PracticeConsultingPractice management: Invoicing

Practice management: Invoicing

One of the problems facing accounting firms is recovering the time charged to work in progress. It has been a cause of great concern to practices who realise that good recoverability is an ingredient in high profitability.

There are many practices where the engagement partner is responsible and actually prepares the invoices. The basis on which he might prepare an invoice is from the WIP print-out, which details who has spent time on a client and doing what (in about two words).

The following scenario is typical:

A partner reviews the WIP and sees that an audit junior has spent 10 hours doing a bank reconciliation. He regards this as completely unjustifiable and writes 6 hours off only billing for 4 of the 10 hours. Very often the partner will not even consult the audit junior.

However, if the audit junior were asked to prepare a bill his view would be completely different. In the scenario given, he might for example have spent 5 hours finding the bank statement which the client had mislaid. He would in this case probably have billed the client for the full 10 hours charged and make the point in the narrative that 5 hours was spent finding a bank statement – and the result is full recovery.

The message therefore is that if partners can pass the billings down the chain, recoverability will rise, partners available time will rise and your staff will appreciate the imporance of filling in time sheets.

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