Time tracking software is the best way to get your employees’ paid for their time and to keep your customers happy and informed. Like all things, it would be great if we could also use time tracking to cut down on duplicate entries and paperwork. Good news, many time tracking solutions work with other programs to feed directly into a billing program.
You can set these up easily in your chosen software package – if you haven’t chosen one, why not check out Capterra’s time tracking software directory – and link it up to your chosen billing software package, among many other little tricks. Here are some best practices to keep everything running smoothly as you go.
Mirror entities for success
In a perfect world, your business software’s setup would reflect your business’s setup. Everything you do in the course of a day could then be perfectly captured in the software and you’d never miss out on moment of work.
Let’s think about applying this to our time tracking and billing setup. If we want employees to track the time they put into a specific project for cash, we’re going to need four things in both programs – employees, time, projects, and rates.
If you’re using a program like Toggl, you can actually automate a lot of this creation. Toggl works with FreshBooks, for instance, and synchs up a bunch of data. Specifically, FreshBooks can push out its users, projects, and tasks into Toggl. Then you can use those settings in Toggl to track time against those projects and tasks.
Depending on your time tracking software, you’ll have to create more or less of these fields on your own.
Everyone working together
The biggest challenge with any piece of software is increasing adoption. Once you have your business setup in your billing and time tracking software, you’ll need to get your employees to use it. That means choosing software that can operate where your employees operate.
Most time tracking software packages now come with mobile apps. This allows you to track time no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Even more impressively, some now come with advanced features that track time even if you’re not paying attention.
Paymo, for instance, has an advanced desktop app that monitors your work for billable actions. At the end of the day, you can just look back at the actions you took over the course of the day and assign them to the relevant projects. Even when you forget, Paymo can help you track time.
The only way to not miss tracked time is to track all the time in the first place.
Keep customers happy with reporting
Once you’ve got everything set up and everyone using the setup, you can start making your clients happier. Gone are the days of invoices that say things like “Worked on project – 1 hour.” With more detailed tracking you can give your clients real insight into the work you’re performing for them.
Some time tracking software includes a portal for clients to login and get additional details about the work you’re doing. Time Doctor – which I guess is just Doctor Who for businesses – comes with a client login, where you can give clients screenshots of work and details about the tasks you’ve been working on.
Even if you don’t end up with a client portal, time tracking software gives you the chance to show your clients more of the work you do. It not only assures them that you’re making progress, it readies them for the bill that you’re going to send.
Expand your options with APIs
If all this isn’t enough, you can always expand your functionality with an API. Time Doctor and Toggl both offer APIs that allow you to expand their functionality. Spit time out into your reporting software, Excel, or any other data management system that takes the right inputs.
You can connect the work you do to the other members of your company. By updating CRMs, sales tools, or reporting packages, you can get more insight into how your company is spending time and which customers are bringing in the cash.
APIs are an advanced technique – like starting a fire with a single match, or a dozen matches, if you’re me – so you’ll need to have a technically-inclined staff member to get the most out of them.
Working with time tracking software is all about making sure nothing goes missing. The more you track the more you can bill and the more likely you are to get paid. By connecting your solutions, working with all your employees, and keeping customers in the loop, you’ll get more out of every job.
Header by Rachel Wille
Looking for Billing and Invoicing software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Billing and Invoicing software solutions.