Category Archives

Features

  • Nov 01,2018

It’s a common scenario. Staffers’ billable and non-billable hours bottleneck in the approval process, since it takes time to sift through both billable and nonbillable hours for each staffer.

BigTime’s billable/non-billable approval feature streamlines this process. Now you can divide up time approvals for billable and non-billable time for each staffer.

Here’s how it works. Your staffer Ruth logs billable hours to a project for Putman Associates. These hours are filtered to the lead, Henry, who sees these hours and can approve or reject them (see image below). If there’s not a team lead identified for the project, then the admin can approve or reject the hours.

However, when Ruth logs non-billable time, like vacation time, these hours are filtered to her manager, Sue, who sees all submitted time, including billable hours. However, she’s only able to approve non-billable hours.

Based on the image above, Sue sees the billable hours logged to the project (in gray), but can’t do anything to these hours. However, she can approve or reject the non-billable hours that have been submitted.

There are few things you need to have in place before you can use this feature. First, identify a team lead. When you add staffers to a project, indicate that one staffer is a team lead by checking the box under “Team Lead.”

Second, create an internal project and indicate that it’s a non-billable project (on your Project Dashboard, check the box next to “Hours/Expenses billed to this project should be considered non-billable”). Firms often make an internal project for vacation time or company training.

Third, identify a manager for the project, and grant them managerial rights over a specific department. Use the Staff Dashboard to make these changes. In the image below, our staffer has managerial rights over the Engineering department.

Keep in mind that you can update managerial control by adjusting rights in your security groups.

The net result of Billable and Non-Billable approval is this: you save time and avoid bottlenecks.

  • Jul 09,2018

We’ve published a slew of Knowledge Base articles to get you up and running with some of our latest features and fixes. So when questions come up you’ve got resources to turn to. This post highlights several new articles from three categories: resource allocation, invoicing, and the BigTime/Salesforce integration.

Resource Allocation

Get the most out of resource allocation, and learn how to shift allocations. It’s a simple feature with a powerful effect: when project changes occur, as they inevitably do, choose to shift allocations to another date without re-entering all of your data.

Find out how to create weekly resource allocation reports. Whether you use resource allocation for weekly or monthly allocations, you can get reports for both. Fortunately, we’ve got several pre-built reports to make the process quick and easy.

If you’re new to resource allocation, then you’ll appreciate this FAQ article, which addresses many commonly asked questions like how to enter data. Or if you’re on the fence about resource allocation, the FAQ article is a good place to learn about who benefits from this tool and how.

Customize Invoices


Each client has different needs and preferences, which is why BigTime users have long been able to customize invoices. We’ve added articles to explain some of your options and newly available features.

Customize your invoice settings introduces users to several customization choices, from PDF styles to invoice calculators to email settings. You can also customize headings that appear on your invoices. And for those clients who have a long list of invoices to pay, you can show all unpaid invoices on an invoice template.

BigTime/Salesforce Integration Series

BigTime users are integrating their account with Salesforce, and it’s easy to see why: the integration keeps sales and project teams informed and connected and it prevents double-data entry.

Each time a Salesforce opportunity reaches a specified stage in your sales pipeline, which you determine, it’s added in BigTime as a project. Then, BigTime and Salesforce communicate with each other and share relevant project and client details, like bill rates, tasks, budgets, and assignments. These type of details are visible on both platforms, so when questions arise, from colleagues or clients, your staff is ready.

We’ve published a new article series that explains how to set up the integration, sync information between the accounts, and answer commonly asked questions.

Our aim is for you to have the information you need, when you need it. Keep an eye on our blog for the latest BigTime news.

  • May 08,2018

Put the data you generate in BigTime to good use with our pre-built time reporting. They’re an easy way to get details on a variety of topics, including projects, tasks, resource allocation, and invoicing. Plus, you can customize a pre-built report by adding or removing columns, or adjusting the date range.

These reports also make sharing information convenient. Generate a task report to use in your staff meeting. Email an invoicing report to a client. Or create a pre-built resource allocation report to help plan for the quarter ahead. Read on to learn how to access and customize a pre-built report, and the type of reports available to you.

Find pre-build reports in your Report Center (Reports….Report Center). At the top of your window, you’ll see four categories: Time Tracking, Invoicing, Payroll, and Task List. Each category has its own tile and several pre-built reports. (NOTE: Click the tile with the magnifying glass to make a custom report).

Let’s look at the Time Tracking tile as an example of the pre-built reports you have access to (see image below).

Under this tile, notice a pre-built report titled Timesheet Summary by Date Range (see image below). Click View Report to view it. This summary report shows you timesheet data by client, staff member, and categories for a specific time period.

Edit the date range by clicking Edit Report Settings at the top of the report. A new window will pop up and you can enter a start and end date in the respective textboxes.

Customize the pre-built report by clicking the Customize button near the top-right of your window, and select Customize from the picklist. Now you can add or remove columns.

Other time-related reports are located directly beneath this summary one. Hover over the ‘i’ icon to learn about the report before you generate it. You can also customize these reports, by editing the date range or adding or removing columns.

Check out additional reports near the bottom of your Resource Center window, under the header All Reports. This is where you can generate reports on resource allocation. Some of the reports from the four tiles at the top of your Report Center window also appear in this section.

The next time you’re rushing to find the status of your projects, billable staff hours, or resource allocation details by week or month, among a host of other topics, take a look at your Report Center to see the reports at your disposal.

  • Apr 19,2017

 Product Update – April 2017

Android users: you deserve a better smarter mobile timesheet app that simplifies your on-the-go work life. And that’s exactly what this product update delivers. Let’s take a closer look.

Timesheets, Timers, and Expenses

Now Android phones recognize the required fields feature. Mobile Timesheet with Required Field

A required field is exactly what it sounds like in that the user is required to complete a particular value. For example, if the Admin has made timesheet notes a required field then the staffer must complete the details field for each time entry before they can submit their timesheet.

If a required field is left blank, an error message pops up. This eliminates the possibility of user error by omission. You’re using a smartphone for work. Now, your Android mobile timesheet app helps you work smarter by recognizing required fields. 

One more thing about notes. A recent BigTime research study based on the analysis of 12 million timesheets revealed that the presence of timesheet notes improved billing realization (the comparison of time billed with time entered) by almost 5 percent). That’s right. A timesheet note about the length of a Tweet can significantly increase your billing realization rate. Something to think about.

Little Things Add Up to a Great Mobile Mobile Timesheet for AndroidExperience

A delightful user experience allows you to focus the task at hand. So when you whip out your Android to track time or expenses you’re going to have a friction-free experience.

Here’s a quick look at other changes we’ve made—all of which add up to a big difference in your Android’s performance.

Fixes

SaaS software is all about continuous improvement. Here are a few things that will work better for your now:

  • The Staff List member information now includes home phone numbers.Mobile Time and Expense Tracking Client Information With your mobile timesheet app, you can be anywhere and access the home phone of an employee or a colleague.
  • Full names now display properly for our IQ Enterprise users.
  • The Expense Entry screen is no longer visible for our IQ Express users, in order to eliminate confusion. Email [email protected] for more info on how you can add Expense tracking to your time tracking app.
  • To eliminate confusion for our IQ Express users, the Expense Entry screen is no longer visible. Email [email protected] for more info on how you can add expense tracking to your time tracking app.
  • We resolved a few issues with your Projects that were impeding the ability to load Billing and Primary contacts.
    • We fixed some minor label issues. They now display properly in the Expense Entry screens.
    • We updated the menu option for our Knowledgebase. It now points to the current version.
    • We resolved a few offline entry issues Mobile Expense Trackingthat occurred when trying to load class information.
    • We corrected an issue so that expenses will properly exit out of the unsubmitted expense area.

Go to the app store and see all of the Android app goodness

To keep up with product updates, industry-relevant trends, and our time billing research studies, subscribe to our blog.

BigTime Software delivers real-time, metrics-driven time tracking, billing and project management for more than 2,000 professional firms, tracking over $2 billion (USD) worth of billable time each year.

  • Apr 19,2017

Our talented Q&A development specialist Monica shared an article from the Harvard Business Review, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. It got her attention because the principles outlined in the article sounded a lot like the way our development team plans features for our time and billing app. Of the article’s three main points, it was the second that resonated most with our dev team. Ask “What is essential?”

Our dev team repeatedly asks themselves this question. Then, they plan the feature that will tackle a root issue in our time and billing software. That’s how they arrived at their own 3 rules of less for successful time and billing feature design.

Rule #1. Know the primary function and keep it simple

Time billing software with mobile time and expense tracking appHere’s an example. Our online timesheets, including the mobile app, look super simple. The absence of distracting features make it functional—and yes, beautiful. Sometimes it’s what you don’t see in our time billing software that makes it so functional.

The primary function of the timesheet is to make it easy for employees to use. Since time is money at a service firm, employees can get in and out of the timesheet quickly with minimal disruption to their billable work.

Timesheet detail field notes

By the way, timesheet notes the length of a tweet (yes, 140 characters) can increase your firm’s billing realization rate by almost 5 percent. We’re talking about the percentage of recorded billable time that gets billed to clients. To learn more, read the BigTime research study based on the analysis of 12 million timesheets.

Rule #2. Offer more when more is necessary

Time billing software with customizable timesheets

Continuing with our online timesheet as an example, we offer more choices to the site administrators who are responsible for customizing the timesheet. The purpose of “more” in this instance is to provide options so the admin can set up the timesheet to capture information relevant to running the business.

We give our customers the choice to deliberately limit access to projects within the timesheet. Why? Because employees only need to track time against the projects they’re working on. This optional feature eliminates the need for employees to scroll through an exhaustive list of all projects. Anything other than the projects they’re logging time against is non-essential information and a potential distraction. But we leave that decision up to the firm owner.

As BigTime’s CEO Brian Saunders often says to customers, “The whole point of tracking time is to collect data and then use that data to make better business decisions.” With that in mind, admins can customize our online timesheets, adding or removing columns (with the exception of Projects), renaming or reordering columns and fields, even making certain fields or columns required.

We design our software on the “need to know” principle. In other words, what exactly do our users need to know in order to perform a specific action or associated actions? Our design thinking is informed by what the customer needs to do and what they need to know in order to do it.

Rule #3. Strip away the extraneous

Albert Einstein is credited with the memorable paraphrase of the aphorism, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” And that’s what our dev team does. Let’s use project management as an example.

Time billing with project management Firm owners can get the big picture on any given project from a single dashboard, seeing at a glance who’s working on what and for how long. Project managers can drill down to get detailed information on tasks, due dates, budgets, staff availability, and more.

There’s a lot of intelligence under the BigTime hood. But we practice the disciplined pursuit of less until our customers need more. In a previous post,  3 Must-Have Time Management Skills for Professional Service Firm Owners, experts reminded us that there will never be enough time for everything. There is only enough time for what truly matters, for the essential. And that’s what we focus on when designing software to help our customers succeed.

If you’re looking for the right software to manage your firm, we can save you a lot of search time. Reach out today!

BigTime Software delivers real-time time billing, project management and reporting for more than 2,000 professional firms, tracking over $2 billion (USD) worth of billable time each year. To keep up with product updates, industry-relevant trends, and our time billing research studies, subscribe to our blog.

  • Mar 20,2017
android_mobile_time

When mobile expense tracking apps are so widely available, why do so many professional service firms stick with manual processes?

According to Robert Neveu in CPA Practice Advisor, many smaller organizations can manage a manual process just fine due to lower reporting volume and reimbursement requirements.

The Problems with Manual Expense Tracking

But there are problems with manual processes even then. Neveu’s firm, Certify,  conducted a recent survey of more than 600 CFOs and accounting professionals. They found that the top pain point for 52 percent of study participants is that employees lose paper receipts.  The runner-up pain point, experienced by 51% of respondents, is their employee’s failure to submit expense reports on time.

The Bigger Issue About Mobile Expense Tracking

Mobile apps capture images of paper receipts, which can then be attached to digital expense reports. This process does away with paper receipts altogether. It also makes it easy for employees to submit expenses on time.  Online expense tracking is also scalable. It can grow with your business without disrupting the way you do business.

There’s one thing more.  We work with professional service firms all over the world. Some of them make a lot of money. Others not so much.

What makes the successful ones successful? Leverage. They’re good at leveraging data. Successful firms use the data they track (expenses and timesheets, for example) to get better at estimating. They use online timesheet data to flag customers and engagements that need attention. They use expense data to do a better job building project budgets. If a project does fail, they use that data as an audit log to help them look back and see what went wrong.

No matter why a company decides to embrace mobile expense tracking, those who do are pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Read the article.

BigTime Software delivers real-time, metrics-driven time tracking, billing and project management for more than 2,000 professional firms, tracking over $2 billion (USD) worth of billable time each year.

  • Feb 08,2017

Puxatony Phil might have predicted six more weeks of winter, but we’re pretty much okay with that. (We are in Chicago after all.) Besides, with a new year in full swing, we are eager to share what we’ve been up to so far in 2017: improvements to BigTime’s synchronization tools with Quickbooks and Lacerte, a faster way for project leads to add themselves to teams, and reporting made even easier.

A Better Sync Agent

Last winter we announced Sync Agent, our tool for syncing QuickBooks data with BigTime IQ. Since then we have been working to make it even better. Here are some of the enhancements you’ll notice.

  • LPL-3518: More than one Quickbooks Desktop file? Now there’s an easy way to identify when those files were created.
#1

 

  • LPL-3477: Have more than one administrator using Sync Agent? No problem. A secondary admin should have no problem logging in.
  • LPL-3370: We’re always here to troubleshoot and provide solutions. If you run into problems with Sync Agent, now there’s more detailed logging behind the scenes that will help us help you even more swiftly

We launched TaxLink for Lacerte 2016 at the start of the year, just in time for tax season. We promised that we would keep you posted on improvements, so here are a few you can expect to find in February.

  • LPL-3459: Duplicates are troublesome; now you won’t have to worry about any duplicate status codes for your returns lingering on your Engagement Manager in BigTime.
  • LPL-3456: We solved problems with incorrect contact information on individual returns.
  • LPL-3460: For spousal information on individual returns filed jointly, spousal information will appear as a secondary contact.

Also, a quick tip on promise date and due date: The promise date in Lacerte 2016 defaults to the federal due date. We don’t currently have a way to overwrite this, but we have a quick fix (for now).

#2

We recommend creating a Due Date custom field for your returns on your Engagement Manager in BigTime. Once you have this set up, you are free to edit due dates for returns as you see fit. Read up on creating custom fields on our Knowledgebase.

Check Here to Add Yourself to the Team

LPL-2581: We’re big fans of making things more efficient. That’s what we brought to the client/project creation process. Instead of team leads or project managers having to make sure they’re added to project teams, there’s a checkbox for that.

#3

Simply place a checkmark next to this box to kill two birds with one stone: create a new client and make sure you’re on the team.
Need a refresher on how user access rights and security groups function when it comes to project and client creation? Head on over to BigTime’s Knowledgebase and read about customizing user access rights and how to create custom security groups.

Reports That Don’t Leave You Guessing

LPL-3005: We pride ourselves on all the options available from the BigTime Report Center. Of course, another thing we always strive to do is enhance your user experience. That’s what inspired this enhancement.
If you have a date filter applied to a report, you won’t have to wonder if that’s active or the details of the date range. We’ll have this displayed for you next to Edit Report Settings.

#4

Let Us Know What you Think

That’s just a small glimpse of what we’ve been working on. We’ll keep working to bring you more improvements. If you have questions, don’t forget about the BigTime Knowledgebase. And if you have comments on what’s covered there (or not), send us feedback—click “Helpful” or “Unhelpful”— and submit a support ticket directly from an article if you need more help.

  • Mar 19,2014

BigTime is being known as the best time billing software for accountants. Let it make this tax season less taxing.

BigTime’s time billing app helps make your tax prep reporting and invoicing a breeze — bringing super-efficiency, flexibility and automation to capture more of your client tax-prep revenue.

time billing for accountants

 
Following are just a few features tax-prep accountants might find especially useful:

Status tracking. Place statuses around your engagements or work codes and run reports by client and/or project. Need to see which clients still owe you tax documents? Done. BigTime shows you know exactly where you are throughout the tax prep process.

WIP analysis. BigTime can help you capture un-billed time and expense for projects still in the pipeline. Management reports can enable automatic analyses of work-in-progress payments (by staffer, billing code and client).

Invoicing your way. We’re talking multiple billing rates, write-up and write-down, and unlimited line item editing and reporting. Billing can be easily tailored to the needs of each client, and you can conveniently invoice out of either BigTime or QuickBooks.

You can learn all about BigTime’s features for time and billing for accountants. Or if you’d like, our team will be happy to demo the software for you — which takes just 30 minutes or so.

  • Apr 13,2013

For those firms working with an international clientele, BigTime billing solution has included a very powerful feature: the ability to invoice in your clients’ native currency while running reports in yours.

In the coming few posts, we are going to show you to how enable this capability, how to add a new currency and, when necessary, change the default currency you use for individual clients. Let’s take a look at a real-world example of how BigTime’s multi-currency system might come in handy:

A pharmaceutical company based in Canada works with a number of companies in Singapore, several of whom have U.S. satellites who prefer to settle contracts in US dollars (rather than in Singapore’s native currency, SGD).

Normally this would be a hassle, but with BigTime it was as simple as selecting the entity’s preferred currency in a drop down menu, and that fast all invoicing (and reporting) were set. BigTime’s system “learned” the preference, and all future jobs, projects, contracts, and costs were automatically selected for the preferred currency.

That’s how easy it is.

What you need to do to enable BigTime’s multi-currency feature.

A system administrator can set a new currency, change the home currency, or add variable currencies to client accounts. To do this, the multi-currency function must first be enabled by going to: Tools > System Settings > General Settings and selecting the multi-currency option.

multi currency billing software

 

Note that the system settings give you the option to choose between “BigTime/Entry Only” or “Post Currency to QB”.

The difference between the two is that the “BigTime/Entry Only” option keeps your multi-currency data in BigTime while the “Post Currency to QB” option syncs your currency data with QuickBooks.

BigTime/Entry Only: This allows the user to enter expenses and print invoices in foreign currencies, but post documents to QuickBooks in their home currency.

Post Currency to QuickBooks: If you’re using an international version of QuickBooks that supports multi-currency you can post your foreign currency expenses and invoices into QuickBooks. Otherwise, the documents posted to QuickBooks will be posted in your “home” currency.

Next time, we’ll be showing you how to add a new currency to your system. Till then, if you’d like more detail on this function, please visit https://w6.bthost.com/demo/help/default.asp.

  • Mar 20,2013

Last time we discussed how to save time and effort when billing time comes around by starting the process with one of the invoicing templates that come built into BigTime. These templates — three dozen of them, all of which can be edited to your liking — can help you automate this daunting monthly task.

Now we’d like to go into a somewhat more arcane realm of invoicing: variable billing rates.

If you’ve created an invoice before, you already know how to set up billing rates. Open up the project’s dashboard and browse to the Contract > Billing Rates screen. Here you can set both a “base rate” for the project as well as “custom rates.” This useful feature allows you to assign unique hourly rates based on staff, activity type, or both — for every client project you bill.

bigtime invoicing with quickbooks

The ability to set up custom billing rates is one of the most useful features in BigTime.

In BigTime, you can set up an unlimited set of custom rates. Think of these as override rates that can be set up by labor code, staff member, budget item or any combination of the three. What’s more, BigTime also lets you create custom cost rates for a project, likewise by staff or activity type.

Custom rates can be set up using the “custom rates” edit pane in the dashboard’s Contract > Billing Rates page. Just fill in the rate you’d like to add to the project in the blank line at the end of the list.

Let’s take a look at how this can be of help in a real-world application. Let’s say you need to bill out staff member Joe Smith at varying levels because he brings disparate degrees of skills and capabilities to different clients. For one project he may be valued at $125/hr while his work for another client may be billed out higher (or lower).

In BigTime, this is a no-brainer. You simply set up a list of hourly rates for Joe (his rate card) that vary by different types of clients or projects. Name them the default “Rate A” or “Rate B” — or better yet, label them something more descriptive, “corporate rate,” for example. This can be done with each staff member for a wide range of scenarios.

To accomplish this you have two choices:

You may edit Joe’s hourly rate in the “Custom Rates” table or you can do it the way we recommend, which is to add (up to five) billing rates for Joe in the “Base Rate” section of the Contract > Billing Rates page. By setting up Joe’s rates this way, you can more easily manage them later in the staff list in the Management > Staff List section

That’s just a taste of what BigTime’s robust variable rates feature can do to help you streamline your billing process. For the moment we won’t go into the numerous other options you have to take advantage of the power of variable billing rates, but one that you’ll probably want to get to know is Activity Rates.

In some cases, the person doing work on a project won’t be used to determine the billing rate. Instead, you’ll set up a labor code that assigns a rate to the work type (no matter who’s doing it), and create a rate sheet. BigTime supports this scenario by providing an “Activity Rate” option in the Contract > Billing Rates screen.

To learn more about variable rates, go to https://w6.bthost.com/demo/help/default.asp.