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2016 Review of ImagineTime Time and Billing

CPA Practice Advisor by Mary Girsch-Bock, Contributing Writer on December 15, 2016

Best Fit: Aimed at both accounting firms and law firms, ImagineTime is well suited for firms of just about any size. The product is available as a desktop installation or a cloud version hosted by ImagineTime.

Product Strengths

  • Product offers a simplified user interface for users not utilizing other ImagineTime applications

  • Product integrates with several popular applications including Lacerte, Drake, ATX, ProSeries and UltraTax

  • Offers QuickBooks integration

  • Offers a strong selection of add-on modules

Potential Limitations

Product can become expensive for larger firms with multiple users

Overview

ImagineTime offers a comprehensive time and billing software product that can be used as a stand-alone product, or in conjunction with other ImagineTime applications to create a complete practice management solution. The product is available in both desktop/network configurations as well as a cloud-based application.

Basic System Functions

ImagineTime is available as a traditional desktop installation as well as ImagineTime Cloud, which provides access to the product from any location with Internet access. ImagineTime offers users the choice between the standard menu and the ImagineTime Lite Menu, which provides a more simplified user interface to those not currently utilizing other ImagineTime features. Both menus use a ribbon-style menu, with the simplified version displaying fewer menu options and the ribbon menus are easily customizable to suit the needs of the user. Along with Time & Billing, ImagineTime also offers Practice Management, Work Flow, and Due Date Management modules. Mentioned earlier, users can opt to simply use the Time & Billing function as a stand-alone product, or utilize all of the features available.

Managers can set up default billing rates for all staff, and also assign permissions and other options for each staff member, ensuring that they only have access to necessary data, and not confidential information.

The latest version of ImagineTime offers a variety of product updates, including the addition of a mobile app that is available for both iPhone and Android smart phones and tablets. The ImagineTime Calendar has been updated as well, with an enhanced appearance, new calendar icons, and the ability to shift between differing calendar views. Reporting options have been enhanced as well with the addition of a tree view that allows users to view all system reports by function and description.

Time Management Capabilities

ImagineTime’s Time Expense Entry interface offers users access to a variety of functions which include access to both after-the-fact time entry as well as slip timers. Entering after-the-fact information is easy, with users simply choosing the client name, task, code, staff rate and date of engagement. After selections are made, users can simply enter their time and add any notes to the entry if desired.

ImagineTime also offers system timers that users can employ, with the ability to deploy multiple timers simultaneously. Users can simply add a new timer, select a client and begin the timer. All active timers will be displayed on the user’s screen, with the ability to pause a clock if desired. Users can simply click on the Finish tab to stop the time, and also have the option to stop all timers as desired. Billing entries are automatically created in ImagineTime once each timer is stopped.

For those using the optional Calendar function, users can also create time entries directly from calendar appointments.

Invoicing Functions

ImagineTime’s billing dashboard is the area where all billing is processed. The interface displays detailed information on all transactions entered that are ready to be billed, with an unbilled amount displayed next to each client. Users can also use the Quick Find option when they want to bill a particular client. When billing, users can choose from a variety of bill types, including Narrative Slip, General Retainer, Detail Slip, Super Bill and Bookkeeping, with all available options displayed in the drop down menu. Users can choose to run a WIP Summary or a WIP Detail report by client, so they can review what makes up each balance displayed on the screen. All invoices must be previewed and/or printed prior to being posted in the system.

Management Features

ImagineTime’s Reporting tab offers users access to all daily and monthly reports, as well as individual reports such as Client Aging and an Activity Reconciliation report. The Client Time and Billing History Report provides users with an excellent overview of all client time, and can be run as client time history, condensed time history and billing history. Users can also run transaction reports for both invoices and payments, as well as daily/weekly time and expense reports and staff and client performance reports. There are also a variety of activity reconciliation reports including billing activity, work in progress activity, and new activity. For those desiring a custom report, the Custom Report Wizard is available.

Integration/Data Management

ImagineTime offers both basic and advanced QuickBooks integration, with basic integration allows easy exporting of data into QuickBooks, where advanced integration allows users to post ImagineTime invoices directly to QuickBooks. The product also integrates with several popular tax software applications including Lacerte, UltraTax, ProSeries, ATX, and Drake, with users able to import client names, addresses, and other contact information. The addition of the new mobile app allows both iPhone and Android smartphone/tablet users to access the product remotely. An optional Customer Relationship Management application offers integration with Microsoft Outlook and also offers an email blaster ideal for communicating with clients.

Help/Support

ImagineTime offers three levels of product support; Silver, Gold, and Platinum, each with varying options available. The ImagineTime Manual is available as a PDF that can be accessed or downloaded as needed. There are also a variety of instructional videos, Help and FAQ’s to browse. Product users can quickly access the Help function by clicking the F1 key on the user's keyboard.

Summary and Pricing

ImagineTime offers excellent time and billing capability, as well as access to a series of related applications for a complete practice management solution. Pricing for the desktop version of ImagineTime starts at $295 for a single user. ImagineTime Cloud starts at $30.00 per user per month. Optional modules including Finish Line, Workflow, Document Management and Calendar and Contact Management are available at an additional cost.

2016 Overall Rating: 5 Stars


2015 Review of ImagineTime Practice Management

CPA Practice Advisor by Mary Girsch-Bock, Contributing Writer on December 17, 2015

Best Fit: Designed primarily for accounting and law firms, ImagineTime is a complete Practice Management Solution offering time management, complete billing capacity, and solid reporting options. ImagineTime is available as either a desktop version, or as an online version hosted by ImagineTime.

Product Strengths

  • Product uses a ribbon-style menu similar to Microsoft Office for easy system navigation
  • ImagineTime integrates with several popular applications including Lacerte, Drake, ATX, ProSeries and QuickBooks
  • Product easily support multiple system users
  • Syncs with Microsoft Outlook

Potential Limitations

ImagineTime just came out with an Android mobile app, but does not currently offer an Apple app

Overview

ImagineTime utilizes a Microsoft Access database to deliver a comprehensive time and billing software product designed accountants, CPA’s, and tax attorneys. The Time & Billing module is available as a stand-alone product or can be integrated with the complete suite of products available.

Basic System Functions

ImagineTime is available as both a traditional desktop solution as well as ImagineCloud – a cloud based version of the original product. ImagineTime’s user interface is similar to Microsoft Office products, with a ribbon-style interface. The user interface can be customized to suit the needs of any firm. Users can easily access clients by clicking on the Clients/Contacts option on the menu. Once a client is chosen, users can access the additional tabs available. Here, users can also choose how to manage time, by entering after-the-fact time data or by utilizing the system timers.

Along with client management and time and billing functions, users can also access payment information, process statements, and run reports directly from this main interface. ImagineTime also features an alternate menu, which contains four main categories; Data Entry, Daily Reports, Management Reports, and Utilities. The product also contains good system security features, with users able to restrict system access in specific areas as needed.

Time Management Capabilities

The time expense entry screen offers users multiple options to manage time. Here, users can enter both chargeable and non-chargeable time, as well as any related expenses. ImagineTime offers unlimited system timers that can be used simultaneously. A pause option allows users to stop the time and easily restart when ready. Entries are automatically created once the timer is stopped.

Users can enter default billing rates in ImagineTime, and specific roles can be assigned to employees based on work type completed, as well as client. Multiple billing rates are supported in ImagineTime as well. Rate templates are available in the product, making product setup easier. Time can be reported by task, work code, or engagement and management can assign staff members a password to allow them to enter their own time data. An approvals option is available that ensures that all time data entries are approved prior to final processing.

Invoicing Functions

The billing dashboard in ImagineTime offers users an organized way to handle all billing. The Quick Find option allows users to quick search for a client or clients, and the dashboard displays relevant information such as client ID, business or client name, unbilled amounts, as well as the option to select the bill type desired. Users can also choose the billing format and design they desire, with the ability to choose additional or more custom formatting options including a custom header for each bill processed.

Hyperlinks are available that allow users to access additional client information such as an invoice and payment history. Recurring monthly charges can be added to an invoice with a single click, and all bills can be printed from this screen as well. Invoices are not processed and posted until they have been previewed and/or printed.

Management Features

ImagineTime has an excellent selection of reporting options, including both daily and monthly client reports, with additional reports such as Engagement Budget to Actual, Activity Reconciliations, and a Client Aging report among those available. Productivity reports such as Staff Hours by Month allow managers to review staff hours and productivity levels over a specified period of time. The Pre-Billing report summarizes all work in progress and is arranged by client, with summaries arranged in an aged format. The Due Date report provides a list of all invoices and their respective due dates and a Custom Report Wizard makes it easy to create a custom report if desired.

Integration/Data Management

ImagineTime offers an optional software integration module that integrates with several popular tax programs including Lacerte, UltraTax, ProSeries, ATX, and Drake, with users able to import client data including names, addresses, email, and telephone numbers. An Android app, ImagineTime Anywhere was recently released that allows users to record time and expenses from any Android device, and is available by subscription. ImagineTime also offers integration with QuickBooks, with users able to import QuickBooks data directly into ImagineTime, and just added the ability to import time slips from QuickBooks as well. Users can opt for simplified or advanced integration, which allows users to synchronize subsidiary ledgers. A ‘Getting Started’ utility screen is available to assist users with the initial integration setup. The optional CRM with Microsoft Outlook integration and email blaster offers easy sync capability between ImagineTime and Microsoft Outlook, and the email blaster allows users to quickly send messages to select groups of clients and contacts.

Help/Support

Users can quickly access the ImagineTime help function by simply clicking on the question mark in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Silver, Gold, and Platinum level support options are available with all including access to system support via email and telephone. An online manual can be downloaded from the website, and users also have access to FAQ’s from the website as well.

Summary and Pricing

ImagineTime offers excellent time and billing functionality, as well as solid invoicing and reporting capability. Pricing for the desktop version of ImagineTime starts at $295 for a single user. ImagineTime Cloud starts at $25.00 per user per month. Optional modules including Finish Line, Add-On Workflow, and Calendar and Contact Management are available at an additional cost.

2015 Overall Rating: 5 Stars


2014 Review of ImagineTime Practice Management

CPA Practice Advisor by Isaac M. O'Brannon, Editor on December 5, 2014

Best Firm Fit: Designed for accounting and law firms, ImagineTime is a desktop or server-based, full-featured time management and billing system for firms seeking multiple timesheet data entry options, strong reporting and calendar functions, due date management, retainer-based billing and integration with Outlook and many accounting and tax programs. ImagineTime is also now available as a web-based system hosted by the vendor.

Strengths

Potential Limitations

Previously did not offer mobile apps for Apple and Android, but will be coming out with an app supporting both in early 2015.

Overview

ImagineTime offers a comprehensive time tracking and client invoicing system for professional accounting firms and law offices, using a Microsoft Access database as the backbone. The company also offers the system as a hosted application, with the same features as the traditional desktop model. The program can support up to 50 staff members using the system at the same time, when the system is networked, but it can also be used by sole practitioners.

Program Features

The ImagineTime system opens to a user-friendly interface that uses ribbon menus similar to Microsoft Office, providing simple navigation, while offering multiple user customization features, and retaining the program’s powerful time tracking and invoice management functions. Users can quickly access clients, contacts, time and expense entries, billing functions, AR functions, the built-in calendar and due date management tools, reporting and various system utilities.

An alternate menu option gives users a menu with functions grouped into four key areas: Data Entry, Daily Reports, Management Reports and Utilities. Firm administrators can restrict certain features like calendaring and invoicing to specific users based on permissions and the role of each user. Roles include staff, supervisor and system manager.

Staff can enter their time and related expenses using automated timers, or via entry sheets that allow for entering data for a single user, while administrators can use a multi-staff worksheet. Multiple timers can be set to run automatically and can be paused if necessary. When the timer method is used, the system automatically creates entries when the timer is stopped. The program supports multiple billing rate schedules that can vary based on client, project, task and staff member.

The program allows staff time and expenses to be assigned to clients, tasks or projects. Users with appropriate access rights can edit time and expense data, mark up expenses or tag time as non-billable, or attach notes to entries. ImagineTime includes an approvals process so that firm managers can sign off on timesheets. The system does not support vacation time accruals or provide other human resources functions.

Accessed via the billing dashboard, the invoicing functions in ImagineTime let users bill clients based on hourly rates, fixed fees or other models, and allows the firm to add markups to related expenses. Invoices can be customized using a built-in graphical design function. Also available from the billing dashboard are WIP reports and tools for preparing invoices and writing off non-billable time.

A Collections function serves as the system’s accounts receivable tool, allowing users to post payments, process statements, apply service charges and, when desired, sync daily activity to or from QuickBooks.

ImagineTime has a strong collection of reporting options, including daily and monthly history, client acing reports, engagement budget to actual comparison, due date reports, and client snapshot reports. Data can be exported to a Client Revenue Pivot Table report for quick ad-hoc analysis of ImagineTime data. Custom reports are also supported. Recently added are a new Quick Paid Invoice Creation function, which provides a single step to create and post payment for a client (such as a walk-in tax client), and a new super bill invoice that can allocate revenue to a single work code. The system’s Client Relationship Manager function allows users to sort lists, letters and mailing labels by product type and name. Additional enhancements have been made to the program’s calendar and due date management functions.

ImagineTime offers data export to several format types, including Microsoft Word, rich text, Microsoft Excel and PDF. The system can import client contact and invoicing data from Lacerte, UltraTax, ProSeries, Drake and ATX tax software. Time can be entered offline and synchronized with the server by transferring a data file via e-mail. Calendar sync with Outlook is also supported. New for 2015, the company has developed the ImagineTime Anywhere app (currently in beta testing for Android, with an Apple version “in the works”).

Users can access searchable help functions via the help menu or right-click menus, while the company’s support website includes FAQs, user manuals, implementation manuals, system updates and training videos. Live support is offered by subscription or on a per-issue basis.

Summary and Pricing

ImagineTime offers a comprehensive time tracking and invoicing management solution for accounting and law practices, with exceptional reporting and calendaring functions, and integration with many programs that accounting professionals use.

Pricing for ImagineTime starts at $295 for a single user, plus $125 per year for support. The optional due date, Workflow, document management and calendaring modules can be added for an additional fee. The cloud-based version of the program starts at $25 per month, with a three month initial commitment. Complete pricing information for the desktop version is available at www.imaginetime.com/pricing.asp.

2014 Overall Rating: 5 Stars