JBCL About Time Professional - Time Recording

New Release as standalone Time Recording program

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JBCL About Time Professional - Time Recording


As with inquiry jobs or matters can be found either by code or by name or description.  

Time Recording System for everyone who does not have one
The program can be run completely standalone, and provides full Client and Jobs lists that you can easily set up, ideal for anyone who does not have access to a time recording system.

This system is flexible: you can set it up to force users to confirm all details (chargeable time, and Cost Centres and Work Descriptions)  as they go, or these can be optionally be added later.  This means that users can record time the way they prefer to.

The system can be used in two main ways:

1 - Time is logged as you go from one task to another.  This is the ideal way as by the end of the day there should be nothing more to do as all the time recording information is complete, and it can then be posted.

2 - Time is entered on the screen similar to a time sheet.  This is useful when you are away from a screen or at a meeting and the time needs to be entered after the event.  There are 3 different ways to enter time after the event.

These methods can be used interchangeably, and even at the same time.

Information available from Time Recording

Various reports are available on recorded data:

One report writes information much like a standard time sheet, and can be
used for manual input into any time recording system. Depending on how the
system is set up, the details of Cost Centres, units logged and chargeable
are already present. The amount of information in the reports can be
selected: the report can be detailed, or show summary totals, or just daily
totals for each employee.
A listing of time spent for any client is also available, which is useful for preparing invoices and answering queries.
The stored information may also be posted automatically to Contacs or to BCL Time and Cost.
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Altering Setups

How to Change Company or Ledger Setups

Click the button "Setup" to set  up the system options.

The settings are in two sections - those for everyone (All screens)

Here are the typical setups for running the Standalone version of About Time

(BCL users would choose which BCL system the online time recording integrates - either your Contacs company number or the BCL Accountants Time and Cost number.)

Setup-All screen

And For This Screen

Setup this screen

These options give fine control on how time is recorded as you go.  Note:

-The defaults are all options turned on.  This makes you record all details for each job as you go.  Operating like this is very fast so try this first.   If you find you prefer to not  record everything as you go you can change this later.

-"Clock Starts when stop previous job".  By default the system is always recording time for something.  When you click the "Stop"  button for a job, that time is used as the start time for the next job.   If you prefer the next job time to not start until you click "OK" on it, then uncheck this option.  You can always alter the start time for any job with the edit time buttons as well. - so the system has complete flexibility.  

Click OK when finished and say Yes to save if you wish to save changes.

Note - make sure the employee rates per unit are loaded.  These may not get automatically picked up from the BCL systems.

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How to Use

Online Time Recording records the Job or Matter, the time started, the elapsed time and the chargeable time, Notes, and a Cost Centre and Work Description.

There are 3 main ways to enter time, and you can use them all interchangeably.

  1. Clock - when you click Start and Stop the computer minds the time taken for you.  This is the most accurate option, and the ideal if you are recording time as you go.
  2. Standard Timesheet Edit - you see a list of time entries spanning several days, looking like a paper timesheet, and can double click an entry to edit details.  You can also insert new records.   This is ideal when reviewing Timesheet entries.
  3. Diary Entry - where one day at a time is shown graphically and you can use the mouse or keyboard to select a range of time or double click an entry to edit the details.   This option is ideal for entering time after the event, eg if you were away from your screen.

Here are some screen shots showing how to log time using the Clock:

Note the fields from Time Started upwards are filled in automatically, and you do not normally need to change them.  You just specify which job you want to record time for.

1 - Choose the job or Matter to log time for.  You can enter the name or code.  If you type a name you get list to select from

select matter

Select the job or matter you want, and type in any notes you want to record against this job, then click OK (or press Enter to get to the OK button).

Start OK

Click OK -The job is now running.

Note the time either started at when the previous job was stopped (unless you have chosen the Setup option for time to not start until you click OK).   This means there is no hurry to get the client name selected or to type in notes.  This is convenient for phone calls etc where you may not know who the caller is at first, or who is to be charged for this time.   It also gives you time to collect notes etc before having to deal with the time details.

If for this job you want the clock to have not started at the end of the previous job, you can click the "Start Now" button and the start time gets set to when you click the button.

This system is designed for a minimum of key strokes and to be used one-handed while on the phone (as that is the way I have usually been using it for some 18 years).

ATP run

The Hide button is so you can easily Hide the time window once the clock has started.  Normally once you have started a job, the next thing is to want the time window to be hidden, and use the screen for other work.

Finishing a job

If the time recording is hidden, look for the red clock on the task bar and click on it to bring the About Time window back.
To finish charging for a job, click the Stop Button.  The time stops at the moment you click Stop.


Here you can confirm the elapsed and chargeable time (in minutes), and the Cost Centre and Work Descriptions.
You can press Enter to just move through each of these fields, and when you press Enter on the OK button, the time is saved, and the next job is ready to start.

Fill in the Cost Centre and Work Description details (for these you can also enter name or code - eg Tel for Telephone will show a list of matches).  These codes are got straight from the Time and Cost system.

You are now ready to start another job.

Note  - When entering time using the clock like this, the default operation is that the next jobs start time is the moment the previous one finished, that is every moment is to be allocated to some job.

When you select the next job, and click OK, you will see the clock has already been running since you stopped the previous one..
You can alter the start time - see "Altering start times" below

This means that you will also need some non-chargeble jobs, such as administration for time not allocated to clients.

Special Jobs

There are some special jobs, if you enter in the name of a Job/Matter as one of

Out   Stop  Lunch  Tea  Home

then this job is treated specially - time will not be charged, and while the time for lunch etc is recorded, it is not added to the working day total.  Also you are not required to enter any of the cost centre or work descriptions for these.

Altering Start Times

You can override the start time - there are setup options about this, and there are buttons wo allow you to control the start time for a job, or you can enter the time that the job is to run from into the time box.,

Resuming a previous job

This is easy!   in the Job/Matter field press the Up Arrow .   This will show a list of previous jobs and times, and you can pick the previous one you wish..
If you enter Smith then press Up Arrow, then it will look for previous jobs containing the word "Smith".
This feature is designed to make it easy to accurately record time while one the phone with only one hand free and with minimum key strokes.

How to handle interruptions:

if you have a phone call or someone talk to you while in the middle of a job, there are two ways to handle this.  

1 - Stop this job and start another relating to the interruption.  If it is a chargeable interruption this is the best.  The previous job can be easily resumed afterwards.
This is described above in "Finishing a job" and "Resuming a previous job".

Note when you click "Stop" to stop a job that the clock records this moment you click stop as the time to start the next job, so you don't need to enter the details for it immediiately.
If for instance its a phone call, you are often quite busy at the start of a call, and it may take a minute to work out which client needs to be charged, and the notes to add, and you can add these when you have a moment while still on the phone or afterwards.

As long as you have clicked Stop on the previous job, then the clock is accurately recording time for this one.

2 - If it is just an interruption that does not need to be recorded, then just click the pause button, and you will see:


One of the great features of the JBCL system is it records both elapsed and chargeable time.  When the interruption finishes, click Restart and you will see now both clocks are running, but at different intervals.  This is useful as when a client suggests a bill might be reduced you can look up to see how much time was elapsed and not charged - i.e. how much time has already been written off.

Also often work is done for a client but not charged - this allows you to track this also.
Run Restart

Resuming a previous job - more details

Especially if you have interruptions, you often wish to start the clock again for a previous job.  The system caters for this by allowing you to pick the list of previous jobs.   All you have to do is press the Up Arrow in the Job/Matter field and a list of previous jobs is shown:

Start Previous

You can also filter this list - if you type "Adm" and press the Up Arrow you will only see previous jobs with names containing the letters "adm" such as Administration etc.

There are a lot of behind the scenes smart features - for instance the entry of cost centres and work descriptions is usually easy as the system looks for the values last used for this same matter or job and uses these as the default.  This means you usually don't have to enter anything in these - it is already done.

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Basic Tips and Points - especially for new users

Recording time as you go
Recording time after the event
The easiest way to add time after the event is using the diary page, where you can drag the mouse over a range of time, eg 10am to 11am, which automatically sets the time range to 60 minutes and then prompts you for the job or matter code.   You can also double click any existing entry to edit its details.

 You can also use the Simple or Standard Timesheet view to get a simple listing of time and edit time this way too.  This view also allows you to view times over several days at once, and also where timesheet entries start too close together to be easily seen in the Diary page.  (This can happen if for instance you start two jobs or matters within a minute or within one unit, in which case you cannot easily see both in the diary view).

You can easily switch from the Standard to the Diary view using the convenient coloured button on each screen.
Recording time against jobs or matters not yet in the system
The program does allow this, you can enter a temporary description for a job or matter and use it as normal, but you will have to put in the correct client matter code or job code before the time can be posted.
Setup Options
For a new user the main thing is make sure an employee number is entered on the setup screen, and uncheck the option
    "Clock Starts when stop previous Job" if you prefer.   Once the correct employee code is in the system it will pick up the charging rates set up for that employee

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There are many advanced features:

-Time Edit   You can edit a jobs starting time in many ways, either by directly entering the new time, or by the Time Edit buttons

    "Quick Time Edit"   allows you to for instance set the start time to be when the last job was calculated to finish

    "Full Time Edit" allows you to adjust the finish time of the previous job and the start time of this job in one screen.
    This is useful when you forget to stop the clock for a job, and realise it has run too long and both the previous and     current jobs need to be corrected.


There is a full searching and totalling feature.  Time can be reported in minutes, units, quarter hours, hours or days.

You can select by date ranges, or by client name.


There are two comprehensive ways to view and edit previous stored time.  These are from the "Timesheet" button: Standard Edit and Diary Page edit

-The time recording screen shows running totals of time elapsed and chargeable for today, this month, and this year.

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Number Minutes in a Work Day

This is for calculating the Bar Graph: the total length (100%) is the
number of minutes per working day, and the bar shows the progress of
the time spent since start of the day, time logged, and time charged as
a fraction of the work day.

This provides a nice summary of how your Time Recording is going for the day.

This provides an instant summary of todays time recording.
The total length of the bar  represents the length to the work day,
as set up in the System Options.

The Red/Yellow bar represents the total amount of time chargeable today
as a fraction of the working day.

The Grey/Blue bar represents the fraction of the day
logged so far. Once this bar is as long as the work day, then a complete
days work has been logged.

The employee will aim to:
When logging one job or matter, the total minutes logged for that job or matter are also shown,  blue is total minutes,  red is chargeable minutes.

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To correct or complete previous entries, click the TimeSheet button.
Note you can do this while a job's clock is running, as seen here

Timesheet View
Diary View

TimeSheet Options

For a simple quick list of timesheet entries that spans a date range, use the second option.
For a  visual look at the time data for a day in a diary format use the third option - this is fun to use.
All these options are interchangeable, and if you edit time details in each (notes etc) the screen to do is the same.

To find time and print reports or lists  - choose the fourth option.

Simple TimeSheet Edit - Recommended option

This takes you to a TimeSheet screen:

Std Timesheet
Fill in the date range you want and click "Show Time".  (you can enter dates as for example 29-apr-09 or 29.4.09 or use the arrow on the right or the date to select dates with the mouse)

To edit one entry, double click on it, or press Enter on the one you want.
You will see the editing screen is almost the same as the original Time Recording Clock screen.

This editing screen has the same options for looking up a job by code or name, special jobs such as out or tea, and also for finding previous jobs by pressing the up arrow.
Cost Centres and Work Descriptions  can also be entered  by name or code.
Click "Finish Edit" when you are done.

Diary TimeSheet

This is designed to make editing of timesheet data visual, easy and fun.  Note you can see one day at a time, and you can zoom in or out.  The zoom function is because if you view a whole day from 8am to 6pm then some of the jobs may be so close together on the screen you cannot tell them apart.

Here is a view of the same data as shown in the other timesheet view above

8 Hour view:
Zoom 8Hr

2 Hour view:
Zoom 6mins

In both of these, each line is a 6 minute unit.

The third view is in single minutes - this is not needed often, but if several jobs follow each other in the space of a few minutes, this is the only way to see them.
Here each row is one minute.
Zoom minutes

Notes about the diary view:

The look:
Selecting a time range
Adding a timesheet entry
Altering the times of an existing entry
Editing details of a time sheet entry.

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Advanced use of the Timesheet Manager:

In the JBCL Standalone system, the TimeSheet manager allows a central adminstration person, eg in the accounts department to view, check and complete if needed the time sheets for all employees.
TL Front screen

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Reports/Finding Information

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