Graphs and Work Trend Charts


Outline

The great advantage of charts and graphs is their ability to show instantly  the levels and trends of work over a period - something that could otherwise only be done by using Microsoft Excel or creating graphs manually after a lot of work adding or plotting the figures onto them.. 

As from its Jan 2009 version C-Law has had the ability to instantly create meaningful graphs and charts. Initially these were limited to bills and new accounts either globally or by reference to work category and/or fee earner. In its 2010 version the possibilities were extended to allow bills and/or new accounts to be displayed graphically on a monthly basis by reference to indemnity codes and work sources. 

The production of useful charts and graphs depends on the availability of back data. C-Law does not keep back data other than for bills and new accounts for any length of time - at present. The norm used to be for a maximum of three years for these but this limit can be increased - there is now an option on the settings menu for defining the period that the summary files are retained . By default it will be up to four years but it will take two years for this new setting to filter through so as to be useful for producing graphs for longer than two years.

If a firm has backups from two years ago and would like their current summary files to be manually adjusted to include more back data C-Law Systems can do this for a nominal fee on being supplied with suitable backups.

Available Chart formats

The charts can be in a variety of forms. They can be simple graphs - for example the levels of billings over the past 2 years or the creation of new accounts over the same period. Or simple bar charts. Both these forms show the position very clearly indeed.

The two dimensional graphs can become difficult to see if multiple traces are shown (eg: all fee earners or categories of work) and 3d graphs can be produced which can be easier to understand. However even these also can be quite difficult to see depending on the data and it is suggested that differing chart types are tried to see which is the easiest to show your particular layout of data.

A useful chart is the simple pie chart showing the work category involvement or fee earner involvement in all bills sent out during either a 12 18 or 24 months period. Or the same for new matters over a period.

The Charts generated can be printed to a suitable printer - because the more complex charts rely on colour the use of a colour printer may be appropriate in these cases.

Generating charts

Go to the Cashier Menu and choose Management and Chart view of work trends.

You will see a screen like this.

             

C-Law fills in the last COMPLETE month available in your data and shows it in red - eg: 09/2009 in the above example. This is therefore the LAST month that it is appropriate to select.

Note that you can change this red text box yourself to input another end month/year.  But bear in mind that you cannot go forwards and that if you go back too far you will be limited because of the absence of back data. Two years back from the current month is probably about a reasonable limit.  But you could ask for data for a previous 12 month period ending on any month up to two years ago.

The period of the data to be drawn on the graph is defined by the "Period to display" option buttons.

Then  it is a question of choosing a graph type from the list box. Highlight it and double click it or click on the COMPILE CHART button.  The chart should appear almost instantly.

            chart

The red line traces in this case the value of monthly bills delivered over a 24 month period showing the good months and bad months. This is an example of a simple two dimensional graph type of chart.

At the foot of the chart is a tool bar which in full size looks like this:-

chart tools

This enables you to instantly alter the type of chart you are viewing by using the drop down list on the left. This enables you to find the most useful type to you. 

The "show legends" check box is appropriate if you have chosen a multi trace chart as it gives a "key" to the colours used on the chart.

You can instantly change between graphs for bills and new accounts for the same period by clicking on one or other of the two buttons in the centre.

The chart data selection allows you to select a different data set - ie: divided between fee earners or work categories as you wish.

If you choose a multi trace chart then you can click on any of the traces to have that trace further analysed and a fresh chart drawn showing the analysis.  For example if you selected a multi trace graph showing fee earner bills you can click on any of the fee earner traces to show a new graph of the work categories in that fee earners bills.

To printout any chart simply click the Printout button and select the printer from those available. (A colour printer could be useful).

Click Redfine or Quit to go back to the initial selection screen so you can change the period or the chart selected (although you can if you wish do this directly using the tool bar selections at the foot of the graph). Or to exit.

Indemnity Insurance Report in Pie Chart format


The Indemnity Code Report now contains an option to compile a pie chart as a graphic alternative to the written report. This is selected directly from the Indemnity Code report section of the Management Menu items and cannot be selected from the chart screen directly.

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