Don’t let the pain of time tracking stop you from realizing the work you do! Watch this free 20 minute webinar to maximize your time tracking and efficiency inside OfficeTools .

 

About Free Training Thursday: Since the start of 2017, we have been holding these free 20 minute trainings hosted by our industry-leading experts and innovators who will teach you about AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, ResultsCRM, OfficeTools, Abacus Private Cloud, and more. If you would like to request a topic, please email webinars@abacusnext.com.

Alright, guys. Welcome to Free Training Thursdays. The week is almost over. One more week through tax season here. For those of you guys who are in the accounting industry, congratulations. You're almost there.

Today our topic is tracking time with timecards. We're going to be discussing that specific method of time entry, getting guys up-to-speed with how that interacts with the program, how you're going to end up accessing timecards, and that type of thing.

When it boils down, time tracking for a lot of people is an imperative piece of the puzzle when it comes to making sure that staff time is being utilized appropriately. Maybe flat rates are being given out correctly. That type of thing is derived from the amount of time that's being tracked, so it is very important in a lot of instances that you guys understand how the different methods of time entry can coexist and get you some reportability and that type of thing. That's going to be what our topic is today.

We're going to move through here real quick through this slide show. Here are a couple of the points that we're going to be talking about. The context of timecards. What does that actually mean inside of the program? Come to method number one, how to access timecards, manual creation. Method number two: automatic creation. Global timecard options, some staff-specific timecard options, various autofill settings that I wanted you guys to be aware of. Then ultimately, once you're using timecards, where do they go and how do you access them? That's our agenda for today as far as the topics that we're going to be covering, getting you guys up-to-speed on that type of stuff.

Once this session is over, if you guys have any questions or need anything, here are a couple of links, webinars, how to access them, how to access support, abacusnext.com/support, for any questions that you have or if you need additional training. Then if you want to know about upcoming webinars, abacusnext.com/webinars. Keep those in mind, jot those down, make sure that you guys have those on hand in case you guys want to follow up this Free Training Thursday.

Another thing I want to bring to your guys' attention, just so that you guys know about it and that it's in front of you, we are holding our conference, Abacus Maximus, and I want you guys to be aware of that because it does allow you guys, if you wanted to, come learn about OfficeTools a little bit more, learn about what we provide, and also learn about Abacus as a whole. This include keynotes, trainings, breakout tracks, and just so you guys can see there, there's an evening event July 9th, then the actual conferences. From the 10th to the 11th, there is available CPE. You guys can go check out all of the exhibitors that we have if you are interested in that, a couple of the special things that are happening during the event.

These tickets are on sale now, so right now there's probably early-bird specials going on. That price will reflect that. As we get closer and closer, that price goes up, so if you're interested in getting in there and actually attending this conference, you can visit abacusmaximus.com and that's going to be, again, July 9th through the 11th. Take a look at that.

Even if you think you're busy or whatever, just take a look and see what it has to offer, see if there's a way that you guys can fit that into your schedule. From a training perspective, it's jam-packed full of information on OfficeTools, specifically, while also allowing you guys to get in and learn a little bit more about some of the leading ideas in the industry. If you're interested, take a look at that, abacusmaximus.com, again for the actual website. If you have some time, take a look at that.

Without further ado, we're going to jump into the actual presentation here on timecards. What timecards are inside of OfficeTools is your ability to track time. It is one of three methods of time entry. If you guys have attended previous webinars, you probably have seen the, "How to Track Time Using Timers" webinar. There are different methods of tracking time within our program and they all have their purpose, they all have their time, but understand that while timecards are going to play a very important role in how you track time, it is not the only way to go about it.

If some of your office are timer-minded people, they like to start and stop a running clock, then have them check out timers. If you want to do something where you, when you're done with a job or when you pause working on something, you want to track a timecard, that's what we're going to show you today. Then there's also another method of actually tracking time directly on your time sheet. That's more of a manual entry.

Understand in the long run that timecards, while very important, and you'll probably use them pretty frequently, they are not the only method of time entry. Just wanted you guys to be aware of that.

A couple of housekeeping things, when it comes to time tracking in general, what you guys want to make sure of before you try to dive into actually tracking time is that you've addressed some of the backend setup options like work codes, billing rates. Those types of things make time tracking actually useful. If you don't have the appropriate buckets to put your time into, aka work codes, or you don't have appropriate billing rates to translate to your billing system, then your time entry is going to end up being pointless. When it really boils down, what you want to do is make sure that you go in before you dive into time tracking thoroughly and make sure to address those setup options.

Those two things can be accessed under the setup menu here. If you guys head down to billing, you have your work codes and your billing rates right here. These are going to be, again, the foundational points of actually tracking time within OfficeTools.

You want to make sure that, again, you guys address those. If you guys ever get new staff members or you want to add new codes, then you have to make sure that these pieces are in place before the time tracking actually begins. Just keep that in mind where those are located and that those are pivotal points to actual time entry.

Now, when it really boils down, guys, remember how we were talking about a couple seconds ago here different methods of time entry, timers, which again, if you want more information on that, just let us know, but timers are considered the most accurate method of time entry if you guys can actually use timers appropriately. If you can start and stop it every time you switch gears or anything like that, then your timer method will end up being the most accurate method of time entry.

Most of the time, especially in the accounting industry, which is what we're well-versed in, that's going to be a little bit difficult to do. You guys are going to be up and moving. Someone is going to come in and interrupt you. You're going to forget that that timer is running. In the end, you might have to adjust that timer later on. While it can be most accurate, it definitely also can be not very accurate if all goes south. Just understand timers can be defined as your most accurate method.

Timecards, on the other hand, can be defined as the best practice. When we actually jump into time entry in OfficeTools, what we're going to recommend that you do a large majority of the time is utilize the timecard methodology. While there are other methods, the timecard entry is actually considered the best practice because of how OfficeTools flows through the program itself. I'll show you a little bit about that while we go through here. But just when you're jotting down notes, if you're listening, and you want to take some information back with you to implement, timecards are considered the best practice.

The last method of time entry, time sheet, directly on the time sheet itself, that's considered the easiest, the most direct version of time entry. It's a manual entry. You just keep your time indirectly. Your timers are your technical, most accurate. Timecards are what we consider best practice. Your time sheet would be the quickest, direct method of time entry.

With that being said, timecards being the best practice, how do we access timecards? There are two different methods to actually get a timecard up on your window and utilize it to track time. The first method is a manual creation. What I mean by that is you actually go in and trigger a timecard to come up on your screen.

That can happen in a couple different ways. First and foremost, if you guys go to your notes tab, or your to-dos tab, you guys should see that you have a button that looks like this. It has a clock and a little paper behind that clock. You can see it says, "Create timecard."

Now, if you read through that, you can see that it says to create the timecard, based on the details of the currently-selected task that you're on. If you're on the to-do section, you create a timecard, it's creating that timecard for that to-do. If you're on the calls, it's creating a timecard for that call. You're already client-specific because you have that client selected over here and you're already task-specific because you have that tab selected. Just understand that this generates a timecard that's specific to this client and specific to the task on screen.

If we go in and we create our timecard here, this is what a timecard actually looks like. It has various fields and these fields can change a little bit and I'll show you how to address that, but ultimately what it's going to ask you is the staff member, a start and end time, the date, total amount of hours tracked, a work code, a project, and notes.

One major thing I want to bring your attention to here is that it does ask, or it has a checkbox for billable, and technically you can check that, but for you and all of your staff members, I would highly recommend that you don't touch that box. Based on the work code that you choose right beneath that box, that will actually determine and check that box appropriately. If you choose the billable work code, your time, your billable box there will automatically be marked as billable. You don't have to do these things manually. But this is effectively what a timecard looks like.

Now, part of our training today is going to be talking about how to get a lot of this to autofill because what we don't want you to do is spend more time filling in your timecard than actually doing the work. We're going to talk about some ways to get a lot of this automatically filled in, which is understand that to get that timecard to pop up, method number one, this is one way of doing that, by clicking on that timecard button in the toolbar.

Also, if we have an item on our activity list down at the bottom, so we're going to go ahead and set this to show up today, we've got it all good in there. Save that. I'm going to go to Brandon's list and here's a task that shows up on our activity list. Here's actually the right task.

On top of creating a timecard by clicking on the timecard button, you can also right-click on the task down at the bottom. What's cool about this is you have a few different options that we'll talk about in conjunction with timecards. You have complete. You have complete without timecard. You have create timecard. You have create and go to the timecard.

A lot of times, people don't really know what all of these mean and how they are going to interact with each other, but we're going to talk about that a little bit. The complete option up here at the time works exactly the same as if you checked it off your list or if you checked it off completely in the actual task itself. What that will do is complete the item, remove it from your activity list, and then pop up a timecard on the screen for you. It kind of does a couple things all at once and that's what complete does.

If I hit complete, you'll notice that that task removed off of my activity list down here at the bottom and it pulled open that timecard with some information prefilled for me. That's what complete does down there when you right-click on your activity list.

Now, complete without timecard, this is really important to understand. Although it's not directly associated with tracking time via a timecard, it is important. If you track time on an item that was tracked, maybe via the timer, or if you just manually entered your time on your time sheet, then what you can do is complete that task without popping up on the timecard. Because what a lot of people end up doing on accident is tracking their time via a timer, completing the task, having a timecard pop up, and then tracking their time again. You've got to be aware of that.

There is a possibility there if you're using different methods of time entry that you may be tricked into tracking time again on a timecard. Just keep that in mind. Preaddress it. If you wanted to complete that without popping a timecard up, you can just right-click on it complete without timecard. Although not tracking time with timecards, how to avoid duplicating time using a timecard. That's what that item means.

Create timecard. This create timecard option is the same as if you hit this button up here in the toolbar. What this is going to do is pop up a timecard, but not complete the task. The task will remain. If you worked on it for a couple hours, it's time to go home, but you've got to come back in tomorrow and wrap the task up, you want to create a timecard from that task, but not remove it from your activity list. In order to do that, you just hit that option there that says, "Create timecard." Again, that will pop open the timecard window, but it will not remove the task from your activity list. A couple of tricks there.

Then the last option in the right-click menu we want to talk about there is create and go to. This is a little tricky, guys. Most of the time, you're not going to need to do this, but if you go to create, and we'll put a work code in here, what it's actually going to do, you'll notice, is it takes you to the time tab once you get through the prompts. We hit create and go to. It popped up the timecard. We filled in our information and actually it sent us to where that timecard is on your time sheet. It navigates you automatically to the time tab.

Again, I don't know how often you might use that or how useful it will be for you specifically, but if you ever just wanted to go directly to the day that you tracked that time on your time sheet itself, you can always do that. Keep that in mind. To create and go to pops up that same timecard window. You fill it out. Move on to the time tab. That's effectively what it does. Again, if you right-click on that task, create and go to, it takes you from where you were on the to-dos tab and actually adjusts you over to the time tab.

Now, one key thing to remember about that is that it still does not complete the task. That task is still sitting down here at the bottom and it's available for you to continue working on later. Create and go to is not a completion.

Those are some of the manual methods of actually pulling a timecard up on your window. You have your button in the toolbar. Create timecard. You can right-click on your task. Complete it, which will create a timecard and it will remove the item off of your list. You can create a timecard, which will just pop up a timecard, but not complete the task. Then create and go to, which will do the same as create timecard: pop up a timecard on your list, not complete your task, but it will also navigate you to the time tab itself.

Those are the manual entries of time cards. In the grand scheme of things, if you needed to just get a quick time entry, you wanted to pull it up on, create it manually, those are the methods that you would use. But in most cases what we're going to say is that you don't want to do those. Here's the reason why and this jumps us into method number two, which is auto-creation of timecards.

How do you get a timecard to automatically create? There's really only two ways, really only two ways. Number one is just by checking the item off as completed in the task itself. If you complete that task ... And it just so happens that that didn't pop up a timecard that time, so excuse me. Normally, what will happen when you complete a task is it will pop up a timecard just like that. Whether you complete it from within the task itself or you complete it from the activity list, those are the two methods. When we get into our settings, we'll adjust what was needed there.

Check the item off of your list as being completed using your little check mark on the activity list. That pops up your create time card option. It's the same as if you clicked here. It's the same as if you right-clicked and hit create timecard. It's the exactly same thing. The only difference is that you also completed ahead of time, which if you're not in the practice of doing, you need to be.

If you didn't attend the activity list webinar, I highly recommend that you get access to that because your activity list is your lifeline of your entire firm. If you're not completing tasks off of your list, then you are not managing the OfficeTools program well.

By completing the tasks, which you should be doing anyway, you will also get the ability to track time. Same exact thing. You can put in a start and end time. You can put in total hours. You choose your work code. You choose your project that's applicable. You go ahead and pop in some notes.

That's your automatic creation. That should be what you guys actually have popping up a majority of the time. You will use a combination of the automatic creation, which happens when you complete a task, and when you right-click on a task and create timecard.

Those two should be what you use most frequently because you're either going to be done with the task or you're going to not be done with the task. If you're done, you check it off your list. Timecard pops up. If you're not done and you need to track some time, then you right-click create timecard.

But all in all, different methods of creating timecards. That's really what you have. You have your automatic creation, which happens from completing a task off of your activity list. Then you have your manual creation in the various methods that we've covered up to this point.

Now that we know how to create a timecard and we understand that there are different methods, how do we get to the point where our timecards that are popping up have as much information filled in as possible? There are a lot of things to keep in mind here. In the long run, a lot of this should be set up globally, so that's going to be where we talk about first is our global timecard options.

First and foremost, if you guys go to setup, and you go to my company, and then you go to information and settings, this is how you access your global options. You go down to this option here that says, "Payroll and time."

There's a couple things I want to bring up. Obviously, fill in your payroll stuff. That doesn't really have anything to do with time tracking, more just time reporting. Make sure all that is filled in correctly.

But if we jump over to time settings, there's something very specific here that I want to bring up. That is right here where it says, "Actual time rounding," and, "Billable time rounding." Although not directly associated with timecards specifically, and just all methods of time entry, this is really important. We've been getting a lot of questions about this recently. I want to bring your guys' attention to this.

In OfficeTools, you actually have the capability of tracking your actual time, which obviously then, if it's billable, translates into billable time. However, those can actually be set to round in different increments. Your actual time can be set one way. When it shows up in the billing screen, it can show up a different way.

Your actual time will never change, right? If you track an hour, it's always going to show that you tracked an hour. But in the billable section, you can have it set to round to a specific interval. If you wanted, always wanted inside of OfficeTools every single entry that you have to be in 15-minute increments, then you can set your billable time to round to 15-minute increments. But in OfficeTools, your actual time can still exist to the 1/100. It does not have to be in a 15-minute increment. It could exist out to the 1/100. Because you technically don't want to pay your employees for more time than what they've actually worked. That's why typically actual time is either set to do not round at all or round to the 1/100.

But I just wanted you to be aware of that because as you're keying in time, some people look at their time sheet, look at their actual, look at their billable, and their billable time is actually set as more than what your actual time is set as. That can happen depending upon these settings. I just wanted to bring your guys' attention to that.

The next option over here on the other settings is really what we want to focus on here. It says, "Allow automatic timecard creation when completing a," and it gives you all the different tasks. These are allowing these specific items to have timecards that are created for them automatically. If you remember, when we checked this task off of our list at the bottom, the timecard popped up. We control which tasks actually have that option.

Remember that this is a global option. You're setting the opportunity for this to actually happen. If you, as a firm, do not want time to be tracked for reviews automatically, you can turn that off. No staff member will then be able to turn it on. These are your global options that control which tasks allow automatic timecard creation. Keep that in mind.

Your individualized time settings, your staff-specific options, can be accessed under setup, down to my settings, and here's your options here. Same type of thing down here at the bottom left, you can see, "Auto-create timecards for," and then all the same types of check boxes. Now, you'll notice that notes are grayed out and you can't check it. That's because in your global options, which we just visited, you'll remember that the notes box was not checked, meaning that globally we've turned off the capability for notes to have a timecard automatically pop up.

But if I as a staff member know that I'm going to track my time for calls using a timer, I can turn off the auto-create timecards for calls specifically. That way when I complete the call off of my list, I don't get a timecard that pops up because I know that I already checked that time in the timer window. That's how you can utilize this to make sure that you're being effective in time tracking.

By-the-way, guys, we have about five minutes left, so if you have any questions, feel free to just type them in there. If I see some pop up, I'll go ahead and address them. If you have questions that you want us to talk about something specific for your firm, please email us at training@officetools.com, training@officetools.com. That comes to us as a department and we'll be more than happy to address those.

Now, some of the autofill settings I want to bring up to you include default work codes. The default work codes are going to be helpful when you guys are going through your day-to-day. It will allow you to get some information just filling into your time entries automatically without you having to pick the same work code 100 times a day. You can see that under the same options for my settings. They're located right here.

These are staff-specific still, meaning that when Brandon logs in, Brandon plugs in his own default values here. If somebody else logs in, they will plug in their default values. If I know for a fact that the work code that I use almost every single day is going to be bookkeeping, that can populate that in there. If my to-dos that I do tend to go towards payroll, then I can put that in there, payroll processing or whatever it might be. If my phone calls tend to have to do with tax returns, then I can fill that in, and so on and so forth down the line. Then anytime any of these pop up, it's going to pick the appropriate default code in there.

Again, just keep that in mind. To make your time tracking efficient, which is a lot of people's worry in new programs, or programs they haven't tracked time in before, or people who are coming from not tracking time really at all, efficiency is a big key and these items help with that efficiency. Making sure that information is filling in automatically is going to be important in the long run.

Last, but not least, to wrap this up, where do your timecards actually end up? Alright, so you popped up a timecard. You filled it out. What happens to it? Where does it go? That's what we're going to wrap up today's session with.

All methods of time entry, including timers, definitely timecards, and manual entry onto your time sheet, they actually all accumulate on your time sheet. If you go to the time tab here, if you remember when we hit this right-click option and we went to create and go to timecard here, it took us to the time tab. The time tab itself is where all of your time accumulates. If you create timecards, they actually go to your time sheet.

If you don't know already, this is a staff-specific, that's the person logged in there, daily time sheet. Each of your days is located over here and they're broken out so you're only viewing time entered on a daily basis. That way you can make sure that you have an appropriate amount of time tracked.

That's, all in all, how you guys are going to be tracking time, utilizing timecards. From creation, different methods, how in context time is tracked in the OfficeTools, all the way through some of your default and autofill options, and getting to where the time is actually housed, which is here on your time sheet. That should get you to a point where you can track time effectively utilizing timecards.

Thank you, guys, very much for attending today's Free Training Thursday. Definitely go to abacusnext.com/webinars. Take a look at the upcoming schedule. Sign up for anything that sticks out.

Visit abacusmaximus.com. Take a look at the agenda there. See if there's anything that appeals to you guys. I highly recommend from a training perspective you guys get there. Learn from us, learn from other users, and see what that has to offer. I'm signing off for today, so thanks again, guys, and hopefully we see you guys next week.

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