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Top tips to reduce non-billable hours in your bookkeeping business

by XBert Team ~ 3 min read

Have too many non-billable hours in your bookkeeping business? There are ways to reduce your non-billable hours and increase your revenue,

According to the ICB’s 2019 Annual Survey, the most pressing challenge faced by Australian bookkeepers is the hours of work involved in what they do. Consistency of work and too many non-billable hours were also both listed in the top five.

We hear you. Work isn’t easy (or that enjoyable) when you’re constantly chasing clients for accurate data, or spending hours on mundane, repetitive checks and reviewing work. Even worse, when you’re not being paid for it.

What are non-billable hours?

Non-billable hours represent everything you do at work that can’t be billed or expensed to a client. They’re costs your business incurs, that enable it to function and continue. Common examples of non-billable time for bookkeepers include:

  • Quoting new clients
  • Consulting and meetings that take place before signing a contract
  • Finding your own avoidable errors (or your teams)
  • Rework
  • Invoicing & other administrative tasks
  • Staff onboarding & management

Given the evolution of tech solutions for bookkeepers and the increase in cloud accounting, there are many ways you can help reduce the amount of non-billable hours in your business.

Tips to reduce your unbillable hours:

1. Automate unproductive tasks

This is a no-brainer. Many bookkeeping tasks that fall into the non-billable category are mundane, repetitive checks that are perfect for artificial intelligence to take over. Practices processes like BAS lodgement, TPAR, End of Financial Year and the rest can be automated, saving you time trawling through desktop spreadsheets and checklists.

An AI-audit software is a game changer in terms of reducing your non-billable hours – it hits from a few angles. It saves you time and money by alerting you to errors, inconsistencies and anomalies in your data as they arise – reducing the risk of finding them later down the track, right on lodgement deadlines. It also eliminates the need for rework, knowing the data is clean, accurate and up-to-date at any given time.

For Jolene Lutman and the Centegrity team, XBert does exactly that, giving them back at least half a day each week reducing manual managerial tasks. XBert also decreases the time Jolene needed for reviewing staff work and some of the managerial aspects of her role. XBert’s email integration enables her to track and triage email requests and manage client relationships. Read more here.

2. Use a Task tracking tool

Whether you’re a sole trader, part of a larger bookkeeping team or managing an in-office or outsourced bookkeeping team – having an efficient task tracking tool will save you hours. It’s imperative to find a solution that is gives you complete visibility over your own workflow, and your teams, at any given time, with the ability to easily collaborate and communicate. This will eliminate lengthy email chains and time-wasting phone calls.

For Brendan Lucas at Hopscotch Accounting, having one centralised workflow tool in XBert’s Workboard has removed the need for individual spreadsheets for clients and given him full visibility of his entire practice.

“We are now managing our month-end checklists through XBert, with the helicopter view reporting so useful for me as a partner. We are now getting our staff to use this as their daily "hub" - from dealing with Xero coding issues to checking which Organisations have unreconciled items,” he says.

Read more about that here.

3. Find more billable hours

This is a bit of a conundrum. If nothing changes in your processes and you chase more clients and more work - yes you may increase your billable hours but you may also end up increasing your non-billable hours, too.

Think about how you could possibly add value to your clients, without a whole lot of extra work. For instance, business health checks and reports that are provided within an add-on, like XBert’s analytics and BI reports. These give you one-click access to deep business insights in your client’s data – enabling you to add advisory (and, with practice-branding available, possibly on-sell!) as part of your servicing offering without adding hours of data-trawling time.

Where does XBert fit in?

Dedicated to making work life easier for bookkeepers, XBert uses the latest developments in AI, machine learning and data science to help reduce manual tasks, rework and ensure data integrity.

Using sophisticated algorithms, predictive analytics and machine learning technology, XBert detects patterns, anomalies and errors, ensuring accurate data for smarter decisions and advice.

Unrivalled in its AI audit risk alerts with task and process automation built in, templates, client schedules, BI reports, analytics and more, XBert is the app for professional bookkeepers wanting to find efficiences and take their business to the next level.

Find out more here or start your FREE trial below.