Time Capture vs. Contemporaneous Time Entry

Posted by Gaby Isturiz on Nov 18, 2013 5:28:00 PM


9009075_s“Time is money.” We’ve all heard that before. In order to maximize revenue and accuracy at your firm, you’ll need to decide on the right method to account for your firm’s billable hours. This decision is critical to growing your firm and achieving your business goals.

While there are several considerations when it comes to selecting a system to track your time, one of the most basic considerations is this: time entry or time capture?

Do you know the difference?

In this article, we’ll help you understand both options and how you might use them together.

Understanding Time Entry 

Before we dive into our comparison of time entry versus time capture, it’s important to understand the difference between two types of time entry. When you think of time entry, you are likely thinking of the grueling process that includes looking back through your schedule, email and call logs to estimate the time that you spent on each task, case or initiative. This is what is referred to as reconstructive time entry, as you are literally “reconstructing” the your schedule in order to determine how your time was spent. 

The second type of time entry is contemporaneous time entry, which is achieved by recording time immediately after a task is completed. Technology is an ally in successfully practicing contemporaneous time entry, as it is now possible to record time on a mobile device, anytime and anywhere. 

Reconstructive time entry and contemporaneous time entry are not mutually exclusive. Often, timekeepers will practice a combination of both time entry methods, keeping track of a portion of their time contemporaneously and using reconstructive time entry to fill in the gaps.

What is time capture?

Time capture uses software to monitor the timekeeper’s activities and create an automated report regarding how time was spent. The software runs on the attorneys’ desktop computer and other devices to track work-related activities that take place throughout the day. The software mines the data in order to sort tasks appropriately. 

Ultimately, you may not decide to choose between time entry or time capture, but to embrace both. After all, it’s always a degree of one or the other. You won’t always be able to “do it right now,” and you are hopefully not “leaving it all for later.”

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Topics: Time Capture, Contemporaneous Time Entry