with several accounting programs and other billing programs.
  • SaaS software that can aggregate time from multiple PCs.

Potential Limitations

  • Limited invoicing capabilities. Works best with an integrated application for these functions.
  • No current application for tracking time on mobile devices.

 

Professionals that loathe taking notes or starting and stopping timers all day to log their time may find Chrometa’s unique approach to time tracking both refreshing and empowering. It allows a person to just focus on working while the program collects data on the amount of time each window is active. Traditional timekeeping methods struggle to keep up with today’s multitasking professional. Chrometa, on the other hand, effortlessly and automatically tracks the amount of time a user opens and responds to an e-mail for one client that interrupted the input of data in a tax software for another client, for example.

Chrometa does one thing extremely well: It tracks time. It offers few features on the billing side, but for firms needing more robust billing capabilities, Chrometa exports time in several formats and to many accounting and billing programs.

Chrometa’s value is larger than its ability to track chargeable time. For all computing activities, it answers the question, “Where did all the time go?” For instance, it brings self-accountability to a user who has no idea how much time he or she spends using social media.

Basic System Functions (4.75 Stars)

Chrometa comes in two parts: a locally installed application for recording data and a web-based product for categorizing time, viewing reports and exporting information to other programs. The data collector, available for both Windows and Mac, captures time tracked from activity on a computer and uploads it to a user’s web account. An icon on the taskbar provides options to launch Chrometa’s web application, upload data manually, adjust settings, pause time capturing or completely exit the program.

The web portion of Chrometa runs on HTML5, and requires the use of a compatible browser. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are recommended. The web application opens the dashboard first by default, which shows a summary of a day’s active, away, and billable time, as well as the most frequently used applications. Chrometa’s web interface is intuitive, simple and uncluttered. The user navigates from one section of the web app to another through tabs that are always visible at the top of the screen.

Time Management Capabilities (5 Stars)

Chrometa tracks time completely in the background, allowing the user to focus on the task at hand instead of subconsciously thinking about the amount of time elapsed. The web application also provides the ability to manually add time entries. If a computer is left idle for a period of time, Chrometa prompts the user to log time while he or she was away. This setting can be turned on or off, and the number of minutes for Chrometa to count as idle time is customizable.

The web app shows a summary of time spent by program or by timestamp grouped by hour in chronological order. Users can categorize time based on clients and projects, or even designate a block of time as being personal. A different hourly billing rate can be assigned to each client or project, and away time can be split between multiple categories. Another powerful feature is the creation of rules, which can be used to automatically categorize time based on application name, window title or URL/file path.

Chrometa logs time based on the program’s window title, which works great with many tax and accounting programs that have the company or client name included in their titles. For example, Chrometa reports the total time spent on a specific QuickBooks company file as “ABC Company - QuickBooks: Premier Accountant.” For an Excel spreadsheet, it may display as “Microsoft Excel - ABC Company trial balance.xlsx.” This makes it easy to assign time to clients and projects.

Invoicing Functions (3.75 Stars)

Unlike other time and billing programs, Chrometa wasn’t really designed to be a complete invoicing and accounts receivable management tool. However, whatever it lacks in this area, it makes up for with its integration features. For firms that don’t have a billing or practice management software and decide to use Chrometa for invoicing, time for clients and projects can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet that shows detailed time entries and billings based on the applicable billing rate.

Management Features (3.25 Stars)

Chrometa recently introduced a “teams” feature that allows a team leader to share clients and projects with other team members. Team members can assign time to the shared clients and projects. The team leader can view and manage time that all team members have recorded to these projects, and split the reports by team member. Rules for categorizing time can be shared with team members so there is no need to recreate them. Individual team members choose what time to share with the team leader and can keep time private for their own clients, projects and personal activities.

Integration & Data Management (5 Stars)

Chrometa imports clients and projects from CSV files. It integrates with FreshBooks, Basecamp, Timeslips and QuickBooks desktop editions to export time for billing. Integration with the Xero cloud-based accounting application is also complete and in beta testing. For developers, Chrometa provides a simple application program interface for importing data. Sample code can be copied from Chrometa’s website.

One aspect users will want to watch is the short timeframe data is stored on Chrometa’s servers for the lower-end plans. Currently, Chrometa’s basic plan stores data on the cloud for two months. The basic plus plan stores it for one year, and the premium plan stores an unlimited amount of data.

Help/Support (5 Stars)

All plans include free support and upgrades. Support is provided by phone, e-mail and web meetings. Chrometa’s website includes a series of helpful tutorial videos, tips and tricks; a knowledgebase; and a discussion area where questions and problems are resolved quickly by Chrometa’s staff. Chrometa is also active in social media, with an active LinkedIn user group and Facebook page, and help is always only a tweet away (@Chrometa).

Summary & Pricing

As a standalone product, Chrometa is a good fit for small tax and accounting firms that need an advanced web-based timekeeping system but have simple billing needs. For firms of any size, it works well as a timekeeping component used in conjunction with another accounting or time and billing system, especially for users who struggle to use timers and hate filling out timesheets. The basic plan is $19 per month. With advanced exporting features, the basic plus and premium plans are $29 and $49 per month, respectively.

2011 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

Product Delivery Methods:

_X_ On-Premises

_X_ SaaS

___ Hosted by Vendor

2011 Overall Rating 4.5

 

Best Firm Fit

Small firms with simple billing needs, or firms of any size for timekeeping.

Strengths

  • Innovative system for automatically tracking time.
  • Integration with several accounting programs and other billing programs.
  • SaaS software that can aggregate time from multiple PCs.

Potential Limitations

  • Limited invoicing capabilities. Works best with an integrated application for these functions.
  • No current application for tracking time on mobile devices.

 

Summary & Pricing

As a standalone product, Chrometa is a good fit for small tax and accounting firms that need an advanced web-based timekeeping system but have simple billing needs. For firms of any size, it works well as a timekeeping component used in conjunction with another accounting or time and billing system, especially for users who struggle to use timers and hate filling out timesheets. The basic plan is $19 per month. With advanced exporting features, the basic plus and premium plans are $29 and $49 per month, respectively.

 

Product Delivery Methods

_X_ On-Premises

_X_ SaaS

___ Hosted by Vendor

 

Basic System Functions 4.75

Time Management Capabilities 5

Invoicing Functions 3.75

Management Features 3.25

Integration & Data Management 5

Help/Support 5

 

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