Six Tips About Time Tracking Apps From Industry Experts
Few things can have such an impact on a company as time tracking. Properly implemented, it can reduce cost, improve profit and help give the company clear direction on how to pursue and bid future work. Improperly implemented it can be a nuisance, costing employees valuable time and energy.
One of the best ways to ensure that your time tracking efforts achieve their maximum potential is to listen to the advice of those who have succeeded. To help you do just that, we’ve compiled six tips from industry experts that highlight some things you should consider.
Ranjit Anand, Director, Solutions Delivery at Boston Technology Corporation, highlights one of the most underestimated factors in making a success of time tracking:
- “First of all, your team needs to understand the importance of tracking time on projects. Make sure you explain the real intent of time tracking. The intent of time tracking should be for accounting and analyzing the resource allocation/utilization.”
Bill Gerber, Co-Founder of AccountingDepartment.com, discusses two points that I have repeatedly highlighted in articles about time tracking:
- “Talk to employees and the HR department to determine what features they want out of a time tracking system. Compare vendors to find a system that is as convenient and hassle free as possible to cut down on the amount of complaints that come from changing an integral business system. You want to have a system that works for the people who have to use it day in and out. Many time tracking systems also integrate with other software solutions, so look into options that work with your existing applications to streamline your business operation. For example, field employees may benefit from mobile apps or text to clock in features. Your accounting department may be in need of better automation and synchronization with current systems, such as QuickBooks integrations or expense tracking alignment. Make sure to get everyone to weigh in so you don’t overlook features you really need.
- Spend as much time as possible testing the new system before you take it live. If you can keep your existing time tracking system in place while you implement the new system, take the time to test every single feature. If you have to rush the tracking system into place, make sure to prioritize testing on essential systems, such as employee hour recording and QuickBooks synchronization, and worry about the optional features when you have time.”
Chrystal Richardson, Managing Partner of CE Wilson Consulting emphasizes three practical elements of properly implemented time tracking:
- “Use an online software solution if you’re currently tracking time manually. Software as a Service (SaaS) time tracking software is now the industry standard and offers tremendous efficiency and flexibility options. Key features to look for are an intuitive design, the ability to generate meaningful reports easily and the availability of reports in .pdf, HTML and Excel formats for e-mail convenience. The reports feature will be very valuable if a client asks to see a report of time spent. The ability to quickly respond to client requests builds trust.
- The KISS rule (Keep It Simple Stupid) is paramount. Your consultants should not have to spend a lot of valuable time tracking their time. The process for tracking should be simple, easy and almost effortless. I was once on a project where time tracking was an extensive and overly-elaborate process. When the process is overly cumbersome or complex, find a way to either streamline the process or offer support for the time submitters in the way of training guides, on-line tutorial, or a person on-site who can walk them through it once. If you have a Project Management Office (PMO), contact them for their input on best practices for time tracking.
- Give staff the flexibility to track time in multiple ways. If this is possible for you, your team will love you and be more inclined to track their time consistently. Remember, emergencies do happen that makes it difficult for people to access a tool and submit time (e.g. medical emergency, snowed-in flight, network issues). Plan alternatives for emergency situations like this. For example, allow the resource to assign an approved ‘delegate’ to enter time on their behalf.”
These three industry veterans, collectively, cover some of the most critical aspects of implementing a sound time tracking system. In spite of their importance, these factors are often overlooked or, at the very least, woefully underestimated.
Armed with this knowledge, you can make significant headway toward ensuring your time tracking setup meets your company’s needs now and in the future.
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About Curt Finch
Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Journyx is not your average software company. We strive to be relentlessly creative and to build tools that help you spend your time on things that matter. After all, time is all we have. Founded in 1996, Journyx offers customers two solutions to reach the highest levels of…