If you work in accounting, you’re aware of the seasonal nature of the industry. There are times when you’re short-staffed and you aren’t sure how everything will get done, and there are others where your full-time employees are trying to find useful things to do to fill the 8-hour workday.
This is an ongoing problem lots of accounting firms are dealing with—regardless of whether they’re established or just starting out with their first handful of clients. So, what are firm owners to do? There has to be a better way to track time and billing according to the seasonality of the work.Turns out, there’s a smarter approach to managing your accounting team that isn’t overly complicated. Once you track a few key metrics, you’ll be well on your way to a more effective approach to managing your staff. Click To Tweet
It all starts with incorporating analytics to your management process.
Why analytics are key for managing your team
As they say, you can’t change what you don’t measure. It’s the same when you’re trying to manage your employees more effectively. How can you manage your team effectively when there’s seasonality to consider? How will you know when you should give your team members more (or fewer) work hours? Enter analytics.
When you integrate software into your management process, you’re able to streamline the process of keeping up with all the numbers you need to paint a picture— we’re talking time spent on a project, billable hours, customer changes, and more.
With analytics, you can take information over a specific timeline, and analyze it to see where you can be more efficient. For instance, you might find that you need to log more hours in the month of December or even January as you prepare for tax season. With data on hand, you’re able to make an educated estimate on how many work hours you need to assign your team so you don’t over or underbook them.
In other words, data can help you with forecasting for future work. What do your work cycles look like from year to year? How does this year’s work cycle look in terms of hours worked in comparison to the year before that? Are your billable hours on an upward or downward trend and what does that say about the number of clients you’re taking on?
Tracking time logged can give you insight into some of the more straightforward data that’ll let you know when you need to allow for more work hours. If you don’t have a reliable process with which to track your employees’ time, you’re likely losing money.
And, unfortunately, it isn’t always enough to keep a spreadsheet or a back-of-the-envelope record of how much time was spent on what. Why? Because customers need things like receipts, status updates they can access through things like client portals, or even a detailed overview of what they’re being charged for.
Do we have customers that want to see specific billable hours? How are we keeping track of each hour worked by each employee? If profits aren’t what was projected, do we have a detailed log of hours worked and the rates they were charged? It’s questions like these that you won’t be able to answer without a streamlined way of keeping track of time and billable hours.
For example, with a tool like ImagineTime, you can do things like:
- Convert appointments into time entries
- Set timers so accountants can track billable hours
- Record multiple time entries on one dashboard
Once you’re able to streamline the process of time tracking and time management, all the data you’ve gathered can be arranged in an accessible report, which is where ImagineTime’s reporting and analytics feature comes in handy.
Diving deeper into reporting and analytics
As you incorporate reporting and analytics into your management process, you’re bound to see better results. Granted, if you’re diligent about tracking time and billing, you’ll always know about how profitable your firm actually is.
But the benefits of diving into analytics let you see:
- Billable hours
- Current year and previous year’s profit
- Employee performance reports
- Client profitability reports
This way, you plan for how you want to handle clients in the future. You’ll also be able to cut expenses where they aren’t necessary, which is something that’s harder to do without the in-depth and straightforward analytics a tool like ImagineTime provides accounting teams.
For instance, it isn’t unusual for the average accounting firm to spend upwards of three to five hours on a client report, which includes key numbers like billable hours, etc. Once you introduce accounting specific software to the equation, you’re able to cut down those hours by more than half.
From there, you can choose to either reallocate those hours to other, higher ROI tasks, or cut them out of your team’s schedules completely. This is especially helpful during tax season, which is a time when operations can easily devolve into chaos, missed deadlines, and burnt out employees.
For example, ImagineTime makes it so that team members can easily log their time without running the risk of them seeing sensitive private data. Not only this, they can summarize their time and take notes on it, and even send invoices when necessary. Once all employee hours are logged and accounted for, you can read it all in an easy-to-read grid that you can sort by either specific totals or a select period of time.
In short, as an accounting firm, you need an accessible way to be able to see the bigger picture in a clearer format that doesn’t necessarily involve more paperwork and add more work hours to your schedule. With software like ImagineTime, whether you want to engage with its complete suite of tools or you want to pick and choose what you work with, you can do exactly that.
Bringing it all together
The need for analytics in today’s accounting landscape is the reason why every firm needs a software solution they can leverage to their advantage. With it, accounting firms can streamline their process and not have to worry about keeping track of the smaller things so they can focus on what matters: excellent customer service and quality work.
If there’s one thing today’s accounting firms don’t need, it’s to add more tedious tasks to their daily to-do lists. It takes a long time to account for every hour worked manually, to chase down team members and double-check the standard rate was charged correctly, or to have disjointed data in more than one place.
Fortunately, that’s where ImagineTime comes in. We take care of essential tasks like due date tracking, secure file sharing, reporting and analytics, electronic signatures, integrations, and yes, time and billing tracking too. You can think of ImagineTime as the tool created by accountants for accountants that helps you stay on top of it all. But it’s one thing to know about how ImagineTime works. It’s another to see it in action as you integrate it into your existing workflow.
Request a demo here to learn exactly how ImagineTime streamlines your accounting workflow.