Timetracking and invoicing properly can be a lot easier than you think, and happens to be beneficial to everyone involved. This blog will tell you everything you need to know.
When time is money, the benefits of time tracking become self-evident. Still, it remains a delicate topic in the professional service industry: research has shown that time tracking is often postponed until the very last moment, and then just manually completed based on e-mails and memory. Needless to say, this doesn't help to ensure its veracity.
The facts and figures
Only 18% of all interviewees (lawyers, accountants and consultants) tracks their hours once a day. 40% claims to do so twice a week, and 22% only once or twice a month.
The results are baffling: no more than 4 out of 10 survey participants believes that they correctly keep track of 90 to 100% of their hours spent working for a client. The other 60% records a loss of at least 10 to even 30% of invoiceable hours.
Original source: research by TIQ and London Business School
As consultants usually work for a limited amount of clients at the same time, the loss in their case amounts to "only" 15%. In a 40 hour workweek, this means that up to 4,32 hours per consultant are not tracked or invoiced.
So why exactly is time tracking not taken seriously? There are probably a couple of causes:
- The impact is not measured: there is a certain level of ignorance, causing people to underestimate the financial impact of poor time tracking on their organization.
- Administration is perceived as secondary work: consultants are paid for their professional expertise, not their talent in terms of administration.
- The methods are awkward: time tracking methods that are often outdated, and part of unwieldy ERP software packages are not helping anyone's case either.
- It's a matter of trust: if the benefits of time tracking are not clear to everyone, chances are it will be perceived as a glorified time clock. In other words, a control mechanism.
Time tracking is but one of the many challenges that consultants face. Read more about the other three in this blog!
4 Advantages of time tracking for consultants
Many SMEs and service companies benefit from tracking their time as precisely as possible. We've listed the advantages for consultants:
1. Valuable data on your business
Some time tracking tools indeed offer little more than a time clock. The best tools on the other hand, can track the hours worked per client, team, user or project, and convert these into clear statistics. In other words: everything you need to identify your main costs and improve your business processes.
2. Partial invoicing
A modern time tracking tool shows all tasks and milestones linked to a project that were already planned in, that need to be planned in or that have already been completed. Combined with an invoicing tool, sending partial invoices based on completed tasks or tracked time becomes easy as ABC. And what's more: automatic payment reminders urge your clients to pay their invoices sooner.
3. Transparency towards your client
Regardless of how you currently bill your clients, a precise time tracking method offers them that extra bit of transparency, thanks to detailed reports. Do you choose to work on projects at a fixed, competitive rate in order to retain your clients for longer periods of time? You can easily show them how many hours haven't been billed. Do you prefer billing down to the minute? No problem, since you can pinpoint exactly what you did and when. Could come in handy during contract negotiations.
4. Insight in project budgets
Simply guessing a project budget is a risky undertaking, because there's no way to set things straight afterwards. By calculating the cost of hours worked - at a fixed rate per hour, a variable rate per consultant or per task - you will know precisely how much of your budget has been spent at any time during the project. This allows you to track the evolution of your projects in real time, which in turn gives you time and space to adapt if necessary.
Time tracking and invoicing with Teamleader
Teamleader, the perfect online tool for SMEs, offers CRM with user-friendly time tracking, a handy project management tool and invoicing in one click, all in one interface.
There are four ways to track time in Teamleader:
- Based on time blocks in your planning
- Based on blank time sheets
- Start/stop time tracking using your browser
- Through the mobile app (manually or start/stop)
Time tracking and invoicing become child's play. Moreover, you'll gain insight into the costs and benefits of your projects and business processes, saving you both time and money in one go.