Tracking time is considered a tedious job by many. But it’s an important one. As a matter of fact, it’s a lot more important than most people realize, and not just for the reasons you think it is.
Knowing how many hours each person spends on a task (whether or not it is billable) is the magical tool to determine if the dollar figure at the end of your project will look green or red. It lets you know if you’re on track with budgets and deadlines and if your team is working at a healthy rate.
But let’s just break that all down.
- Probably the most obvious reason for tracking time is to know exactly how much you should bill your client for the work you did for them. You can’t just guess, you need to know. After all, underestimating the amount of billable time you spend on a project would damage your business, overestimating might not go down well with the client. Some project management tools like ProWorkflow transfer the billable time you entered automatically in the Invoice and the Detailed Project Report that is sent to the client.
- But it’s just as important to know how much time your team spends on non-billable activities. Tracking non-billable time is not important for your client’s invoice. It is on the other hand important for you to know the exact cost of a project. Assuming that the project cost only equals the billable hours will send your business sinking pretty fast. Paying staff costs money to your business, whether or not you can bill for it. It’s about making sure your projects are profitable and the only way to do that is to have an exact idea of how much a project is costing you and whether that figure is smaller than what the invoice the client receives.
- No two projects are the same, but most companies have similarities between the current project and other projects they have dealt with in the past. Knowing the exact cost of a previous project will help you provide a more accurate estimate for quoting the next one. It takes the guesswork out of the quote. This includes getting a good idea how much time your team will spend on the project. As a business, it makes you a lot more competitive. This is also why it’s important to build a library of projects and to finish each project with a review on what went well and what needs fine-tuning.
- We have touched on it before, but tracking time not only helps you on a financial level. It’s also important information about how you manage your team. It’s an X-ray image on how your team is working. It’ll tell you very fast if certain team members are overloaded with work and it allows you to intervene before they burn out.
- And last but not least, tracking time and the information it provides will help you improve team performance. How many hours do you really spend on emails, in meetings? The result of tracking time is often a surprise for many businesses and teams. It highlights inefficiencies, but the good news is that once you have that insight, you can also do something about it.
In reality, tracking time is a window into your business. It’s invaluable information that allows you to run your business more efficiently. And once teams get into the habit of tracking time, they often find that it’s actually pretty painless.
At ProWorkflow we have allowed for a variety of ways to track time, so people can work with the tracking tool that works best for them. This ranges from a built-in timer with start/stop, a manual time entry or a drag-and-drop timesheet entry. We also have a handy time tracking widget available.
Our free trial is the perfect way to try out the flexible ways in which you can track time in ProWorkflow.