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Time & Billing Software 2005 — Executive Summary

From the November 2005 Review of Time
& Billing Software

It is obvious that time and billing software can help manage more than just
billing for time and expenses, but narrowing down what a professional services
firm needs or expects from such software is not always as simple. And this is
where the line between practice management applications and time and billing
software becomes hazy — time and billing software is practice management
software, but the obverse is not always so. The essential functions of time
and expense tracking, invoicing and some form of AR monitoring are key for professional
services firms. But many organizations also need full contact management capabilities,
greater analysis functions, scheduling and calendaring systems that either integrate
or otherwise share data with Outlook, and communications programs that can also
synch with Outlook.

Professional services firms underbill billions annually in the United States,
and time and billing software can help retain some of that. But to attain all
of the potential advantages of the systems, such as increased productivity and
efficiency, better managed time and more accurate billing, the software must
become as essential a part of a business’ processes as the telephone.
That requires daily entry of time and expenses because less frequent entries
can lack the specific details that assist in billing and review, or result in
unbilled tasks. Ultimately, to realize the greatest benefit of any such system,
the partners and staff of the accounting firm (or other professional services
business) must be devoted to using the system as an integral part of their workflow