The iPhone and iPod Touch are wonderful tools....and there are so MANY Apps! I'm a Blackberry user, but I have iPhone envy. It's the apps that I crave. But it's almost too much of good thing if you are a business user looking for things that can actually save you time. InfoWorld has come to the rescue with a wonderful interactive catalog of iPhone apps designed for the business professional. The list is categorized to make it even easier to find the apps that you want.
If you are a Timeslips Time & Billing user, you are probably familiar with the "Abbreviation" feature which allows you to type in a few letters and then expands to full phrases, sentences or paragraphs of text.
I've just come across another free tool that can be used with any software that requires text input, It's called Texter. It sits in your system tray for easy use. You define subsitutions or abbreviation "hot strings" that will be replaced with the larger string of text. One common example that they give on their website is email signatures. If you set up an abbreviation, "sig1", it will automatically be replaced with your full signature.
There are countless other uses. If you are like most people, you commonly use the same phrases over and over when you are answering emails. If you are a poor typist, hate to type or just want to save some time, Texter might be a good tool to add to your desktop arsenal.
Most of the time, I usually do a lot of shopping and ordering from on-line stores, but sometimes, I just need to see the product and try it out. So, once I've done my research on the Internet and find the product that I want to purchase, the next thing I do is hop in the car and run around town to see who has it in stock. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 stores before I find one that has what I want in stock. (Did you try to buy Wii Fit this past Christmas? I went to 7 stores before I found one that had it in stock).
Milo changes all that. Now, I can just enter in the name of the product that I want and put in my address or just City or just the zipcode. Milo has real-time access to most of the major stores inventory. Within seconds you will see which stores have the product you are looking for as well as their prices, saving you all that extra time in the car. You can even enter a fairly generic search like "laser printers" or a little more specific, like "HP Printers". The more vague the search, the longer the list. I find it most useful when I know exactly what I want.
LawBidding.com is a free service that allows you to bid on legal projects submitted by potential clients that need help. Once you find a case that you want to work on, just fill in the questionnaire. Potential clients review the bids and can then make a selection.
Keep in mind that this is a new, free service and does not have a large list of open projects. This will likely change as more clients and attorneys use the service. Right now, it doesn't cost anything and doesn't take up a lot of your time to try it out and who knows, you might be able to pick up a few small matters here and there.
Here's a quick tip for entering dates in Peachtree. Just press ALT+D at any time to jump to a Date field. If the date field says Aug 17, 2008 and you want to enter something for August 15, just type the number 15 in the field. If you want to create a date in March, say March 3, simply type 303 in the date field.
Have you ever received an Adobe form that does not have interactive fields? You may have opted to just print the form and then pick up a pen to fill it in. Adobe Acrobat actually has a built-in tool to allow you to type directly on the form. It's simple to use: Just open the PDF document, then click on the TOOLS option from the toolbar and select TYPEWRITER.
Position the cursor on the page where you want to type. It is presumably in a box or on a line. The mouse will turn into an I-beam. Type your text.
You can even reposition the text clicking on it with the Typewriter selection. It is also possible to resize the box by dragging on the "handles". If the box is too narow to accommodate the text, Acrobat will wrap it into multiple lines.
If you have been paying 8 cents a page and $2.40 a document to use the PACER system, you might want to consider RECAP, which is a plug-in for Firefox. It looks for free court documents in PACER searches so you can avoid the PACER document charge. Since court documents can't be copyrighted, this system should no cause any legal problems. I'd be interested to know what you readers think.
Timeslips has several easy ways for you to find your unbilled slips. One of the easiest methods is to use the Slip List Feature in Timeslips.
Select the Slip List option from the Navigator menu.
With the Slip List window open, you have several options of what you want to view. Here's what results the various "view by" selections will give you:
ID: View all unbilled slips in the database Date Range: View all slips for a specific date range Client: View all slips for a specific client Timekeeper: View all slips for a specific timekeeper
Once you've decided what slips you want to see, you need to further define your selection so that you will only see the unbilled slips.
Next, click on the Selection button. When the Slip Selection window opens, select the Slip Filter Group. Select Slip Billed and click on the No button.
After you click OK, you will see only the unbilled slips for the "View by" selection that you made earlier.
This is a handy tool for timekeepers who want to see if they entered all their billable time or for the bookkeeper or managing partner to see all the billable time for any given time period or for a specific client. It's quick and easy. You can further refine what you see by adding more criteria to the Slip Selection criteria.
The Security Settings in Timeslips do more than just allow you to assign a password to each of the users and limit the access to specific parts of the program. Today I just want to address some parts of the Security Settings that you might not be aware of. I'll cover the details of setting up security at another time.
You start by clicking on Setup and then selecting Securityfrom the main Timeslips toolbar. Next select the Global option. If you already have set up some type of security, you will be asked for the Supervisor password. After entering the password, the Global Security screen appears. This is generally the starting point for setting up security.
On this particular set up, the "Require login and activate security" has been checked. This generally means that access has been limited for some users of the program. When they login, those security settings will apply to that user. As you can see, it is not necessary to assign a password to users in order to limit the access of certain users, however, it is highly recommended that each user has a unique password if you are limiting the access of certain users. Otherwise, a user could have more system access simply by selecting a different login name.
The feature that has been added in the newer versions of Timeslips is the concept of Slip Approval. Once this is activated, you can require certain timekeepers to receive approval on each of their slips before they are approved. This can be handy for new users or in firms where a supervisor routinely reviews time entries before billing. Once you have checked this box, you can then set up the option in the Timekeepers screen:
Once the Security option has been set, you will see the "Needs Approval" section appearing at the bottom of each of the Timekeeper Information screens. Simply check this box if you want to review and approve this timekeepers slips before billing.
When that timekeeper enters slips, you will notice a Yellow circle will appear next to each slip with a "Pending" status. If you want to approve the slip, you may just double click on each of the yellow dots and change them to green or "Approved". Clicking on the stoplight icon will allow you to approve multiple slips at one time. You can also change the status to "Rejected", indicated by a red dot. When a slip is rejected, a small notepad appears where you can make a note to the timekeeper on why the slip was rejected.
When the timekeeper looks at his slip listing, he will see the red dot and be able to open the slip and review the slip notes that were left by the supervisor.
Proximiti has a rather unique automatic time-capture product called WorkTRAKR that will integrate with Timeslips. What makes this product special is that it works in the background. You make calls (on your smart phone or office phone) and send emails as you normally would. WorkTRAKR logs the time and then suggests a matter that can be associated with the contact. You can either accept its suggestion or change it. The more you use it, the better the suggestions. All the billable events can then be automatically downloaded to Timeslips. You also have the option of receiving daily, weekly or monthly reports. This is a subscription-based system. The price for 1-3 users is $29.95 per month/per user or $299 per year per user. There are also some other activation fees, based on how you are planning to use the program. They claim that this program will help users capture an additional 2.8 hours per month. Plus it significantly reduces adminstrative costs associated with making time entries into a billing program. They offer a 30-day trial for up to 10 users which allows you to try it out and determine if it would be a cost-effective investment. I'd like to hear from other users who may have tried this product or who are using other products that are similar.