Benefits of time tracking and project management software for professional services businesses
As a small business owner it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day running of your business and have little time for the bigger picture. After all, time is money and every minute counts. This is particularly true in an industry where you are either billing by the hour, or employ freelancers and contractors, and tracking every minute (or at least every 15 minutes) can play a key role in the success or your professional services business, agency or practice.
If you are still using an old spreadsheet to track time, create invoices and update your accounts, then it’s time to consider time tracking and project management software, like Xero Projects, to replace this process. While no software is perfect, and different businesses will have success with different packages, overall there are many advantages.
Easily produce quotes & estimates
By keeping records of exactly how long each type of project takes you will find producing accurate quotes for similar jobs simpler. Accurate quotes provide your clients with the confidence to work with you on future projects.
Most time tracking software will also produce reports to compare whether time actually spent on the project matches what you quoted.
Improve client communications and transparency
Accurately tracking time spent on projects allows you to provide clients with real-time updates on project progress and milestones, even if you have more than one team member or contractor working on different parts of the same project.
If necessary, you can also provide detailed invoices showing clients exactly what work was done, when and by whom, preventing underbilling and overbilling disputes. This transparency helps to portray a professional approach to client work and will undoubtedly improve client satisfaction.
Enhance project planning and scheduling
See the status of a job at a glance, no matter how many people are working on it. If your team have overlapping, ongoing projects, project management software allows you to allocate resources effectively and assign specific tasks or projects based on availability. This can also help to prevent burn-out and ensure a balanced work-load across the team.
Being able to accurately monitor project progress also helps in managing scope-creep. If a client starts adding new tasks to a project you can quickly agree additional hours before there’s a budget blow-out.
Collaboration and file sharing
Project management software often includes collaboration tools that facilitate better communication and teamwork. Team members can collaborate on tasks, share documents, and receive real-time updates on project progress. Creative agencies can share design files and lawyers can securely share documents, ensuring everyone has access to the most up to date project information.
Time tracking and project management software often generate valuable data and analytics that can be used for informed decision making. Your business can quickly and easily analyse time data, project progress, resource utilisation, performance metrics and even profitability.
Access to this data can help to identify areas for improvement, review your team’s performance, strengths and weaknesses, identify successful jobs for your business and even reward staff excellence. In some industries hours worked also need to be reported for compliance.
Integration with accounting systems
One of the most obvious benefits of time tracking and project management software is the potential integration with your accounting system, saving you many hours consolidating billable hours and preparing invoices for clients.
Additionally project management software, like Xero Projects, provides features that allow you to set project budgets and track project expenses. Streamlining with your financial system allows for timely invoicing, expense tracking and financial reporting.
Time tracking software provides a comprehensive set of tools and features that streamline workflows, enhance collaboration and improve project outcomes. If you regularly find that projects and milestones run late, it takes you hours to answer some simple client questions about project progress and in fact you aren’t even sure how many projects are actually on the go at the moment, who’s working on them and which clients are needing what, consider how time tracking and project management software could change the way you run your business. And that’s before you consider the enormous benefits produced by integration with your accounting system.
At The Accounting Hub we work with professional services businesses, such as design agencies, engineering & IT firms, energy consultancies, medical and law practices, that can maximise the benefits of time tracking and project management software. If you would like some help or advice, please get in touch.