This FREE software has done an amazing job from day 1 in my firm: WiseTime.
Not only does it help me to not forget entering billing time into our billing system.
WiseTime also helps us to improve our internal processes which frees up work time for doing more work with less manpower.
I shall explain why and how.
Where We Come From
My firm Schweiger & Partners is active since 1996. We do mainly patents and trademarks, in technical areas of Engineering and Software, but not in Chemistry.
We have two offices, one in Singapore and one in Munich. Each office has about 15 or 16 staff. Of which a total of eight (8) people are qualified patent attorneys and/or trademark attorneys. Most of our staff is clocking billing time. We have only two (2) or three (3) overhead positions in each office. We have outsourced most of our non-billable work to external suppliers. So, we are not a small firm but we are also not big.
Despite being so small, the Financial Times has in July 2019 awarded us as the 2nd best German Patent Firm and the number 8 Patent Firm in Europe. And we keep receiving awards and we keep collecting positive testimonials from our clients. Our employees also give us positive feedback in public. That results from our firm´s approach to business. We value our customers just as much as we value our employees, and we make sure that both have a sustainable future with us.
Technology is key for that concept: create amazing customers and employees experiences.
This is where WiseTime comes in handily.
We use Wisetime in two ways that both help us a lot.
Spotting Billable Work Time That Has Not Been Entered Into Our Billing System
That is a major gain that comes with Wisetime.
We use Wisetime to spot unbilled work time.
We use NetSuite as our billing tool and we have to manually clock in our work time for each case that we are working on. I don´t do that myself but I tell my assistant to do that for me.
That way, much time is lost because I forget to tell her to enter time for me.
Each day, one of the first things in the morning, our accounts billable manager enters my room and presents me what has been entered the day before. I open my Wisetime and compare what cases I have worked on. This is a simple task, because all our file names and email subject lines start with our internal file reference that is also used for clocking work time.
Having that gross-vs.-net comparison as a reminder, it is easy to enter those missing work times into our billing system that I have forgotten to enter the day before.
Internal Process Improvement
WiseTime does not only help to improve the direct income of our firm.
Whenever we endeavor on improving an internal work process in our firm then we open a Wisetime category for this process.
People who work within that internal process then book their daily worktimes on that WiseTime category. This is done for some time before we start to alter the internal process.
After we have measured the group´s work time for that internal process for a certain amount of time, for example one or two months, we start to make changes to that process and we check how the group´s work time develops after these changes.
Example Incoming Mail Process
Our firm´s “incoming mail” process took us an accumulated amount of about 750 paralegal work hours per month, translating to a potential billing time of S$ 18,000 per month, in theory, if the extra time saved is directly converted to billing hours without loss.
After adapting the incoming mail process by programming our electronic file system ELO such that most of the work could be done by one single person, the group´s total work time for this process dropped to only 250 paralegal work hours per month. In other words, changing and automating the incoming mail process has freed three paralegals for other tasks.
And only using WiseTime provided the data that we needed to put a price tag on that difference.
In a sideline only, because of automating our incoming mail process, we also became more flexible. We can in principle outsource our incoming mail process to a low-wage country, contributing to the economic development of this country.
Yes, the Singapore government supports the use of Wisetime with a 70% subsidy under the EDG grant scheme, here https://www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/financial-assistance/grants/for-local-companies/enterprise-development-grant/overview
Although I don´t think that you need that government grant. WiseTime is so intuitive and the costs are so low, while the immediate gain is unexpectedly high, that it is almost not worth the time spent to request a government grant.
At least our firm did not request a government grant for introducing WiseTime.
Installing Wisetime is a breeze. You can use our firm´s categories for non-billable work, that will give you a head start:
Incoming Mail, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, IT Matters, Internal Meetings, Marketing/Business Development, Human Ressources
Wisetime is a cloud service, so there is no additional server needed in your firm´s IT room.
The small-group-version of WiseTime with limited functions comes for free, that makes WiseTime a riskless purchase. We earned the investment for purchasing the “real thing” within two or three days using the free version.
Do you have data security concerns? Please read the FAQs on the WiseTime webpage, here https://wisetime.com/frequently-asked-questions/
WiseTime Became a Fundamental Tool for Our Firm
Wisetime is one of the eight basic software tools that every company needs, and not only IP firms. As you may know, we work a lot with start-up companies and we recommend that software to all of them. This is how they know where they spend their time, and it gives them valuable insight and help them to use their time more consciously.
And no, I do not have any shares in the WiseTime company, nor do I receive a commission or any other benefit for promoting this software.
I recommend this software because it is so useful for our firm. And if it works for us it may also work for you.
Call to Action
Install WiseTime on your computer, from here.
Create the above categories to which you assign your work times, if you do a lot of management in your firm.
If you are mainly clocking billable work time you do not need to create these WiseTime categories.
At the end of the day, or the next day in the morning, check out your WiseTime recordings and compare them with what your billing time software says.
And the reports section in WiseTime will tell you for what non-billable nonsense you have just spoilt your day.
Martin “Time Counts” Schweiger