Top 5 Reasons To Track Time as You Work
If you’re a creative agency, development shop or any other business that bills clients by the hour, you know how critical accurate employee time tracking is to your bottom line. A Web search for “time tracking app” or “online timesheet” reveals no shortage of options. But while any time tracking system is better than none, there are some distinct advantages to choosing a tool that captures data in real time, as your employees are working.
Here are five compelling reasons to ditch your timesheets or calendar-based tracking system in favor of a real-time billable hours tracking tool.
#1: Save Time
Your time tracking system should save time, not waste it. But unless your employees have access to a quick and simple tool, they’re likely to wait until the end of the day – or even the end of the week – to record their hours into their timesheets. This means entering time twice, first on a scrap of paper, then into the system. With a real-time hours capture tool, employees record everything as it happens. Double-entry is eliminated and more time can be spent on billable work rather than tracking time.
#2: Improve Accuracy
Your time tracking data is only as valuable as it is accurate, but a timesheet system that encourages employees to enter their hours after the fact isn’t just inefficient, it’s also error-prone. Eliminating the need for employees to reconstruct what they did with their time after it happens provides you with far more precise and accurate data. Better data enables you to make smarter, more informed business decisions and to ensure that your clients receive error-free invoices.
#3: Speed Up Invoicing and Payroll
When it’s time to create invoices and run payroll, you shouldn’t have to remind your employees to complete neglected timesheets. Tracking work as it happens means you can run your invoices when you’re ready, without hounding your employees for the information you need.
#4: Allocate Resources More Effectively
If, like many small businesses, you’re juggling a hefty project load and limited resources, the ability to identify available time and assign work accordingly is critical. Out-of-date timekeeping data won’t help you allocate this week’s hours. In order to be effective, a project manager needs to know:
- What is each of my employees working on?
- Whose workloads are light and who’s spread too thin?
- Where can I re-assign tasks in order to get the work done more quickly and ensure that hours are shared equitably among my employees?
By tracking your team’s hours in real time, you have access to the up-to-the-minute information you need to adjust workloads in order to maximize your team’s output.
#5: Better Serve Your Clients
If your clients pay by the hour, they count on you to closely monitor their budgets and identify problems before they become unexpected expenses. Unless your employees are entering their hours as they work, any updates you give your clients won’t be much more than educated guesses.
At any time, you should be able to answer questions like:
- How close are we to our monthly spend?
- How do actual hours worked stack up against our estimate?
- Where is all the time going on this project?
A real-time hours tracking system allows you to provide your clients with the detailed, up-to-date answers they need when they need them. This builds trust, which, in turn, builds customer loyalty – something that’s critical to the long-term success of your business.