Tracking the time that your agency spends on clients and projects needs to be as accurate as possible for you to properly budget for future projects. Using your resources wisely and truly understanding your profitability by client, project and service is crucial for financial and resource planning and forecasting.
There are a ton of time-tracking tools that will keep online timesheets for your team, but not all are ideal for agencies.
➡️ Many won’t automatically connect time with your projects and client work — meaning they won’t directly connect with your core business.
➡️ Many won’t allow you to set employee hourly rates, so you can’t see how time affects money, which is at the heart of the financial impact or budget effects.
➡️ Many won’t show total time spent on a client project, making it hard to know if you quoted and billed correctly or if you need to adjust going forward.
When it comes to client work, all of these things and more are important, and you might even have some of your own unique needs and use cases when it comes to time tracking. Let’s explore some top considerations for agency timesheet software.
Since clients are at the center of your agency business, keep clients at the forefront when you’re looking into any software tool. For time-tracking solutions, you should consider how time is directly connected to your client work.
Here are some tracking capabilities to look for:
All of this time tracking should be available for different time periods like this week, last week, this month or a custom range. Accelo has these capabilities and has the option to “Show only with billable time” for viewing only billable time entries with corresponding activities.
Knowing the accurate time it takes to complete tasks gives insight into where your employees are spending their time and how much of their time is spent on revenue-generating activities. Look for software that allows you to track time based on tasks and activities in projects, sales, tickets and throughout client work. Accelo lets you do this by marking activities as billable or non-billable.
For example, you can see how much time an employee spent on a call, an email or a meeting and the total time dedicated to all those tasks throughout the day. Activity time is logged using an automatic time tracker. As you create a new activity, a timer is always running at the bottom of the window. Timers automatically start and can be paused, disabled or edited if needed.
Accelo's team scheduling makes it easy to view team capacity and assign the best employee for the task
Employees can assign themselves daily or future tasks, allocate time to each and integrate them with calendars. The team schedule view shows everything the team is assigned and currently working on. Assigned time can be compared to actual time.
TIP: Comparing budgeted vs. actual task time is crucial to know if your team is budgeting time correctly and therefore quoting clients correctly. You cannot accurately quote clients without accurately tracking time on all of your client work.
READ NEXT: Timesheet Software for Client Work: What To Know
Time heavily impacts profitability when performing client work. Time-tracking software that includes profitability reporting is key. It’s important to understand which clients you are spending the most time on, how your resources are being used (which employees and how much time each spends) and if clients are being billed correctly.
Are the clients who are receiving the most attention and resources paying you the most? Which clients are you and your team doing the most billable work for?
Here are reporting capabilities to look for:
Accelo Reports offers these client profitability metrics and more to gauge how your time (output) and employee costs compare to revenue. You can’t maximize your profits unless you’re accurately tracking time and expenses.
To narrow down the most essential features you need in your agency’s timesheet management software, decide what you care about most and which time-tracking method you prefer. You’re going to want to be able to log time by client, activity, billable and non-billable time. You’re going to want to connect time to project budgets and plans, so it makes the most sense for time tracking to be built into your project management software.
Consider how time tracking impacts your employee costs and management. You’re going to want a platform that tracks how much each employee costs, how much time they’re working — and on what — and how much of their work is billable to clients. Discovering and monitoring time spent on non-billable activities and employee costs will open up opportunities to build efficiencies.
Your time data needs to be visible in real-time, in different views and dashboards, and easily audited and exported if needed.
You’re going to want to do some research to find the best timesheet software for your agency. Good resources are colleagues and peer review sites like G2.
We also put together a handy list of the best time-tracking and invoicing software for agencies and other service businesses. You should test out systems to experience the look, feel and functionality. Most, if not all, software offers a free trial.
Offering advanced time tracking and budgeting features, Accelo is a client work management platform built for professional services businesses like agencies. Along with automated time tracking, users can automate tasks, have greater visibility on projects and identify their most profitable work. Favored by many agencies, Accelo supports all stages of client work, including sales and quoting, customer relationship management, retainer management, ticketing and invoicing and billing.