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Help! I Need to Track My Firm’s Time and Expense Information

Oct 29, 2019 | By Steven Burns, FAIA | 0 Comments

Topics: Tips and Tricks, Time Entry, Time and Expense Tracking

So, you want to improve the way your firm tracks time and expense. That's great! Knowing you have a problem with your current tracking system (if you have one) is the first step towards solving it.

Perhaps you already have a time tracking system in place. Most firms have basic ways of tracking how they're spending their time and expense like using timesheets or spreadsheets. While these basic methods work, they aren't the most efficient options for a firm.

Time and expense tracking software helps ensure accurate job costing and can help you better manage how you spend your time with timers and time cards. It can also give you the tools to create multiple rates or special rates using fee schedules and record expenses in multiple currencies and attach receipts.

Good software should all work on the same platform and make tracking time and expense quick, effortless and fun for your staff. However, not all software is created equal. Timeslips software and other archaic programs have barely been updated since their creation and have fallen behind the times (Related: Time and Billing Software Fundamentals).

What are my options?

There are plenty of options on the market for people looking to invest in time and expense tracking software. Some are cheaper and cover the basics while others are more expensive and offer automation for nearly everything your firm handles.

Capterra recently released reviews of the best time and expense software on the market.

BQE Core is a great tool for professional service firms like architects & engineers, accountants, government contractors, legal professionals and more. It helps you manage activity tracking, billing and invoicing, expense and project tracking and reimbursement management all from one place. It also has intuitive time tracking programming which allows you to time track by client or by project.

In a review of Core on Capterra, Teresa H., an office manager, said:

"Overall, I love the program. It took me many years working in a very outdated software until I felt I found the right program (Core) to switch to for time and billing. It has met all of my needs so far! Love it. I have not had to call in for customer service often but when I do everyone has been helpful and I have not encountered any issues whatsoever."

PracticePanther is a tool that also lets you track activity and monitor your time and expense. It offers reimbursement management and project tracking as well but costs more and is only designed for use by lawyers.

Timesheets.com is another tool used by some firms. It is a simple and cost-effective tool that lets you enter your data into simple timesheets and spreads. However, it doesn't offer support for billing and invoicing or in-person support.

Timeslips software is used by small to mid-sized businesses. It offers automatic time capture, offline time tracking and customizable invoices. However, it doesn't offer much support for time and invoicing, mobile time tracking or timesheet management and is currently only compatible with Windows (Related: What Timeslips Time & Billing Software is Missing)

You could also simply track the time and expense you spend on each of your projects manually. But that would essentially be as bad as using a program like Timeslips software.

What separates BillQuick from outdated programs?

BQE’s BillQuick offers unmatched flexibility and can seamlessly integrate into any firm that chooses to use it. It lets users choose how they want to log their time and expense into it.

BillQuick can be installed and accessed on the computers your firm uses, be it desktops or laptops. It's also accessible as a Web Suite, which can used with any Internet, intranet or local network your firm may be using. It's also available as BillQuick Online or as BillQuick Mobile, an app that allows you to track and manage your time and expense from anywhere (Related: BillQuick vs. Web Suite vs. Online).

Enter time in a variety of ways:

Sheet view organizes your time entries into a screen that resembles a spreadsheet. It's the most used screen option that BillQuick provides, likely because it offers so much flexibility for entering time for others, reviewing entries or requesting more details.

You can also utilize a simple time card, as any other basic program like Timeslips software or Timesheets.com would offer. This may be similar to something that your company is already using, but this can be easily integrated into other time and expense data you're entering in BillQuick. Time cards allow you to enter multiple tasks you may be working on in a day and track the time being spent. If you need to work on multiple projects throughout the week or work on a project for multiple weeks, you can also use calendar view to enter your time there.

If you find yourself switching between tasks routinely in your day-to-day, you can also use timers. This can help you manage the time spent answering emails, replying to staff and management requests, client calls, impromptu meetings and any other task that may come up. Just open and label as many timers as you require (Related: 10 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About BillQuick Timers).

Flexibility with expense entries

You can enter expenses for others, review entries and request more details using a customizable spreadsheet screen. You can also easily track expenses you incur throughout the day and record them with a simple expense log.

From tracking time and preparing invoices to managing projects and allocating resources, Core is the single platform that does everything your firm needs. Click below to try it free today.

The Author

Steven Burns, FAIA

Steven Burns, FAIA, spent 14 years managing his firm Burns + Beyerl Architects. After creating ArchiOffice®, the smart office and project management solution for architectural firms, Steve brought his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is perfecting the business strategy and product development.

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