Making the Most with Your Time
Tracking Time Fundamental for Practice Management Workflow Success
Time and billing is a moneymaker for any firm of any size. Failure to use it is failing to capture valuable time. It not only provides a more realistic invoice but also creates the budgeted time for the project in subsequent years, and provides an example for accepting similar projects. As part of CPA Magazine’s mission to provide tax professionals with tips and techniques to help them manage, enhance and expand their practice. We are going to take a closer look at time and billing and its integration into the tax professional’s practice.
A time and billing solution is normally the first order of business for firms. It is a common mistake for time to be accounted for after the work is complete. When billable time is estimated, or guessed at, it’s often lower than the actual time spent which translates into lost revenue.
“Many firms mistakenly believe they are tracking time, when in fact they are just guessing," said Felecia Dixson, Principal at Alfermann Gray & Co. “If you don't track real-time on billing, how do you know if you have made any money on that project?”
This inefficiency can be remedied by integration. Having your software environment thoroughly connected can reduce keystrokes and save time.
“If I am working on a document or looking at an email, I should have the ability to track time,” said Mike Giardina, CEO of Office Tools Professional. “What we believe software has to do is reach out and touch all the other applications and processes so we don’t have to do work and then go log time in retrospect.”
Many time and billing solutions have also incorporated automatic alerts to remind staff to record their time. They automatically apply the correct billing rate, monitor hours worked, create invoices for engagements and generate management reports. Most products have a stopwatch located on the desktop to allow users to track time for projects with the click of a button and to enable multiple accountants at the same time. Each one can be set to start and stop as the phone rings, inbox messages are received and if clients drop by throughout the day.
A large firm is always looking for the best workflow to get all the jobs completed without overburdening any one employee. Dixson recommends tracking everything, including pro-bono clients and others that receive discounted work. After work with a client is completed management can then study the tracking information and easily see exactly how much was made working for that particular client.
This efficiency can be pushed further by examining the general needs of tax professionals today. Much like the rest of technology, everything is now on the move.
We have a mobile need,” said Giardina. “I think that’s the greatest benefit. Whether we are hosting office tools with a cloud provider or using the web-based software, so many people need this mobility. Ultimately, that should in most ways be leading to mobile applications. I would say that mobility is the greatest benefit that we have out there.”
Record Expenses From Smartphone
- Practice Relief is preconfigured with the standard tasks and expense types most commonly used in accounting practices.
- Can record tasks and expenses for users on the go from any smartphone or tablet with Internet access. Tasks and expenses can be added, edited, or deleted anytime and are synched automatically in Practice Relief.
- Supports hourly, variable rate structures, flat fee, non-billed, and recurring retainer billing types.
- The Integrated Scheduler keeps track of client appointments across the firm, and completed appointments can be sent immediately to billing.
- Features complete managerial overrides for all billable events.
What Users Say
“I use Practice Relief to get paid right away,” said Fernando Maisonave at AccuBooks. “I can create an invoice while I'm at the client's office, get paid immediately, and because all the [AccountantsWorld Power Practice System] modules are integrated, the invoice goes right into Accounting Relief [AccountantsWorld’s complete write-up and bookkeeping package]. Practice Relief also helps us manage past-due invoices.”
Practice Relief | AccountantsWorld
accountantsworld.com | 888-999-1366
Calendar for Viewing Work Loads
- The color-coded calendar allows users to see assignments for each employee and instantly learn which team members are overextended or under-utilized. You can Keep an eye on not only your forecasted work, but also who is available to work on your next project.
- Users can include all files (contracts, nondisclosure agreements, confirmations, engagement letters and other documents) linked to a single record in an email with a single click for estimates.
- Invoice approval alerts notify users when their draft invoices are approved by a manager to reduce the time between working and getting paid.
- Users can compare past project performances to current jobs by applying date filters to further narrow down snap-shot information available on the project screen and in the project center.
- As soon as users finish a deposit transaction, BillQuick can immediately make the related deposit slips available for printing or emailing.
What Users Say
"I would have to say that of all of the software that we use in the daily operation of our business, the purchase and use of BillQuick has had the most dramatic effect on our bottom line,” said Al Truss, Fountainhead Group Consulting. “Highly recommended!"
BillQuick 2013 | BQE Software
bqe.com | 866-945-1595
Multiple Timers Run Concurrently
Practice Management 2013
- Features a single screen interface and can be integrated with Intuit’s QuickBooks, Microsoft Office products, Intuit’s Lacerte and Demandforce.
- Multiple time keeping options are available and all time data entered is immediately available for invoicing. Users may key time manually, but the system is designed to prompt users to complete time entry sheets upon finalizing assigned tasks. Timers are available and multiple timers may run concurrently from any part of the program.
- Invoice adjustments may be made on each invoice as required.
- New invoice templates have been added, totaling 22 template types with over 35 print options.
What Users Say
“Before Office Tools Professional our Time and Billing software was Time Slips and we used File n Time to keep track of the projects,” said Patti O’Neill at O’Neill & Bergado. When we looked at Office Tools Professional it basically combined both of them and if you can get rid of redundant systems then that’s the way to do it.”
Practice Management 2013 | Office Tools Professional
officetoolspro.com | 888-667-8440
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