Are your employees able to log into your system remotely to do their job, but still using a spreadsheet to record their time?
If so, you’re not alone. Firms lose millions of dollars every year in billing opportunities due to under-reporting of employee time, resulting in an under-billing of clients. Spreadsheet software, for all its benefits, is not the best way to track employee time. For their part, employees are often reluctant to access their spreadsheet after each task that they complete, yet, the only way to record time accurately is to do that exact thing.
And while many professional firms are moving to a flat-rate or value priced billing, you still need to track employee time to determine profitability levels for that employee, or for your firm in general. After all, how will you accurately estimate the amount that a client is billed if you have no insight into how long staff worked on their particular file? How will you know if employees are using their time wisely or spending most of it visiting non-work-related sites on their computer? And how will you know if a client is making money for your firm, or if you’re losing money by taking on their work?
You won’t, unless you have a solid time management application in place. More than just a timesheet, time management applications allow you to keep a handle on staff time, manage workflow, determine staff productivity levels, and view project profitability.
In this issue of CPA Practice Advisor, we reviewed a variety of Time Management/Time & Billing applications, which include the following:
- AccountantsWorld Practice Relief
- BigTime IQ
- BQE Core
- ImagineTime Time & Billing
- TPS Time & Billing
The level of features found in these products vary widely, but all offer solid time tracking and client invoicing capability. Advanced features and functionality are found in several of these applications as well. Here are some of the features we took a close look at:
- Ability to track time in a variety of ways, including tracking time for multiple projects or multiple clients.
- Does the product offer a mobile app? This can be particularly important for staff members that work remotely or travel frequently.
- Can related expenses be tracked along with time? If your business frequently incurs expenses related to a specific job such as travel expenses, copying expenses, or even phone calls, it’s important for you to be able to track these add-on expenses along with staff time.
- Are you able to easily invoice clients directly from the application? Is integration with your accounting/practice management application important?
- Does the application offer good reporting options that enable you to view client and firm profitability levels?
Of course, each firm’s needs will vary. One firm may be looking for a complex time management application that includes advanced functionality, while the next may be looking for a simple way to record employee time.
But whatever your needs are, it’s likely that there is a time management application that can fulfill those needs. So, head on over to our reviews and start looking for the best product for your needs.
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