2017 Review of Time Management Systems

Time management plays a vital role in professional services firm, particularly accounting firms. Much more than simply a tracking time, these time management systems help firms manage staff productivity, assess client profitability, while also offering an easy to use mechanism for tracking time and billing information, including any related expenses. In many time management systems, users are also able to track task completion, assess work in progress levels, and ensure that billing and invoicing are completed in a timely, accurate manner.

While it’s true that time management is about more than time and billing capability, there’s no doubt just how important a solid timekeeping program is to professional service firms, particularly in today’s firms, where much of the work that ultimately ends up being billed is taking place in a location outside of the traditional office setting. For firms that have a number of staff working remotely, or at a client’s location, being able to accurately manage their time is of the utmost importance. Many a staff’s lives have been made a little bit easier with the availability of timers that can be started and stopped with the press of a button or the click of a mouse.

There are other things to look at when assessing a time management system. Does the product offer compatibility with mobile devices? Are there a variety of timesheet options available, or is all time tracking handled in a similar fashion? Does the application also track expenses, which typically go hand-in-hand when tracking time. Does the application produce professional, custom invoices?

Most importantly, are you able to easily produce informative, analytical reports that can provide you with the information you need, such as staff productivity levels and which clients are worthwhile, and which clients are costing your firm time and money each month?

And what about integration? Does the application you’re considering integrate with any third-party applications? Is integration even important to you? An important factor when determining which product will suit your needs best?

In this issue, we’ve reviewed a good selection of time management programs. Some of these programs concentrate solely on time and billing capability, while others offer more complex billing and invoicing capability, as well as workflow management functionality. The products reviewed include:

We have also included a series of easy to use apps that are perfect for professionals and small business owners that are looking for a quick, simple method to track time, along with a few other features. Available for iPhones and Android devices, there are a few apps that can be used as desktop applications as well. Here are a few that you or your clients may find useful:

To make your own assessment of the products a little easier, we’ve also included two handy charts (one for the products and one for the apps), that display the availability of common features and functions that most users may desire.

Whether your firm is looking for a complete time management application that tracks tasks and completion dates, work in progress and workflow approvals, or a simple time tracking application that provides an easy way to track and bill time spent on client projects, there is likely a solution (or two) that will work nicely in your firm.