Employees loathe them. Managers detest chasing down employees to turn them in. And owners? Well, as long as the work gets done and the bills get paid, who cares?
There’s a universal dislike of timesheets. Many firms are eschewing them completely. Yet, many successful business owners understand the valuable information timesheets contain, and do their best to get their employees on-board with a positive attitude surrounding what has been a traditionally sore subject among employees and managers.
Here are five reasons why, in some form, your firm should still make timesheets one of your best friends:
1. Time is What You Sell
A heated argument has cropped up the past few years – should professional services firms bill clients by the hour or by the project? There are merits to utilizing both strategies. Regardless which approach your firm uses, there’s one theme common with both strategies: Time!
Before any money flows in to your bank account, you have to sell your time. If time is your firm’s most valuable resource, shouldn’t you do everything you can to track how it’s used and where it goes? Firm owners can disagree on how best to track time, but there’s really no argument that time should be recorded in one form or another. You have to know where it’s going.
2. You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure
The largest expense on your income statement is your employee’s labor. If you could do something to improve this expense, wouldn’t you do it? You can’t figure out what needs tweaking, however, unless you and your employees are committed to tracking – in detail – how time is spent.
3. Discover Workload Inefficiencies
Timesheets can show when your current staff is working overtime. Maybe it’s time to hire another employee? Or, perhaps half your staff is working overtime while the other half is wandering around the office looking for work to do. Timesheets can help you re-allocate work from one employee to another.
4. Timesheets Tell You if a Project or Client is Profitable
Do you know which type of project is your firm’s most profitable? Do you know which clients are your most profitable clients? Timesheets play a critical role in answering these questions. For professional services firms, it’s vital to keep an eye out for scope creep during an engagement. If a blown budget is caused by the client, your firm may want to request a change order from the client if you wish to continue working with them.
Detailed timesheets can also alert you to inefficiencies with your staff. Maybe one employee needs more training in a specific area, or another employee has a tough time dealing with a particular part of a project. Timesheets can clue you in to where you need to concentrate training resources.
5. It’s Easier than Ever to Keep Track of Time
You have no excuse to not keep track of time. Today’s choices of industry-specific software make it simple for employees to enter detailed information into a database. For firms whose employees work frequently away from the office, find a solution that can be accessed anytime, anywhere with an Internet connection, including mobile devices. Ask around at your next industry conference about which software packages are most popular with your peers.
BQE Software offers intelligent project management and billing solutions for professional services industry that are designed to help increase performance and productivity through streamlined processes and integration. Check out Core for more information.