• Accounting
  • Intapp Time

Time Tracking for Accountants: How Time and Billing Software Improves Revenue, Resource Allocation, and Profitability

Accounting firm automation — particularly in the realm of timekeeping — is on the rise. When firms deploy automated time tracking software, they’re better positioned to streamline processes that directly increase revenue, improve resource allocation, and bolster profitable engagement management.

Historically, accounting firms have created complex and highly detailed sets of task codes to understand — at a granular level — activities associated with individual engagements. Over time, progressive firms have realized that capturing the true value of time data requires expanding analysis to the departmental level.

Using automated time tracking software, firms can not only enrich time entries but also refine categorization of efforts, which results in data sets that better inform a variety of departmental functions, including pricing, resource allocation, and budget monitoring.

Realizing the Benefits of Time and Billing Software

Automated time tracking software provides a bevy of advantages. Fee earners enjoy simplified, accurate time capture that unburdens them from investing unbillable time into administrative timekeeping tasks. The finance team achieves better outcomes resulting from comprehensive data collection that prevents the revenue leakage associated with uncaptured time, and the operations group benefits from accurate billing, which leads to better realization rates and faster collection of receivables.

Using Automated Time Tracking Software to Unburden Fee Earners

For fee earners, this kind of best-in-class accounting firm automation eliminates inefficiencies associated with manual time capture. Using an automated time tracking software solution — like Intapp Time — fee earners enjoy the benefits associated with complete and accurate time capture and categorization that eliminates the guesswork and unbillable administrative time associated with reconstructing untracked time entries.

Intapp Time captures activities continuously and makes activity description and categorization suggestions to the fee earner. The solution also provides multiple interface options to match the ways different fee earners prefer to track their time. For instance, some fee earners prefer to track time contemporaneously, utilizing timers. Some prefer to refine automatically captured historical time entries the software suggests, and others want to automatically populate a calendar view.

The value of any time and billing software hinges on its ability to meet the needs of different users by supporting multiple ways to approach and execute time capture. Rather than forcing timekeepers into a prescribed process, Intapp Time provides tools and functionality to support various approaches based on user preferences, which increases adoption and ongoing usage.

Increasing Revenue through Time Capture Improvements

Uncaptured time directly impacts revenue — because firms can’t bill clients for time worked that they can’t substantiate — which means that firms that aren’t using automated time tracking software are likely leaving revenue on the table.

When accounting firm staff members get absorbed in their work, manual timekeeping becomes a tedious, disruptive chore. And when accountants are forced to reconstruct timekeeping data after the fact, the likelihood of errors and omissions skyrockets.

When firms capture time and effort, accurately investing in automated time tracking software helps ensure they’re better able to hit realization targets, prevent inadvertent revenue leakage, and accelerate the work-to-collect cycle.

Analyzing Time Data for Profitable Engagement Management

Today, sophisticated firms leverage data captured by time and billing software to improve operational functions beyond simple time tracking, including pricing for new engagements and ongoing budget monitoring. Using the right automated time tracking software, firms can quickly and easily gather and analyze the data they need to create budgets for new engagements with confidence.

By contrast, firms that aren’t using AI-fueled time tracking software for accountants are stuck relying on spreadsheets, time-consuming manual processes, and siloed data to gather the source materials and conduct the analysis required to develop new budgets. The limitations associated with this process — including subjective estimation and unreliable data — open the door for significant scoping and pricing errors that can lead to unpredictable budget overruns and frustrated clients.

Leveraging AI for Improved Pricing

Intapp Pricing employs Engagement DNA™— proprietary AI-based technology that automatically sifts, sorts, and categorizes a firm’s previous engagements using time capture data — to dynamically model pricing and profitability scenarios to optimize scoping, resourcing, pricing, and planning strategies.

Using Intapp Pricing, firms can leverage their historical data from similar previous engagements across a wide range of attributes, which helps define the scope and resourcing requirements. For instance, information gleaned from Engagement DNA builds the detail required to optimize staffing strategies. Analysis of past engagements and the profit margins associated with specific staffing decisions helps firms balance profitable engagements with client value.

Performing Ongoing Budget Monitoring

As clients expect accurate pricing and predictable billing, ongoing budget monitoring has surfaced as a key driver of client value. To support this need, Intapp Pricing includes a comprehensive engagement database to provide visibility into budget-to-actuals analysis, as well as a reporting system that provides notifications when budgets are approaching key thresholds so that firms can communicate with clients in a timely fashion.

Using the advanced analytics features of Intapp Pricing, staff members can pull together data for a report — say, when they’re meeting with a client and know that they’ll be discussing where they stand on budget and engagement activity — that provides the transparency and evidence of collaborative spirit that clients seek.

Intapp clients tell us that these analytics and reporting capabilities have proven particularly useful during the pandemic, because so many clients have been under pressure to reduce budgets. Using Intapp Pricing, firms can figure out how to cut a budget by modeling rate reductions and other factors. When firms are agile enough to respond quickly and reasonably to these requests, they stand out among competitors with respect to client-value delivery.

Discover how your firm can strengthen client relationships and enhance profitability with Intapp Operations & Finance AI pricing software and profitability analysis tools.