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For any organization that delivers services to clients, it is imperative to ensure the accuracy of the invoices sent at the end of every billing cycle. Ideally, the end of the billing cycle should be a time to look forward. After all, you are delivering your finished tasks and receiving appreciation and payment from the client for your efforts. Unfortunately, poor time tracking practices make the end of a billing cycle more stressful than it ought to be. Poor time management results in inaccurate time data that affects invoice accuracy, resulting in confusion and delays. The right time management hacks, as described here, will help you avoid these issues and ensure faster and more accurate billing.
Why is Accurate Time Tracking Critical for Client Billing?
Poor time management practices lead to incorrect hours being used for invoicing clients. Your billing team needs to put more time and effort into correcting those errors and even then inaccurate invoices might be sent out. This not only affects your margins and profitability but also creates a poor image for your organization among clients.
With accurate time tracking, you gain visibility into your billable and non-billable hours. This presents you with several advantages.
- Creating accurate invoices take up less time, resulting in faster billing cycles.
- By accurately tracking every minute spent on work, you ensure payment for each of those minutes without waste.
- You increase transparency and accountability, leading to improved client satisfaction.
- There is more effective control over resource time to maximize utilization.
- You uncover opportunities to increase project profitability and revenue.
Time Management Hacks To Increase Billing Accuracy
Despite the advantages, accurate time tracking remains a challenge in many organizations across industries. To help you overcome this challenge, here are some top time management hacks that you can consider.
1. Automate Timesheets
It is not a secret that spreadsheets, ledgers and other manual timekeeping methods are incredibly cumbersome. To identify the billable work for each client, each resource needs to fill in and submit their timesheets at the end of every billing cycle. These timesheets may often be filled after days, making the data less reliable. Moreover, many employees actively hate filling out timesheets. Then there is the added challenge of verifying each entry and getting them approved from managers. Finally, the time data needs to be processed and prepared for invoicing. As you can imagine, this process is heavily reliant on manual intervention making it significantly error-prone. This ultimately affects your billables.
One of the most effective time tracking tips here is to automate all timesheets with a cloud-based time tracking platform. Such a platform prevents the need for chasing down late or missed timesheets by accurately capturing the data on time, every time.
2. Unify Data for Time and Billing
One of the common reasons for delayed client billing is lack of a unified source of data. Typically, the time data necessary for invoicing is spread across multiple spreadsheets which need to be gathered and verified. The data then has to be processed and cleaned up to make it ready for client billing. Even if there are tools in place, these systems are often disjointed and don’t easily export their data.
As there are many moving parts, you end up spending a lot of time and effort to bring everything in one place. In some cases, it may even take weeks. One of the best time management hacks here is to use a unified platform. A unified platform for time and billing collects data from timesheets and prepares it for billing, reducing billing time to a matter of hours.
3. Automate Billing
Like timesheets, many of the processes involved in billing a client are still being done manually. This leads to a higher rate of errors which requires additional effort to review and correct. Automated billing through a cloud-based platform eliminates these errors while speeding up the invoicing process. Pre-built integrations with your accounting and ERP systems will also ensure that the billable hours are automatically synced to invoices, eliminating hours of manual effort. According to SAP, organizations can save as much as 19% on invoice processing with automation.
Such a platform works by automatically calculating the costs incurred by processing the time data from the timesheets. As a result, you save several hours that would have otherwise been spent on calculating billables from each timesheet. If you are using a unified solution, as discussed in the previous section, this process becomes even faster since everything is taking place in one single location.
4. Leverage Integrations
Traditionally, it has been the case for organizations to have different systems in place for different processes. There would be one system for timesheets, another one to create invoices, and so on. However, the issue with such disparate systems is the difficulty in transferring data from one system to another, resulting in bottlenecks and delays. One of the best time management hacks here would be the use of integrations.
These days, integrated solutions are all the rage. Through integrations, it becomes possible to connect timesheet applications to your accounting software such as QuickBooks, Zoho, Xero and more. This is tremendously beneficial as it enables your accounting department to manage all clients and billables from a central location. They no longer need to reach out to other departments for relevant information. This also helps streamline your business financial management processes for greater efficiency and clarity into financial metrics.
5. Streamline Invoicing
It is not enough to simply get the invoices out the door. You must ensure the on-time and correct payment of those invoices. Ultimately, all your efforts into speeding up your billing process will be inadequate unless your clients also pay you faster.
To overcome this challenge, there are a couple of steps you can take. The first is to maintain a master invoice and avoid creating too many duplicate invoices. Generally, unless the master invoice is marked as cleared, there is bound to be confusion regarding payments and you’ll end up wasting more time and effort. By integrating payment apps with your billing system, the payments get automatically marked against your master invoices without delays or inaccuracies. Secondly, set up automated late payment reminders in your billing system. This minimizes manual intervention in chasing down payments.
Choose Replicon for Faster and More Accurate Billing
While there are plenty of time management hacks out there to support fast and accurate billing, the most effective option is to invest in an automated solution. Replicon helps address these issues by automating critical processes with its cloud-based time and billing platform.
Replicon’s platform drives higher accuracy and speed, allowing you to reduce the time needed to create an invoice to a matter of hours instead of days. Its configurable and intuitive time tracking system allows you to track billable and non-billable hours against projects, tasks, and clients. Prevent delays with automated submissions and real-time notifications. For higher accuracy and to prevent billing errors, advanced validation rules and approval workflows are present. Additionally, Replicon easily integrates with leading accounting, ERP, and other solutions to quickly share time and billing information.
While there are other time management hacks that you can incorporate into your organization for increasing accuracy of and speeding up billing, the above points will help you as you start. Moreover, using an automated cloud-based system like Replicon, as discussed above, can help your organization in more ways than one. Such a system can not only support better billing practices but also help your organization grow and thrive.