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Accounting firms and technology for time-capture and profitability

Accounting firms, technology, and profitability 

New technologies are automating a variety of steps involved in tax and audit services, allowing accounting firms to deliver greater client value. However, this technology shift has also driven price pressure, increasing the need for accounting firms to better understand their own profitability factors.

With the right time and billing software, accountants can successfully analyze, maintain, and even increase firm profitability. Learn how your accounting firm’s technology can automate timekeeping and set your accountants up for success.

The dual problem of manual timekeeping

Accountants are constantly juggling various tasks and projects, making it difficult for them to properly track and organize their hours. Often, accountants will make rough notes throughout the day, then manually update their timesheets at the end of a workday or workweek. But this traditional method of timekeeping leads to many problems.

Even the most diligent timekeepers occasionally neglect to note the details of every task, and none of them can log precise times down to the second. Faced with these issues, timekeepers are inevitably incurring overhead costs as they struggle to reconstruct how their time was spent. Ironically, timekeeping itself becomes hours of unbillable overhead.

Industry-standard timekeeping practices also fail to capture the complete scope of a professional’s work. Most accounting firms require their staff to record time up to a daily limit, typically 8 hours. But most professionals report that their actual workday norm approaches 10 hours a day. This is because most professionals are now working from home, completing tasks from their mobile devices, and making calls on the road. As a result, an 8-hour timekeeping standard overlooks as much as 20% of a true working day.

By not capturing all time, firms are missing out on both valuable business intelligence and significant revenue.

Automated time-tracking software

A robust automated time tracking software helps professionals bypass traditional, highly inefficient timekeeping practices. With intelligent time management technology, accounting firms can capture task history precisely, down to the second. 

Intapp offers time and billing software built specifically for accountants. The software seamlessly creates an accurate and defensible time record as it tracks work from system to system and client to client. The virtual timekeeping assistant then presents an easy-to-understand report at the end of each workday, available with a single click. Intapp also offers active prompting, so users can choose to record time immediately upon completion of a task. This helps ensure immediacy and accuracy of time-record narratives. 

Having an accurate, detailed record of work is always crucial, even for fixed fee arrangements. Although fixed fee arrangements aren’t based on an hourly basis, tracking client- and task-specific data helps inform competitive pricing while ensuring profitability. Firms can use this data to more accurately forecast the cost and value of future engagements, and better defend their pricing. They can also identify potential misalignments on the true cost of delivering services, and potentially renegotiate fees on existing contracts. 

Detailed timekeeping also provides firm management with a more accurate picture of workforce efficiency. Time data lets team managers and firm leaders determine in which areas their groups are performing well, and where additional cross-training or professional development may be needed. Time data can also provide early indications of employee burnout and offer insights into optimal project resourcing.

Learn more about how your accounting firm’s technology can automate timekeeping, accurately capture billable hours, and increase firm profitability: