Balancing books: 8 best time and billing software for accountants

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Your accountants and CPAs have better things to do than fiddling around with invoices and calculating billable hours.

…But you also need to get paid.

Is spending hours on billing and payroll just a necessary evil in the accounting field? Or is there a better way?

Time and billing software promises to solve this problem, introducing automation and real-time tracking to your accounting and billing workflows. With the right time and billing solution, you’ll see employee productivity and profitability both heading in the right direction.

Below, we’ll show you why accountants and accounting firms need time tracking and billing tools. Then, we’ll review eight of the best options, with key features, costs of paid plans, and functionality that matters most to professional services firms like yours.

Why do accountants need time and billing software? 

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Without a software solution for time and billing, accountants and accounting firms can quickly hit one or more roadblocks: analysis paralysis, too much time lost on manual work, employee burnout, and a lack of scalability are all potential costs of sticking to manual processes for timekeeping and billing.

Thankfully, there’s no reason you or your firm need to encounter these roadblocks. Time and billing software is the solution to the challenges that exist around timekeeping and client billing, delivering results like these.

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Efficient time management

Time and billing software reduces time spent and manual effort needed to log and calculate billable client hours. Spending less time calculating time and manually processing bills is already an improvement to your time management, but the benefits of using software go deeper. 

With effective time-tracking software in place, you’ll get a better sense of where your time is going (or where your team is spending its time). And with this better visibility, you can engage in more effective workload management, using people’s time to the fullest without overloading one resource or assigning work that’s waiting on other work to be done.

Accuracy and transparency

Science shows that we’re really, really bad at predicting how much time something will take, and experience tells us that most people aren’t good at estimating how much time they spent on something after the fact, either.

Software helps us fix both sides of this problem, adding both accuracy and transparency to the timekeeping and billing process.

If you bill by the hour, chances are you have to build trust with your clients. If a bill ends up surprising a customer, it’s helpful to be able to show them your time logs. That way, there’s much less mystery or debate over whether you’re working the time you claim.

Streamlined billing

Using software for these elements also streamlines your billing process and reduces the risk of introducing errors. Humans make mistakes, especially on repetitive detail-oriented tasks. If you can automate aspects of your billing, you eliminate opportunities for people to make those mistakes.

You also save time generating invoices, which feeds back into that efficient time management we were talking about.

Improved profitability forecasting

Understanding how time is being spent within your firm is a key element of profitability forecasting. To know what to charge, you need to know with as much certainty as possible the number of hours you’ll be able to bill for. 

Better resource management helps you shore up these calculations, improving the accuracy of your profitability forecasts. Many such software tools also help you understand which of your service offerings earn your firm the most money.

Our top 8 choices for time and billing software for accountants

These are the eight best options for time and billing software for accountants. We’ll review each below, covering features and benefits, product overview, cost, the ideal size and type of business, and whether there’s a free trial available.


Blog post image is a cloud-based suite of tools that includes a powerful yet simple time tracker, along with invoicing and variable billing and cost rates. With you can set rates for each team member or project so you can be sure you’re accurately charging clients for the work you’ve done.

Because is built on a cloud-based project management core, everything you do — including time tracking and billing — ties back to a robust project-based system. Track time by project, task, or subtask, then use custom fields and tags to further refine your tracking.

What’s more, was built with accounting features like client work and billable hours in mind. With other project management tools, this way of working feels shoehorned in at best. With, it feels natural — because it is. This makes ideal for businesses of any size, especially those that deal with client work and billable hours.

With a massive library of templates, makes it easy to generate just about any kind of KPI report you can envision, making it easy to track profitability, project health, and a host of other metrics. offers a free version for up to five users, and pricing plans range from $9.99 to $19.99 per user per month (billed annually). There’s also a free trial available (no credit card required).

2. QuickBooks Time

QuickBooks Time is a standalone product available from Intuit QuickBooks that provides timekeeping features that work the way you need them to: online, at a dedicated time kiosk, and via mobile app. 

It’s geared toward small businesses in just about any sector, especially those with a mobile workforce. That said, there’s no reason QuickBooks Time wouldn’t work in an accounting firm.

Features include a simple timesheet, mobile time tracking, the ability to see who’s working (and on what) from a dashboard, customizable reports,  and integrations with popular accounting and payroll systems.

QuickBooks Time Premium costs $20 per month. Additional admins are each $8 more. QuickBooks Time Elite bumps the base cost to $40 per month and the additional admin charge to $10. If you’re not sure you want to commit, there’s also a 30-day free trial.

Best of all, if you’re already paying for QuickBooks Online Payroll (Premium or Elite), QuickBooks Time is included at no additional cost.

3. FreshBooks

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FreshBooks is an intriguing option if you’re looking for an accounting software solution that works both ways: as a tool for your firm and one for your clients’ businesses. 

Built around the concept of Collaborative Accounting, FreshBooks brings you and your clients together using an intuitive client portal that works well for them and for you.

FreshBooks is also an effective time tracker, with multiple modes including manual timers, time tracking from apps like and Asana, and even using a Chrome extension.

Invoicing and payments are a breeze as well, making it easier than ever to request payment and get paid.

There’s a lot more here besides billing and time tracking, which is reflected in the monthly cost. Accounting, taxes, bookkeeping, client communications, payment processing, and even lightweight project management are all here.

There’s a 30-day free trial, and the Plus and Premium plans are $33 and $60 per month, respectively. Additional Team Members are $11 per month apiece. 

FreshBooks doesn’t hide that it’s targeting the small business market, so there are questions on scalability if you work at a large firm. But for the typical small or independent accounting office, it’s definitely worth a look.

4. Xero

Xero is a very popular accounting software solution that seeks to provide an all-in-one accounting solution. Because it handles more than just time and billing, the price is higher ($15, $42, or $78 per month). But if Xero meets your all-around needs, that price might sound like a bargain.

Within Xero is a job tracking module, which includes a timer for recording time spent. There’s also a location-based job tracker in the Xero mobile app. Project accounting is automatically integrated with Xero, saving you headaches when it comes time to bill.

Xero probably won’t make sense if all you need is standalone billing and timekeeping software. Measured by those capabilities alone, it’s too expensive and a bit light on features. But in the context of everything else included with Xero, these capabilities may be enough if you’re using Xero already (or are considering switching everything over).

Xero offers a 30-day free trial, after which you’ll pay monthly for one of the three service tiers.

5. Harvest

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Harvest is a time-tracking platform that’s loved by solopreneurs and small businesses. It has a lot of attractive features, including the ability to set up billable time tracking (with multiple billable rates depending on the task or service type).

Harvest handles time tracking, invoicing, and reporting, and it provides visual dashboards for reporting and analytics.

Harvest can work well in accounting, but it’s an especially good fit for businesses that are selling in-person or online, thanks to a quality Stripe integration and a consumer-friendly interface.

Harvest is an “after the fact” time tracker, which means you’re subject to the memories and honesty of workers.

If you’re an independent accountant or you work at a small firm, Harvest could be worth a look. But it’s not likely going to be the right choice for firms with upward of 20 employees.

Harvest offers a free forever plan that’s limited to one seat and two projects. Accountants and firms will need Harvest Pro, which removes number limits. That product costs $10.80/seat/month when you pay annually.

6. TimeSolv

Most well-known in the legal field, TimeSolv is a billing and time-tracking solution that’s breaking out into other professional sectors.

TimeSolv makes it simple to track time in multiple ways (including offline). You can easily customize invoices and handle client payment, and there are dashboards galore for visualizing efficiency, profitability, productivity, and more.

The time tracking features here roughly match all the rest, with a few interesting additions: There’s an analytics tab for tracking important KPIs, the ability to set limits on hours billed (so you can keep on budget), custom abbreviations, and multiple timers.

TimeSolv isn’t the most user-friendly entry on this list. Some of the features that make it so great in an attorney’s office may be useful in your accounting firm, but there’s a definite trade-off in terms of user interface or ease of use. For that reason (and for the pricing structure in use), we see TimeSolv as a better fit for firms with more than 20 employees.

TimeSolv Pro costs $29.95 per month per user, with per-user prices dropping the more users you have. A free trial (with one-on-one training included) is available.  

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7. Bill4Time

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Bill4Time is another solution aimed at the law profession, which means accountants will likely find it useful for all the same reasons as the previous option in our list. In industries where precise time tracking matters because it ties directly to billing, you need a tool that’s built with that connection in mind.

Features here include time tracking, expense tracking, billing and invoicing, and online payments. There’s also a variety of management features, including client management, task management, and accounting.

Document management and a contact management system that could be used as a barebones customer relationship management (CRM) system round out the picture as well.

Bill4Time offers a 14-day free trial, after which you’ll need their cheapest Time & Billing plan, which is $29 per user per month.

8. Toggl

If you’re looking for a time tracker that keeps it simple and doesn’t offer a grab bag of extra capabilities, Toggl might be it. Calling itself “frictionless time tracking software for teams,” Toggl empowers teams to track billable hours across multiple projects and from multiple devices.

Visual reports help everyone see where the time is going, both as a team and on the individual level.

All the time you’re tracking can be captured and exported into time reports, bills, invoices, and payroll. And Toggl integrates seamlessly with nearly anything else you’d use in your tech stack.

One refreshing feature is a required fields option, which allows administrators to require specific fields to be filled in before they can save a time entry. No more time entries that are missing the project, client, task, or whatever other identifier you use.

Toggl has a free plan for up to five users, plus a 30-day free trial of Premium. If you need more features (or users), there’s a $10 per-user-per-month Starter plan and a $20 per-user-per-month Premium plan, which adds fixed fee projects, timesheet approvals, team reminders, project forecasts, and more.

Streamline billing and time tracking and boost profitability with

If you’re looking for the best time and billing software for accounting, should be at the top of your list. Not only does it provide robust time tracking and billing capabilities, but it also delivers a full-fledged project management experience — at roughly the same cost as some standalone time trackers!

By combining better project tracking with intuitive time tracking and billing functionality designed for billable hours, simply delivers a better experience and value for accounting firms.

See more of what can do for your business now - get started now for free, view our comprehensive pricing plans, or book a demo today.

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