14 Better Uses for Timesheet Data

Woman reading paper document at office desk in front of computerIf you just pay people and move on, you’re missing critical information.

By Ed Mendlowitz

QUESTION: I keep timesheets for billing purposes but am not clear how I can use them to better manage my practice. How can I do this?

MORE: Tossing Timesheets Is Just the Start | How’s Your Overhead? | 9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth | Collect More by Clearing Up Billing | Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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ANSWER: Analyzing time records is a very effective practice management tool and is an essential part of most professional services organizations. Some people contend that timesheets should not be used because they should not be the basis of any pricing, with fees solely based on the value to the client.

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Tossing Timesheets Is Just the Start

Pen ready to fill in blank timesheetRECOMMENDED: Two books to read.

By Ed Mendlowitz

QUESTION: I’ve read that many firms are no longer using timesheets. How do you feel about that?

MORE: How’s Your Overhead? | 9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth | Collect More by Clearing Up Billing | Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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ANSWER: There is a growing group of firms that no longer use timesheets.

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The Clients that Keep You Awake at Night

Masked man carrying large money bagWhen even the best internal controls fail, guess who the client will blame?

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

I have addressed the importance of controls when trying to get a client. But it is also important to retain the client.

MORE: Clients Don’t Lose Sleep for Overpaying Taxes | 6 Ways to Increase Your Fees … If You Dare | The Clients that Got Away | Upselling Made Painless | Boosting a Fixed Fee Substantially | Creative Ways to Retain Staff | What CPAs Can Learn from Lawyers and Doctors | My Top 10(ish) Regrets
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A good system that is not monitored is a sure way to lose your client – and your sleep.

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How’s Your Overhead?

https://cpatrendlines.com/2020/09/14/how-to-determine-overhead/Plus a tip for increasing revenue if needed.

By Ed Mendlowitz

QUESTION: Are there any rules of thumb for a CPA firm’s overhead and salary costs?

MORE: 9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth | Collect More by Clearing Up Billing | Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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ANSWER: The Rosenberg Survey has excellent metrics and is highly recommended. On a less scientific basis you can use as a general rule of thumb 1/3 for salaries, 1/3 overhead, 1/3 partners salary.
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Clients Don’t Lose Sleep for Overpaying Taxes

man lying awake in bedPoor controls are a different matter.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

In my early days I would get many leads for clients who told me they were switching accountants because they believed they were paying “too much tax.” However, at most of those meetings, we only spent a few minutes on taxes and then most of the time expressing concern about whether their controls were good enough!

MORE: 6 Ways to Increase Your Fees … If You Dare | Creating a Cross-Selling Culture | Cross-Selling Beyond Your Comfort Zone | Value Pricing in Uncharted Waters | Advising Cheapskates | Getting Bonuses from Clients | Why You’re Only as Good as Your Staff
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My conclusion from these conversations is that the potential of loose controls is a major cause of keeping someone awake at night. No one stays awake at night wondering if they are paying too much tax. A pending tax audit might keep someone awake, but not paying too much tax.
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9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth

Number 9 created by gaps between many small green plastic 9'sPartners must be accountable.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I am the managing partner and run a tight ship, however, some of my partners do not appear to be growing and on some level that is holding back the firm’s overall growth.

MORE: Collect More by Clearing Up Billing | Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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Any suggestions or is this just the way it is?
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6 Ways to Increase Your Fees … If You Dare

Hand moving triangle along beam to indicate balance between price and valueReverse value billing defined.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

Working out how to set fees and using value pricing or value billing can sometimes be daunting.

MORE: Creating a Cross-Selling Culture | When Time-Based Pricing Works | How Auditing Is Like a Pirouette | ¿Que Es Bookkeeping? | Testifying Before Congress | Underpaying Others Hurts You, Too | My Top 10 Personal Game Changers | Yes, Christopher Columbus Had an Accountant | 10 Reasons for My Success
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We are in this business to make a living, so we have to become adept at pricing, billing and collections. One thing that vexes me is colleagues who tell me they never would value price or bill, and then they engage in what I refer to as “reverse value billing.”
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Collect More by Clearing Up Billing

How to handle everything from late payers to extra services to minimum fee schedules.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: Can you give me some suggestions on overall firm pricing and billing methods?

MORE: Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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ANSWER:  Here’s how we’ve handled the billing and collection process at my firm.
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Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It

You need goals, not just a desire to get new business.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: We are a 20-person firm and are thinking of engaging a marketing consultant for training on how to get new business.

MORE: 5 Ways to Build Teamwork | Creating a Cross-Selling Culture5 Ways to Build Teamwork | When Time-Based Pricing Works | Start Marketing Now for Next Season | The Clients that Got Away  | 4 Reasons Not to Let Staff Go After Tax SeasonCross-Selling Beyond Your Comfort Zone
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Have you heard of anyone in particular for CPA leadership training? What does your firm do regarding this? An internal program or do you use outside consultants?
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