Whether you own or manage an architectural firm, an IT consulting shop, a law firm or an accounting firm, you will reach a point in the evolution of your organization where you will need to better leverage your resources and track and report your revenue, create client bills and track receivables.
Your requirements may also include various pricing models including retainers, fixed pricing, time and materials, and even expenses incurred on behalf of a client or project. Invariably, a new firm will start small, managing and tracking employees and hours in a spreadsheet or even in handwritten records. The effectiveness of time accounting systems is often seen as an expense tradeoff. In fact, the time it takes for a person to track and report on the staff timekeeping, to bill clients and to analyze and report on trends outweighs the expense of the software program.
Today’s software options include web hosted portals with complete information security and password protection, and complex reporting and time tracking features, with numerous options for costing and tracking. You can price one employee’s time at several rates depending on the client, the discounts you intend to offer and the tasks the staff member will perform. You can better leverage your staff time, and monitor each professional’s utilization effectively to better justify the high salaries paid to your skilled staff. You can identify time as billable and non-billable to segregate senior team member time for management versus client or project based work.
Where multiple skills and job types are dedicated to a project, your enterprise can track and plan for a percentage of each consultant’s time. As you build an historical database of actual hours and budgets versus planned hours and budgets you will find it easier to effectively plan for future clients and projects and avoid underestimating time and resource requirements. The better you plan and manage, the more revenue you generate, the fewer expensive mistakes your organization will make and the easier it will be to grow your business with confidence and success.