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Spruson & Ferguson Pilot

Using WiseTime, attorneys doubled the hours documented, captured and accounted for in half the time it would take to do so manually.

Leading intellectual property (IP) firm Spruson & Ferguson was the first IP services team to complete a pilot of WiseTime, proving the benefits of the autonomous timekeeping tool. The results of the pilot were incredibly favourable. Using WiseTime, attorneys captured more than double the amount of work time than they were able to account for with their manual timekeeping methods. Additionally, they were also able to reduce their timekeeping administration on average by one hour per week.

Employing more than 400 people across 10 offices in Asia-Pacific, Spruson & Ferguson is one of the leading IP firms in the region. Their principal practice management system is Inprotech, by CPA Global.

When we approached Spruson & Ferguson with our proposal to pilot WiseTime, they were interested to see whether the system could increase the efficiency and reduce the administrative burden of timekeeping.

The requirements of the pilot

One of the key considerations of the pilot was the amount of work required from Spruson & Ferguson‘s internal resources to configure WiseTime and whether it would have any effect on their existing platforms or processes. It was important that any new system was complementary to, and compatible with, their existing set up.

WiseTime is designed to connect easily to existing systems. Therefore, there were no larger implications for existing systems or procedures at Spruson & Ferguson. The WiseTime Connector is easily configured by our team and then works alongside Inprotech and in conjunction with the existing timekeeping method.

Testing WiseTime against the start-stop time clock

Spruson & Ferguson’s existing method of time capture utilised the built-in timekeeping system that is included as part of their current practice management system. This includes a start-stop timer, as well as the option to manually add activity. For both options, the attorney must look up the case matter and then manually input the information about the task to add it to the client file for billing.

When using the start-stop timer, attorneys must start a new timer whenever their attention is diverted to anything outside of that specific case matter, such as when receiving a phone call, or on receipt of an urgent email. They must either stop the timer on the first matter and switch to paper notes for later entry, or they must look up the new matter that their attention has shifted to before beginning.

This method is not highly efficient. Further, many attorneys resort to a paper-ledger as a backup, in case they forget to stop or start the timer on a given matter, creating a subsequent manual task of transcribing the paper notes.

During the pilot, Spruson & Ferguson attorneys used WiseTime to autonomously capture their work time in the background, while still continuing to use their existing start-stop and manual method. This enabled us to get an accurate comparison of the time captured and the time spent on administration for each method. 

Easy connection to your practice management system

Spruson & Ferguson used the WiseTime Connector to connect to Inprotech. Once connected, WiseTime can detect the matter references from Inprotech and will automatically tag activities when a keyword match for each matter reference is identified. This means that any work performed on a document containing the reference number in the subject line, window title or document title is captured and seamlessly assigned to the correct case and client.

Connecting to your existing systems might sound like a large project with a lengthy timeline – this is not the case with WiseTime Connector. We’ve designed WiseTime to connect in a lightweight and non-intrusive manner, relying on read-only access for the majority of its functionality.

There are only two things WiseTime requires to fully connect:

  1. Detect when a new case is added to your system
  2. Know where to send your WiseTime data when users post it

Once the connector is enabled, the time information will flow directly into the relevant fields of your existing system.

The pilot group

The Spruson & Ferguson pilot consisted of a small group of users over a period of two weeks. Users kept WiseTime running in the background but continued to use their current timekeeping system as per usual. WiseTime was autonomously recording the time the attorneys worked on their cases while the attorneys also recorded their time manually so that an accurate analysis was possible. 

To calculate the average amount of time spent curating and posting the time data from WiseTime, we used later data from users after they had switched to solely using WiseTime.

The pilot results speak for themselves

The per week averages of the pilot group were as follows:

While the results were stronger than anticipated, it is important to note that the above hourly figures do not necessarily represent billed hours, but rather the number of hours of time and attention information that were submitted to case-related matters. The pilot group perform a variety of fixed-fee work items, which in the past had not been recorded with their manual timekeeping method. With WiseTime, the team was also able to effortlessly capture the time spent on fixed-fee work. This additional information was captured with no extra burden on the user and could be used as supporting information for billing reports or as internal record keeping for fixed-fee work.

In summary, using WiseTime, the pilot team doubled the hours they documented, captured and accounted for in half the time it would take to manually do so. 

Increased efficiency and transparency

The Spruson & Ferguson pilot demonstrates the increased efficiencies that can be gained with WiseTime. As well as reducing the administrative burden of timekeeping, WiseTime increases the level of detail captured for tasks throughout the day with no additional effort from the user. 

By sharing additional time and attention data, your clients can gain a deeper understanding of the effort you have directed to their matter, and a greater appreciation as to the value of the service provided. In addition, you may decide to utilise the additional information to provide more detailed invoices to clients.

One of the key advantages of WiseTime is its flexible implementation options. Spruson & Ferguson gave their attorneys the option to use both time-keeping tools.

Spruson & Ferguson was very pleased with the results from the pilot and is now planning to expand its use of WiseTime. As the firm expands its use, it expects to see considerable reductions in timekeeping administration work, paired with the increased efficiencies and timekeeping accuracy that the platform provides.