One of the biggest challenges shared by accountants, medical practitioners, lawyers, and all manner of independent contractors and consultants, is balancing billable and non-billable hours. Obviously, as a business owner, you want to bill as many hours as possible, but one of the most effective ways to get new clients is to do more non-billable work, like marketing, internal branding, and recruiting.  

For companies facing this challenge, there’s only one solution: Generate enough billable hours, and charge enough for them, to cover your non-billable activity. This, of course, is easier said than done. But our CPA time and billing software company can help! Here are some tips to help get the most value possible out of every minute you spend on the clock. 

Set Targets for Employees

Setting utilization goals for your team members, when done right, can make it much easier to optimize your employee and manager performance. The key to making it work is to set reasonable benchmarks: first, use time tracking software to assess how much time each employee spends on each item, and then, set future benchmarks based on those timeframes. 

It’s important to recognize the fact that executives and other members of the leadership team will likely have a lower utilization rate than a junior-level employee who is grinding out client work every day. And, conversely, junior members who are just starting out may need extra time allotment to learn new processes and correct mistakes. As we have said before, if you use your time tracking tool to assist, rather than control, your firm can yield positive benefits. 

Understand Which Clients Take More Resources 

Another way to optimize your billable hours is to use an accounting time tracker to track hours spent on each client. As we all know, some clients need more help than others, or might be more difficult to deal with. Of course, client relationship management is an important facet of running a business, and it should be expected that different clients will require different levels of management. But if a client is actively preventing you from doing your work efficiently, you will have to decide if there are parts of your interactions that can be automated, or if it’s time to find more profitable clients. Either way, make sure that every little out-of-scope task is added to their invoice. This can often go a long way towards encouraging clients to keep their interactions brief. 

Recognize that Non-Billable Hours Can Be Profitable 

In the introduction, we stated that one of the most effective ways for firms to gain new clients is to perform more non-billable work. This is such a self-evident fact of business that it hardly bears mentioning; after all, if you own your own accounting practice, you almost certainly built yourself up from nothing through non-billable sales and marketing tasks. The reason we are mentioning it, though, is because it’s easy to lose sight of this when your firm hits a rough patch. If you find yourself with a lot of silent phones and empty invoices, celebrate that you have this break in client work to expand your knowledge and professional capacities. For instance, you could use your non-billable hours to learn more about your time & billing software’s capabilities, and then use what you’ve learned to create more efficiency. Even what we think of as “downtime” can wind up being profitable—you never know when a news article or blog post will spark an idea that could revolutionize the way you do business. 

Make Every Second Count with ImagineTime’s Time Tracker for Accountants!

Want to maximize your billable hours? ImagineTime’s time and billing software for accountants can help! Our simple, intuitive time tracking solution helps individual accountants and entire firms track their time efficiently and accurately. To see our products in action, request a free, no-commitment demo by filling out our easy contact form.

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