Converting To RTG Bills


RTG offers a conversion program at no charge. It will read the client and matter information from your old time and billing program into RTG Bills, if your old program can create a file of the proper format.

If you are converting from Timeslips*, we have specific instructions for you:

Click here for Timeslips conversion instructions

If you have a different program, we will explain the required format here. If your current program can export the data in this format, conversion will be easy.

If your current program can export the data to a file but the format is different, contact RTG for assistance. We will want to see a small sample of your data (5 to 10 matters) to determine if we can provide a customized conversion program for you.

Our goal is to get your client and matter information into a "comma-delimited" file (also known as a "comma-separated value" or CSV file). Some programs have an "export" feature that does this. Others may let you create a user-defined report and write it to a file.

Once the information is in a file in the proper format, the RTG Bills conversion program can read it into RTG Bills.


Clients and Matters

Some programs do not make a distinction between clients and matters. However, RTG Bills (like nearly all legal-specific programs) uses clients and matters to organize your timekeeping and billing.

In RTG Bills, a matter is a "case" or "file" or "project" that you work on for a client. RTG Bills keeps a separate balance due, and prints a separate bill, for each matter.

In earlier versions of RTG Bills, a "client" was always associated with a mailing address. If you wanted several bills to go to the same mailing address, then those matters all belonged to the same client.

This strict association of a client with a mailing address is no longer true. Each matter can have its own mailing address. For example, you might want each matter to have a different attention line. RTG Bills lets you copy the client address and then add the attention line.

In general, if the client name is the same for several matters, then we would consider those matters to belong to one client. The client name is always the first line of the mailing address.

Grouping matters by client has several advantages. Many reports give subtotals by client. Also, RTG Bills can (if you wish) print a client cover page when several matters are billed to the same client. The client cover page shows each matter and the total due for the client.


Import Format

Here is a list of the fields that the conversion program expects:

Import Fields
1. Matter Abbreviation or Case Number
2. Client Abbreviation or Client Number
3. Client Name
4. Address Line 1
5. Address Line 2
6. Address Line 3
7. City, State, ZIP
8. Attention line
9. Client Phone
10. Client Fax
11. Matter Name
12. Balance Due

Each line of the file must contain all of these fields (although some fields may be empty). There should be one line for each matter.

Note 1:
Although we show "City, State, ZIP" as one field, the conversion program has an option to read this data as one field or three separate fields.

Note 2:
Although we show "Balance Due" as one field, the conversion program can read separate values for the fees due, expenses due, late charges due, and taxes due. By default, it reads a single amount due and saves it as the fees due.

The next step is to decide which type of conversion you will use. The different types determine how your existing clients and matters are converted to RTG Bills clients and matters.


Type 1 Conversion

The simplest conversion creates one client and one matter in RTG Bills for each line in the imported file. We call this a Type 1 conversion.

Field 1 is assumed to be the Client Abbreviation (not the Matter Abbreviation, as shown in the previous table). Field 2 is ignored.

In RTG Bills, your matters will be numbered 1-1, 2-1, 3-1, and so on. The number before the dash is the client number and the number after the dash is the case number. The client number and case number together are called the matter number.

A Matter Abbreviation is created from the first ten characters of the Matter Name. The program assigns the client and matter numbers.


Type 2 Conversion

If you have information that can be used to identify the matters which belong to the same client, RTG Bills can use that information in a Type 2 or Type 3 conversion.

The Type 2 conversion assumes the client and matter information is stored in Field 1 (not the Matter Abbreviation, as shown in the previous table). A dash must separate the client and matter portions. Field 2 is ignored.

If your current program uses a numbering scheme similar to RTG Bills, then Field 1 should contain the matter number: the client number, a dash, and the case number after the dash. For example,

1234-56, ...
1234-76, ...

creates client 1234 with matters 1234-56 and 1234-76.

Note that RTG Bills client numbers can be up to six digits long (999999). RTG Bills case numbers can also be up to six digits long (that is, 999999 cases for each client).

If your current program does not use numbers, you may still be able to do the conversion and have the conversion program assign numbers. If your data looks like this:

"ABC-JONES", ...
"ABC-SMITH", ...

then the conversion program will create client ABC with two separate matters (JONES and SMITH). The program will assign the numbers.

If Field 1 does not contain numbers, then the Client Abbreviation will be the portion before the dash (ABC). The Matter Abbreviation will be Field 1 with the client and case parts reversed (JONES-ABC and SMITH-ABC).


Type 3 Conversion

A Type 3 conversion uses Field 2 as the Client Abbreviation (or Client Number) and Field 1 as the Matter Abbreviation (or Case Number). Lines that have the same Field 2 will become different matters for one client. If your data looks like this:

"JONES","ABC", ...
"SMITH","ABC", ...

then the conversion program will create client ABC with two separate matters (JONES and SMITH). The program will assign client and case numbers.

If Field 2 is a number, then it will be used as the client number. A Client Abbreviation will be created from the first ten characters of the Client Name (Field 3).

Similarly, if Field 1 is a number, it will be used as the case number. A Matter Abbreviation will be created from the first ten characters of the Matter Name.

If your program uses numbers, it might look like this:

56,1234, ...
76,1234, ...

which creates client 1234 with matters 1234-56 and 1234-76.


Extracting the Data

You may find that you need to change the data in the old program to conform to the requirements of the conversion program. For example, you would need to change client or case numbers that exceed six digits. You can make this change in the old program (if possible) or in the comma-delimited file itself.

Another potential problem is the use of quotation marks in a field. The conversion program will display an error message if any field has quotes inside of it. For example, an address might look like this:

Apt. "G"

You should change this in the old program before conversion. The easiest solution is to change quotation marks (the double-quote character, ") to apostrophes (the single-quote character, '), which the conversion program can accept:

Apt. 'G'

When you have decided which type of conversion to use, and made any necessary changes to the old data, you are ready to create the comma-delimited file.


Test Conversion

It is important that you do a test conversion and check it carefully before proceeding to use RTG Bills. If you want the clients and matters to be assigned properly, you must prepare the input data correctly.

It is best to have the clients and matters assigned correctly during the conversion, but it is possible to move a matter in RTG Bills after the conversion. You can change the matter number but keep the same client, or you can move a matter to a different client.

The best approach is to save a copy of the RTG Bills database, rtgbills.mdb, in another folder before the conversion. That allows you to delete the incorrect RTG Bills database if a problem occurs and copy the saved version back into the RTG Bills folder.

When you have created the comma-delimited file and made a backup copy of the RTG Bills database, you are ready to try reading the data with the conversion program.

If anything goes wrong, you can change the old data, create the comma-delimited file, restore the RTG Bills database from the backup, and try again.


Reading the Data

The data to be converted must be in a file named tortg.csv. Rename the file if necessary. Move the file into the RTG Bills folder, where the RTG Bills database is.

From this point on, the procedure is identical to that for Timeslips users. The comma-delimited file is read by RTG Convert, the conversion program. The link below provides detailed instructions. (Please ignore the references to Timeslips!)

Reading the data into RTG Bills
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