Archive for Practice Management – Page 3

Should I switch from Amicus Small Firm?

If you are currently using Amicus Small Firm edition perhaps it is time to think about a change. I am not suggesting you get rid of Amicus! What I am suggesting is a platform change.
Gavel & Gown has three practice management offerings – Amicus Small Firm, Amicus Premium and Amicus Cloud. While support for Amicus Small Firm is not going away, it’s not getting much in the way of new features and functions. All of that is going to Amicus Cloud and Amicus Premium.

So first you should decide if the time to move to the cloud is now. The transition from Amicus Small Firm to Amicus Cloud is relatively easy. In addition to the features you know and love you will get billing, exchange integration, much improved precedents and powerful document assembly capability. Plus with Amicus Cloud you never have to worry about backups or upgrades, they are all taken care of in a secure environment.

But not everyone wants to go cloud. For those who prefer to stay on the desktop you should look at Amicus Premium. Amicus Premium offers improved communication internally and externally. First there’s the client portal. This offers secure document sharing with your clients. If you are currently using Dropbox or a similar service to share you might want to read the license agreement. Client portal is easy to use and portrays the professional image your firm wants their clients to see. If you do want to keep using Dropbox, Amicus Premium offers integration.

Amicus Premium also offers improved integration with Exchange so that your calendar and contacts are always in sync with your devices. There is also an option for automatic synchronization of calendar and contacts with Google.

Granular security insures that everyone can do their job but data is protected where appropriate. You can keep users from seeing data they shouldn’t see or changing data.
With AmicusAnywhere (part of Amicus Premium with a maintenance plan) you have access to most of your data from anywhere that you have Internet access. This gives you cloud capabilities while maintaining the desktop environment. You can also easily enter your time from anywhere you have Internet access with AmicusTimeTracker. No more excuse for forgetting the time. But just in case, there’s Time capture to review what you’ve done that has not yet been billed.

Amicus Premium offers unlimited custom fields. Because it is SQL based you can use SQL Reporting Services to create all kinds of reports. There’s also Amicus Premium Billing for tightly integrated billing and integration with QuickBooks.

You’ll be pleased by how comfortable you will be in Amicus Premium. It is the same structure and approach to practice management as the Small Firm Edition, with a similar workflow and interface. There’s also a cleaner, more modern interface available.

If you’re thinking it’s time for an upgrade we can help you decide what’s right for you and thenhelp you get there.

Note: AmicusAnywhere, TimeTracker and Client Portal require an active maintenance plan.

Do you need a Client Portal?

What is a client portal and why do you care? Is is worth upgrading your software for this feature?

Read our article in the Intuitive Accountant “Client Portals are the rage, but are they right for you?

Remote access

Do you need to access clients computers in a secure manner? Do you give presentations remotely or provide remote training? There are lots of tools available to help with this.

First you need to determine your specific needs. This will help you identify the best solution. How many computers do you need to access? Is access one at a time? Do you need to be able to access without someone at the computer? Do you need to be able to show your screen or to control the client workstation? What operating systems are involved on both sides?

Many accountants using QuickBooks have long benefited from a limited webex access that was part of QuickBooks Accountants edition. That is going away so many accountants are looking at alternatives.

Consultants, Lawyers, and other professionals often have remote access needs for presentations, discussions or reviews. In this Intuitive Accountant article read about a few of the many options that exist.

Synching with Google

Do you sync an application like Amicus Attorney with Google? Gavel & Gown published the following information today regarding the link. This impacts anyone who syncs Amicus Attorney calendars and contacts with Google. it may also impact those who sync other applications with Google. Thank you to Gavel & Gown for the pro-active information. If this impacts you, please work with your consultant or your software vendor to determine how to proceed.

THIS MESSAGE IS IMPORTANT TO ALL THOSE WHO SYNCHRONIZE THEIR GOOGLE CALENDAR WITH AMICUS ATTORNEY PREMIUM.

The Google Calendar synchronization with Amicus Attorney Premium has been interrupted by Google cutting off the “API” that it uses. The synchronization of Calendar items between Amicus and Google stopped functioning on November 17, 2014.

What’s an API? An “API” is a programming term meaning a set of routines, protocols and tools used in software to control operations, connections, etc. Software companies release their API publicly so other software developers can design their own products to use those APIs in connecting to their software. Most APIs are maintained for many years for purposes of backward compatibility, but Google has initiated a “deprecation policy” whereby its APIs are completely replaced, apparently annually on a go-forward basis.

What does this mean to you if you currently use the Google Calendar sync feature in Amicus? You should not rely on your Google and Amicus Calendars being automatically synchronized for any items entered on or after November 17th, 2014. Appointments entered or changed in Amicus will not be reflected in Google, and vice versa. This also means that any appointments entered into Google through a smartphone or tablet after the 17th will not be reflected in Amicus.

What are my alternatives for Calendar synchronization? Amicus Attorney Premium features a Contacts and Calendar link with Microsoft Outlook on your desktop. You may be able to connect your Outlook to Google, and Amicus to Outlook (see below), and then maintain a connection, as Amicus would then be connecting to Google through Outlook. Alternatively, you may consider switching from Google to Microsoft Exchange, which in our opinion provides a superior experience in virtually all respects. Amicus Attorney Premium 2014 has a superb and reliable link with Exchange.

(If you use Google Apps for Work, Education or Government you may be able to synchronize your Google Contacts and Calendar items with Microsoft Outlook using Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook. For more information see https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gappssync. Note Google has not indicated how long it will support the Google Apps Sync for those customers and this sync is no longer supported for other customers.)

If you do not wish to use Outlook or Exchange synchronization, then in the short term calendar items must be entered separately and manually in Google and Amicus.

Is the synchronization of Google Contacts affected right now as well? No. But Google’s deprecation policy will affect the synchronization routines of your Google Contacts after April 2015.

Is Amicus the only product having this issue? No – almost everyone is. Practice management software companies and others synching with Google Calendar are alerting their customers and scrambling to make changes to adapt to what has happened.

When will Amicus Attorney Premium be able to connect directly to Google again? The changes Google has imposed are significant and will require major development effort. Amicus Attorney Premium 2015 will support the new Google APIs for both Calendar and Contacts. This will be available in a matter of weeks – early January 2015.

Google’s decision to adopt a one-year policy for the life-span of some of its APIs leaves us as a software developer in a difficult position. We will maintain support for synchronizing Google Contacts and Calendar with each new release of Amicus Attorney Premium. If you rely on Google Calendar or Contacts and want them synchronized with Amicus, your best option going forward will be a maintenance subscription, so that you can always have the latest version of Amicus using the newest Google APIs.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. We would be happy to discuss with you more details of what Google has done – just call Amicus Support at 1-800-472-2289.

Dashboards – Why we need them!

Dashboards in the car tell you lots of information. Now software is talking about dashboards. Should you care?
Read my latest Intuitive Accountant article at Dashboards – Why we need them

Amicus Attorney 2014

Today Gavel & Gown announced the release of Amicus Attorney 2014. We will provide an article with details on new features in the near feature but here’s an excerpt from the press release:

“Amicus Attorney 2014 has just been released. It comes with a host of substantial new capabilities to help lawyers practice law, with a special emphasis on mobility and workflow. Notable is the new capability of accessing all your documents -anywhere – with a web browser. Your documents are secure at your office on your server, but you can get to any of them with an iPad and Amicus! So you will never get stuck without an important document again. Or if you use Dropbox®, Amicus now has a transparent integration, offering another way to flexibly have access to your documents wherever you are. More mobility has been added with integration at the server level with Microsoft Exchange, meaning that lawyers are always seeing up-to-date, real time information from their Outlook Calendar, Contacts and Tasks, regardless of location or device. The Google® sync has been enhanced to provide the same capabilities for those who use Google apps.

The Billing component of Amicus has also been expanded in 2014, and now lets lawyers email multiple bills to clients in a single billing run, so bills get in the hands of clients sooner and lawyers can get paid faster for the work they do. These are just a few of the many powerful features that were added to Amicus Attorney Premium 2014.

You can learn more at www.amicusattorney.com.

If you are on a maintenance plan, the new version of Amicus Attorney is included as part of your maintenance subscription. If you have questions about the new version, or about Amicus Attorney, billing or practice management, please contact us at 203-254-7736.