Research shows that billable time often slips through the cracks - here’s how to fix that with automatic time tracking.

If you’re a current client of a professional services organization or have been in the past, then at some point you’ve probably considered that you’re getting overbilled. What if we told you, however, that research shows that professionals tend to underbill?

Research from Lexis Nexis in the legal industry reports that, on average, 33% of lawyers’ time is unbilled. Further exacerbating this problem is that, due to the lack of transparency, lawyers are often required to “trim” their bills because clients simply don’t believe that they worked as long as their bill indicates they did.

A study by Harvard Business Review reveals that billable time slipping through the cracks (from emails and other forgotten activities) and time spent filling in timesheets costs professionals upwards of $50,000 per year in lost revenue.

These findings show that professionals:

  1. Are losing out on potential revenue due to time that slips through the cracks.
  2. Are spending a lot of time logging their time.
  3. Are losing revenue due to clients not believing the bills that they receive.

So - what’s the cause of these problems?

The reason these problems exist is because time tracking is hard.

So - what’s the solution? How can timekeeping be improved?

The answer is not obvious. Until recently, no solution has existed to solve the pain of time tracking. However, as history has proven time and again, technology is often both the cause and the solution of problems. Such is the case with time tracking.

The solution is automatic time tracking. You may have heard it by other names, such as automated time tracking, AI time tracking, AI-powered time tracking, or intelligent timekeeping. The idea is that there is enough of a digital signal in the way that professionals work on computers, through calendar events, and via emails such that a well-crafted AI system can look at this data and help you capture all of your billable time with ease and accuracy.

At Allocate, we’ve built the first time tracking system backed by real AI. This allows professionals to work as they usually do, and at the end of the day or week simply review and approve the time that Allocate has captured. Think of it as your own personal timesheet assistant. (Meet Al, your personal timesheet assistant, below)

Meet Al, your personal timesheet assistant

Allocate’s AI-powered time tracking has multiple distinct advantages over traditional timer-based or manual time entry systems.

First, no time can slip through the cracks. Computers are flawless at capturing and storing information. At Allocate, we are able to capture information about time spent at work and make sure that you don’t forget about the 5 minutes you spent emailing your client late at night.

Second, as the system learns about your work behaviors, it gets smarter, and can begin to predict what bits of time throughout your day belong to certain projects you are working on. Allocate learns what activities are related to certain clients and projects of yours. If it doesn’t know, it will ask for feedback, and by doing so get smarter, so that it knows next time. Only time tracking backed by AI would be able to perform well at this task.

automated_time_tracking

Third, it’s really accurate. We mean it. 90+ % accurate. Similar to the first point, computers are really good at capturing time, while humans aren’t. Furthermore, our algorithms are rigorously tested and have proven to be highly competent at determining which bits of work activity are related to one another.

Fourth, Allocate’s automatic time tracking removes repetitive work that you usually have to do with manual systems. You may currently reference your calendar, email, and notes to log your time. Or, you may have to constantly stop and start a timer to get an accurate understanding of your timesheet. With Allocate, you don’t have to do any of this. We bring your calendar and email directly into the application and allow you to use those activities to log your time. If we know what it is, we can predict which client or project that activity belongs to, further reducing the work you have to do. Timers are also a thing of the past as we are able to determine when you have switched task, thus removing the need to think about stopping a timer ever again.

Fifth, no more start / stop timers. This is a bit of an addition to point four, but we want to stress that, with Allocate’s automatic time tracking, you don’t need to think about starting or stopping a timer that always seems to be forgotten about at some point in the day. We do that for you with our intelligent algorithms.

Sixth, time entry should occur in more real-time. Though it’s not perfectly real-time because you still need to review and approve your time entries before they are submitted, time entry with Allocate occurs much more frequently because of the ease with which it can be done.

Seventh, Allocate may allow you to build trust with your clients. Because you believe the time that you’re logging, you can confidently send a bill to your clients. Though the data used to create time entries doesn’t live with the time entries themselves for privacy reasons, you know that what you’ve logged is accurate, and can project that confidence when a client reviews your bill.

Eighth and last, though certainly not least: because you’re confident in the accuracy of the data, you can use this data to go on and make sound strategic decisions. You’ll have an accurate understanding of profit margin, employee utilization figures, project progress, and more. You can use this insight to forecast, manage, and resource for current and future projects.

In summary, by now we hope it’s obvious how adopting a time tracking solution backed by AI can seriously improve your business. You’ll make more money, you’ll be more efficient and more productive, and your colleagues will be happy because timesheets won’t be as much of a drag as they were before AI-powered, automatic time tracking entered the scene.