Billable Hours

What Are Billable Hours?

Billable Hours refer to the amount of time spent on tasks or projects that can be charged to a client according to a predetermined rate. Common in service-based industries like law, consulting, and accounting, billable hours are a crucial metric for determining revenue and assessing employee productivity.

Key Features of Billable Hours

  • Client Billing: Directly correlates to the amount invoiced to clients for services rendered.
  • Time Tracking: Requires meticulous tracking of hours worked on client-related activities.
  • Rate Determination: Involves setting hourly rates based on the service value, expertise level, and market standards.
  • Productivity Measure: Acts as a measure of employee and firm productivity, influencing profitability.

How Do Billable Hours Work?

  1. Tracking Time: Employees log the time spent on different client projects throughout the workday.
  2. Review and Approval: Time logs are reviewed and approved by supervisors to ensure accuracy and compliance with billing policies.
  3. Invoicing: Total billable hours are multiplied by the agreed hourly rate to calculate the amount billed to the client.
  4. Reporting: Billable hours are analyzed for insights into employee utilization, project profitability, and operational efficiency.

Best Practices for Managing Billable Hours

  • Accurate Time Tracking: Use reliable time tracking tools to ensure accurate and effortless logging of billable hours.
  • Clear Guidelines: Provide clear guidelines on what constitutes billable vs. non-billable time.
  • Regular Training: Offer training to ensure employees understand the importance of accurately tracking their time.
  • Client Transparency: Maintain transparency with clients about billing practices to build trust and avoid disputes.


By tracking the time spent on client-specific tasks and projects, then multiplying these hours by the agreed-upon hourly rate.

Falling short of billable hours targets can affect performance evaluations, bonuses, and potentially job security, depending on the firm's policies.

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