Automated timesheets for professional services
Recording billable hours accurately is critical for professional service providers like consultants, accountants, and lawyers. Cowell Clarke, a global commercial law specialist, recognised the need for an automated, easy-to-use, efficient, and simple time-tracking application to free their people from the burden of manual timekeeping.
This need led to the development of Mitimes, an automated timesheet recording tool that allows employees to focus more on their clients and less time on manual data entry. Founded by legal professionals Robert Comazzetto Managing Director and John Goldberg Consultant from Cowell Clarke, Mitimes integrates with the practice management system and creates automated timesheets based on the hours lawyers spend with clients.
"For accountants, consultants, lawyers, and any firm which record everything they are entitled to bill, time capture is a very critical workflow. Finding a way to automate this process and remove as many manual obstacles as possible associated with it by using technology is what we do at Mitimes," said Kirsten Rillo, Mitimes CEO.
Rising business demands and the need for application integration
As a member of the global legal network ALFA International®, Cowell Clarke supports clients with international businesses virtually from anywhere, which means communicating via different systems such as office desk phones, laptops, tablets, softphones (VoIP), and smartphones.
Ensuring seamless integration of Mitimes with all of these devices was crucial for the business to move away from complex, manual, and traditional time recording and billing.
"Mitimes is an application that captures and prepopulates timesheets for professionals. To do that, we needed to integrate the application with our PABX system and other office devices used. However, with the increased usage of mobile phones, we needed a solution that could integrate our application with mobile phones too so that we don’t miss out on anything they do. This was business-critical; every second counts as our legal firm clients work to honour their client commitments with accurate and transparent invoices,” said Kirsten.
Liberating lawyers from manual time tracking
"We wanted Mitimes to be associated with a trustworthy and reliable brand as legal and accounting services are very risk-averse with significant security concerns, and Telstra is a trusted brand. From product and software development to technology perspective, Telstra is next to none," said Kirsten.
Cowell Clarke implemented Telstra Liberate, which allowed them to start using the best features of their desk phones across their mobiles. By integrating Telstra Liberate, with Mitimes, Cowell Clarke was also able to automate time logging across mobile devices, which the lawyers could then verify as billable or non-billable time for accurate billing.
Mitimes and Telstra Liberate helped the lawyers focus on clients’ commitments with lesser interruptions as they no longer had to track the time spent with their clients on calls and mails manually.
“Using automated timesheets, businesses can capture on average, 30 minutes additional time per day per professional. If we estimate, that 50 % of the additional time is able to be recovered across a 30-fee earner firm, that is, approximately 1750 additional billable hours, which on average, equates to around $ 500,000 additional revenue per annum for a firm.”
By enabling lawyers to use the corporate fixed-line number on calls from their mobiles, Telstra Liberate also helps protect lawyers' privacy. When a lawyer calls a client directly from their mobile phone, they can opt to show their main office number or direct line instead of the mobile number.
“Letting lawyers focus on clients instead of timekeeping and connecting clients with the right lawyers is the responsibility of the firm, which is now possible, thanks to Mitimes and Telstra Liberate. Lawyers, too, need their privacy. They prefer not to share personal information, including their mobile number with their clients, to minimise the chances of them receiving business calls outside their working hours,” added Kirsten.
Integration improving profitability and productivity
Enterprise application integration of Mitimes and Telstra Liberate helped Cowell Clarke improve their flexibility, productivity, and profitability.
“Enabling Telstra Liberate on the devices was fairly easy through the self-managed portal, as was adding users,” claimed Kirsten. “Mitimes and Telstra Liberate with Telstra eSIM works great for firms as it supports using a second corporate number from the same device along with their mobile number. For a firm with a small team, Telstra Liberate offers a more professional outlook with a corporate landline number.”
Critical outcomes achieved for Cowell Clarke include:
- Increased productivity and profitability as the integration empowers the lawyers to support the clients rather than tracking time. The integration also auto-captures appointments, emails, phone, and video calls, which helps to reduce leakage and increase revenue.
- Better user experience and flexibility without manual timekeeping. Billable activities can be verified with few clicks.
- A cost-effective and scalable solution as they can activate new or deactivate existing mobile numbers when a person joins or leaves the firm.
- Reduced complexity and more visibility for the clients as the solution helps provide transparent invoices, including time spent, cost breakdown, call logs, and channel details.
“We are now able to expand Mitimes beyond legal and accounting services to any professional consulting firms who might need to record time every day. We can address about 60% of the Australian professional timekeeping services market. With the help of Telstra Liberate, we can add significant value to also capture mobile calls,” said Kirsten.