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Time & Billing Software Buyer Guide


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General Overview of Time and Billing Software
   What is Time and Billing Software?
   Why invest in a Time and Billing software system?


Time and Billing Software Features and Modules

Links to Time and Billing Software Resources and Information


General Overview

What is Time and Billing Software?
Time and billing software
is software that allows its users to record time spent on tasks and also incorprates automatic invoicing and bill preparation based on the time entered. This software is used by many industries, typically those employing hourly workers or who perform labor driven services such as professionals who bill their customers by the hour, including lawyers and accountants. The time tracking features are essentially an electronic version of the traditional paper timesheet. Many time and billing solutions also offer complete workforce management packages that include time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, human resources, payroll, talent management, and labor Analytics.  Most ERP and full GL accounting systems have some type of time and billing built into their systems but often times companies will seek out a thrid party solution that better meets their vertical needs and integrate the software into their existing accounting system.  Most time and billing systems offer some level of built in integtration to most of the major accounting systems available on the market.


Why invest in a Time and Billing software system?
While many small companies may get by with just a simple Excel based timesheet system or manual time entry directly into their outsources payroll companies web input interface. As a companies workforce grows and costs increase and the need to have greater analysis about how people are spending their time the need for an automated electronic time keeping system becomes more and more important. Additionally, if your invoicing is tied directly to your time the manual effort to generate invoices, record the accounts receivable and collect billings can become inefficient and laborious.  Buying an integrated time and billing system can provide many direct and indirect tangible benefits to companies of almost any size.  Here are some key benefits:

* Single consistent interface and point of entry accessible anywhere and anytime.
* Reduces administrative costs in terms of keying in employee time, generating bills and processing collections
* Ability to have more accurate data to provide analysis on productivity and profitablity


Time and Billing Common Features and Modules

General Modules:

  • Timesheet Entry: the most obvious and common module of a time and billing system is the ability to capture and input time.  Most timesheet systems today offer multiple time entry options ranging from a web  browser, mobile phone, smart phone/tablet, or good old fashioned PC.   Having an easy, intuitive time entry form that minimizes human error and is efficiently allows the user to enter their time is important and it is amazing how this critical and simple feature can differ from one system to another.

Note: Various industries such as construction, medical, manufacturing and professional services however all have different types of detail that they need to capture when collecting time information.  It is very important to find a system that supports your vertical industry time capturing needs. 

  • Billing and Invoicing: the billing module is where the captured time is matched with goods and services to generate invoices to a customers.  The ability to get bills out faster and in an automated fashion reduces administrative costs, reduces errors and allows a company to get paid more quickly.  A good billing module will allow for the customization of invoices. 

  • Accounts Receivable: the accounts receivable (AR) module is where time that is billed for work performed is collected and where payments are applied as they are received.  Most 3rd party time and billing systems integrate into the accounts receivable module of an established GL Accounting system and let the accounting systems AR module take over from there.  The AR module posts to the general ledger and normally increases or decreases a combination of a revenue, receivable and/or a cash related account.
  • Payroll: the payroll module automates the pay process by taking the time recorded by the time entry module and calculating various deductions and taxes, and generating payroll checks and employee tax reports. Data is generally fed from the human resources and time keeping modules to calculate automatic deposit and manual check amounts.  Many 3rd party time and billing systems will integrate into the payroll module of an existing GL accounting system or will provide some type of export mechanism to integrate time gathered into an outsourced payroll system such as PayChecks or ADP.
  • Alerting and Report Automation: more modern Time and Billing systems provide some type of alerting and automation to automatically notify managers when employee's work overtime or exceed budgeted hours for a project.  They can also notify customers of the time incurred on their account or to notify a customer that they have an outstanding balance due.  For systems that do not provide built in automated alerting there are other 3rd party addon products such as Ei Dynamics that sit on top of almost any database, accounting or billing system and provide this functionality.


 




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