Although you can use RTG Bills to enter fees and expenses, there are many reasons that you might want to use RTG Timer instead.
Most of the advantages of RTG Timer are matters of convenience, but there are also some security and performance issues.
The stopwatch in RTG Timer lets you time your work. You don't need to write down
your time on paper and then copy it into the computer.
RTG Timer is only for entering fees and expenses. It cannot be used to enter payments,
print bills, enter clients and matters, etc. As a result, RTG Timer is a simpler program
to learn and to use, because it has fewer features. Also, you can give RTG Timer to someone who is not trained to enter anything other than fees and expenses.
- One timekeeper
If each timekeeper has a separate copy of RTG Timer, the software can enter the timekeeper automatically on every transaction.
The person using RTG Timer decides when to make the fees and expenses available to RTG Bills. You don't need to worry that a transaction that isn't complete or that requires a
further description will be billed by accident. Fees and expenses entered into RTG Timer
are only available for billing after you release them.
RTG Timer can work standalone, with no network connection to RTG Bills. This feature means you can use RTG Timer at home or on a trip, when you do not have access to the RTG Bills database. The clients, matters, timekeepers, and codes that RTG Timer needs (and that it normally reads directly from the RTG Bills database) can be copied to a removable drive and read into the RTG Timer database for standalone operation.
This also means that you can use RTG Timer if you have a network connection and the network fails.
- Monthly calendar
RTG Timer has a Month button that displays a monthly calendar showing the hours to bill for each day of the month. You can click on any day to display the fees and expenses for that day, which you can edit, or you can enter a new item for that day.
- Special buttons
When you are editing an hourly rate transaction, three special buttons are available.
The Switch button lets you switch quickly to another transaction. Clicking the button will turn off the stopwatch (if it is on), save the current transaction, and display a list of recently-edited hourly rate transactions on the main RTG Timer window.
The Interrupt button also turns off the stopwatch and saves the current transaction, but then it creates a new hourly rate transaction and starts the stopwatch to time it.
This is very useful when you get interrupted, perhaps by a telephone call. When you save (or cancel) the new transaction, the previous transaction appears again and you can resume timing it.
The New Expense button creates a new expense transaction for the current matter. The current hourly rate transaction is saved. If the stopwatch is on, it stays on and timing continues while you enter the expense. When you save (or cancel) the expense transaction, the hourly rate transaction appears again. If the stopwatch was on, it will still be on.
- User isolation
An RTG Timer user only has access to the fees and expenses that he or she has entered. The user cannot alter, or even view, anyone else's data.
In contrast, each RTG Bills user can see all of the data that has been entered.
- Hidden rates
A setting in RTG Bills can be used to hide timekeeper billing rates from all RTG Timer users. When the fees and expenses are released, each matter's rate table is used to determine the billing rate as each item is copied to the RTG Bills database.
In RTG Bills, there is no way to hide the billing rates from the users.
- Database speed
If you have many users working at the same time, the shared RTG Bills database may slow down if they all use RTG Bills.
However, RTG Timer users place very little load on the RTG Bills database. Most of the time, RTG Timer reads data from the RTG Bills database, which is very fast. It only writes to the RTG Bills database when you release fees and expenses for billing, which happens infrequently.
- Database isolation
If an RTG Bills user's PC crashes, the shared RTG Bills database may be left in a state that prevents other users from working with it. (This was mostly a problem with versions of Windows prior to Windows XP, because the Windows operating system crashed frequently.) Although a simple procedure can fix the database, the impact on other users can be annoying.
It is much less likely that RTG Timer would cause this problem, because it rarely writes to the shared RTG Bills database.