Skip to main content

LexisNexis Time Matters — Billing Matters Professional Edition

From the November 2005 Review of Time
& Billing Software

LexisNexis continues to actively develop its Time Matters and Billing Matters
practice management and time-based billing applications, most recently releasing
version 7.0 of the two products with added and enhanced features. Time Matters
was examined in the review of practice management software in our October 2005
issue. LexisNexis’ development of time and billing-focused Billing Matters
7.0 makes sense pragmatically: The company has a long history of providing resources
for the legal community, which pretty much came up with the idea of billing
based on time plus expenses. The products have undergone significant enhancements,
including the addition of features that allow the software to be tailored to
the specific needs of accounting practices and other professional services firms.

Billing Matters supports multiple billing methods, and its Plus version adds
check writing, accounts payable, increased budgeting tools, and integrated control
over payables, registers and GL. A one-user license of Billing Matters Professional
edition costs $350; additional users cost $200 each. The Plus version costs
$525; $300 for each additional user. An enterprise edition that makes use of
a SQL database is also available.

Ease of Use/Program Set Up — 5 Stars
Billing Matters installs smoothly, with setup tasks such as entering staff,
staff groups, work codes, projects and firm information guided by wizards and
other assistive devices. The program’s interface is centered around the
Navigator screen, which uses a workflow diagram with icons to offer access to
regular activities such as entering timesheets or expenses via the Quick Item,
Timesheet or Add Bill Item functions. The Timesheet function allows a more detailed
calendar view of time data entered. Other functions accessible from the Navigator
menu include accessing the Billing List, receiving and posting payments, making
deposits and accessing reports, the calendaring function, contact lists and
engagement (client) lists. This Engagement list provides an excellent access
point to clients, with sorting options by type of client (audit, tax, etc.),
as well as by code, name and other client demographics. In addition to traditional
Windows icons and pull-down menus, the interface also provides several hot-key
shortcuts, and most of the program’s toolbars can be customized to suit
user preferences.

The two primary methods of time entry are intuitive, with the Quick entry
mode offering users the ability to select a date range to either enter or review
data, with entry taking place on forms that include smart auto-entry forms and
selection lists that store previous entries and speed the selection of clients,
dates, billing codes and other data. The calendar-focused Timesheet method offers
at-a-glance five- or seven-day views, with greater access to billing detail
through a tabbed screen interface for viewing or entering markups and time/expense
splitting between clients. When using Billing Matter’s scheduling calendar,
the program can automatically transfer most pertinent data to a timesheet, providing
a third option for data entry that speeds much of the process. Time entries
can be supplemented with notes through a memo function.

Management Functions — 5 Stars
Billing Matters allows an unlimited number of staff with unlimited rates per
staff member, and can be set to bill work on a flat-fee or time basis. More
advanced features include the ability to bill in advance, against trusts, progress/phased
billing, and consolidated and split billing among more than one client, with
the option to set up billing preference templates for clients. For review and
audit purposes, Billing Matters’ BillFlow Manager automates the workflow
process, enabling management users with appropriate security access rights to
track time entry and the billing process, with the ability to filter timesheets
by staff or date, with drill-down output showing time and expense data and all
supplemental information. BillFlow can also be set to automatically notify specific
users when Pre-bills are ready for review. The feature also allows creation
of pre-bills and bills, editing of preferences, adding, editing or deleting
of billing records, and the addition of review notes.

Billing Matters’ calendaring function can be used for firm staff or
assets (such as conference rooms, company car, PowerPoint projectors, etc.),
providing real-time access to individual, group and firm-wide calendars, with
the ability to customize various components including the number of days to
display, format and colors. Multiple staff calendars can be viewed simultaneously
on a single screen. Engagement tasks, meetings and other events entered directly
onto the calendar can be easily transferred to a timesheet.

Alarms associated with specific clients, engagements or timesheets can be
set up within the system’s calendar function for items such as ToDos,
Events and Phone Call, while Quick Alarms can also be used for other items.
Another interesting feature is what the program refers to as Triggers, which
can be set to make the program perform a specific action when another action
takes place, such as when you mark a record as completed, you can have the program
automatically create another record or cause a change in another field in the
same record. Billing Matters includes an audit trail of all engagement activity,
and security features enable setting access rights that can restrict features
and functions even down to the field level on entry forms. The included document
management functions also enable attaching scanned documents directly to engagement

Billing & Reporting — 5 Stars
Basic bills can be generated very quickly, while more advanced features are
available for split and consolidated bills, as well as other options. Billing
Matters’ reporting functions include a report writer/invoice designer
that includes dynamic capabilities, such as basing client invoice messages on
aging. This will result in a kinder “reminder” to 30-day accounts,
and one that is a bit more stern for more delinquent accounts. Users have control
over the level of detail and fields to be included on invoices, as well as over
font, colors, text and graphics and other data, and can easily add firm logos
or other components to client deliverables.

The program contains more than 50 drill-down capable customizable reports
for engagement, project and task productivity analysis, as well as AR and WIP,
with the ability to create a virtually unlimited number of custom reports. A
notable feature especially for firms trying to minimize paper usage is the system’s
*.PDF Everywhere function, which allows authorized users to almost instantly
create, save and transmit any report, invoice or scanned document directly as
a *.PDF or *.RTF file.

Integration — 4 Stars
Billing Matters is completely integrated with Time Matters, and can exchange
data with Outlook for contact management purposes. The system can import data
from Timeslips, ACT!, GoldMine and Tabs3, and prints to *.RTF and *.PDF. It
can also export to Excel format. The program synchs with PDAs, laptops and Blackberry
wireless handhelds. As well, Billing Matters synchronizes with QuickBooks 2002
and later for accounting functions.

User Support & Help — 4.5 Stars
Billing Matters includes strong assistance features and a well-built Help utility,
but, because the program’s feature set is fairly strong, some training
may be advisable for new users. Fortunately, the company also sends a training
CD along with the software, and live and web-based options are also available.
Technical support is free up to 10 incidents for a one-year period, with $50
per-incident tech assistance after that, or the option to purchase a support

2005 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars