Professional service firm owners often spend a lot of time concerned about cash flow, minimizing tax liabilities, and maximizing revenue per partner. Keeping a tight rein on these areas requires managing billing, payments, payroll costs, and other accounting functions.
QuickBooks Enterprise for Professional Services offers several features that help large professional service businesses manage clients and monitor business performance.
Let’s look at its detailed feature list:
1. Accurate Project Costing
For many professional service firms, accurate project costing is essential. It helps managers decide if a project is worth bidding on, price projects appropriately, and secure funding when necessary. Companies that fail to do this soon find themselves struggling to manage resources and stay within budget.
QuickBooks Enterprise for Professional Service includes project-costing features designed specifically for professional service firms. These tools help firms track budget to actual costs in real-time and capture every cost, ensuring project managers can respond quickly to scope issues and cost overruns. This also helps estimators learn what works and what doesn’t, so their budgeting and estimating skills improve continuously.
QuickBooks Enterprise’s Job Costing Center provides users with an overview of the business, summarizing crucial information on one convenient dashboard. It also allows users to drill down into each project’s details if a more hands-on approach is needed.
2. Integrated Time Tracking
Tracking billable time is the cornerstone of revenue for many professional service firms. It allows the business to account for employee hours, bill clients accurately and on-time, and better manage talent resources.
Professional services firms that use spreadsheets or timecards to track billable hours often find out that many hours fall through the cracks. In fact, according to one survey of over 500 people working in the professional services sector, over one-third of respondents don’t track time writing emails, and one-fifth don’t track time in meetings. Failing to capture time spent on these two tasks alone results in the average firm losing nearly $85,000 per year.
The Diamond-level subscribers of QuickBooks Enterprise for Professional Service can add-on QuickBooks Time Elite to ensure those valuable hours aren’t lost. This powerful time-tracking tool allows employees to keep track of every minute spent on client work on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop – whether they’re answering emails from home or meeting at a client’s office. That time can be easily imported into QuickBooks to reduce errors and time spent on manual entry.
3. Flexible Payroll Options
Professional services firms often have unique payroll needs. Keeping track of different pay structures and rates, benefit deductions, paid time-off, and federal/state payroll taxes and regulations can be frustrating and time-consuming.
All QuickBooks Enterprise for Professional Service subscriptions include QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll, which lets users create unlimited paychecks, take advantage of direct deposit, remit withholdings, file payroll tax returns, and prepare W-2s.
If you prefer to turn over more of your payroll responsibilities to QuickBooks professionals, you can add on QuickBooks Assisted Payroll. This lets one of their professionals handle tax payments and filings, so you never have to worry about them again.
4. Customizable Reporting
It’s impossible to stay on top of your business’s performance without real-time, accurate numbers. Whether you’re new to the professional services industry or have decades of experience in the field, reports and key performance indicators can help you monitor progress, benchmark your business against other firms, and look for areas of improvement.
QuickBooks Enterprise for Professional Service includes several reports that are geared to service-based businesses, including:
- Billed and Unbilled Hours by Person or Project allows you to see how long your employees have spent on projects and ensure every billable hour is captured on client invoices.
- Cost to Complete, which shows each project’s percentage and costs to complete, allowing you to avoid or reduce cost overruns
- Costs by Project to see what you’ve spent to date on each project
- Expenses Not Assigned to Projects for viewing expenses that aren’t currently assigned to projects, so you can ensure project costs don’t escape your notice.
- Open Balances by Customer or Project, so you always know how much clients owe and can follow up on invoices when necessary.
- Project Costs Detail to ensure your accounting for all costs of client projects.
- Project Status gives you an overview of all your firm’s projects and whether they’re on track for on-time completion.
In addition, QuickBooks Enterprise includes Advanced Reporting, which allows you to create and customize reports to get the insights you need to manage your business.
5. Personalized Data Level Permission
When multiple people have access to your QuickBooks Enterprise company file, it’s crucial to control how different groups or individuals access and interact with the data. After all, you don’t want sensitive information available to anyone that needs to track billable hours or submit an expense report.
Establishing data level permissions allows you to keep your data, your client’s data, and your employee’s personal information private.
QuickBooks Enterprise for Professional Service Platinum and Diamond editions can handle anywhere from one to 40 users. It allows you to customize permissions so certain roles have access to only the data they need.
There are several preset user types, and you can customize each role, adding and taking away permission to view, edit, print, or delete only certain vendors, employees, and related transactions. For example, you can limit access for salespeople to only view and edit sales orders, receipts, sales reports, and estimates for specific customers.
It allows you to get granular control over 115 different activities, gives you an unprecedented level of power, and versatility in your accounting data security.
6. Branded Invoiced, Receipts & Estimates
Estimates, invoices, and receipts are important documents for your professional service firm. They help you get paid for the work you do and boost your brand every time a client sees them.
While you can always use the generic forms provided by your accounting software package, QuickBooks Enterprise allows users to customize their invoice templates, payment receipts, and estimates. This includes changing the layout, adding a custom logo, and changing the font and color scheme.
You can also customize the document footer to include a favorite quote, slogan, or appreciative message for clients. Of course, customizing your client-facing communications isn’t just nice to have. It can also ensure your clients get all of the information they need to make a decision or pay your invoices. You can customize your forms to include invoice terms, service dates, deposits, discounts, payment options, and other information, depending on your clients’ needs.
7. Simple Receipt Management
Every business needs to keep good records, and these often include hundreds of print and digital receipts. Without a good system for capturing and storing these receipts, your company can avoid passing costs through to clients or claiming valuable tax deductions.
The problem is, many companies rely on paper or spreadsheet-based methods for tracking receipts. These methods are time-consuming, prone to error, and lack built-in internal controls.
QuickBooks Enterprise for Professional Service allows employees to capture receipts using their mobile devices and assign expenses to projects when needed. You can even categorize, edit, and record multiple expenses at once and review each receipt via email or within QuickBooks Enterprise.
This process ensures that all expenses recorded in your company’s general ledger are accurate and all tax deductions are accounted for. It also ensures you maintain every receipt, so they’re easy to retrieve if you need them to dispute a charge or support tax filing.
8. Powerful Cash Flow Management
Positive cash flow is a must for a successful professional service firm. Without cash, your company will have trouble paying employees and vendors and meeting working capital requirements.
Yet companies can face several challenges to maintaining a healthy cash flow, including:
- Billing errors or delays that result in a lag between the work being done and your company collecting revenue
- Invoices that lack the necessary details to ensure prompt client approval and payment
- Lack of attention paid to creeping expenses that send revenues right back out the door
- Failure to perform cash flow projections that take into account seasonal fluctuations
- Slow paying clients and no process for following up on past-due invoices
QuickBooks Enterprise for Professional Service includes several features designed to help firms stay on top of cash flow.
Its robust report center includes a Statement of Cash Flows report that helps gauge the cash coming in and going out of the business. Managers and partners can also use its cash flow projector tools to understand the impact of revenue forecasts and investment decisions over the next six weeks. This gives them time to throttle down expenses, make a push for collections, or tap a line of credit if additional cash is needed in the short term.
QuickBooks Enterprise for Professional Service firms also assists companies with cash flow by:
- Providing reports like a Company Snapshot to see which service lines generate the most client interest so that you can focus on your top-selling services. This report can also show the company’s top expenses, which can be used to make spending reduction decisions.
- Setting up automated payment reminders to nudge clients with upcoming or past-due invoices
- Using the bill tracker to identify upcoming bills
These powerful features can have a dramatic impact on cash flow. When cash flow is strong, you’ll be better able to take advantage of opportunities that will generate more revenue.
QuickBooks Enterprise can benefit your professional services business with a number of features that will help you manage your clients and remain profitable. If you’re already using QuickBooks for your business, try hosting it on the cloud to enjoy its benefits anytime, anyplace.
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