The Official BQE Software Blog

Timesheets are Important, Time and Time Again

Time after time, the biggest objection I hear from potential clients is that their employees hate filling out timesheets. This is especially true for many architects. The architectural clients that I work with are extremely creative and passionate about the work that they’re doing. This creativity and passion produces amazing designs, which ultimately results in the netting of project after project.

What keeps companies in business in this highly competitive environment is completing projects under budget and getting the invoices out fast. This results in faster revenue and cash flow to take on new projects. And how is this achieved? Simple—by tracking time (on time!)

Timesheet opponents state that timesheets aren’t accurate because “folks have a hard time remembering what they did in the morning–never mind five days ago.” I whole heartily agree with that. What benefit is there in getting inaccurate, outdated information? Time should be entered daily, if not throughout the day, so that project managers can effectively track a project. This is why entering time needs to be easy and convenient, so it is captured accurately and in a timely manner.

This is where BQE Software comes into the picture. Our software makes time tracking easy and fast with a simple timesheet interface. Projects are searchable; recently-worked on projects carry over day after day (and week after week); and activity codes with comprehensible descriptions are easily entered. So at the end of the day, there is no guesswork. Better still, implement what we call Project Control and there is no possibility of any error creeping up in their timesheets. Employees only see what they are meant to see and select.

Out and about? On the go?  No problem. Capture your time and expenses on the native mobile apps.

Opponents dismissing the value of accurate time keeping state it’s too time consuming. That it involves 30 minute or more time a week being wasted on time entry. As mentioned above, this is why it’s important to have tools in place to make it as easy and convenient as possible. I also wonder how much of that 30 minutes is spent trying to recall what they worked on during the week. How much time would your company save if time was entered daily or after each task?

Additional feedback I hear from prospective clients is why bother implementing a solution when there are chronically delinquent time keepers? This is actually a very common occurrence until BQE products are introduced. BillQuick Agent has a trigger sending friendly reminders that the time needs to be entered, whenever you like. Every day? Every hour? Every 30 minutes? Whatever it takes! A small annoyance, but important to emphasize the importance of entering in time in a timely fashion. The emails automatically stop when time is entered. And when it comes time to collect timesheets, it is easy for managers to take a look at the submitted entries in the program and sign off on their team’s hours.

Some principals and firm owners state that by riding companies of timesheets, they would be stronger because efficiency means fewer hours, that is, if they are “smart and progressive”, they won’t receive the benefit.  These principals are missing out a couple of key solutions. Bill different rates. A principal generating high quality work in half the time should have a higher bill rate then a new architect who takes two to three times as long. That is how smart companies continue to grow and succeed. But without tracking time….how would you know?

The other option is a fixed fee method. This method benefits you by tracking your time. How? How many times have you worked late? How many times did a quick change order take 2 hours longer than originally thought? By tracking even non-billable hours, you’re able to make sure you are charging enough. You’ll have the answer at your fingertips showing you whether or not your fixed fee is the right fee.  If a project phase takes more time than previously thought, then the fixed fee can be adjusted for the next proposal.

Now addressing the assertion that there is no direct value for the client other than payroll, I would strongly disagree. Entering time accurately and frequently gives project managers a clear picture of timely progress and allows them to prevent fires before they even start.  What would happen if a project manager could see a realistic picture of where a project is in terms of completion? The project manager could make real time adjustments to make sure that the team is running as effectively as possible to help it stay within budget and complete the project on schedule. Hitting deadlines is incredibly valuable to a client. And if a change order makes it impossible to meet the deadline, wouldn’t it be nice to have that conversation with the client at the time of the request?

Tracking time gives you information to run your firm efficiently. Job costing, bonuses, revenue forecasting--all benefit by having accurate time information. Without tracking time, how will you know if you have the workload to hire additional staff? Without knowing your real revenue, how will you know if you can afford to take on new staff or even the next project?

As you can see, entering time, no matter how small and no matter how you bill, is essential to running an efficient and successful business and I am hopeful you are persuaded by this article. You can find additional valuable information on time entry and time management in the following links.

Harvard Business Review:

https://hbr.org/2015/01/workers-are-bad-at-filling-out-timesheets-and-it-costs-billions-a-day

Software Advice (KPIs):

http://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/project-management-kpis/

Infographics: Top 10 Reasons to Track Your Time:

http://www.bqe.com/blog/2015/07/30/infographic-top-10-reasons-to-track-your-time/

This article was written by Jessica Smouse:

As a BQE Account Manager, Jessica Smouse’s goal is to help clients benefit from the software, so they can focus on what they love to do! She graduated from American University with a BA in International Studies with a specialization in International Business.

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