If a lack of visibility on how time is spent and managed is a problem for your business, then time tracking is simply the best way to curb this predicament. It makes employees or project teams more effective, companies more prolific and businesses more profitable.
On some days, project managers may precisely know what their employees are doing; however, on the more hectic days, this may not be possible. This is definitely the case with larger project teams. Time tracking is known to drive value from projects since project managers are aware precisely of what their teams are working on and establish if activities are aligned with the organization’s objectives.
Managers may be missing out on critical resource issues, which, if they were sufficiently informed about them with relevant, real-time insights, they would be in a better position to immediately mitigate. With that said, what are the exact reasons for time tracking?
By tracking time, organizations gain benefits that include:
1. Employee utilization and capacity
As organizations start growing, it’s obvious the number of workers swells simultaneously and this makes monitoring them very difficult. Remember, when it comes to setting your workers up for success, every minute they contribute to work matters. Time tracking offers an overview of workflow within the organization and the productivity of every worker.
Do you know the workload of your employees? Are some of them working 80 hours a week whereas the others are under-utilized? Thanks to the information gotten from a time tracking system, managers can identify their most over-utilized staff and help the situation either by bringing in other coworkers for support or hiring new employees. This boosts employees’ morale and certainly leads to more productivity.
2. Keep track and estimate the time being spent on projects
Time tracking helps managers keep a measure of the time being spent on specific projects, tasks or activities. Your company teams may be working on many different projects daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or a quarterly basis. Time tracking makes the job of managing each task a simple endeavor.
Time tracking additionally makes estimating for your next projects easier. As project managers analyze tracked time and prior actual allocations, they make more reliable estimates. By just reviewing the actual time they spent on earlier projects of a particular nature, they can approximate more accurately what time it will take to execute potential projects of similar nature.
Of course, in such a situation, several other factors come into play (skills of the individuals assigned to the task, technological changes which could take place between projects, etc); however, information about the hours spent on each project task will be vital in getting insights about future estimates.
3. Track your projects costs
The time spent by your team members on different tasks has a cost, determined by the hourly wages and overheads spent on the projects. Between the cost of raw materials, equipment, technology, and other project related outlays, organizations specifically struggle against the cost of labor. However, by tracking employee time, they can determine the under-performing projects and hidden cost centers, which would have otherwise remained under the radar. This makes tracking of the most dominant project cost –labor cost, easy.
4. Accurately bill clients and compute payroll
Time tracking helps create accurate invoices which can be conveniently sent to clients. This is particularly helpful for organizations which bill their customers on the time and material basis. For such business, time tracking ensures that they never wrongly charge their clients. Billing accuracy is important in maintaining long-term relationships with clients.
Time tracking not only helps with customer billing but it’s also handy in accurately computing payroll. The system generates timesheets which employers can use in their computations. Even if your team works in shifts, most of the time-tracking systems can handle payroll efficiently.
If your employees are continually working overtime, it possibly means their workload isn’t properly distributed, or just too big. Properly redistributing employees’ workload to ensure that vital resources aren’t repeatedly overworked, can be achieved with the help of the data project managers or executives collect from their time tracking systems.
5. Compliance with FLSA regulations
Compliance is a vital aspect all businesses face. For instance, there could be legal penalties if employees’ hours worked, vacations, and overtime are tracked erroneously. If you aren’t convinced that your organization’s manual time tracking method can measure up to a potential audit, it might be the right time to invest in a modern time-tracking solution like Accountsight.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compels record keeping requirements on workers to keep records such as hours worked every day and every week. For exempt employees, who collect salaries and aren’t entitled to overtime pay, timekeeping usually isn’t a prerequisite. However, pursuant to the FLSA Act, organizations must retain accurate pay records and timekeeping for nonexempt employees to pay overtime.
Companies that implement compliant employee time tracking systems, can prove conformance to FLSA’s requirements. It can also largely limit organizations’ exposure to wage and hour litigations that can cost money and damage reputation.
Different time tracking modes that different organizations use
One of the greatest resources of any organizations is its time. When workers utilize their workdays well, deliverables are made, deadlines are met, budgets are maintained—and ultimately, the organization is successful. Alternatively, when employees aren’t spending their time effectively—or they are, but managers do not have total precision into what these employees are doing, then it becomes extremely hard for the organization, to measure up its projects’ productivity. Apparently, businesses that don’t watch the clock usually fail.
The vast majority of organizations nowadays still use the idea of “billable hours” to charge clients. Normally, businesses are advised to choose timesheet periods or time tracking modes that match their billing or payroll cycle. So, which are some of the most common time-tracking variations that organizations use?
Daily timesheet is useful for consultants or hourly employees who prefer precise tracking. This mode provides a great outline of what every employee is working on throughout the day and hours being spent on each task/project. Time is usually entered using the start and end times. Actually, the elapsed time is computed automatically.
In some scenarios, such as when employees are spending all day at an offsite training session or working at an event, you can have a simple timesheet, which requires all employees or participants to sign in/out on. This allows organizations to track the amount of time worked by all their employees at the event. Additionally, the daily timesheet can be handy for non-profit organizations that do not need to pay their members of staff but do wish to track hours volunteered each day.
This kind of employee timesheet helps organizations and their members of staff in recording and monitoring the precise number of hours worked weekly.
Managers and human resource department can use this weekly employee timesheet to monitor their employee’s time and wages on a weekly basis. Sometimes, the daily and weekly timesheets can be used together to achieve a common objective.
This timesheet is similar to the weekly timesheet, only that it is designed into two week periods which float on your payday. The two weeks may start on any day of the week or date you pick. Managers should embrace this kind of tracking if they pay or compute wages every two weeks
If your organization pays its employees twice a month, instead of every two weeks, then you may prefer a semi-monthly mode of tracking time.
This semi-monthly timesheet should have fields to enter time for days 1-15 and days 16-31.
Just like any other simple timesheet, the monthly timesheet track work hours and assignments, making it easy for organizations to monitor what their employees have been working on for the whole month. Each month can be assumed to start on any date of the month, managers prefer.
Employees use this mode of tracking to enter time in and out as they would do with a traditional time card machine. Just like a physical punch clock, this method records the start and stop using online timer very accurately. When the day’s work is done, punch clock entries are automatically transferred to the employee’s weekly/bi-weekly timesheet for review and submission. For convenience purposes, a management version of this timesheet is available to allow for edits, updates, or completion of incomplete entries.
The overtime mode of tracking is one of the easiest and opportune ways to monitor your employee’s overtime details. It can help organizations review the precise duration for which members of staff have worked overtime and automatically subtract the break-times to make sure that they only pay for the productive hours.
A project timesheet tracker is handy when an organization is undertaking a project for a customer. Usually, a project runs for a specific period of time and therefore, a project timesheet should be configurable to be utilized effectively for that specific project. It records and monitors the time in/out of employees and most notably, keeps check of their total working hours. This mode of time tracking can also be used by freelancers who wish to compute hours worked on freelance projects.
Choosing the best time tracking solution
Every organization is aware of immeasurable benefits of using a time tracking. Nowadays, there are countless of timesheet software in the market. Top time-tracking applications like Accountsight are versatile and have user-friendly web timesheet platforms with reliable time tracking, monitoring as well as integration capabilities, hence their popularity. So, how do you go about choosing the best timesheet application for your organization? Here are several features to look out for:
1. Project management – The best timesheet software will allow project managers to track tasks, monitor project resources, and add project notes so that every team member can always be updated on the progress. Support for invoice creation and recording of non-billable and billable time and expenses are other handy features which you should consider.
2. Timesheet feature – Timesheet handling is a vital part of a time-tracking system Software. A timesheet application which allows users to split timesheets by project is the best. You would also prefer a system which allows a project manager to easily and quickly approve or reject a timesheet.
3. Overtime – Overtime control is another feature that can make project manager’s lives easier and save them lots money. A good timesheet tracker should offer overtime alerts that can warn a manager when a team member is clocking over.
4. Reports – Reporting is a key benefit of a timesheet application. A good time tracking solution like Accountsight lets project managers generate a range of reports that help them gain insights into aspects like time worked, invoices, and expenses. Reports can be customized allowing project managers to precisely define what information they wish to be incorporated, into the reports.
5. Help and support – While it is important to choose electronic timesheets which is easy to use by every employee in the organization, it is also important you go for one that has reliable customer service support. The customer service should be able to offer phone, email, and live chat support so that users can promptly solve issues affecting the application during the integration period and squash any problems which may arise in the long run.
6. Integrations – Integrations are crucial because they allow the organizations to synchronize their online timesheet with other applications that they are already using. It is advisable to go for electronic timesheets which offers integration with the common applications organizations use for CRM, accounting, payroll, ERP, and project management.
Take time to analyze all the above factors when shopping for the best timesheet software. The guaranteed payoff of a good pick will be a boost in employee productivity, improved billing accuracy, and better payroll control.
Higher productivity can be achieved with the right processes and tools to measure time tracked. Monitoring and recording how your project team spends their time is vital for every single company (start-up, mid-size business, SMB, corporation), set-up (on-site, remote, partially distributed), and work-force type (freelance, contract, salaried, exempt, temp). However, remember, to achieve success in implementing a time tracking system should never be seen as a controlling mechanism for your employees.