Automatically tracking your staff’s time by project and task is important whether you bill your customers by the hour or not. Close analysis of your employees’ work activity can reveal potential for eliminating waste and redundancy, streamline time-consuming tasks, and re-allocate funds, all of which helps you in reducing overhead serving your customers better. If you do bill by the hour, a precise and trustworthy time tracker data guarantees that your invoices are accurate and detailed, with proof to your customers.
If you’ve been considering the switch from a paper or Excel-based time tracking, you’ll see that the Internet boasts a big range of standalone and cloud-based time trackers to choose from. Here are just a few things to consider as you evaluate your options.
How a Time Tracker Works?
In terms of its operation, a time tracker will generally fall into one of the two categories: a timer-based system, or an electronic timesheet. While a timesheet is of course better than nothing, there are a few of compelling reasons to consider a time tracker that captures hours worked in real time.
At first, a real time time tracker is more efficient. You have no need to waste 15 minutes in the end of the day to reconstruct your workday by memory, since team members track their time automatically as they work. Second, timer-based solutions provide you with real-time productivity data. Because of it you are able to monitor project budgets and its current status more closely, and make on-the-fly adjustments when needed. You will also see that you’re better equipped to answer customers’ questions as they arise, which helps to build trust and loyalty.
Will Your Staff Use It?
Even the most powerful time trackers can’t do the work if your team members don’t use it consistently. For this reason, it’s critical to find an app that is simple to use and adds to – rather than conflicts with – your employees’ workflow. Web-based trackers that run in a browser are good choice as long as timers continue to run if a browser’s window was inadvertently closed. And because time is money, be sure it only takes a couple of clicks to start, stop an app, or switch between projects and customers.
In order to be efficient, a time tracker must be easier to use than the tool it is to replace, so take the time up front to find the fastest, most intuitive solution for your office.
Can I Afford It?
If you’ve researched the time trackers’ market, you’ve very likely found that a number of the most popular tools are too expensive for small businesses. But don’t be dissuaded. As demand for cloud-based time tracking solutions increases, a great deal of new time tracker vendors enter the market, offering modern tools designed specifically for small to mid-sized business. Although still offered as a monthly payment, these apps are generally quite affordable. If you look among the new name apps, you’ll undoubtedly see something that will work with your business model as well as your budget.
You can also save funds by passing on a time tracker that offers functionality you won’t use like billing, invoicing or project management. If you’ve been in business for a long time, there’s a high probability you already have such systems in the office. Rather than investing in an expensive all-in-one service, opt instead for a streamlined solution that will integrate seamlessly with your current business apps. Concretely, look for a time tracker that will allow you to export the data you need for invoicing and payroll.