A new year is here and many firms start looking at how they are using their software. Training can often help you make your software better meet your needs. Sometimes, that’s not enough and you need to look for something new. If you need good time and expense tracking with invoicing capability, you should take a look at BigTime, especially if you use QuickBooks.
There are three versions of BigTime and the pricing and features are quickly shown on the website. Express is a free version for up to 2 users with limited needs. It offers time tracking, unlimited clients, QuickBooks integration and mobile access (Android and Apple), a nice group of features for those with simple needs. Many firms will look at the Pro version which includes 10 users. Additional users can be purchased for a monthly fee. Pro adds invoicing, expenses tracking and enhanced reporting. Additional features are available in the Enterprise version including DCAA compliance as well as integration for QuickBooks-Canadian versions (if any of our Canada friends are reading this). But just so you know I have based this article on BigTime’s Pro version.
BigTime makes it easy to see what is going on. The BigTime Dashboard gives you a bird’s eye view of your firm. This includes time, invoicing, reviews and approvals. If you are the administrator you have the full view. For firms that setup security the view for users may be limited to the appropriate information depending on the role in the firm.
BigTime is very customizable, from the terminology used throughout the program to the columns you see on the time sheet and the order in which they are presented. The system is designed to make it very easy to capture time by letting you track time from a weekly time sheet, a daily time sheet or directly from the engagement dashboard. You can quickly start and stop any of multiple timers.
There are multiple levels of information in BigTime. At the top is the customer/project. Next is the work code. If you are linking to QuickBooks, this is the equivalent of the service item. Finally, you have the task/engagement, the work to be done. This could be something like depose witnesses, gather financial data or court date. While these are optional, they add to the power of BigTime as you can move these tasks to different statuses, assign them to specific individuals and track the progress
Firms can create different types of engagements and statuses associated with those types. Engagements can be one time or repeating. Once an engagement type and statuses are built the firm can create engagements for the clients, assign staff, set due dates and budgets, track time and manage the engagement from within BigTime.
Time is entered and then submitted. If needed, it can be approved before invoicing and/or posting. Posting to QuickBooks can be especially helpful for payroll. Rates can be setup for clients, staff and work code and assigned at the client level. Rules allow for all kinds of combinations of rates or they can be set manually. BigTime allows for creation of invoices and lets you see who needs to be billed.
BigTime also offers expense tracking with features that include upload and attach receipts, separate non-billable and non-reimbursable, and preparation of expense reports.
As of the time of this article, there are three types of invoices:
- Manual invoice – does not clear work-in-progress.
- Milestone invoice – bill an amount at a specific point in time
- Time & expense – bill the actual time and expenses
Invoices can be generated individually or in bulk. The invoicing dashboard shows you want is in WIP, Draft and Final that month. You can sort and easily select those clients who have the most WIP waiting to be billed. You can customize how the invoice should look including grouping, sorting and subtotals, and you can print or email invoices.
While BigTime does invoicing and you can mark an invoice as paid, payments are handled outside of BigTime.
BigTime integrates with QuickBooks Online and desktop, Bill.com and other systems. If synching with QuickBooks the invoice number can come from QuickBooks while still using the power and flexibility of BigTime invoicing.
Reporting is also flexible with on-the-fly modifications and export to excel and other reporting tools. This allows you to see the information you need to track your business.
If you use QuickBooks for your accounting but are looking for more power and flexibility in your billing, with some task management to make sure the right work gets done, BigTime is well worth the look.