If you bill your clients by the hour, you know how critical accurate employee time-tracking data is to your payroll and invoicing processes. If you’re still relying on spreadsheets or paper-based timekeeping methods, you’re missing an opportunity to cut costs, better serve your clients and boost your team’s efficiency.
A good time-tracking tool can help you streamline your payroll and invoicing processes, more closely monitor your clients’ budgets, and stay on top of overtime and under-utilization. This is particularly true if your team works remotely. Here are just a few tips for choosing a time-tracking application for your small to mid-sized business.
As a small business owner, you’re carefully watching your bottom line. While there is no shortage of time-tracking apps on the Web, be careful not to overspend (i.e., invest in functionality you don’t need). For instance, if you’ve been in business for a while, you likely have an invoicing process you’re happy with. Some time-tracking apps double as invoicing tools, but offer little flexibility in terms of format and content. Instead, opt for a tool that allows you to produce custom reports you can seamlessly import into your existing accounting system.
Although a free app – and there are quite a few out there – may seem like the obvious choice, be sure to look closely before you leap. Free accounts often come with limited functionality, requiring you to upgrade to a paid account before you can, say, add more than a few projects or produce reports. Choose an affordable, full-featured tool that meets your needs without overcomplicating your accounting processes.
Get Real-time Data
Still asking your employees to fill out time sheets at the end of the week? Yes, assuming that your employees diligently watch the clock, time sheets can be useful tools; but there are some very compelling reasons to go with a timer-based solution, not the least of which is accuracy. Because they rely on employees to re-create the work they’ve done from memory, time sheets are inherently error-prone. By using timers to track your team’s hours in real time, you eliminate the potential for human error and ensure a single point of data entry.
Up-to-the-minute timekeeping data also allows you to better serve your customers. You’ll be better able to watch for budget creep and more prepared to answer clients’ questions on the fly.
Keep It Simple
Your timekeeping tool should make it easier, not harder, to run your business. Keep things simple for your IT team by opting for a web-based solution rather than software you’ll need to install and maintain. Likewise, choose a tool that is quick, simple and intuitive to use. The faster your team members adapt to your new technology, the sooner you’ll begin reaping the rewards.