What's New in our September 2019 Release
Our development and product teams have been hard at work this summer. Although we certainly had a chance to enjoy the lake, beach, and other fun summer activities, we have worked very hard listening to what our clients are asking for, and quickly translating that into new and existing capabilities to help you run your firm even better and more efficiently! This article is intended to help you understand what is new in the September 2019 Centerbase release, and take advantage of these new features.
Major New Features in this Release Include:
- Case Chat
- Activity Reminders
- New Android and iOS Timekeeping App
- User Profiles
- Practice Packs
- Origination Effective Date Schedules
- Pull From Office 365
- Rate Table Import Utility
- Tons of Other Enhancements and Improvements
If you are currently using the Windows Administrative Tool you are REQUIRED to download a new version for this release. We suggest you download and install this now, as it will work with your current release. Download here!
Centerbase Case ChatTM
This version introduces a completely new chat feature into Centerbase. This feature allows staff and attorneys to communicate real-time with each other regarding client matters. The matter now has a Chat tab, which is a real-time chat window to allow conversations regarding that matter. As part of this new feature, we have introduced a totally new notification system with a slide-out notification panel, allowing users to see and manage these conversations from a single place. Users can subscribe to different matters to join in on the conversation and receive notifications when there is new chat activity on that matter. Here is a quick overview of how to begin using this new exciting capability.
Subscribe to Matters for Chat
Although you don't need to subscribe to a matter's chat in order to participate, you do need to be subscribed to receive updates and notifications on that matter. You can subscribe individually, or subscribe to a group of matters at once from a matter search!
Subscribe to a Matter
Subscribe to a Group of Matters From a Search
Once subscribed, you will receive notifications when there is chat activity on that matter.
Click on the new notification icon to open the notification panel below.
New messages are highlighted; clicking the message will open the Case Chat panel for that matter. The filters on the panel can be used to display only new messages, or all messages.
In the Chat panel, communication is real-time when both users are on the page at the same time. There is an indicator when the other party is typing. After typing your message and pressing Send, the message is instantly sent to all other users who have that chat open, or sent to their notification panel.
Another useful ability in Chat is to perform a Mention. By typing an @ symbol in the chat, a list will appear for you to tag or mention another user in the chat. This will:
- Deliver a popup notification to that user if they are currently logged in to Centerbase.
- Place a notification in their notification panel, even if they are not subscribed to the matter chat.
Creating a Mention
Mention Notification Popup
Editing Your Comments In a Chat
Users can delete or edit their own comments in a chat. Each line has a clickable feature to bring up the context menu for that chat line. See below.
As part of the new Case Chat feature, users can associate an avatar with their user login. This is done by opening the user's settings from the Settings link on the homepage, then clicking the Chat tab and uploading an image to use. The suggested size for the image is a 90x90 pixel .png or .jpg file.
Other Settings are:
- Enable Notification Sound
- This will play a sound when a new mention or popup is received. This applies to both chat mentions and the new reminder features.
- Close Notification After
- This allows user control for the length of time the notification stays open before auto-closing.
- This allows user control for the length of time the notification stays open before auto-closing.
Enable or Disable Case Chat
Case Chat can be disabled in the Advanced Configuration area of the System Settings.
- In the General section on the Advanced Configuration page under System Configuration of the System Settings, the Enable Message System option must be checked and saved by the admin. By default, this setting is set to true.
- Once enabled, any matter will now have a Chat tab. Clicking this tab will display the chat window.
Centerbase now provides a totally new system for notifications and reminders. Users can now:
- Add popup reminders and notifications to a task or appointment.
- Add an email reminder to a task or appointment.
Setting Up Reminders
When creating activities, users will now be presented with a reminder panel by default. Importantly, notice that now the New button allows choosing Task or Appointment separately, and the old Activity icon is gone.
The task or appointment form now displays a reminder settings area. Users can choose from an Email Reminder, Popup Reminder, or both.
- Email reminders require that the user has completed setting up their email account in their user settings. Instructions for setting this up are found in this article.
- Email and Popup reminders will automatically be set for ALL users that are scheduled on the activity.
Once reminder settings have been set, the activity will display a green alarm clock on the form, and reminder settings can easily be changed, without needing to edit the activity, by simply clicking the green alarm clock icon.
The popup reminder dialog is shown below, and has options for Snooze or Dismiss for individual or all reminders.
- The user can select single or multiple reminders by clicking the checkboxes on the left.
- The Snooze and Dismiss buttons will be disabled if no reminders are checked, to indicate that they are not functional unless the user has selected at least one reminder.
- The Dismiss button will hide any selected reminders, and they will not reappear the next time the reminder popup appears.
- Clicking Dismiss All will dismiss every reminder whether it is selected or not.
- The snooze function allows the user to reset the reminder timer. So if they select the default option of 15 minutes, the reminder will go off 15 minutes after the Snooze button had been pressed.
- The user can click Snooze All to snooze all reminders for an equal amount of time
- Snooze function takes any number to the left, and users can select whether to use minutes, hours, or days from the drop-down.
Users can click the flag icon next to the notification bell on the navigation bar to bring up the reminders dialog whenever they wish.
New Android and iOS Timekeeping App
A totally new, converged Android and iOS app has been released. Android users can now use the mobile timekeeping function of Centerbase! The app was created with the new Google development platform 'Flutter' to take maximum advantage of new and emerging mobile features!
Phase I of the app currently contains the Timekeeping function. The previous full-featured app continues to function, is supported, and can be run along with the new app if desired. Over time, all of the functionality of the old app plus many new features will be added to the new converged app.
With the new app, biometric authentication like Touch or Face ID is now supported.
The timekeeping feature is nearly identical to the current version, however, the calendar can be shown now in 1 week, 2 weeks, or month mode. This allows more room for viewing and working with your time entries.
The user experience and data entry features have been improved to make entering information easier.
The app can be downloaded for Android from the Google Play store here.
As of this moment, the iOS version is pending approval from Apple, but will be available for download soon.
One of the most requested, and powerful administrative features ever released in Centerbase, the new User Profiles feature opens a whole new set of options for managing a large number of user permissions, access control, and security settings. Administrators can now define profiles for a range of settings and apply those profiles to users. The settings can even propagate record security settings to all existing records created by users when the users are added to the profile. This will make managing users and permissions much easier, and allow changes to settings to be accomplished with minimal effort.
What's Included in the new Profiles?
- Access and user rights permissions from the current web Permissions Settings on the User tab
- Access and user rights permissions from the Windows Administrative Tool Manage Users permissions tab
- Record default security settings from the Advanced Security settings in the Windows Administrative Tool
- Group Membership
- Administrator rights
Altogether, this encompasses all settings that currently define permissions and access control for Centerbase users.
How to Create a new Profile
User profiles are located in the System Settings under the new User Information settings group.
Existing profiles can be edited and new profiles easily created from this screen.
To add a new profile click the Add New Profile button.
The following options are available in the Profile Settings section:
- Profile Name and Description
- Enter the name and description to help identify for who and why this profile was created
- Copy Settings from User
- Choosing an existing user and clicking the Populate button will copy all existing settings from a currently setup user into the profile. This allows existing users to be used as a template for the new profile, and makes setting up profiles for existing systems much easier. The Populate function can be run as well on an existing profile to update it.
- Is Admin?
- Sets all members of the profile as Centerbase Administrators.
Detailed Profile Settings
Settings on the Permissions tab grant or deny access to specific areas or functions of Centerbase on a user basis. In the profile, these settings can be checked or unchecked, thus affecting all users included in the profile. These settings are the same as in the Users Permissions tab in the System Settings for each individual user, and in the Windows Administrative Tool.
The Record Security matrix defines the default permissions to be applied to new records created by users included in the profile, and whether the items are hidden in the program from the user, and if they have rights to create the record type.
Settings for each record type can be individually configured, or set in groups by selecting multiple rows. As opposed to in the individual security settings, the special owner Creator is available to set the current user as the owner of the records. These settings apply to all new records created by members of the profile, but can also be applied to all existing records created by members of the profile when saving the profile.
The profile can specify what groups the users included in the profile are members of.
The last tab allows the administrator to select which Centerbase users are included in this profile. Users can be in only ONE profile at a time.
Mass Applying Record Security When Saving Profile
If changes were made to the record level security settings when saving the profile, a prompt will appear to update existing records.
- Update new records only
- This will apply the new default record security to new records created by profile members.
- Update all existing records
- This will mass update ALL records previously created by members of the group to apply the new security settings.
- NOTE: This will NEVER change the security for records that were marked as private, to protect against potentially exposing confidential records. To update these records, search for the records and mass update them using the Actions drop down from search results.
Origination Schedule Effective Dates
The powerful features to track and calculate attorney origination and production compensation are getting a big improvement. Billing and Admin staff can now add multiple compensation schedules based on date ranges.
Adding New Origination Schedules
From the Originations tab, click the Edit button. In the Other Versions area, click the green plus icon to create a new version.
Fill in the desired new date range for the schedule, the new origination and production settings, then click the Save button.
Effects of the New Schedules
The existing Production and Origination reports, as well as the new Compensation reports, will now display different share amounts depending on the date the payment was received on the matters. Each payment will show the correct share amount and percentage depending on which schedule was in effect for that payment date.
The new custom Production and Origination reports can be downloaded from our New Reports page.
Centerbase Practice Packs make it easy to package all your Centerbase customization into a file and apply it to a new Centerbase site! This feature is intended for consultants and is password-protected to prevent unauthorized transfer of the customization without a firm's approval. This feature does not transfer actual data, but only the settings, configuration, and customization.
Practice Pack content includes:
- Custom Records Types
- Custom Fields Types
- Form Layouts
- Document and Email Templates
- File System Settings
- Record and Field Settings
- Record Auto Naming Settings
- Drop Down Values
To access the feature, click Practice Packs from the System Settings, Utilities group.
To import an existing settings file, choose the file, then click Import. This will be covered after Export.
To Export the settings from your current system, choose Export All or Export Manager. Export Manager allows for selective exporting of user-selected customization only.
The Export Manager allows you to selectively choose what feature customization you want to export. Choosing any feature that has dependencies, such as a workflow that requires queries, will also automatically select those required items and export them along with the feature you selected.
The Export Manager will alert you to features that cannot be exported due to errors or missing information, and warn you of features that can be exported but may have missing information.
At this point, you can cancel and correct the errors or warnings in the system, or continue and export anyway.
Performing a Practice Pack Import
Once you have the export file, you can now upload and apply the Practice Pack XML file to a different Centerbase Site. After choosing the file, Centerbase will display a summary of what is being imported.
The first step is to review and resolve any conflicts with record types. Conflicts can arise in the case of an import record type that has the same ID as an existing record in the target system, but a different name. Users can choose to add new record types, update existing records types, or skip importing.
Field Conflicts are similar to Record Conflicts and must be resolved before moving to the next step.
The system will display a summary of Form Layouts being imported. No conflict management is required.
The system will display a summary of Queries being imported. No conflict management is required.
The system will display a summary of Document and Email Templates being imported. No conflict management is required.
The system will display a summary of Workflows being imported. No conflict management is required.
A final summary will be presented, and the user can select to continue and complete the import.
Pull from Office 365
Centerbase now supports pulling appointments from existing Office 365 user accounts. The setting is available from both the User Settings for individuals and the System Settings for group pull.
Import Matter Billing Rates Utility
Centerbase has a new utility to import rates and rate tables from existing systems when converting to Centerbase. By using a standard CSV template, rates can be exported from most other billing systems and imported to create rate tables and rate exceptions, and assigned to matters in Centerbase.
This feature can be found under Utilities in the System Settings.
Even More New Features!
Improved Description Edit/Readability in Bills and Vendor Bills
We changed the way our grid works to allow the option to grow the table so that the full description shows when viewing and editing bills from the bill form.
Improved User Management in the Windows Administrative Tool
Password Requirements are now enforced when setting or changing passwords through the Windows Administrative Tool. It is no longer possible to create a new user without a password. An issue with deleting groups has also been fixed!
The standard password requirements are listed below:
At least 6 characters long and any 3 of the following 4 is true:
- Has a lower case character
- Has an upper case character
- Has a number
- Has a special character
The password validation requirements may be updated by experts ONLY in the System Settings -> System Configuration -> Security page.
Improved Task and Appointment User Experience
Creating Tasks and Appointments no longer requires users to create an activity and select the desired type. They are now created directly from the NEW button in Centerbase. Each type now has its own unique form style appropriate to the type. Reminder options are specific to each type as well.
Hide Account Balances on Check Creation
We have added the ability to grant check writing privileges to users, but to disallow the user from viewing the balance of the account while writing the check. This is a new permission on the user permissions tab, under Accounting.
Additional Enhancements and Improvements!
ACCOUNT FILTER DIALOG: Updated parent account categories to be unique names so that their ids don't conflict.
ACCOUNTS FILTER DIALOG: Fix for larger number of accounts not loading onto dialog. Added spinner with a message.
ACCOUNT REGISTER PAGING: Added system setting under Advanced Configuration to set page size for transactions.
ACCOUNT REGISTER: Added ability to print the register.
ACCOUNT REGISTER: Download to EXCEL/CSV options on account register.
ACCOUNT REGISTER: Hide 'loading more rows' when there are no transactions.
REPORTS HEADERS WITH DATETIME: Updated logic to convert datetime to local when grouping.
REPORTS: Fix for group footer content not displaying when grouped by activity start/end dates.
REPORTS: Fix to report footer cells sometimes showing duplicate values. Fixed issue with basic reports grouped by date.
REPORTS: Updated time to get displayed in local time if grouping by activities start/end date times.
ITEM MANAGER: Added sorting to Type Grid and the Fields Grid.
ITEM MANAGER: Fixed, in item manager, a potential null reference exception and argument out of range exception.
ACCOUNTING: Fixing occasional issue when auto-applying payments with system utility.
AR REPORT PRINT: Fixed issue where sorting by a column with a null value would cause the print to fail.
BACK BUTTON: Fixed issue where the back button would not show when going to certain pages, like reports, straight from the Navigation bar.
BACK BUTTON: Using Alt+Left and the mouse back button will now use the Centerbase Back Button instead of the normal browser back button.
BILL WEB COPY: Updates to not display amount and payment options if the outstanding balance is less than zero.
BILLABLE TYPE: Fixed typo that prevented sites billable type from being set.
CBLOOKUPS: Fixed issue where the tooltip would flicker on item detail lookups.
CLIENT SNAPSHOT: Fixed issue where client Snapshot would show multiple rows per client on the web.
DUPLICATE DEPOSITS: Fixed issue where Deposit Save button could be clicked multiple times.
DUPLICATE JOURNAL ENTRIES: Fixed issue where journal entries created by duplicating entries that were already reconciled.
EXPORT ALL: Fixed issue when exporting records with no class.
FILE EXPLORER: Fixed issue where top refresh would not work when coming from another page with a fileExplorer.
FILE SYSTEM: Fixed issue where populate folders would fail if a document did not have a file date.
GENERAL LEDGER: Ability to wrap text if memo text is too long.
INVOICE: Added a check that prevents discounts from being more than the subtotal.
JOURNAL ENTRIES: Fixed issue where the duplicate button would remain, and another would be created, when clicking 'Save & Duplicate'.
LOGIN SCREEN: Changed splash image to use a solid color instead of a gradient.
MANAGE RATES: Updated timekeepers to be sorted by name.
MATTER AND CLIENT SNAPSHOT: Fixed issue in matter and client snapshot where rows could appear multiple times.
MATTER LEDGER: Updated logic to display record name of Bill type instead of 'invoice' in the ledger.
NEW MATTER: Updated validation when trying to set deleted trust bank/liability accounts as default accounts when creating matters.
OUTLOOK 365: Updated private events to sync with 365.
OUTLOOK 365: Fix for displaying private event subject name on the calendar.
PAYMENT DIALOG: Fixed issue with payment getting saved with posted unallocations and also applied distributions.
POSTED BILL DATE: Updated logic to convert the bill's posted date/time to local before getting displayed in the item detail.
POSTING INVOICES: Fixed issue where refunds were not showing on bills.
QUERY BUILDER: Fixed issue where certain condition dropdowns would show out of order.
QUICKBOOKS: Fixed issue where some billing entries wouldn't get pushed to QBO.
REPORTS CANCEL: Fixed issue where cancel would remove column headers and not restore them on apply filter.
TIME ENTRIES REPORT: Fixed issue where if any filter included a special character (like &), downloading the Time Entries would cause an error.
TRANSACTIONS: Fixed an issue where balance wasn't being calculated correctly on the Transactions tab found in Vendors and Clients
TRIAL BALANCE REPORT: Added missing columns when exporting to Excel.
TRUST LEDGER: Fixed issue where the filter would not filter by Trust Account.
USERNAMES: Added better error message when trying to create a new user from the web.
WORD ADDIN: Added Centerbase group to the beginning of the Home tab.