12 Time Tracking Habits to Start Before Tax Season Hits

Tim Sines

Getting time and billing right is important for all service professionals, and it’s even more crucial for accountants. That’s because every minute matters in our industry. Being an efficient accounting professional is not just about keeping records but also about being smart with your time. When you track time efficiently, you work smarter, bill accurately, and understand your work habits better.

With tax season coming up, it’s even more important to manage your time well. Good time tracking helps avoid last-minute stress and mistakes. In this article, we list easy time-tracking tips for accountants. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting in your career, these habits may help you to maximize efficiency and maintain a competitive edge in your field. Let’s get started.

Time Tracking Tips for Accountants

Why is Time Tracking Important for Accountants?

Time tracking is a crucial practice for accountants for the following reasons:

Accurate Billing

Time tracking helps accountants bill the right amount by tracking how much time they spend on each client’s work. This way, clients pay a fair price, and accountants get paid right for the time they put in.

Working Smarter

By keeping track of time, accountants can spot which tasks take the longest and find ways to work faster. They might even find low-level tasks that are taking up too much time and can be automated.

Planning and Predicting

Time tracking gives info that helps accountants guess how much time they need to dedicate to a project. This makes planning their time and resources a lot easier.

Building Trust with Clients

When accountants share their time-tracking details with clients, it builds trust. Clients can see exactly what they’re paying for and how much effort goes into their accounts.

Balancing the Team’s Work

Time tracking helps spread work out evenly among team members. This prevents some from being too busy while others have less to do.

Making Better Choices

Using time-tracking data, accountants can make smart decisions, like figuring out which clients are the best match, which services take too long for what they earn, and where more training could help.

Grow Professionally

Accountants can use time tracking to spot tasks that take a lot of time. By identifying the time-heavy tasks, an accountant can then focus on improving their skills in those areas.

Avoid Overwork

Time tracking can be a useful tool for spotting if accountants or their team members are putting in too many hours. It’s a great way to help prevent burnout because it allows you to see when the workload might be getting too heavy.

Keep Clients Happy

When accountants manage their time well and work efficiently, clients get better and quicker service. This makes clients happier and more likely to stick around.

Time tracking gives accountants the ability to handle their work better, work more efficiently, make smart choices, build trust with clients, and keep a good balance between work and life.

Keep Clients Happy

Top Time Tracking Habits

Here are the top time tracking habits to start implementing now, before tax season gets here. This way, when tax season arrives, you’ll be all set to handle it like a pro.

1. Know and Set Time Tracking Goals

Before you can effectively track your time, you need to know why you’re tracking it in the first place. Are you searching for better billing accuracy or hoping to improve your workload management? Without specific goals, your time tracking will lack focus. Be clear about your goals and write them down. This way, you can use your time-tracking software more effectively.

2. Find the Right Time Tracking Tool

To make time tracking work for you, you need the right tool. You don’t want to just randomly pick any software at the right price point. You must find one that fits into your workflow like a puzzle piece. The wrong tool can lead to frustration and inaccurate records. Take your time to explore different options. Look for features that make your life easier, like user-friendly interfaces and integration with other tools you use. Sometimes, trying a free demo can help you find the perfect match.

Speaking of which, we offer a free demo of Mango Practice Management which is a web-based time and billing software application. Learn how Mango can help you track your time and maximize your profits.

3. Log Your Time Immediately

The key to accurate time tracking is doing it in the moment. Waiting until later can make details fuzzy and your records less reliable. Train yourself to log time as soon as a task is done. Using a tool that’s easy to access, whether on your computer or mobile, can help a lot. For those longer tasks, setting a quick reminder to log time afterward can keep you on track.

4. Categorize Your Tasks Wisely

Organizing tasks into categories isn’t just neat; it helps you understand where your time goes. Without this, your time data is just a jumble of numbers. Set up clear categories like client meetings, research, or admin work. Stick to these categories to keep your data clean and informative. As your work changes, take a moment to update your categories so they always reflect what you do.

5. Set Time Limits on Tasks

Putting a time cap on tasks helps keep your day on course. Without limits, tasks can stretch out longer than they should and throw off your whole schedule. Before diving into a task, think about how long it should take and set a timer. Tracking your time against these limits can also sharpen your estimating skills for future tasks.

Being an efficient accounting professional is not just about keeping records but also about being smart with your time. Share on X

6. Regularly Review and Adjust Your Estimates

Taking time to compare your estimated task times with what you logged is a game-changer. It fine-tunes your ability to estimate and plan your day. If you skip this step, you might keep misjudging how long tasks take. Regularly reflect on your estimates and adjust them based on what you learn.

7. Check In On Your Time Tracking Habits

Keeping an eye on how you track time helps you stay on the right path. Without these check-ins, it’s easy to slip into bad habits. Set aside a little time each day or week to go over your time logs. Are you meeting your goals? Where could you improve? Use these moments to guide your time-tracking strategy.

8. Integrate Time Tracking Into Your Workflow

Making time tracking a part of your day ensures it becomes a habit. If it feels like an extra task, it’s easy to skip, especially when things get busy. Find ways to make time tracking a natural step in your workflow. When it becomes an expected part of your day, time tracking is less of a hassle. And the less of a hassle it is, the more likely you’ll stick with it.

9. Track Non-Billable Hours Too

Remember, not all your work hours are billable, but they’re all important. Think about the time you spend on admin tasks or improving your skills. Tracking these hours gives you a full picture of how you use your time, which is key for productivity and finding ways to work smarter. If you skip tracking these, you might not realize how much time they take up. Ultimately, this oversight leads to employee burnout and lost profit from time that’s not accounted for. A double whammy. So, include these non-billable activities in your tracking, treat them with the same importance as billable hours, and regularly check the balance between the two.

10. Analyze Your Time Tracking Data

Taking time to dive into your time data can reveal a lot. It shows work patterns, which clients are worth your time, and where you might be more efficient. Without looking at this data closely, you miss out on chances to work better and more profitably. Set a regular time, such as weekly or monthly, to review your data. Look for patterns, like tasks that always overrun or your most productive times of the day. Use these findings to tweak how you manage your time and workload.

11. Educate Your Team on Time Tracking

If you’re part of a team, everyone must be on the same page with tracking time. When everyone tracks time accurately, it makes managing projects and billing clients a lot smoother. If this doesn’t happen, you could end up with billing mistakes and no clear picture of how the team’s doing. Make sure your team knows why time tracking matters and how to do it right. Have training sessions, encourage a culture that values this practice, and check in with your team to solve any tracking troubles.

12. Minimize Multitasking

Focusing on one task at a time makes your time tracking (and your work) much better. When you’re juggling tasks, it’s hard to keep track of time accurately, and the quality of your work can drop. Stick to one thing at a time, use your tracking tool to keep you focused, and only switch tasks (and timers) when you need to. If something urgent comes up, pause your current task and note why you had to switch.

Final Thoughts

Getting good at tracking your time is important, especially before tax season kicks in. Tax season is busy, and if you’re not careful with how you use your time, things can get hectic. By developing solid time-tracking habits now, you can make sure you’re ready for the rush. This means you’ll work more efficiently, make fewer mistakes, and keep your stress levels down.

If you haven’t already, schedule your free demo of our time and billing software now.

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