From the October 2005 Review of Mid-Range
TimeMatters 6 provides for the necessities of timekeeping, customer relations,
billings, employee scheduling and project management. Small and midsize firms
are the target audience. The software is produced in accounting, business and
legal series and can be integrated with LexisNexis’ Billing Matters Plus.
Francis E. Molinari, CPA, a partner with Center Valley, Pennsylvania-based
Molinari Oswald, LLC (www.molinarioswald.com),
is a certified independent consultant for TimeMatters who uses the product day
in and day out in his firm. Molinari knows the product’s capabilities
and values it even more now that there is a time and billing piece. “The
good part is that while I know the software well, my partner challenged me to
set it up in such a way that he could understand it and all the staff could
us it,” he said. “I made the beneath-the-surface exactly what I
wanted in order to get the data I wanted, but I made the face simple for all
the day-to-day users, and that really is the power of TimeMatters.”
Molinari says that one of the most beneficial aspects of the program for his
firm is the ability to see how staff is progressing on their goals each year,
which gives immediate feedback as well as up-to-date information for management.
“We set firm and staff goals each year, and this allows us to make corrections
quickly.” He also noted that the program gives feedback by engagement:
“This is critical, especially in flat-fee arrangements. When there is
a problem, we can quickly react to it. For example, is the job more involved
than originally planned? Can we go back to the client to discuss? Does staff
not understand what is required? Is staff over their heads? Are they wasting
Ease of Use/Flexibility — 4 Stars
TimeMatters 6 makes use of an XP-style taskbar for fast access to the primary
resources in the software. The focus is on the timekeeper, rather than the client
or the project while at the main level of the program. Once in a particular
toolset, the QuickPik feature can be used to find detailed record information,
and all related records are also provided for the user in a tabbed format. Related
records include client contact information, billing, schedules, phone messages,
e-mail and mail records. In less than a few hours, small firms can have the
software installed and begin scheduling their week. While a well-planned full
implementation is always best, it is possible to very quickly begin using many
of the management features such as phone records, journaling and to-do lists.
Calendaring is extremely easy to use, and timekeepers will appreciate the ability
to find available time by individual or group for planning meetings and projects.
Most interfaces include the ability to have custom entries, with some forms
offering up to 25 customized fields. Many customizable fields exist for each
record type, and users have the option to hide the many fields that are available
for customizing if they are not needed. The program remembers these settings
by user once made. Contact management is provided for those firms that want
inboxes and instant messaging that can be easily archived, sorted and assigned
to particular clients. Document management allows for files of all types to
be indexed and includes a set of file types that are usually non-work related,
such as *.JPG and *.MP3, to exclude from indexing.
The database is live — there were no refresh buttons as found in other
packages in this review. Timesheets, or billing forms, may require some adaptation
to use, as they are not in a traditional timesheet format. Several formats of
training and Help are available if necessary, and a basic setup guide is provided.
Molinari stresses the importance of planning for a successful software implementation.
“TimeMatters can appear to be a complicated product, but that is not so,”
he said. “It has remained true to its roots — a very flexible and
powerful relational database. The flexibility requires that time be spent up
front designing how the program best suites each firm’s needs.”
Scalability/Stability — 5 Stars
TimeMatters’ interface would make it a useful tool for firms with less
than 100 active timekeepers, though larger firms would likely do best with integrated
features for tax or audit processes. The database back-end is stable in both
the stand-alone and network version, and SQL support is provided. LexisNexis
has made sure to provide new features with each release, and it is likely that
advanced features will continue to be added for larger accounting and law firms.
Provided that the installation and setup is well planned, firms with more than
50 timekeepers could still have a manageable installation. The upgrade path
has allowed for previous versions’ databases to be imported from version
1.9, making upward mobility a small concern. Firms can grow into many features,
making this a very good choice for smaller firms expecting rapid growth.
Productivity Tools/Features — 5 Stars
Billing forms allow for the automatic collection of billable time from timekeepers’
schedules, entry of new billable time, and the setup of time and billing reviews.
Remote time can be collected by means of handheld devices and synchronized later
(PocketPC, Palm and Blackberry
are all supported), though no specific remote software is referenced. A local
and remote installation is possible, provided that some form of synchronization
can be set up. A detailed help section can assist in the design of a complex
solution. A separate web-based product is available called World server and
works in conjunction with the Time Matters desktop in real-time.
Firms with complex audit schedules, branch offices or heavy travel loads will
appreciate the different calendaring views and reminder options. Communications
handling will be useful for offices where phone and e-mail handling have been
difficult, and also for creating easily referenced documentation of correspondence.
Offices with high travel requirements for staff may find it difficult to make
use of the included messaging and e-mail system, but it’s definitely worth
considering if your firm has had problems with e-mail getting lost or accidentally
Timer features are available, and multiple timers can run simultaneously.
Timers and multiple timers are generally associated with existing records, such
as a phone call or appointment. If you’re working on reviewing a client
file and start your timer, it is available to view from the Timers section.
However, as a stand-alone, it is only a timer and cannot be billed directly
upon stopping. Research can be completed through LexisNexis’ own online
research system. An integrated browser allows for tracking of time spent online
researching specific topics. Other useful web sites can also be entered, browsed
and billed. Records can be kept for cases, statutes and more, with the option
of adding customized tabs or renaming those provided. A document management
system rounds out the list of features. Documents can be indexed easily, and
scheduling can be set up for regular indexing of paths and their subfolders.
Once included in the database, they can be e-mailed, shared and referenced in
Reporting — 4 Stars
Many reports and lists are provided within each of the tools. Additional time
and billing tools with profitability analysis are available with the Billing
Matters product. A report designer is provided to create new reports in four
different formats, and filters can be set for all reports. Firms with more than
five timekeepers will likely find themselves creating custom reports for better
Support/Help/Updates — 5 Stars
LexisNexis has an established reputation for making quality products. Its support
department is known for fast, reliable assistance, and is available by means
of phone and e-mail. Molinari notes that the company uses a call-back approach,
“which may seem frustrating to some customers, but it is the best way
to make sure the customer gets someone with the knowledge to fix their problem
the first time.” Time Matters’ web site is complete with a knowledgebase,
ideas and features feedback, and white papers. Various support packages are
available, from per-incident fee to fully scheduled support solutions via WebEx.
As well, product updates are available via the Web.
Integration — 5 Stars
TimeMatters has an extensive list of software packages from which data can be
imported, including Tabs3, QuickBooks, ACT!, GoldMine, Outlook and Timeslips.
Several law practice packages are also supported. As mentioned above, all handheld
devices are supported for calendar synchronization, and Outlook and Pocket Outlook
can also be synchronized. Billing Matters and Billing Matters Plus Accounting
can be purchased and integrated, as well. Document management functionality
is available via integration with WORLDOX, Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office.
Our prototype firm of 10 timekeepers could purchase TimeMatters for $350 for
the first user, $200 for each additional user, coming to a total of $2,150.
One year of Premium Technical Support would cost an additional $950. If our
firm wants a SQL installation, we’d go with the Enterprise edition of
Time Matters, which is a different product with more advanced technologies.
Cost for the Enterprise edition is $700 for the first user and $400 for each
additional user. Firms that will find the best value from this software will
be in the five to 25 user market. The features available within Time Matters
are best suited for project, time and record management, though not necessarily
billing management. It would be advisable for firms to also investigate the
Billing Matters add-on. Overall, the product is a valuable resource for firms
moving toward less paper, better communications and coordinated scheduling.
2005 Overall Rating — 4.5 Stars