Time and expense tracking are some of the most fundamental ingredients for a successful professional services firm. However, as companies go through growth spurts, the process for tracking time to billing clients gets tweaked so many times that before you know it, your prosperous business is being weighed down by a clunky internal process that costs too much precious time and money. If this sounds like the boat you’ve been drowning in for years, or are just on the verge of setting sail, have no fear.

The good news is that there is plenty of time, billing and invoicing software in the sea to accommodate your business needs. The trick is finding the one built with your industry and needs in mind. As you begin your search for the solution that’s right for your firm, we suggest keeping your eyes peeled for the following seven benefits. These key features will distinguish the different solutions available to highlight the one solution that meets all your business needs, beyond the basics of time and expense entry.

1. Streamlined Workflows

Your new software solution may not perfectly match every manual step you have in place, from capturing time entry to generating an invoice, but the right one should still alleviate your pain-points through automation. Look for things like approval process structures, project management, and client invoice templates that can be set up once and then run automatically for the lifecycle of all your engagements.

2. Integrations

One of the best parts of adopting new cloud-based software is how it can integrate into your current tech-ecosystem to eliminate double data entry elsewhere. Sophisticated time and billing software come with built-in integrations for accounting (QuickBooks or Sage Intacct), customer relationship management (CRMs like Salesforce), and other project management software for consultants (like Jira) to easily talk back-and-forth between the tools without intervention.

3. Custom Invoicing

Invoices are a key part of how your clients view your business relationship. When evaluating your options, ask to see the different ways to customize your invoices to not only fit your brand, but also the needs of your clients. Your growing business should not have the same Quickbooks-generated invoice as every other small company, it should have something that stands out.

4. Payment Processing

The biggest secret to getting paid on time is to have a payment processing solution that is integrated with your billing software. By offering your clients the ability to pay by ACH or credit card through a link directly attached to your invoice, you'll save you and your clients valuable time and money. Be sure to look for a software that offers their own payment processing solution so you can skip the hassle of switching between your invoicing and payment software.

5. Project Management

One of the keys to keeping happy clients and tasks completed on time is project management. Without the right processes and communication in order, your firm can quickly start feeling the repercussions. When looking for a time and billing software, make sure to investigate its project management capabilities. Having a solution for efficient task management in the same place you do everything else just makes life easier. Features like Gantt charts, due date and workflow management, as well as budget and task tracking will help your projects get done on time so you can get paid on time.

6. Reporting Insights 

This part of the software evaluation is where you need to think about the bigger picture to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Time and expense software can tell you much more than just how much to bill the client. Sophisticated PSA software will shed light on KPIs to give you insights for strategies to propel your business forward. For example: Am I using my team and resources efficiently? Are we meeting or exceeding our budgets? What part of the project is pushing us off track?

7. Usability

The final part of your evaluation process should be looking at how long it will take you to get off the ground and running. Easy adoption is key when searching for a solution that is supposed to save you time and money. A common mistake by many is purchasing a tool loaded with features that you’ll ultimately never use, leaving you with software that’s too complex. Lastly, look into the support options available for set up and ongoing training for new employees.

For a free consultation on your time and billing needs, or to speak to a member of our team about BIgTime’s solution, please request a demo here.