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CaseWare International Inc. — CaseWare Time & Today 2005

From the October 2005 Review of Mid-Range
Accounting Software

CaseWare Time and Today 2005 is a thorough time, billing and practice management
software package complete with contact management, extensive project and staff
reporting, and scheduling. The design of the software is primarily for accounting
firms and other professional service firms in need of billing, staff and office
management, and aims to complement other CaseWare products for accountants.

Ease of Use/Flexibility — 5 Stars
CaseWare Time 2005 offers a wide array of management tools with an extremely
easy-to-learn interface. In just a day’s time, you could set up a firm,
have security enabled, add staff, begin entering clients, and have workers start
their timekeeping. One of the best features is its well-designed layout. Users
have easy access to reports and timekeeping on the left, while the Help section
sits on the right. This Help section is already divided into the most common
practices, making it very easy to find what you might need. Some programs have
a large number of pop-up windows for each process, but CaseWare has implemented
an Explorer-like browser feature that allows the user to go forward or back
through their “history” of processes. The windowing layout provides
easy drag-and-drop functionality — if a user would rather have the Document
Manager sit on the right, he or she simply has to drag it to the right.

The User Profile Toolbar provides a good number of filtering options for input
into reports. For time and billing, work codes can be set up into separate classifications,
and clients can be put together into groups. Documents already exist for reporting
on each, and all data is updated in real-time. Do you have a large number of
staff, clients or engagements? That’s no problem. The software can handle
the largest of firms, but make sure that you plan your implementation appropriately.
Staff will appreciate the ease with which time can be entered, and a checkout
feature exists for those staff that will be working remotely for extended periods
of time. Administrators will appreciate the multiple billing methods (especially
bill-by-project) and reports on staff billable time.

Scalability/Stability — 4.5 Stars
Firms with one to 10 timekeepers may not use all of the functionality available
in this product, but they will find it easy to grow into the capabilities. Larger
firms may need more reports and documents, and those can be created relatively
quickly. If a firm suddenly experiences rapid growth, a well-planned implementation
will handle the growth. For the purposes of this review, a newly created company
was up and running with timekeepers in under an hour; invoicing in two hours.
If a firm suddenly finds it is working in a new area of expertise, categories
and work codes can quickly be added to ensure that all hours are tracked and
billed appropriately.

Productivity Tools/Features — 4 Stars
If staff members regularly work out of the office, an option exists to check
out files. When they return, those files can easily be checked back in. Unfortunately,
there are no integrated online capabilities. However, the CaseWare Today add-on
provides a wealth of tools. Today is an add-on for Microsoft Outlook, giving
an additional dashboard that summarizes upcoming meetings, news and calendar
items. Bi-directional synchronization with Time is relatively easy to set up,
and the dashboard can be configured to provide information about performance
metrics, training and knowledge centers, and clients. Neither CaseWare Time
nor Today are intended to be complete project management tools; firms would
be required to have a separate group calendaring system such as an Exchange
Server, and web research tracking would need an independent system. CaseWare
Time allows for the creation of multiple billing timers that can be used for
quick tracking and billing of phone calls, meetings or research. The Document
Manager could be configured to track documents related to a particular client
or project, and default reports, Word documents and Excel spreadsheets can be
posted to those folders. Firms with limited ongoing projects may appreciate
this approach.

Reporting — 4.5 Stars
CaseWare Time provides an excellent selection of built-in reports. Reports can
be easily prepared through the Document Manager, and, in most cases, summary
and detail reports are ready-made. Under the Clients Section, users will find
32 unique reports that provide basic client information (name/address/client
type), WIP details, and a host of monitoring breakdowns. Firm management will
be able to access all information regarding profitability of clients and employees
through the Time Analysis reports. Customized reporting can be set up through
the New Automatic Document interface and the User Profile Toolbar. For firm
administrators, an additional diagnostic report can help determine setup problems
and missing firm information.

Support/Help/Updates — 4.5 Stars
CaseWare has worked diligently to upgrade its product for the 2005 edition.
Updates for CaseWare products are posted to the web site, and
an extensive knowledgebase complete with movies can be found online, as well.
Optional updates published throughout the year are provided for a $25 shipping
and handling fee.

Integration — 3.5 Stars
In order to make use of CaseWare Today, Outlook is required. If you already
make use of Outlook contact lists, you might find the synchronization tool between
Today and Time quite valuable. CaseWare Time can also make use of local installations
of Microsoft Office for creating new Word and Excel files in the Document Manager
in CaseWare Time. CaseWare Working Papers is the company’s engagement
software that provides a complete document management system, Unfortunately,
engagement-based activities can only be billed by means of the timer system,
as no integrated billing exists for online research, document composition or
tax preparation. For those firms converting to a new practice management system,
data can be processed from AuditCase, ProSystem fx, and PACS (DOS), as well
as most any software that can export lists to ASCII format.

Relative Value
Single timekeepers can purchase this product at a cost of $499 for CaseWare
Time, with an annually renewable $199 single-user support plan. For our prototype
firm of 10 active timekeepers, the cost would be $999 for the first five timekeepers,
and an additional $175 per timekeeper thereafter — a total of $1,874 (office
licensing includes one year of technical support). Annual renewal pricing is
half of the current license pricing. Firms with fewer than 20 timekeepers will
likely find the highest value with this product and should evaluate how much
integration with MS Outlook is worth since CaseWare Today is included with any
purchase of Time. For those firms in need of analytical tools, basic project
management and an easy-to-learn timekeeping utility, CaseWare Time and Today
is a suitable package.

2005 Overall Rating — 4.5 Stars