CaseWare International Inc — CaseWare Time 2011
From the July 2012 review of Practice Management systems.
Best Fit: Firms currently using CaseWare products
- Tight integration with CaseWare products
- Multiple preformatted reports along with strong customization options
- Built-in sync capability between Outlook/Exchange and client information
- No current cloud based solution
- Integration generally limited to CaseWare products
CaseWare Time is the time, expense and practice management offering within the CaseWare product lineup. Built on the Microsoft SQL platform, the solution is fully scalable to meet the needs of sole practitioners as well as multi-location firms. CaseWare Time also includes a variety of tools to help ensure accounting professionals are running their firm as efficiently as possible.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS
CaseWare Time has a generally intuitive navigation. Upon opening the software, users are taken to The Time Workflow page. This page serves as the starting point for all areas within the solution and provides direct links to a variety of tasks. The direct links provided are solely based on user rights of the current user to prevent unauthorized or unintended access to client-sensitive information, such as billing. The Time Workflow landing page may be turned off, but should generally be used by new users and users not yet proficient in the navigation. All documents and reports housed within the system are in a folder tree structure similar to Windows Explorer, which should provide a certain level of comfort for most users.
CaseWare Time is built upon the Microsoft SQL platform and allows virtually unlimited users within the system. Smaller firms without a dedicated SQL server may make use of the freely available SQL Express version included with the software license. Sample files are also included to allow users to see the full capabilities of the software and to aid in setting up their respective companies.
TIME MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES
CaseWare Time allows users multiple ways to enter time and expense items. Time and expenses may be entered directly into the time sheet module by day or by client summary. Time may also be entered via WebSheet, the included Internet interface. WebSheet was designed for quick data entry and the options are less detailed than within CaseWare Time. WebSheet also allows time to be entered from any device with access to an Internet browser, including smartphones and tablets. CaseWare is currently developing specific user interfaces for smartphone and tablet devices and is set to release these interfaces over the next 12-18 months.
CaseWare Time includes a number of project templates and users may also design their own custom templates for use. Projects may be assigned to clients at any time. Once assigned, the project templates may be further edited as necessary for specific due dates, budget issues and staff assignments. Projects may also be set to generate upon rolling periods forward.
CaseWare Time keeps all posted time and expense items in real time to allow a streamlined billing process. All billing may be done from one screen by simply selecting the client and filtering time and expense by project as desired. Invoices may be set to automatically gross up based on predetermined rates or may be entered automatically. All time and expense items associated with the invoice are automatically adjusted as appropriate. Once the invoice is final, it is posted to the general ledger where payments may be subsequently applied. CaseWare also includes functions to perform recurring invoices based on time frame that are automatically generated upon rolling the period forward. Miscellaneous invoices, interest charges and invoice credits may also be generated at any time.
CaseWare Time includes a number of preformatted invoice options, but users may generate custom invoices as needed. Invoices may be created or edited through CaseView, a built-in word processing solution. Documents may also be imported from Microsoft Word and Excel. Each invoice may be edited to show detailed billing information or summary information simply by hiding rows or rearranging the column layout. Users also have the ability to add memos and other notes to the invoice before finalizing.
CaseWare Time features a dashboard view allowing users to see summaries of various areas within the system. The dashboard screen is fully customizable and may show various time, project and billing information. The dashboard may also be set to automatically refresh based on predetermined time intervals. Each of the summaries may be drilled down through double clicking to obtain the underlying details. This feature was intended for use primarily by partners and managers, but is accessible by all users. Information available for display, however, is solely based on user rights. CaseWare Time allows for multiple users and user groups based on firm needs. Rights may be assigned on a staff level or group level and staff may also be a member of multiple groups.
CaseWare Time has over 200 reports that can be edited and filtered based on need. Each report is stored within the document management system which organizes reports into hierarchical folders, and allows specific reports to be easily accessible depending on the staff function. Client management is equally as organized and allows categories to be assigned to each client. These categories may then be used to focus on clients meeting specific filter criteria.
INTEGRATION & DATA MANAGEMENT
CaseWare Time includes two directly built-in integration tools; Today and WebSheet. Today is a software solution built on the Outlook/Exchange interface and directly links the contact information between Outlook/Exchange and CaseWare Time. The advantage offered by Today is that no records are duplicated and each contact record is unified throughout the system. WebSheet is an Internet based interface system that provides direct links to CaseWare Time.
This interface allows staff to input and edit time and expense entries while outside the office and may be accessed via any device capable of running a browser, including smartphones and tablets. Future releases of both products will be integrated through a new product offering, CaseWare Collaborate, which will house all client and document information in a central location. Also, future releases will include dedicated user interfaces for smartphone and tablet devices to fully take advantage of this emerging technology.
In addition to the two native integrations, CaseWare Time also directly integrates with other CaseWare products. Tight integration with CaseWare Working Papers, which includes a document management solution, is present and allows for direct import and export of a variety of document types. Data may also be imported through Excel or ASCII formats.
CaseWare Time has traditional help options built into the system. Help may also be obtained through phone and email during normal support hours. Additionally, CaseWare provides a wide range of support tools through its website. A fully searchable online knowledgebase is available and is continually updated based on user feedback and questions. CaseWare also provides assistance through its QuickVids, which are brief tutorials on common tasks used throughout the system. CaseWare also relies on numerous social media outlets to gain feedback and offer support to its customers.
Updates to the system are typically done on an annual basis. However, update patches are made available if necessary. Any changes or enhancements made are fully detailed on the CaseWare website. Several tools are built into the system to aid smaller organizations that may not have dedicated IT professionals. Many of these tools are specifically related to the backup and maintenance of the SQL backend. These tools offer simple to use instructions to ensure the integrity of CaseWare Time is maintained properly.
SUMMARY & PRICING
CaseWare Time contains everything needed to efficiently track time and manage projects. Built with a Microsoft SQL backbone, CaseWare Time is fully scalable to meet the needs of sole practitioners as well as multi-location accounting firms. CaseWare Time is currently undergoing a product evolution process. Over the next 12-24 months, several additional modules and enhancements will be introduced, including a cloud based solution.
CaseWare considers customer service as a core strength and these future enhancements are a derivative of this. Pricing starts at $500 for a single user license, and $1,000 for up to 5 users. Additional users may be added for $175 per user. Annual renewals are 50% of the current license cost. Pricing includes all features as detailed in the article.
See inside July 2012
More Cloud is Good for Your Firm & Your Clients’ Businesses
The movement to the cloud has had many names over the past decade: Web 2.0, SaaS, web-based services, net-native programs, etc. But whatever you call it, the coming mass adoption of cloud-based business solutions will have the biggest effect on our work and business lives since computers themselves were first installed on desktops back in the 1980s.