Everyone knows time tracking in concept. If your company bills its services as a function of time worked, you are filling in timesheet at least once a week. Missing and late timesheets are a serious problem for professional service companies as they equate to lesser or deferred revenues. This hurts most in a business.
How to avoid late timesheet submissions?
Usually hourly billing employees tend to be the highly-skilled ones. Such people are not characterised with high-tolerance for being told when and how to do things. Have you tried to threaten with remuneration penalties or withhold paychecks from attorneys or programmers? Good luck with that!
Well, yes, you can try and offer rewards for filling in and submitting timesheets on time but frankly there are more important deliverables in a business setup to incentivise.
One thing is 100% valid though – make timesheets as quick and painless to fill in as possible, and you have won this battle.
When you pick such software pay special attention to the following list of features and you cannot go wrong:
1. Access anywhere, any time
Many hourly billing workers such as accountants, consultants and lawyers tend to work with clients and respectively spend a lot of their time commuting and away from the office. This makes installable software a liability. SaaS time and billing programs do not have this problem. Your employees can access their timesheet at any point in time as long as there is Internet connection. Many actually opt-in to do this while on the way home or to a zoloftanxiety client in order to save time.
2. Desktop, tablet, smartphone support
On the one hand, if your consultants are hitting the road regularly it is easy to imagine that they would prefer to do timesheets on their smartphone or tablet. On the other hand, desktop still offers best user experience for more advanced system related tasks. Supporting all these devices is making time tracking more comfortable based on the use case and serious software providers have largely addressed this need.
3. Automated notifications
We are all super busy with our daily tasks. A team of consultants is not any different and a good time tracking system should sent reminders on due submissions and late entries. One additional goodie is sending reminders for timesheet that also needs approval fro ma supervisor as they can also turn to become a bottleneck in the time tracking and billing process afterwards.
4. Time clock tool
Value added services are usually billed at rates in the hundreds of euros, dollars etc. Clients often request to have time measured up to the minute and companies also do this for internal purposes in order to evaluate performance. Having an integrated software timer is a good solution to trigger tracking in real-time. It is a small but powerful addition that saves valuable minutes to re-enter time for call center employees.
5. Integration with Payroll, HR, ERP and Project Management systems
Modern companies allow their teams to select themselves which software to use in order to get their work done. In global businesses this means that you can have several payroll, CRM and project tracking suites used in parallel. Copying (thus duplicating) projects, tasks, employee data between systems is a real time killer and major source of employee frustration. Integrations are taken very seriously by good time tracking apps and a good way to get to your short list. Feel free to check this extensive list of possible integrations.
6. Hassle-free reporting
You have just eliminated all paper forms with your brand new timesheet software. Now you want to get exports of the times or extract KPI reports. Many time tracking apps hick up on that stage. Providing powerful reports engine is quite rare and a valuable source of information for a business. Many providers revert to a handful list of templates but this seems to solve half of the problem as companies need different type of reports per country or department. Watch out for good reporting module!
7. User friendly interface
However simple it may seem, a time tracking application can easily get clutter with the addition of functionality such as supervisors, approvals, project hierarchies, calendars etc. Cluttered and unintuitive interfaces can become so frustrating that employees may even sabotage timesheet submissions. When evaluating such software always ask yourself if you can freely navigate and do the task you have in mind without reading a help file or calling the support.
Timesheet software accumulates data about your submission delays, approval lateness, vacation and absences distribution. All this data is pretty useful to understand the distribution of time and respectively do better cashflow planning as well as detect which employees cause most delays. It could often be that a particular team is always late and this can be then attributed to the project leader being too lax.
9. Usability tricks
When employees work on a project they often submit entries of repetitive nature. Detecting this and prefiling data for them makes the submission a 1 minute task a week. Or you can go the full length and enable cloning of records. This can include client, project, activity code, even times and comments.
10. Voice recognition
It may seem like coming from sci-fi movie but some vendors already offer voice-to-text capability. A simple use case is dictating your time entries on your smartphone on a commuter train to your home.
If you would like to see many of these features in action feel free to subscribe for our demo at Cronforce.com.
The Cronforce.com Team