Tracking time for work tasks is one of the best ways to grow a business. This gives you an overview of how much time employees spend on specific tasks, clients, and processes. Yet there is a great deal of prejudice involved. We asked accountants how they feel about tracking time for assignments, and the answers were quite similar. We put together common myths that we now debunk.
Myth: It's not important to track time with fixed pricing
Why can tracking time be valuable even if the service is at a fixed price?
To charge for the service, you need to know the costs. If the workload has increased over time, or the price was too low initially, you may be doing free work for clients. The actual time consumption is known thanks to time tracking, and you can set a fair fixed price for the service.
Time tracking gives a good overview of how profitable the services are.
Do you know what the most profitable service in your accounting office is? You can make fact-based decisions based on tracked time data. Once the profit margin of the services offered is known, you can adjust the price accordingly and focus on the most profitable of them.
When tracking time for tasks, you can quickly identify additional work. Sometimes the client may need extra services not agreed upon in the fixed plan. Once these additional tasks are documented, you can easily present evidence of the extra work with the invoice.
The second reason to track time with fixed pricing is that the data gives you the needed information to plan work better.
Tracking time gives a good overview of your workload and the time spent on a client or tasks. If a new client or employee joins the company, the management board has a thorough overview of the current duties and the time spent on them, and it is easy to share the work or clients between employees.
The report also shows if the workload for the client gradually increases. As the volume of work increases, hiring new employees or redistributing tasks may be necessary to avoid overburdening employees.
Based on the tracked time, finding and solving problems is easy.
Suppose you have two clients of the same size, but one takes double the employee's time. Let's outline two options for the problem and how tracking time can solve them.
Based on time tracking data, communicating with one of the clients takes longer. Why has such a situation occurred? The client does not send documents on time, and the accountant must send several reminders.
There are two solutions:
1) Raise the price of the service according to the time spent.
2) Set up automatic reminders to reduce manual email sending.
It takes much more time to enter one client's documents. Why? A beginner employee is serving the client. Instead of entering documents monthly like experienced accountants, they have done so every other day. Knowing this, the supervisor can give the new employee tips and avoid the problem the next time a new employee starts working.
Myth: Tracking time is too frustrating
The main negative points pointed out when tracking time:
- Tracking time does not bring me closer to achieving my goals.
- I feel like I'm being micromanaged.
- My boss wants to check on me.
- Tracking time is time-consuming.
These feelings may occur if the purpose of tracking time is not sufficiently explained. Let's point out a few points that favor tracking time.
Tracking working time creates a clear overview of the workload.
A report showing the data collected from the time tracking shows when the workload has increased. It's the quickest way to see if someone is overwhelmed and tasks need to be reorganized.
Time-tracking data will help create a realistic timetable for allocating tasks in the future.
A simple task can be more time-consuming than first thought. Problems arise if you have already agreed on a schedule with a client and they don't coincide with reality. Once you have concluded the previous statistics, the new project can consciously consider the time nuances.
Tracking time allows flexible working hours and remote working.
Employees don't have to sit in the office from nine to five when completing their tasks. You can show you can do work tasks remotely by tracking the time.
Tracked time allows you to show your progress at work and justify the need for promotion.
Asking for a promotion can be a difficult conversation to prepare for and initiate. If time-tracking data is available, you can show the management an overview of your contribution to the company. This way, it's also easy to compare the volume of work with other employees if necessary.
Tracking time contributes to productivity.
Analyzing your typical workday, you can see how the tasks are distributed during the day. With the help of the overview, you can organize your tasks so that everything you want to achieve in one day is possible.
Myth: Time-tracking data can be easily manipulated.
In a perfect world, all people are trustworthy. Unfortunately, we are all flawed, and mistakes can occur with time tracking.
For tracking time to be reliable, it is crucial to choose the right tools. A program designed explicitly for tracking time allows the manager to disable the manipulation of time entries.
There are different programs for this:
- Time tracking software - track time for tasks
- Time tracking and work management software - manage tasks in addition to time tracking
- Work management software for the accounting office - track time, manage tasks, automate invoices, and many other useful tools designed specifically for accountants.
Myth: "Timesheets or Excel is as good as any software."
There are many advantages to using a program over alternatives. Many time-tracking programs have a stopwatch function.
With the stopwatch function, you don't need to look at the clock or remember when you started a task. When you press the stopwatch, time starts running on its own, and when you click again, the time stops.
Using the software is more convenient than using paper or Excel.
Excel is a challenging program to learn or use. Papers tend to disappear even in the best systems, for example, when it is necessary to mark the time or submit them to the boss.
Checking the time tracked by all employees can also be quite time-consuming for a manager. Instead, you could spend this time on conversations with employees or other important tasks.
The most significant advantage of the software is analyzing.
Using the software, you no longer need to rewrite the data manually. The software pulls the data, analyzes it, and creates visually attractive graphs or tables. This way, you can make business decisions based on actual data.
Uku, the work management software for accounting offices
Uku is one solution for accountants to track time. In addition to time tracking, Uku has other features like work management, CRM, automated billing, and client communication monitoring.
There are three ways to track time in Uku:
- Manual time entries;
- Bulk time entries.
Manual time entry is very convenient in Uku.
Open a task and fill in 2 fields:
- Start and end time;
- Start time and duration;
- End time and duration.
Uku automatically suggests the start time based on when the last task ended.
The stopwatch is the most accurate way to track time. Start the stopwatch when you start a task. Find the task and click on the play button. When you move on to another task, repeat the process. Find the task, and click on the play button. The stopwatch on the other task will stop automatically.
You might want to log time to multiple tasks at once. To do that, select the tasks and click on the play button on the blue menu. You can insert equal time for selected tasks or divide it equally. Read more about how to add time to multiple tasks at once
Uku also provides some helpful time-tracking settings.
You can make time tracking compulsory for some or all clients. This way, the time has to be logged to the task before it can be marked done. It helps to ensure that people remember to log time.
Another helpful time-tracking setting allows disabling manual time entries. With this setting, time can only be logged with the stopwatch. This increases the accuracy of the time data.
We conducted the webinar on the same topic on the 11th of November,"Myth busted: time measurement only wastes time in my accounting office,"where we busted the myths related to time tracking heard from accountants. We also discussed with the participants what they think about time measurement. See the webinar and the exciting discussionhere.