I admit that I am the “time police”. It is part of my process and a necessary evil.
Even when you make it as simple for them as possible, consultants still don’t like to enter their time.
As a manager, I explain to them that I understand this, but it still needs to happen. It is non-negotiable. Payroll happens every 2 weeks and if their time is 2 weeks behind the business suffers and they are directly responsible.
This puts the ownership on them and explains the importance of time entry compared to what their roles and responsibilities are and their effect on the company. But it still needs oversight. And regular billing.
Time entry needs oversight by an owner or someone else with authority. I have set expectations that time needs to be entered daily, not weekly, and that everyone must account for at least 40 hours a week, billable or non-billable.
If time is not entered daily they are going to forget the details. How can anyone possibly remember, accurately, how much time they spent on a task done a week ago? Either the company or the client is losing money.
Plus, I remind them that they will feel much less anxiety if they are not stuck at their desk on a Friday night entering time for the whole week.
Because all of our time is entered within Microsoft Dynamics CRM I can review time throughout the week to make sure everyone is on track. If someone is behind on entering their time and I know that they're working on projects, I'll shoot them a quick email, “I noticed that you have 20 hours in, it is Friday, you need to get things wrapped up by 5:00pm because invoicing is going to run over the weekend.”
I invoice our customers every 10 days, no matter what. If my consultants have not entered their time for a week, that time does not get invoiced until the next round. So from a cash flow perspective, not having oversight of time entry directly affects our cash flow.
There are a lot of companies that invoice monthly. But I believe they are leaving a lot of money on the table. And they are setting the precedent that their people can just get their time in before the next invoice run.
From a resource utilization standpoint I review time entry against billable goals on a weekly basis. This allows me to understand where resources are being utilized and how are they being utilized on a billable versus a non‑billable basis. And how that correlates to the goals of the company.
Operating Cost Goals
There is a certain amount of billable hours that equate to the break even point of all of our operating costs.
Every week I look at reports from Dynamics CRM that show me where we are against that goal for the quarter. It varies from week to week, but I manage the dashboard that comes up on my Dynamics CRM screen when I come into the office in the morning. I always have insight as far as what we are billing to meet office cost obligations. That is crucial. And it all starts from entering time.
So if you don't have people entering time, no pun intended, in a timely fashion then you are likely not getting accurate numbers, you are not able to send invoices out on a regular basis, you can’t manage resource utilization, and you can’t track your progress on revenue goals.
So call me any names that you like……you are still required to enter your time by the end of the day.
If you want to simplify time entry for your team, and give managers the reports they need to oversee the process and make strategic decisions I recommend that you evaluate the
But you will still have to bite the bullet and be the “Time Police”.
By Ryan Plourde, AbleBridge, now a Crowe Horwath company.www.AbleBridge.com
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