Solid Criteria for Choosing Time & Billing Software for Accountants

What exactly is time & billing software?
For accountants who charge an hourly rate, time & billing are deeply interconnected. But in other industries, time tracking and billing/invoicing are two different things.

Some “time tracking software” tools WON’T include billing. Some billing/invoicing tools WON’T include time tracking.

So, your perfect time & billing software might actually be two tools! Now back to the buyer’s guide...

4 criteria to choose the best CPA time & billing software
1) Comprehensiveness/functionality
As described, time & billing aren’t always features of the same software tool. HOWEVER, it’s definitely in your best interest for them to be joined together, because of…

Faster workflows
Less chance of error in data transfer/transcription
Fewer integrations to break
Fewer subscriptions to manage and logins to keep track of
But it goes deeper than that — Why stop at time tracking & billing? Some platforms will also include both project management and contract management.

In general for accountants, especially those with small teams, the more comprehensive the time & billing platform, the better — it means less admin work for you and a greater chance for streamlined workflows

2) Integrations
Speaking of workflow automation, here’s a concept to get familiar with: Lead to Cash Flow. It means a streamlined workflow from the early stages of marketing through to invoice paid. And the only way to achieve this is to use time & billing software that integrates with other solutions in your tech stack, including:

Marketing automation software
Sales software
Help desk/support
Optimizing your Lead to Cash Flow will help you simultaneously decrease admin time and increase customer retention. You may eventually need more advanced and expensive billing software, i.e. Quickbooks. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure the time tracking portion of your software integrates with third-party billing providers.

PRO TIP: To find integrated software, search the marketplace/integrations library of the other service provider, i.e. the HubSpot marketplace to find Hubspot-integrated time & billing apps.

3) Industry-specific design
There are lots of time & billing solutions, but fewer that are specifically for accountants.

Specificity isn’t always a good thing — niche software companies often have smaller customer bases, less revenue and/or funding, and therefore update less frequently. The results are usually worse UX and poor customer service.

What you want is a middle-ground. A company that services multiple industries but has given thought to yours specifically.

A good benchmark is to look for professional services-specific time and billing software aka PSA software — these will typically have hourly billing and different invoice types built in.

4) Price
We’re not so foolish as to try and lecture an accountant about price. But it helps to familiarize yourself with SaaS subscription models...

Many are “freemium” and will charge by number of users, while others are flat rate. Sometimes there are hidden fees to look out for. Most will offer discount incentives for annual billing.

Make sure to take all these factors into consideration while calculating price.

By: Julie Bennett