10 Best Time Tracking Practices for Accountants

Written by Asim Qureshi
By Asim Qureshi, CEO Jibble

Hi, I’m Asim Qureshi, the CEO, and co-founder of Jibble, a cloud-based time and attendance software. I have several years of experience building and scaling software products and teams across various industries and markets. Before I started Jibble, I worked as a VP at Morgan Stanley for six years. I’m passionate about helping businesses improve productivity and performance through smart time management practices. In this article, I delve into the best practices in time tracking for accountants.

Time tracking is more than just a mundane task. It’s a powerful tool that can unlock efficiency, accuracy, and profitability in your accounting practice. Better time tracking can streamline your client billing process, enhance efficiency, and help you make strategic data-driven decisions.

This Article Covers:

Overview: Benefits of Time Tracking for Accountants

10 Best Practices in Time Tracking for Accountants

Final Thoughts: Revolutionize Your Accounting Practice’s Efficiency and Success

Overview: Benefits of Time Tracking for Accountants

Timekeeping offers several benefits; here are some of the benefits of time tracking for accountants:

  • Accurate Client Billing. Accurate timekeeping enables accountants to bill clients precisely for the work performed. It ensures that clients are charged correctly based on the actual time spent on their engagements. Most importantly, this transparency enhances client satisfaction and maintains trust in the billing process.
  • Financial Performance and Revenue Optimization. Timekeeping helps accountants analyze the profitability of client engagements and projects. By tracking time spent on various tasks and clients, accountants can identify high-value activities, allocate resources effectively, and optimize revenue generation. It also provides insights into areas to minimize costs and improve efficiencies.
  • Compliance with Regulations. Accountants are subject to various regulatory requirements, including accurate time recording for specific engagements. Proper time tracking ensures compliance with industry regulations, professional standards, and legal requirements. It helps maintain the integrity of financial records, audits, and client reporting.
  • Resource Allocation and Capacity Planning. Timekeeping data provides valuable information on resource allocation and capacity planning in accounting. By understanding time distribution across different engagements and tasks, accountants can make informed decisions about staffing, workload distribution, and project management. In other words, time tracking helps optimize resource utilization and maintain a balanced workload for accountants.

“77% (of accounting firms) said that technology is helping them reduce the number of hours worked, per client, and per return” – Accounting Today 2023

  • Productivity and Efficiency. Tracking time allows accountants to evaluate their productivity and identify areas for improvement. By analyzing time spent on various activities, accountants can streamline workflows, eliminate time-wasting tasks, and implement more efficient processes. Consequently, this increases productivity, improves time management and overall performance.
  • Project Management and Deadline Tracking. Time tracking helps accountants track project timelines, monitor progress, and meet deadlines. By recording time spent on specific tasks, accountants can identify bottlenecks, allocate resources effectively, and ensure timely completion of deliverables. Similarly, it promotes effective project management and supports efficient collaboration among team members.
  • Performance Evaluation and Professional Development. Timekeeping data provides valuable insights for performance evaluation and professional development. Accountants can assess their own productivity, efficiency, and adherence to deadlines. It also facilitates feedback discussions with supervisors and enables targeted skill development based on time allocation and task performance.

data analysis-best time tracking practices for accountants

  • Historical Data for Analysis and Forecasting. Accurate timekeeping creates a historical record of activities, useful for analysis, forecasting in accounting, and decision-making. Accountants can analyze time patterns, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions based on past performance. Additionally, it supports strategic planning, budgeting and helps firms anticipate resource needs.

In short, timekeeping offers numerous benefits for accountants, including accurate billing, revenue optimization, resource allocation, productivity improvement, and data-driven decision-making. By implementing effective time tracking practices, accountants can enhance their financial performance, client satisfaction, and efficiency.

10 Best Practices in Time Tracking for Accountants

In the dynamic world of accounting, time is more than just a fleeting concept – it’s a priceless asset that holds the key to your success.

Why settle for guesswork and missed opportunities when you can harness the potential of time tracking? Embrace the art of time tracking to venture on a path of continuous professional development. That being said, here are some best practices in timekeeping for accountants:

1. Be Diligent and Consistent

Develop a habit of recording your work time consistently and promptly. Prioritize documenting your time entry daily to ensure accuracy and avoid forgetting or misplacing crucial details.

2. Use Time Tracking Tools

Leverage time-tracking software or tools specifically designed for accountants. These tools often offer features like timers, project/task categorization, and integration with billing systems, making timekeeping more efficient and accurate.

3. Be Specific and Detailed

Provide detailed descriptions of the tasks or activities performed during the recorded time frame. Clearly note the client, project, or engagement, including relevant details or milestones. This level of specificity ensures transparency and facilitates accurate billing and reporting.

4. Track Non-Billable Time

Accountants often perform non-billable activities such as administrative tasks, professional development, or internal meetings. It’s essential to track and account for this time separately to gain insights into productivity, workload management, and resource allocation.

5. Estimate time appropriately

Develop the ability to estimate the time required for different tasks or engagements. Accurate time estimation allows for better planning, setting realistic deadlines, and managing client expectations. Regularly review and refine your estimates based on actual time spent.

6. Review and Validate Entries

Periodically review your timesheet tracker for accuracy and completeness. Double-check client and project codes, task descriptions, and billable/non-billable classifications. Regular reviews help identify and correct any errors or omissions promptly.

7. Communicate and Collaborate

Maintain open lines of communication with colleagues, supervisors, or clients regarding timekeeping practices and expectations. Ensure everyone is on the same page about tracking time, billing procedures, and specific requirements.

regulations: best time tracking practices for accountants

8. Stay Updated on Regulations

Familiarize yourself with industry regulations, professional standards, and guidelines on timekeeping, billing, and client engagements. Compliance with relevant laws and regulations is essential to maintain ethical standards and avoid legal issues.

9. Train and Educate

Invest in training or professional development opportunities to enhance your timekeeping skills. Stay informed about industry trends, best practices, and advancements in time tracking technologies to improve efficiency and accuracy.

10. Seek Feedback and Learn from Mistakes

Seek feedback regularly from supervisors, colleagues, or clients on your time tracking practices. Learn from any mistakes or challenges you encounter and use them as opportunities for growth and improvement.

Effective time tracking is crucial for accurate billing, compliance and measuring productivity, optimizing resource allocation, and enhancing overall practice management. By implementing these best practices, accountants can ensure accurate and transparent timekeeping, improving efficiency, client satisfaction, and financial performance.

Final Thoughts: Revolutionize Your Accounting Practice’s Efficiency and Success

In conclusion, mastering the art of time tracking is a game-changer for accountants seeking to elevate their practice and achieve optimal success. Embracing these best practices empowers accountants to manage their time, streamline workflows, and maximize their success. So, equip yourself with the tools and knowledge presented here and begin your journey of transformative timekeeping practices. The time to embrace best practices in time tracking is now.