Archive for Software

Software for Law Firms – Time Matters

If you have been following our series in Intuitive Accountant, our latest article has been posted. If you have identified your software needs to include billing and practice management, with QuickBooks for accounting, and you want powerful customization in your practice management, then you should consider Time Matters / Billing Matters from LexisNexis.

You can read this article at: Software for Law Firms – Time Matters

Amicus Attorney – Locked records

Do you use Amicus Attorney? Have you ever gotten a message that a record is locked? Perhaps you are trying to come back online. Or maybe you are trying to edit a File record. Whatever the cause, the message can be frustrating. The good news is, it is usually not hard to fix.

Whichever version you are using the first step is to get everyone out of Amicus Attorney. Once everyone is out log, have the person who experience the error go back in and see if the record is still locked. Assuming it is , here’s some simple instructions that will usually solve the problem.

If you are running Amicus Attorney Premium edition an administrator should login and go to Office – Firm Settings. Click on Utilities – in the Maintenance Section.
– Make a BACKUP. Make sure the backup path is set and click on Backup Now. When the backup is finished
– Look at the bottom section and next to Locked Records, click on Unlock All
Once it is finished, check if the problem is resolved. If not, please try to reboot the server. If that doesn’t work you will need to work with technical support or call us for help.

If you are running Amicus Attorney Small Firm Edition, open the Amicus Administrator.
– Click on Database – Backup to make a backup of your database. When the backup is finished
– Click on Users – Recovery Functions – Unlock All Data.

Once it is finished, check if the problem is resolved. If not, please try to reboot the server or the workstation running the Amicus Administrator. If that doesn’t work you will need to work with technical support or call us for help.

Reduce the Risk of Malpractice

Malpractice is most commonly associated with attorneys and is something all attorneys try to avoid. Malpractice can also impact other professional services practices. Whatever your professional – Practice Management software can help thereby saving you time and money.

Among law firms, a study in Canada showed a trend of more claims, more complex claims, rising defense costs and claims that are more costly to resolve. U.S. studies are likely showing the same thing.

Some of the biggest malpractice issues faced by the attorneys  are missing dates because the appointment wasn’t entered in the attorney’s calendar, a lack of communication with the client resulting in the attorney not having the information needed in a timely manner, and a perceived lack of responsiveness due to poor case management. These same factors probably apply to most professional services firms.

The effective use of Practice Management software can help you reduce your risks.

It is important to document your communications and client phone calls and emails. Attach emailed and scanned documents and messages directly to the case file for your own documentation purposes, as well as for quick reference as you manage the case. Monitor case development by using these features to keep an eye on what is going with a case. By using the specific features available in your software program this becomes easy so when the client calls you can respond quickly. Taking time to communicate case status or the effects of a settlement is important to client satisfaction and the reduction of complaints. With the use of your software you have the information to communicate case status and to document what you did.   If there is a complaint you have the documentation to show what you did and when. This type of information is often enough to smoothly resolve a complaint.

Time Management is making sure you don’t miss important dates and that you let the client know the dates. Whether you need to track court dates, statute of limitations dates or other  filing deadline,  Practice Management Software can help you avoid missing dates by showing you at a glance what’s due and when. Some programs have court rules programmed into them so you can put a start date and all deadlines will be “automatically” added to your calendar. With reminders you have time to prepare properly.   by synchronizing with your smart phone or tablet you can see your real time calendar and schedule while you are out of the office.  Setting court appointments while standing with the judge and opposing counsel will allow you to ascertain one another’s first availability for the next step in your case. You can schedule automatic reminders and confirmations so you know what’s going on on a daily/ weekly/ monthly basis.

Having all of the information in one place can help protect you – and your firm – from malpractice issues. As a side benefit, having all of your case information is located in one place lets you work more efficiently as you don’t have to spend time searching. This lets you do more work and/or leave the office earlier and enjoy life.

Amicus Attorney 2012

It’s that time of year again, and Gavel & Gown has just released the Amicus Attorney 2012 products, including Amicus Attorney Premium Edition 2012, Amicus Premium Billing 2012, Amicus Attorney Small Firm Edition 2012 and Amicus Small Firm Accounting 2012.

If you use Amicus Attorney Accounting it is important to note that the product has been renamed to Amicus Small Firm Accounting. If you are using Amicus Attorney Premium Edition you should be switching to Amicus Premium Billing. Amicus Premium Billing is tightly integrated into Amicus Attorney, making it an easy to use billing solution. However, Amicus Premium Billing does not have general ledger and accounting capabilities. To meet your accounting needs, Amicus Premium Billing links to QuickBooks. You can still meet your billing needs by linking either the Premium edition or the Small Firm Edition to other solutions, like Timeslips.

A big area of change for Amicus Attorney 2012 is in the area of document management. Both the Premium and Small Firm Edition offer a new Documents Module to make it easier for you to find your documents and work with them. In a single click, you can open, edit and print documents, add new documents and create time entries without having to open the file details. New filter capabilities allow you to filter by file type and to limit your view to active files. Gavel & Gown has also added the ability to search documents or files using full-text search or by document profile search.

If you do a lot of work with PDFs, you can save time using the new Amicus Tasks toolbar in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader. Similar to the Microsoft Office toolbar, this allows you to associate a PDF with files, view related file details or send a PDF as an email attachment to your Amicus contacts.

In a firm with lots of files, you can now save time in finding just those you are working on by designating files as favorites and filtering the file index to show only your favorites.

For those that are frequently out of the office but need to be notified of new phone messages, Amicus now has the ability to send phone messages by email. You can also create customizable email messages to your contacts and automatically merge in information from Amicus.

While there are many other new features for all users of Amicus Attorney here are a few more highlights:

  • Faster Access to Events details via File name hyperlinks
  • Keep up with client referrals with a new field in Client contacts
  • New preferences allow better tracking of return phone calls

One thing to note:  If you are still using a Palm OS device, that connectivity for these devices has been discontinued.

If you are using Amicus Attorney Premium Edition, there are additional new features:

  • Amicus will forward your daily agenda via email
  • Enhancements to billing include faster performance, better functionality “at a glance” file values and an improved QuickBooks link
  • Simplified licensing procedures

You can visit the Amicus Attorney website (www.amicusattorney.com) to learn more about What’s New in Amicus 2012 as compared to your version or call us at 203-254-7736 to discuss the options for upgrading.

Amicus Attorney Tip – Automatically Associate Firm Members with Events

Are you always creating appointments and tasks for files or certain members within your firm? You can set Amicus (Premium or Small Firm Edition) to automatically designate one or more firm members to be associated with your Events. Simply designate the selected individual(s) in your Calendar Preferences and they will be automatically assigned to new appointments or tasks created by you.
In Amicus Attorney Premium edition, the Default Assignments section also allows you to select one or more client files as well – helpful if you are working on a particular case for an extended period of time.
Using default assignment preferences lets you save time on data entry and avoid costly calendaring mistakes. This also works for new files and contacts.

In Amicus Attorney Premium Edition go to Office – Preferences – Calendar – New Entries and change the Default Assignment by clicking on the Person image. Then click OK.

If you are using Amicus Attorney Small Firm edition go to File – Preferences – Calendar and change the default assignment. Then click OK.

Peachtree 2012 Update

Spending money on upgrades is rarely the first choice of a firm, but running an older unsupported version or getting new hardware often means looking at updates. When there are new features that can benefit your business, the upgrade becomes appealing.

Sage Software has recently released a new version of Peachtree software.

Peachtree 2012 was designed to make increase productivity by making it easier for you to find the information you need and to resolve issues when they occur.

While Peachtree has long had the ability to memorize invoices or setup recurring transactions, this requires advanced planning and may be more complex than your firm needs. The new ability to copy previous transactions can substantially save time and reduce errors.

Previous versions of Peachtree added the customer management center to allow you to quickly find customer information and improved customer relationship management. Peachtree v2012 takes this the new step and offers the same benefits to vendor management with the addition of a vendor management center. You can quickly find responses to vendor questions and identify relationships where volume might allow you to negotiate savings.  There’s also a new inventory and services management center to provide the information you need to evaluate your business more quickly.

For new users, or those moving into a new area of the program, the Sage Advisor can help you with learning in a friendly, available when you need it environment.

In developing Peachtree v2012 the developers went an extra step to help you keep Peachtree up and running. The new system check feature helps with preventative maintenance and, when errors do occur help is more readily available.

With the use of dashboards users and management can customize the system to show the information critical to them. By adding on Sage Peachtree Business Intelligence users now have the ability to customize real-time data with Microsoft Excel based business reports.

Expanded Payroll Features improved transparency, including the 2010 Health Care Act.

The decision to upgrade to a new version of Peachtree is one best made by the users. We, at Time & Cents Consultants, recommend that our clients be on a supported version. While the definition varies by vendor, it is generally defined as the three most recent versions. With new computers running Windows 7, Office 2010 and new versions of Adobe, upgrading your business applications may make sense.

If you choose not to upgrade at this time, Time & Cents Consultants will be happy to continue to help you for as long as we are able!