Xero has plenty of time-tracking add-ons available to help service businesses which bill by the hour. It’s great to have an integrated system which has all client names automatically synched and up to date, to help speed up the invoicing process. We also think time tracking software is not just for businesses that use time-based billing, it is a tool to monitor efficiency and profitability of individual clients, separate service lines or individual staff members.
At CX Accountants, most clients are on a fixed-fee arrangement. This is where the work is generally predictable, so we know how long it will take each member of staff on average to complete a job. It is inevitable that some clients will take longer than we first expect – sometimes it is for a one-off reason, which we is fine, but other times it may just be that that client needs a higher level of support, e.g. if their business model is complex, transaction numbers are high, or they have seen strong growth. Without tracking time, we would have no way of monitoring which clients are not paying the appropriate fee for the work undertaken – all the phone calls & emails can easily add up to a lot of staff time being utilised, and if spread over a long period it is difficult to keep track without time-tracking software.
Our time-tracking software of choice is Minutedock. The main reason it works well for us is its simplicity – all managed from a browser window, or the phone app if you are out and about. The time is assigned to a client using an ‘@’ sign in front of the client name, and it can also be allocated to specific tasks / projects with a hashtag (e.g. #Tax). As this is familiar to anyone who uses social media, its very easy to use.
Time entries can either be viewed on the on-screen reports, or downloaded to Excel for more in-depth analysis.
When we notice that our clients are putting in lots of hours working with their clients, but their profits are lower than expected, we always recommend they start tracking time- when they start analysing where their time is spent, it helps them focus on where efficiency can be found, and which clients need their fees reviewing.
At present, MinuteDock are offering a free 14-day trial- more details here- https://minutedock.com/