The Importance of Consultant Time Tracking Software
“Our employees hate entering their time. We need a better time tracking app.” We hear it every day from professional services managers and executives looking for a PSA time tracking tool to get their consultants to record their billable hours. Time entry and time tracking are a real problem. Untracked or poorly tracked time leads to billing errors, over and under estimation of utilization, and revenue leakage, not to mention throwing project timelines off course and creating hassles for managers.
These same services professionals we talk to will often go on to talk about other problems they face: employee attrition, lack of clarity around project deliverables, utilization over/under target and wildly varying project profitability. And no wonder, when hours worked aren’t entered consistently and on-time, every aspect of project tracking is thrown off, revenue gets underbilled and staffing and capacity planning is impossible.
How consultants and others track their time is important. And your employees likely know their billable hours turn into money for the business, and that every hour counts. Time keeps the lights on, time keeps the bills paid, time pays their salaries. So why would smart, committed, team players NOT want to bill their time? It makes no sense!
The Challenge: A Consultant Time Tracking Tool That Works for Everyone in the Organization.
Finding the best time tracking software for consultants, engineering teams and others looking for better timekeeping is challenging. There’s a proliferation of time tracking tools and apps that aim to solve for time entry and time recording. Some try to foster engagement with games, some integrate with PM tools or have a meeting time tracker, some integrate with project collaboration tools. All may work well for employees, or work great for accounting or project managers, but very few get to the level of full adoption by the entire organization.
Here’s 3 Ways to Get Everyone Recording Time, Without Wasting Anyone’s Time.
1. Make time entry mean more than dollar signs
In and out of work, time is now the most precious resource we have as people and work increasingly demands that time. In one study, nearly 70% of those employees doing remote work due to the pandemic reported working on weekends, given even less time to out of work activity. Making the time people do work for your company, and the great ideas and skills they bring to work, meaningful is key.
Give them visibility into hours tracking on projects, projected expected billable hours, and expectations for billable utilization. Create a culture where team members understand that managers care about their hours worked, and don’t want them to over work or burn out. Use hours tracking and utilization measurement to ensure employees make time for training and PTO.
2. Give employees the respect they deserve
A lot of time tracking for consultants will use automated time entry that keys off of artificial measures like emails created or meeting duration. Some apps use automatic time tracking, or gps tracking. There’s even some time tracking tools that gamify time entry to foster engagement. But using work hours spent on a website to automate time entry can ring hollow for consultants who are very aware of how they work and what that work is worth to customers.
To my earlier point, if you’re using this data to make real business decisions like when to hire and how to staff projects, your employees deserve to be treated like the adults they are. Let your consultants log their time themselves. Save the games for the company picnic.
3. The very best consulting software gets out of the way
Your billable resources are on the job to do the job, how consultants keep track of their time should never slow them down. Make time entry easy, frictionless, and how and where your employees are already working. Allow time entries via mobile app. If teams are using project management tools, they should be able to enter time through those same tools. The best PSA time tracking will do this. We’ve recently integrated our time entry with Slack, where many of our customers are working every day. Move time tracking from a hurdle or a stop in the day to an easy and lightweight task.You
How Integrated Time Tracking Systems Work
Of course, we’re biased and think the best time tracking tool is an integrated one, like a PSA with time entry to balance all the competing priorities in your organization. Projector’s PSA software billable resources have views into upcoming projects, time submitted, how utilized they’ve been and are planned to be, and access to seamless time and expense submission. Project managers see the importance of time tracking on project as their teams’ time entries turn into profitability reports, budget tracking and project and task completion.
Revenue recognition is made easier, as is invoicing and details like time write downs or missing time are easily tracked and reported. That’s just part of what a PSA tool does incredibly well. A top PSA tool will help professional services organizations of all types by providing visibility, accountability and ease of use to everyone in the organization. Our customers would agree, and it shows in lower voluntary turnover of staff, high satisfaction rates with their PSA and higher billable revenue by consultant according to the most recent SPI data.
But this integrated approach to more effective time entry doesn’t require a PSA system, PSA just makes it much easier. At the end of the day, the right and scalable approach to time tracking is one where employees know their value, enter time to reflect that, and are rewarded and reinforced by management for their hours. Projector’s CEO, Denis Whelan, says it like this “Vegetables, tracking time is like eating vegetables. Not everyone likes vegetables, but everyone agrees they’re good for you.” And good for your business, as well.
Want to read more about how the right time tracking tool can change your organization from top to bottom? Read about measuring and managing billable utilization.
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