2009 Review of Time & Billing Systems
Managing Time & Billing Improves Efficiency
From the Oct. 2009 Issue
Time and billing products have been around for several years now and there are many choices in the marketplace today to fit your firm’s needs. These products have evolved over time from initially being somewhat crude and non-intuitive to systems that are now much more user-friendly, flexible and capable of meeting the needs of many firms.
In my opinion, time and billing products have two distinct users, with very different needs. The first user is the person entering time. This user is now being served very well in the marketplace. Most, if not all, of the products on the market today provide an intuitive time and expense data entry workflow. The user that is not being served as well is the person responsible for billing the client.
A time and billing product must make it easy for the firm to create a bill based on the specific needs of the firm. The billing process must be flexible and allow the bill to be presented to the client in a timely manner.
I have always been taught that cash is king. Getting bills out the door sooner allows firms to collect cash sooner. Another reason for billing when services are rendered is that it is easier to collect for your services. It is like fine dining: you spend a lot of money on a nice dinner, have an extra glass of wine and splurge on dessert. Once the meal is complete, the waiter brings the check and you don’t feel bad for spending the money on the meal because you still have the satisfaction of the experience. Then you get your credit card statement the following month and review your charges for accuracy and you gasp at the amount you spent. The expense does not seem like such a good deal now. The same goes for billing for services. Bill now, while the client has the satisfaction of receiving your services, not 30 days later.
In addition to looking at the very important billing processes of each of these products, the following key areas will also be addressed:
- Management Functions & Reporting
- Billing Processes
- Support & Help
- Overall Value
As you will notice, there are many choices in the marketplace for time and billing. As a result of this competition. pricing is very competitive. My advice would be to read the reviews based on the features that fit your firm. Find the system that fits your business needs and process, because any difference in price will be recovered in the efficiency your firm will gain.
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