Manual time tracking in the old days

4 reasons not to rely on software for activity-based invoicing

Do the statements below apply to your business?

For service-based businesses like law firms, timely and accurate client invoicing can make the difference between a healthy profit and a staggering loss on projects. Let’s cover some of the main reasons why organizations decide against software-based time-tracking and subsequent invoicing. Are the decision-makers in these businesses right in thinking so?

 

#1: Implementation of new software takes too much time to set up

To many business owners, the thought of adding new tools to their existing software ecosystem still evokes memories of painstakingly slow processes, extended downtime and overworked IT staff. New software is seen as a risky and time-consuming investment, leading to great uncertainty as to the potential outcome of the implementation. A legitimate concern for software integration well into the 2000s, but all the same those issues usually no longer apply today.

Modern time tracking software and other productivity tools run almost exclusively in secure cloud environments, bypassing the need for product installation on individual machines. Updates and maintenance are also carried out remotely, eliminating the need for internal expertise on particular software. Set-up time is reduced to nearly zero - usually as much time as it takes to create an account and assign administrator rights. Overhead is typically limited to a one-time set-up fee and a subscription-based licensing model based on the number of users in your organization.

#2: Your activities are too fragmented for time tracking software

Multiple billable activities in the workplace? Sure! Multitasking can be difficult to capture in a timesheet. Keeping track of time spent on emails, phone calls and business meetings is time-consuming in itself and not easy to pin down to the minute, yet they are core billable activities that take up substantial amounts of time in just about every service-based organization. Your business is not the only one to struggle with this problem.

Perhaps surprisingly, the very solution lies in the problem itself. If you or your employees are too busy to start tracking invoiceable work manually, automatic time tracking software is there to help you. Some time tracking tools use Artificial intelligence to power automatic activity recording, putting an end to daily guesswork.

"Too many different activities to keep track of? Step away from manual time logging altogether."

#3: Quick-and-dirty invoicing is more straightforward

The time it takes to send an invoice based on well-intended approximations of work done, is minimal. This leaves room for other things that help you to grow your business further.

While it might seem tempting to send your clients invoices that are ‘just about right’, guesstimates don’t do your clients or your business any favours. A time tracking system - ideally a fully automatic one - provides you with the tools to measure and analyze all time spent. This does not only make your invoices more traceable for your clients, but it also helps you to keep track of time spent. This, in turn, detects potential budget overruns faster and gives you greater control over your projects.

Automated time tracking allows businesses to measure, analyze and optimize even the smallest snippet of time their employees spend on the job, be it dedicated to client projects or internal tasks. This enables organizations to discover time drain and hidden costs, which in turn helps to reveal unprofitable cases and clients.

#4: Your employees cannot find the time to learn new software

Old habits die hard. Best practices exist for good reason, and usually input efficiency is quite high once your employees have found their own ways to input data. In the long run, however, organization-wide standardization beats individual optimization hands-down. New hires also benefit greatly from standardized onboarding. While they might need weeks to get into the right flow to track their billable hours using a trial-and-error approach, a standardized approach brings them up to speed faster. The adaptation period for both new and existing employees provides a clean slate and leaves no room for errors or misunderstandings on how to track a certain activity.

 

Do you agree with the reasons to stick to manual tracking for invoicing, or do you feel the time has come to start looking for a way to upgrade your time tracking?