This blog was updated on July 1, 2020.
Everybody goes off budget, and when roadblocks come up, they can throw a whole project off course. Few things go according to plan, and while you can always pad your budgets within reason, there are even smarter ways to guarantee that you get the job done.
You want to avoid messy time-tracking practices, that don’t have any real insights, and that could throw off your budgets. Here, we’ll outline five tips to improve your firm’s time-tracking process, to make your budget estimates more accurate, and to maximize the profitability of your projects.
Keep it Accessible
The only way to have accurate data about a project is if your staff is entering time on a regular basis. Keeping track of time can be tedious, so try to keep the entry process as painless as possible. Find a software tool that has a mobile app, so your team can enter their time regularly, no matter where they are.
Use a Uniform System
Take control of how your staff enters time. Get everyone at your firm to use the same time-tracking software or system. You know that manually entered data is not only hard to manage and to understand, but it can also cause varying levels of specificity, making it difficult to evaluate each project and budget the same. There’s no reason for manual entry, anymore.
Run Utilization Reports
Use the time-entry data to get a big-picture view of your staff capacity, and see if project tasks can be better dispersed, to avoid hindering budgets and deadlines. PSA software can automate this reporting data, so you’ll spend less time changing your plans, and more time managing the things that really matter.
Don’t Forget Non-Billable Hours
Just because non-billable hours won’t appear on a client invoice, doesn’t mean this is not valuable time. Ask your staff to track their non-billable time with notes, so you can evaluate if the time spent on non-billable tasks is pushing projects off course, or expand the budget for non-billable hours.
Work the Data
Use the metrics gathered from the tracked time to build and correct future budgets, and to create a forecasting model. Remember to continuously update your budgets as things in your firm change, like new staff, or growth in engagement.
To learn more about using a Professional Services Automation software for time tracking and more benefits, check out our PSA 101 guide.