The Benefits of Using Timesheets for Accountants
Regardless of your business or organization, one of the most important commodities you could ever have at your disposal is time. Time is money, and in some businesses that saying rings truer than ever. Accountants and bookkeepers are in very high demand at this present moment in time, and if you’ve ever tried to tackle your business’ accounts for yourself, you’ll understand exactly why that is. Taking care of your books and accounts is very time-consuming, it’s stressful, it’s difficult, and it’s a chore that most people would rather have an expert handle instead.
If you happen to run an accounting company, this article should prove very useful because we’re looking at timesheets for accountants. Specifically, we’re going to be looking at timesheet software for accountants, and will be looking at why it’s so hugely beneficial. So, without any further ado, here’s a look at everything you need to know about time tracking for accountants.
What are timesheets?
Timesheets are a part of time tracking software, and they are becoming more and more popular in businesses all over the globe. In particular, timesheets are becoming more common in accountancy companies, and for good reason. Basically, timesheets are pieces of electronic data, which employers can use to track the amount of time that employees have spent working on certain tasks or projects in the workplace. In the world of accountancy, this is especially useful because it enables business managers to see precisely how much time has been spent working on certain projects, activities, and clients in general. Timesheets have been around for many years, and whereas in the past everything was once done on paper, now, times have changed and time tracking is performed primarily electronically via business software.
How timesheets for accountants work?
What makes timesheet software for accountants so popular and efficient, is the fact that using it simply couldn’t be easier, if you find the right solution. As we mentioned, time is money and any business that want to get the most out of its employees and services, should know exactly how much time is being spent on various activities and projects. When an employee makes a time entry, they will basically use the software to enter the time that they have started and finished working on a particular task or project. Here you can see how long is being spent on a project or activity, and you can see how long it is taking to complete. You can then use this data for all manner of things from payroll processing to client billing, and everything in between.
Why do you need timesheet software for accountants?
So, now that you have an idea of what timesheets for accountants are, and how they work, it’s now time for us to take a look at why timesheet software for accountants is so important in the first place. Here’s a look at several key benefits of this kind of software solution.
To save their time
One thing that people often forget, is that accounting companies are just like any other business, and they too need to file their taxes each year and ensure that their books and accounts are in order. Now, what’s especially interesting is the fact that people just assume that because they specialize in this line of work, accounting companies are therefore expected to handle their own books and accounts with no issues at all? In truth, because they’re so busy taking care of other people’s accounts, they in some cases struggle to find the time to handle their own. Believe it or not, but some accounting companies do actually hire other accountants to do their accounts for them. One of the main benefits of time tracking software for accountants, though, is the fact that the software can save them a lot of time when it comes to their own books and accounts. When you track and process everything automatically, this streamlines the entire process and makes filing your taxes and balancing your books much simpler. With this software you know exactly what is coming in, and you know precisely what is going out. Having everything on screen in black and white is therefore much easier when it comes to your own accounts.
Manage multiple projects at once
As we mentioned, the demand for accountants in the business world nowadays is greater than ever. Because of this, accounting companies will often take on multiple clients at once, and will therefore have multiple projects on the go at once. Needless to say, when it comes to a business’ books and accounts, there is no room for error. If you make a mistake and file your client’s tax return incorrectly because you were too busy and were trying to balance too many projects at once, your client will not become a returning customer. This will damage your reputation, and it could even land you in legal hot water. Using timesheets for accountants, however, is much more efficient. The software is there to give you an overlook of exactly how far along with each task/client you’re working on. Here you can track how far along your employees are with your various tasks and projects and you can subsequently manage them more efficiently. Having all of this info organized neatly in one system, and available at the click of a button is extremely useful and will help to make your company far more efficient. This in turn will keep clients happy, and a happy client is likely to become a returning client.
Know how your time is being spent
When people are trying to lose weight, they make an effort to cut back on the amounts of calories they consume. The problem is that they often try to guess how many calories they’re taking in, rather than getting an accurate overview of the exact amounts they consume. Often, this can result in the scales failing to move and them not losing any weight at all. When they actually track their calories accurately and see precisely how many they’re taking in, they’re shocked as they normally consume way more than they thought. What does this have to do with tracking your hours as an accountant or CPA? Well, because when you can see first hand exactly how your time is being spent, you can use this info to make your company more efficient. If you can see from the data provided, that you have two employees working on a client that would actually only require one, you can then take one employee off and put them onto a project requiring their assistance. Not only that, but seeing how your time is being spent will allow you to make any tweaks or adjustments to your business as necessary. Just as a person can alter their diet when they know exactly how many calories they’re consuming when trying to lose weight, you can alter your business when you identify areas which potentially require more manpower or stricter deadlines. Getting your business in order will allow you to get your client’s accounts in order, and the benefits of that will surely speak for itself.
Another very useful thing to remember about using timesheets and time tracking software, is the fact that using this software will help you to more accurately bill your clients. There is no quicker way to alienate a client, than by overcharging them for a service which should really be much cheaper than you have billed them for. One way in which timesheets for accountants are useful is the fact that they enable you to more accurately bill your clients. This works both ways too. If you can see that a task is actually completed much quicker than you may have first initially thought, this should be reflected in the amount that you bill the client for. On the other side of the coin, if you can see via the data from the time tracking software that a certain project is taking up way more man hours than you first envisioned, you can again use this when coming up with quotes for future jobs of the same kind, which will prevent you from undercharging your customers and selling yourself short.
Avoid discrepancies regarding time off
Legally, employees are entitled to a certain amount of time off from work each year. By law, you must grant them this time off. However, in some instances, employees may find themselves unsure about how much time off they’ve taken, and how much they are owed. With time tracking software, this info is stored centrally and is again available in black and white at the click of a button. This will ensure that employers and employees know precisely where they stand.
Manage your costs
Another of the more prominent benefits of timesheet software for accountants, is that it will enable you to adequately and sufficiently manage your costs. Every business, no matter how large or how small, will have expenses. If you look at the P&L (Profit and Loss) statement of any accounting firm, it will instantly become apparent that for the vast majority of the time, the business in question’s biggest expenses are those relating to employees. By incorporating time tracking software into your business, you can manage your costs more effectively for a whole host of different reasons. To begin with, you can reduce the amount of time and manpower spent on unbillable activities (if necessary). You can also assign employees accordingly and see where they are needed, and where they aren’t, and optimize accordingly. This will make both employees, clients and management happier.
Identify areas where improvement is needed
Not only is time reporting for accountants useful for managing your costs, it is also very useful for identifying areas where improvement is needed. If you can see for example that there is a certain client’s accounts that always seem to take you right to the wire in terms of a deadline, you can use the info provided by the time tracking software and can place additional resources onto that particular client and that particular job. You can also use the data collected to help you assign extra staff to jobs and days where extra resources and manpower is needed. By identifying problems early, you can use the info to identify areas where improvement is required. This in turn will help you become a better accounting company, which can surely only be good for business?
Help your employees
Using timesheet software for accountants is not about spying on your employees or trying to stop them from cheating the system and taking more time off than they are legally entitled to. What it is about instead, is helping your employees out. If you can see that an employee is not working as efficiently as they could be on a certain task or project, you can take them aside and speak to them to find out whether they require assistance. You can also use the data collected to see where employees are thriving and you can then congratulate them and encourage them to keep it up. Believe it or not, but time tracking software is actually very useful for building morale in the workplace.
Which solution should you select then?
So, which time tracking solution should you select then?
It’s important that it is easy to use and that you can also easily create reports showing how time is being spent. Regarding being easy to use, build on something that your employees already know. If you’re like most professional accounting firms, you’re using Microsoft Outlook as your calendar. So build on this and find a time tracking solution that builds on this.
With the right solution, you can easily turn your Outlook appointments into time entries, making the whole process extremely easy as well as accurate for everybody.
Do it now.
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