The benefits of employee time tracking are clear. Whether you’re looking to improve productivity, profitability or trust, employee time tracking is a crucial step.
But once you’ve got time tracking in place, how do you ensure your business is making the most of it? Avoid one of the most common company mistakes: not using your employee time tracking software to its fullest.
3 common small business mistakes with employee time tracking
1. Not using timers and time cards properly
One of the more common business mistakes when it comes to time tracking is using either timers or time cards instead of a combination of the two.
Here’s the difference:
- Timers allow employees to track time down to the second with the push of a button. Employees can run multiple timers at once, which keeps client- and project-specific tracking accurate.
- Time cards allow employees to clock in and out of their shifts, take breaks and switch between projects, customers and service items.
For businesses that use time tracking mainly to process payroll, such as construction or retail, a time-card-only approach makes sense. For businesses like law firms where the main concern is invoicing clients, timers may be all you need. However, most businesses are a hybrid of the two.
For example, an advertising agency might ask employees to use timers for billing. While that will work for client invoicing, those timers don’t tell you everything about how certain employees are spending their time. Administrative professionals, human resources, sales — there are plenty of employees who fall outside the client billing framework but whose time is important. By asking those employees (and, ideally, all employees) to clock in and out using time cards, you’ll ensure everyone is logging the time they should, including time spent on breaks.
2. Forgetting to link integrated software
Some company mistakes happen because life happens. If your employee time tracking software has the capability to integrate with QuickBooks, why wouldn’t you sync them? You would — if you weren’t completely swamped making schedules, attending meetings, fielding employee questions and 100 other things you have to handle as a manager everyday.
But here’s the thing: integration saves time and money — in both the long and short run. Failing to implement those integrations is one of those new business mistakes that even established businesses make. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the integrations that are available to you through your employee time tracking software, and schedule time to sync up the systems that could impact your bottom line.
If you are a Time Tracker customer, those integrations include:
- SAP Concur
Our timers also include free apps for Outlook/365 and Windows 10, as well as free web apps for Zapier, Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
Tip: While you’re reviewing integrations, take time to review all the features your time tracking solution offers. Another common small business mistake is failing to use features that can save you time, money and headaches such as GPS tracking, schedule templates and detailed reporting.
3. Comparing actual vs. estimated time
How do you know how much money you’re making on a project or client? One of the most common small business mistakes is basing pricing and projections on experience and gut feelings rather than data.
The good news: since you already have employee time tracking in place, you have the data. Now you just need to take the time to compare actual time spent to estimates in order to see how much profit you’re bringing in.
If you’re using a solution like Time Tracker, you can include estimated time when you input projects. Base it on the total number of hours you expect the project to take, or break it out by specific project activities.
- Track estimates by hours for projects that don’t have multiple activities or teams assigned.
- Track estimates by activities for projects with multiple steps and teams. By tracking time by activity — account management, meetings, development — you can drill down which parts of a project or which team members are at risk of going over.