What is the most hated operational or administrative task that any professional services resource needs to do? Time entry.
Some businesses can afford to let it slide, but in a project focused business, accurate time entry is crucial.
Let’s be honest, this task will never be loved by the people that need to account for their time on a daily or weekly basis. But you can make it easier for them.
The Complicated Time Entry Method
In my experience, many companies have a disjointed process of collecting time. Often it is managed within the ERP system because the billing is generated from the ERP system, not necessarily from CRM. The company might have a custom interface between ERP and CRM that shows a high level project plan, but doesn't have all the project tasks. Usually people enter their time there or manage their time on spreadsheets and then send that to an admin assistant who will aggregate all of the time, assign it to a project and manually type it into the ERP system to process billing.
In this scenario the company is not leveraging the information within the CRM system which is where all of customers, projects and project tasks are outlined.
This type of complicated time entry wastes time, frustrates users and is often inaccurate. And managers are not able to access updated reports at any point in the project.
The Simple Time Entry Method
Each project task under the main project has a budget. Time is entered against the specific budget line item. This means you can always see the estimated time vs actual time spent vs time billed for each project.
This system dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes resources to enter their time and keeps administrative efforts to a minimum.
Our simplified time entry system also allows for deep analysis. By looking at a project report from Dynamics CRM managers can look at trends and make decisions to keep the current project on track and plan for future projects.
Imagine a project manager asking these questions:
“I see that we are under budget here and we're about done with the project task.”
- That is great, but why are we under budget?
- Did we do something more efficiently?
- Did we budget too high?
- Did we miss something?
“I see we put in three times the actual time that we budgeted for this task.”
- Do we need to increase the budget on the next project?
- Do we need to circle back with the resource and ask why it took so long?
- Were they spinning their wheels on an issue that can be resolved?
- Did they ask others for help?
Having a time entry system that is correctly integrated with your project management system in Dynamics CRM allows you to have that type of insight. This leads to better projects, happier clients and better internal resource management.
If you are interested in learning more about the simplified time entry method within
By AbleBridge, Massachusetts Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Partner, now a Crowe Horwath company.
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