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The Difference Between Time and Attendance and Time Billing Software

There are many time accounting packages on the market. Your business can leverage these software packages with vertical industry offerings to provide function and features unique to your business and market. Before you get serious about the search for software, there is one aspect of these systems you should consider. This consideration will help you reduce the number of packages you must consider. Simply put, time systems are separated into two categories:

Time and Attendance Systems – These packages include features like employee attendance management, integration with payroll systems, vacation and paid time off tracking, leave categories, policies, time accrual features, reporting and even in some instances, employee self-service that allows direct access to a web portal for employee time input.

More sophisticated features include trending to boost workforce optimization and productivity and estimate resource requirements for projects and seasonal staffing. System set-up can accommodate hourly employees, salaries employees, offshore or virtual employees and even bonus calculations. Many Time and Attendance vendors have packaged interfaces to the most popular payroll systems to streamline the transfer of data between systems. Large system vendors also provide versions compliant with most popular server environs.

Time and Attendance software is used by many small, medium and large organizations to track and report employee time, apply consistent labor policies and ensure appropriate salary and payroll payments for all employees.

Time Billing Software – Time tracking and billing software is designed to support professional services firms. Features include client billing and accounts receivables with integration to general ledger and accounting software packages. Employees or consultants are entered into the system with an associated billing rate. When the employee enters hours against a project or client, the client costs are automatically calculated and the organization can bill clients, report on revenue and find and leverage available consultants and time for other projects.

Some of these systems also accommodate fixed fee projects and, in this case, track the planned hours against the actual hours worked by the consultants or practitioners, thereby allowing the company to compare plan against actual and further refine their fixed fee quotes to ensure they are generating appropriate revenue. If your firm operates on client retainer, you can also enter the retainer fee into the system and record compliance policies and client information.  Some software packages allow remote entry of data to accommodate consultants on the road. Auto email triggers remind professionals to enter their time to comply with time entry due dates and manager approval due dates for team member time. You can track billable and non-billable hours as appropriate and establish multiple billing rates. Some systems provide packaged interfaces to project management and accounting software packages.

Time Billing systems are used by professional services firms, e.g., attorneys, accountants, architects, engineers and IT consultants.

If you understand the two basic types of time reporting, accounting and billing software packages, you can limit your search to the type of software that will best suit your industry and business type.

About the Author

Susan Obijiski is a technology professional, consultant, business coach and writer. Her experience includes management consulting, and she has published research for Gartner Group. Susan is a frequent speaker and presenter on a variety of topics including software and technology, business strategy, process improvement and organizational culture change.

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