Paper timesheets are a thing of the past. Today, almost all organizations use some form of time tracking software to bill hours or track project profitability. The benefits of software are obvious. Software can crunch the numbers and provide reports much more quickly than even the fastest analyst could by hand. However, not all employee time tracking software is created equal.
Advancements in usability, cloud computing, design, cross-device compatibility, and even artificial intelligence make modern time tracking software dramatically more useful than outdated competitors. Today’s time management software integrates with your team’s workflow and can even automate most of the time logging process, requiring less time on timesheet administration, while using good data to provide more accurate insights into how your projects are progressing, than manual time tracking.
There are many options for time tracking software, but not all of them will work for your needs. This post is aimed at helping you decide which one is best for your organization. A great time tracking solution should empower your team, give you new insights into your productivity, and help you track time accurately without the headache of revisiting your daily schedule when timesheets are due.
Finding the best time tracking software for your needs in 5 steps
When evaluating your time tracking options, it can be difficult to know where to start. With tons of available features, integrations, and report types, picking a time tracking software can be a confusing process. With all the options, it’s helpful to remember that, above all, time management software should make you happier and more productive at work. The whole idea is to reduce the amount of administrative time you and your team spend on timesheets so you can get back to focusing on your work.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a five step guide to help you pick time tracking software that works with your team and makes time tracking easier, faster, and more accurate.
1. Define what you need
The first step is to figure out what you need from a time tracking solution. It’s probably the case that you don’t need every feature, and some software solutions are built with certain business models or industries in mind. However, it’s also worth considering that modern time tracking solutions are much more powerful than their predecessors. It’s not uncommon for modern software to provide a solution for timesheets, invoicing, expenses, and reporting all in one easy to use interface.
To help you think about the functionality you’ll need, consider the way your organization currently operates. Do you need support for billing by the project, by the hour, or both? Will you need to include expenses and other costs on your invoices? What type of reporting do your clients and executive leadership require?
The answers to these and other questions will help you narrow the field of possible software.
2. Ask your team what they care about
The next step is having a conversation with your team about how they view timesheets and what they care about in a timekeeping solution. Many people consider timesheets a chore, and for these team members you’ll want to prioritize software that makes timekeeping as easy as possible. Preferably this software will automate much of the timekeeping process through AI.
Managers and project leads in your organization will likely want insights into how well their projects are progressing. For project-based billing, the profitability of a project is directly tied to the hours spent on a project, so timely reporting and real-time insights into project productivity will be a priority. Additionally, timekeeping reports can also help managers identify situations, that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, where a team member is taking a long time on a task and needs additional training to increase productivity.
3. Determine what integrations you’ll need
A great timekeeping solution should integrate into your existing workflow. So, take a look at the tools you and your team use on a daily basis. Look for time tracking software that’s capable of integrating seamlessly with your workflow, especially if you’re considering software that uses artificial intelligence since it relies on data to help you automate your time tracking. Good integration means most time tracking can be fully automated, saving you time and team productivity that would have otherwise been spent on manual time tracking.
4. Consider what kind of reporting is useful
Departments within your organization and outside clients will all expect different insights from whatever time tracking solution you choose. Project managers will be interested in detailed reports about their project’s profitability, while executives will want a dashboard with broad overviews and discernible trends in profitability and productivity. On the other hand, your clients will want itemized reports of the hours, staff members, and expenses working on their project.
It’s important to talk to all the parties ahead of time to find out what types of reporting they need from your employee time tracking software.
5. Look into automation and AI-powered time tracking
The best time tracking software leverages artificial intelligence to automate the timekeeping process. Reviewing your calendar and email account to recreate what you did last week is old school. Instead, intelligent time tracking can create your timesheet for you. At the end of the week, you just review your timesheet before submission, greatly reducing the amount of time you spend on timekeeping.
Intelligent time tracking is also more accurate. Because it integrates with your existing workflow, the time tracking software collects accurate, real-time data that can power precise reports and analytics about how your organization’s projects are progressing.
Time Management Software for the Modern Organization
At Allocate, we believe time tracking shouldn’t be difficult or annoying. On the contrary, intelligent timesheets can make it easy to get highly accurate data that drives business growth, all while requiring less effort from your team members. Our mission is to make time tracking easier, so people can spend more time on meaningful work. Schedule a free demo to see what Allocate can do for your organization.