Think Differently About Non-Billable Time

There is so much information out there on different products, services and technology that will make you and your client more efficient and profitable. But how do you ever become more profitable and efficient, if you never take the time to figure out how these products, services and technology will help you in your practice?

For example, since 2009, in the QuickBooks Accountant version, there was a tool created by Intuit for Accountants called Client Data Review. No matter where I demonstrate this for Accountants, everyone thinks it is the neatest thing they ever saw. The concept of Client Data Review (CDR) is to find errors that the client made in their QuickBooks file and speed up your process in fixing those errors. Many of the tools are automated so that QuickBooks will actually suggest or make it a lot easier to make the fix. It can save hours of time of manual work cleaning up a clients file. Some of the tasks that it has, to name a few, is to correct beginning balances when a QuickBooks file is provided to you at the end of the year, batch reclassify transactions that were coded to the wrong account or class, apply manual checks written to open bills so expenses are not double-counted and the Open Bills Report is accurate and so on and so on…
So, I ask everyone when I am finished demonstrating this – would you use this – they all exclaim yes! Then a few months later I follow-up – did you use it? Less hands go up…so I ask Why? They say, I didn’t have time to look at it. It all comes back to the same thing– there were no non-billable hours allocated so that they could review their process and see how they could implement it into their engagements. So, here is a tool that has been reported by Intuit, based on customer surveys, to save up to 4 hours on a QuickBooks clean-up engagement. Not only does that make you more profitable, you can find ways to cut some of your fee because of it and make the client happy as well! 
Just for example, if you save even 2 hours per client on average – that you were either writing off before or could charge the same amount you charged before and do it in less time – and had, let’s say, 50 clients – that would save you 100 hours conservatively. If you charged around $100/hr for that work or was writing that revenue off – you just found $10,000 of profitability! You decide how you want to use that time – take on more clients, achieve better profitability, split the difference with the client or not write off time. 
In this same example, If you allocated 8 hours for you or one of your staff to review how to use this tool and provide a process to the rest of your team on implementing it on your engagements and you paid that staff person an effective rate of $25/hour, the cost to you is $200. So the ROI on this Non-Billable time is 50x what you spent. Now, of course – I cannot guarantee those results – however – isn’t it worth it to try it???
If you took a part all of the things that you do internally in your practice and structure non-billable time to review other ways to make your engagements more efficient – wouldn’t the ROI be worth it? That way you are not continuing to work too long on clients that you are not making money on or writing off time because a process is inefficient. In this day and age, clients are looking for Accountants that are forward thinking and finding ways to reduce their fees but still provide value and a high level of service. Assessing tools, technology and services that can help make you more efficient on annual basis is really worth the investment. A little non-billable time can go a long way!
So, is now the time to think about Non-billable time differently for the future of your practice?

This blog

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally, collaborating with CPA2Biz and working with Intacct BPO CPA Firms to help them grow their Outsourced Accounting Services Practices. Prior to Intacct, she was an Intuit Key Account Manager responsible Intuit's Major Accounts and Creator/Facilitator for the Intuit Practice Excellence Program (IPEP). Amy has had the privilege of serving on the AICPA’s Journal of Accountancy Technology Advisory Panel since 2009 and was recognized by The CPA Technology Advisor as an outstanding 40 under 40 technology-based accountant in 2006 and 2009. In 2007, she won the South Florida Business Journal’s Up & Comer award for her expertise in accounting and dedication to the community. She also was a participant in the Accountant and Advisor Customer Council for Intuit, Inc. during 2006-2008 and Intuit, Inc.’s Solution Provider Advisor Council for 2009. Amy ran a successful Outsourced Accounting Services Practice and is an accomplished author of accounting software reference materials. She has been a a national & local speaker for consultants & software application users at various accounting technology and user conferences throughout the United States. In her free time, she spends time with her family and instructs yoga classes.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

42472

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

74688

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

47451

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

87118
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
19948

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

54565

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

79231

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

24535

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

62967

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

33917
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
100988
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
25201

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

51427
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
27029
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
31343

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

98388

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

32525

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

109268

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

59678

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

38570
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
65509

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

91344

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

52430