Why Accountants Should Provide Automated Time Tracking: 8 Compelling Reasons

time and attendance for accountants

Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Employee Timekeeping and Scheduling

If you are a small business accountant, consider offering automated time tracking. It’s not hard to do and will provide a big payoff for you and your clients.

Automated time tracking software tracks employee time and a whole lot more. It is critical for businesses with hourly employees. Advanced systems have cutting-edge schedule tools and employee self-service dashboards. Overtime management and labor law compliance are gaining popularity. Other upgrades include PTO calculations, absence management, analytics, and GPS employee tracking.

Small business owners who automate save money by reducing time theft, overtime, and overstaffing. With these systems, business owners can manage a large workforce with a very small administrative staff. With web-based access, they are especially beneficial for mobile employees and multi-location companies.

Here are 8 arguments for adding automated time and attendance to your menu of services:

1. You Want to Expand Your Role From an Accountant to a Business Advisor

Small business owners who choose to outsource have already overcome a psychological barrier. They have wisely decided not to try to do it all. They want to focus on their core product and turn over some business functions to experts in their respective fields.

It takes time to research a service provider. Since it’s an ongoing relationship—not a one-time transaction—most business owners give it a lot of thought. If it requires a contract, it can take even more deliberation.

Research may include soliciting personal recommendations, reading websites, or meeting face to face. It requires time and energy they could focus elsewhere. That’s why some people stay on the same crappy phone plan or keep seeing a dentist with bad breath.

Your clients have already done their due diligence for your company. That makes it easier for you to move from an accountant into a role as a business advisor.

Business advisors provide broad-based strategic solutions rather than isolated services. When you solve a sticky pain point you become more than “my tax guy” or “the woman who does my books.”

Your small business clients will look at you in a whole different light. You are now a trusted partner who understands their challenges. The more problems you solve, the easier it is for small business owners to do what they really want to do. They want to look for new business opportunities. They do not want to worry about the nuts and bolts of employee management.

2. Automated Time Tracking is a Natural Fit

As an accountant, you handle your clients’ finances and taxes. What does this have to do with employee time and attendance?

Payroll uses time and attendance data. Accounting and payroll are linked. Because it is a payroll function, employee time tracking is tied to finances and cash flow.

As their business advisor (see preceding section), you provide solutions to make their business run better.

Plus, it’s mutually beneficial. Automated time tracking will capture accurate labor data. Accurate data strengthens the integrity of payroll and taxes. Everybody wins.

3. It’s Easier to Retain Than to Gain Clients

It costs at least five times as much to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer. (Some studies put the figure as high as 25 times.) To keep a customer, you need to provide ongoing value.

If you have minimal interaction with your clients, that’s probably how they like it. (Most of us subscribe to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy.) But you can’t risk the possibility of your clients forgetting that you are key to their business. Solve their persistent employee timekeeping problems. Lower their labor costs. Make their lives easier. Reassure them that you are critical to their survival.

4. You Will Become More Profitable (Even If You Don’t Expand Your Client Base!)

Accountants have a significant incentive to reduce customer churn.

“For financial services providers, a 5% increase in customer retention raises profits more than 25%.  Return customers tend to buy more from a company over time. As they do, your operating costs to serve them decline. What’s more, return customers refer others to your company.” Fred Reichheld (Bain & Company)

5. Your Clients Will Become More Dependent On You

As you expand your role from accountant to business advisor, your relationship strengthens. As you solve more problems for your clients, you will become indispensable.

Your clients have chosen you because you not only capably handle their books—you don’t require much attention. You are a reliable “silent” partner. That’s important for a business owner juggling seemingly infinite demands and finite resources.

Employee time and attendance is something they must deal with constantly. Take over this weighty task and make their job a lot easier. Automated time tracking provides financial and operational benefits every single day. Do it well and you will have a customer for life.

6. If You Don’t Offer It, Your Competitor Will

Service providers for small businesses are expanding their suite of products. Many of them are adding accounting to their offerings. With cloud-hosted SaaS vendors, it’s easy to do.

“Competition is escalating from various industries, including software publishing, management consulting, payroll services, bookkeeping and the legal profession.” Accounting Today

Some businesses partner with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). PEOs completely take over workforce management and become the employer of record recognized by the IRS. They manage employee benefits, worker’s compensation, and talent acquisition.  Plus onboarding, training, performance reviews, payroll, and employee timekeeping.

You also face competition from the other end of the industry. Accounting software designed for the novice is getting cheaper every day. Your clients may be able to buy software for less than it costs to pay you. (That’s even more reason not to take any customer for granted.)

7. It’s an Untapped Market

If your clients are small businesses, they probably have not automated their time and attendance. Many of them are using the same manual methods they used when they hired their first employee. You can capitalize on the fact that they are behind the curve when it comes to workforce management practices and technology.

8. It’s Easy

Automated time tracking software vendors make it easy for accountants to become timekeeping providers. Some, like WorkforceHub, offer flexible reseller programs.

SwipeClock Channel Partners handle client setup, sales, and customer support. They set their own prices and enjoy all the autonomy of a standard white-label reseller.

Perhaps you are a very small company. If so, the SwipeClock  BOSS (Back Office Sales & Support) program is a great choice. As a BOSS Partner, SwipeClock will handle client setup, sales, and customer support.

It gets better. SwipeClock also provides marketing services to their 1000+ resellers.

SwipeClock WorkforcHUB™

SwipeClock continues to lead the workforce management industry with WorkforceHUB. It provides everything your clients need to manage their employees.

  • Employee timekeeping: job costing, break enforcement, time card approvals, accruals
  • Scheduling: skills tracking, compliance alerts, schedule preferences
  • Mobile: iOS and Android
  • Employee self-service: time cards, pay stubs, 1099s, direct deposit receipts, W2s
  • Onboarding: activation, benefits, rules and regs, completion confirmation
  • Benefits enrollment: cost analysis, benefits comparison, electronic signature
  • Performance reviews: write your own questions and record responses, update

Bottom line? Automated time tracking will make your clients more profitable and will simplify their internal operations. That’s the kind of service any good accountant, I mean business advisor, provides.

 By Liz Strikwerda

Simplify HR management today.

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