I bet you’ve heard this one before….
A few weeks ago, I’d just finished up a coaching call and decided to check my Blackbelt Facebook group (a private community for my coaching and mastermind members to share knowledge and ask questions)
And one of the questions caught my attention immediately…
It’s a question that I’ve personally been asked many times over the years, and one that I’ve heard other accountants ask each other time and time again.
“I wondered if anyone has ditched their timesheets and what experiences or conclusions have been made?”
And as I expected, there were no two answers the same.
I’m sure you’ve seen some articles preaching the ‘The death of the timesheet’ alongside others promoting its benefits.
Which begs the question: “Should I still be using timesheets in my accountancy practice or not?!”
You see, timesheets have 4 primary benefits:
- You can measure the efficiency of your team
- You can track the efficiency of your systems and processes
- They can help with fee reviews/job profitability
But for all the benefits timesheets provide, it’s important to recognise where they are flawed.
See, timesheets rely upon every team member filling them out as accurately and in as much detail as possible. So, this opens the system up to human error, particularly in busy periods.
And not to mention the laborious month-end procedure of reviewing them and potentially writing time off.
It’s also not always clear which time even should be recorded.
Do you record every minute you’re in the office? What about the extra 10 minutes here and there?
If your team work quickly you could miss out on chargeable time, and if they work too slowly you could be penalising the client?
I often see timesheets used as more of a method of managing efficiency, rather than as a means of accurately billing clients.
I personally don’t use them in any of my practices.
And whether you’re a fan of using timesheets in your practice or not, in today’s digital age there are now a number of different software providers aiming to make things easier for you.
There’s no clear answer as to which is best, but here’s a quick guide to get you started….
Tsheets are proving a popular choice among practice owners and are powered by QuickBooks, so if your practice is a QuickBooks user then this may be the choice for you as the first 12 months are free.
If you aren’t a QuickBooks user, it also integrates with Xero, Sage and many other accounting software.
Some of its functions include:
- Mobile app
- GPS tracking and accountability
- Scheduling tools and systems
- Produces payroll and wage reports
- Track employee progress in real time
Based on their website Tsheets suggest they can help reduce payroll costs and reduce time by 3 hours per week.
IRIS Time and Fees
IRIS Time and Fees allows you to track work in progress, employee performance and ensure expenses and staff time is all accounted for and recorded.
The software promises to help raise bills, control debtors and ensure you can accurately invoice clients for the work done.
If using IRIS suite and other systems, you can use the IRIS payments software to collect created invoices smoothly too.
This saves you having to implement standalone software and create a more effective and convincing practice management system.
Choosing to use practice workflow software also reduces the risk of human error and alleviates some of the pressure to manually review and work through time recording and management.
Here are some other software you might want to look into…
- Paymo is system that allows you to not only track time, but also plan and schedule workloads and manage tasks and projects.
- Toggl is a free time-tracking software which prides itself on how simple it is to use.
- ActiTime is another free software that allows you to track time and assign work but importantly create project scope to ensure your team don’t get carried away on projects.
- Oracle Netsuite Veterans of timesheet software Netsuite time management solutions help team members manage their time and team productivity
Is it really worth the hassle Rudi?
There’s always going to be some debate on whether timesheets are truly needed today.
And it entirely depends on your own situation.
If your team productivity and practice efficiency aren’t a problem, and you are happy with your processes for measuring the profitability of jobs and clients then timesheets perhaps aren’t for you.
The time you’ll save reviewing timesheets and billing can then be better spent servicing your clients and focusing on more important areas of your practice.
If efficiency and productivity is a problem, then it might be worth looking at some of the software above to implement a system to track time so you can see which jobs are taking longer than others, and why.
Do you still use timesheets for your accountancy practice? And if not, how do you measure the profitability of jobs and efficiency of your team and systems? Let me know in the comments.