The key to client billing at consulting firms
18th Jan 2014 | 14:20
Time tracking, resource planning, forecasting
One of the keys to success for consulting firms is accurate and timely billing for services rendered. But when it comes to tracking time their consultants put into a project, many small to medium consulting firms still rely on manual processes.
Accurately tracking and billing time to clients is a key contributor to business success for consulting firms. If a firm is unable to generate prompt and error-free invoices for the services they perform, client payments are delayed and firms miss out on valuable data for future resource planning and forecasting.
However, when it comes to logging the amount of time consultants spend on a project, collating invoices, and billing clients for completed work, many small- to medium-sized firms continue to handle these processes manually. Unfortunately, manual billing and time-tracking processes are time-consuming, inefficient, and prone to error.
When consultants try to recollect what projects they worked on, small increments of time are easily lost, and they can add up to big dollars and a huge gap between hours worked and hours recorded by the end of the year.
Manual processes are also a pain for both consultants and managers to use, and can contribute to delayed payments from clients, inaccuracies, and client dissatisfaction.
Replacing these obsolete and burdensome processes provides many advantages. By adopting modern, centralized solutions, consulting firms can optimize their billing practices, more efficiently track projects, and generate more revenue to boot.
Below we review some of the major problems with manual billing and project tracking, and offer solutions that consulting firms can use to overcome them:
PROBLEM: Getting time-strapped consultants to log the hours they've worked on projects.
SOLUTION: Adopt a cloud-based solution that makes it easy for anyone to enter time and project status from any location
PROBLEM: Consultants who are late to submit project data and time worked can often lead to "guesstimates" and billing errors.
SOLUTION: Implement a system that allows simple and immediate time and project data submission using a web browser or mobile app. Email reminders motivate consultants to submit reports on time, which helps you send out invoices that are based on thorough, up-to-the-minute information.
PROBLEM: Managers waste time by collecting and manually entering employee data.
SOLUTION: Get rid of the burdensome paper and Excel-based tracking methods and replace them with an automated system that doesn't require you to spend more on hardware, software, or specially trained staff.
- As Vice President of Product Marketing, Keri Brooke is responsible for managing Replicon's world class product marketing team and Analyst Relations