Practice CS: Using Timers

Alerts and notices

Practice CS provides timers that enable you to automatically keep track of the amount of time you are spending performing a specific job or task. This topic describes the two types of timers available in Practice CS and how to effectively use them.

Time Entry Inline Timer

The Inline Timer is used when the activity you are performing is not directly related to a project, task, or phone call. You can use the Inline Timer for any of these activities if you choose, though the Desktop Timer, described below, may be the preferable type of timer to use.

The Inline Timer is found on each time entry transaction. It initially appears as a green triangular arrow . Click the green arrow to start the timer. The button changes to a red square . Click the red square to stop the timer. The elapsed time between when you clicked the Start button and subsequently clicked the Stop button will be automatically entered into the Hours field.

You can start and stop the timer on the same transaction as many times as you wish. Each time you start and stop the timer, Practice CS records the date, the start time, the end time, and the elapsed time for the segment (starting and stopping the timer). Also shown is the total time accumulated by the timer.

Notes

  • The time entered into the Hours field by the timer may be rounded according to the settings in Time & Expense Entry User Preferences.

    Rounding options include:

    • No rounding: The amount entered will be the exact amount accumulated by the timer.
    • Standard rounding: The amount entered will be rounded to the nearest amount according to the specified Rounding increment. In this example, the amount entered will be rounded down to the nearest .25 hours if the partial increment is less than .125 hours and up to the nearest next increment of .25 hours if the partial increment is greater than or equal to .125 hours.
    • Always round up: The amount entered will always be rounded up to the next Rounding increment.
    • Round each elapsed time: When this option is selected, Practice CS will apply the rounding option selected above to each segment. For example, if each of three segments was .1 hour in length, and always round up to the nearest .25 hours was selected, the total time booked would be .75 hours because the system would round each segment up to .25 hours and add them together.
    • Round accumulated elapsed time: When this option is selected, Practice CS will apply the rounding option selected above to the total accumulated time. For example, if each of three segments was .1 hour in length and always round up to the nearest .25 hours was selected, the total time booked would be .5 hours because the total actual time is .3 hours which gets rounded up to the next increment of .25 hours which is .5. This is the recommended setting as it produces the most accurate representation of the total time spent on the job or task.
  • You may have multiple concurrent timers running depending on the settings in Time & Expense Entry User Preferences.

    When Allow simultaneous timers is not checked you can have only one active timer running. If you attempt to start another timer you will receive the message: "The current user can only have one active timer."

    When Allow simultaneous timers is checked, you can have an unlimited number of active timers running concurrently.

  • If you override the hours entered by the timer or start the timer on a transaction in which time was previously entered manually, the Hours field will be displayed in red to signify that the hours may not foot to the number of hours accumulated by the timer.

Desktop Timer

Practice CS provides a floating Desktop Timer that enables you to track time outside of the Practice CS interface. The timer remains in the foreground of your Windows desktop, that is, it is always on top regardless of where it is positioned on the screen. The Desktop Timer can be minimized or maximized as necessary. You can also transfer time recorded in the Desktop Timer directly to a Practice CS time transaction.

Opening and Starting a Desktop Timer.

There are three methods for opening a desktop timer: Manually, by clicking the Solution link in a project or task, and by starting a phone call.

  • Opening and starting the Desktop Timer Manually:
    To open the Desktop Timer Manually, right-click the Practice CS Icon in the Windows system tray (by the clock) and choose Desktop Timer. The Desktop Timer will open in its minimized format:

    If you double-click the Practice CS Icon in the Windows system tray, the Desktop timer will open in its maximized format.

    To switch between the minimized and maximized Desktop Timer, click the Maximize button on the minimized format or the minimize button on the maximized format.

    To start the desktop timer click the green start button on either format.

    To stop the desktop timer click the red stop button on either format.

    Note: You can start and stop the timer as many times as needed. The total time accumulated is subject to the selected rounding options as described above.

  • Opening and Starting the Desktop Timer from the Solution link on a project or task.

    Practice CS can be set to automatically start the Desktop Timer when you open an application by clicking the Solution link on a Project or Task and the option to Start Timer for Projects is checked. This option is found on the Time & Expense Entry tab in User Preferences:

    When you click on the Solution icon on a project or task record on the Staff Dashboard, Client Dashboard, or Manage Projects screen, the corresponding application will open, the desktop timer will open in its minimized format and will automatically start.

    If the Solution is a CS application, including UltraTax CS, Creative Solutions Accounting, Financial Analysis CS, and Fixed Assets CS, the application will automatically open the client specified in the project. The client is also automatically entered on the timer. When the client or application is closed the timer automatically stops.

    In the example below, the Solution is UltraTax CS for tasks 2, 3, and 4. Clicking on the UltraTax CS icon, will open UltraTax, open the client specified in the project, open the Desktop Timer in its minimized format and start the timer.

    If the Solution is Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word, clicking on the icon opens the application to the document specified on the project or task and starts the timer in the minimized format. When the application is closed, the timer automatically stops.

    If the Solution is any other application, clicking on the icon opens the application and starts the timer in its minimized format. The timer does not stop when the application is closed.

    Note: Integrate this Firm with other solutions on Setup > Firm > Preferences must be checked for the timer to stop when the client or CS application is closed.

  • Opening and Starting the Desktop Timer For a Phone Call (applies to Client Management Module)

    Practice CS can be set to automatically start the Desktop Timer when you start a phone call when the option to Start Timer for Phone Calls is set. The option is found on the Time & Expense Entry tab in User Preferences.

    A phone call can be started by selecting Phone Call from the Add button in the main tool bar, the Call Now button in a Scheduled Phone Call, or the Return Call button in a Phone message.

    The timer opens in its minimized format and automatically stops when the call is completed (OK button) or Canceled.

Posting Time from the Desktop Timer

Practice CS enables you to post the time you accumulated in the Desktop Timer to a Time & Expense Entry Time transaction by clicking the Post button .

To post time accumulated in the Desktop Timer, do the following:

  1. Stop the timer if it is still running.
  2. If you are in the minimized format of the timer, switch to the maximized format by clicking the Maximize button .
  3. Click on the Post button on the timer you wish to post:

  4. The Practice CS Time & Expense Entry screen will open to the Sheet date specified on the timer. A new transaction will be started with the time accumulated by the timer already entered.

  5. Complete the transaction as needed.

    Note:

    • If the Client was entered on the timer or phone call, it will be entered on the transaction automatically.
    • If the timer was started from a project, the Client, Engagement and Project will be filled in automatically.
    • If the timer was started from a task, the Client, Engagement, Project and Activity will be filled in automatically.

Monitoring Timers

Active Inline and Desktop Timers can be monitored on the Staff and Firm Dashboards.

Staff can view their own active timers in the Daily Time portlet on their Staff Dashboard:

Administrators can view the active timers for all staff in the Staff Active Timers portlet on the Firm Dashboard:

Note: Active timers can be stopped in the Staff Active Timers portlet by right-clicking the timer and choosing Stop Timer.

Stopping and Deleting Timers

  • Stopping a timer
    • To stop an active timer click the red stop button on an inline timer, a minimized desktop timer, or a maximized desktop timer.
    • An active timer can be stopped in the Staff Active Timers portlet on the Firm Dashboard by right-clicking the timer and choosing Stop Timer.
    • An active timer you want to stop can be located in the Daily Time portlet on the Staff Dashboard by clicking on the timer. The system will open the Time & Expense Entry screen for the control date on the timer so you can stop it by clicking the stop button . If there are no timers running on the screen, the active timer is in the desktop timer. Open the desktop timer in the maximized mode by double-clicking on the Practice CS icon in the system tray (by the clock) and clicking the stop button on the active timer.
  • Deleting a timer
    A desktop timer can be deleted by opening the desktop timer in its maximized form by right-clicking on the timer entry and choosing Delete Timer.