We’re now in the time of year when many accounting firms are thinking about growth – past, current, and future. The most successful accounting practices find a steady rate of growth that works for their needs, fast enough to meet revenue goals but slow enough to allow time to upgrade equipment and personnel for expanded requirements.
In 2023, one of the best ways to put your firm on the path for manageable growth is through the use of time and billing software, often found as part of a larger suite of accounting practice management software. Here are a few of the best benefits of time and billing software as it pertains to helping your firm achieve successful growth – however you define it.
1. Makes work easier for your team
As is the case with many different kinds of information work, accountants spend a lot of time dealing with administrative tasks or communicating status and project updates to colleagues. For example, while the post-pandemic world has brought us a host of new conveniences and luxuries at work, data indicates that one big negative element of remote work is the increase in meeting time. According to one study, workers across 20 different industries reported spending an average of 18 hours per week in meetings. Most participants said they work about 50 hours a week, meaning one-third of their work week – or almost two full work days – is going towards meetings. As you might expect, this not only leads to a drop in productivity, it also affects employee engagement.
With the right software, you can cut down on the time your team spends on unnecessary administrative tasks and meetings that could have been emails. For example, timekeeping software lets your employees log and record hours from anywhere, instead of having to wait until they get onto a work computer or office network. By the same token, invoicing and billing software can cut down on the time you or your team needs to spend creating invoices to send to clients. When your team works more efficiently, it translates into more productivity with less cost – an ideal scenario for growth.
2. Helps you understand project metrics
Growth for accounting firms requires a strong grasp of certain key numbers. We’re not talking about the numbers you work with for clients – these are internal metrics related to your own firm’s operations. You need to know how much you can charge for a project, how much it will cost to complete, and how many hours it will take from your team’s weekly budget.
With time and billing software – plus other helpful accounting practice management features – you have a centralized system for storing all relevant data needed to understand how much you spend and make on each kind of project. This allows you to create a clear path for growth by understanding how many projects you’ll need to bring in to achieve the type of growth you desire. It can also help you figure out which projects your firm handles most efficiently, which could be a helpful clue in determining the kinds of clients you should focus on pursuing.
3. Accelerates your rate of incoming payments
As the well-known entrepreneur and social media influencer Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, “Cash is oxygen.” At the end of the day, top-line growth for your accounting firm can be boiled down to completing more projects and earning more revenue than you were previously. This isn’t possible without collecting payments on-time in a method that’s convenient for both you and your clients.
Not only is cash flow a requirement for maintaining day-to-day business operations via expenses like payroll, office rent, and software fees, healthy cash flow is important for certain staples of the growth process: hiring more team members, obtaining more equipment, and investing in new marketing campaigns that help bring in business.
With the use of time and billing software, there’s no need to spend time working from scratch to create client invoices, a labor-intensive effort that often results in delays to payments. Instead, software lets your team use standardized templates to generate invoices immediately, using data from the hours they billed on the project.
Additionally, many modern time and billing software tools include payment processing as a built-in feature. Allowing clients to use credit cards and other convenient payment methods can help expedite the process of receiving payment on an outstanding balance.
Final thoughts on time and billing software and growth
Growing a business is an admirable, tried-and-true goal for all kinds of companies – accounting firms are no different. However, if you want to grow in a way that doesn’t place serious stress on your team or require a massive upfront investment of capital, time and billing software can be a valuable tool. With features like auto-generating invoices, time-tracking from anywhere, and convenient payment methods, practice management software can provide all the billing and time management tools needed to hit your firm’s growth goals in 2023.
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