We all know that saying about death and taxes, the two unavoidable parts of life. Well, there is a third one that professionals can add to that list...
Keeping tabs on the time you spend working on client projects, tasks, opportunities and more is an integral part of your professional life. The reason is simple... your costs are always measured in time. And if you don't know where your valuable time is being spent, there's a chance that the business is running off the rails, whether it bills on a time and materials or a fixed price basis.
A few decades back, the work of professionals was a slower and more methodical kind of job. Correspondence from clients would come in daily from the mail, you'd get the occasional fax, so as a result your time would be fairly structured with appointments and meetings added to the mix. Filling out your timesheet, while always a pain in the neck, wasn't very difficult when you only worked on a handful of meaningful things each day.
As we all know, times have changed.
The technology driving your emails and smartphones has made you more productive, but has also dramatically increased the number of different things you work on each day. The traditional, manual ritual of filling in your timesheet at the end of the week based solely on your memory has completely failed (although it was never that reliable in the first place). With the average professional getting more than 60 work-related emails a day and managing a calendar full of numerous meetings, you can't be expected to remember what you worked on yesterday... much less a week ago.
The costs of outdated timesheet technology can be immense. A 2014 study found that the average professional leaks more than 15 hours a week in billable time. This amount of leaked billable time is the same as if no one at the business did any work until Wednesday, costing over $100,000 per professional employee in forgone revenues every year.
Since the initial launch of automated timesheets in June, we've been working hard to continue re-imagining the timesheet. By combining smart automation with powerful technology, we've been able to bring the latest release of Accelo Timesheets into the 21st century, making it easier to use and more accurate all at the same time.
Whether you are new to Accelo or have been with us for a while, this post covers all that Timesheets has to offer!
The first way Accelo helps you keep track of your work is by automatically filling in your timesheet for you! Here's how it works across three key areas of your business you live in every day: emails, meetings and tasks.
The first (and most powerful) way that Accelo fills in your timesheet is by automatically entering time based on the clients you have email conversations with.
Given how prevalent email is to the way modern professionals work with clients, studies have found that being able to automatically enter time based on email correspondence can help recover more than $50,000 a year in leaked time per professional. Amazingly, this powerful feature works with almost all email systems, meaning you can keep working the way you already are and start automating your timesheet right away. Since there are no new programs to use or apps to install, even an email you send on your iPhone from the back of a cab will automatically be added to your timesheet.
The second way Accelo fills in your timesheet is by automatically importing appointments from your calendar.
When the meeting or appointment is with a client, also known in Accelo as "Scheduled Work", you'll see a suggestion for the amount of time the meeting had scheduled. You simply click on the suggestion, adjust it for the actual amount of time you spent in the meeting, and put in a short description of what was covered in the meeting. Done.
If the appointment didn't involve a client (perhaps it was just you blocking out some time to work or something) Accelo will import this time as "External Work". While some things from your calendar don't belong on your timesheet, like a trip to the dentist, actual client work can be easily converted into a timesheet entry with a couple of clicks. Just search for the client, sale, project, ticket or other place you want to log the work, confirm the time spent and enter a short report, and your timesheet will be filled in.
If you're the kind of person who's often doing client work, you'll be familiar with having milestones, tasks and tickets that need to be worked on for clients, often with budgets and deadlines. Accelo makes it easy to track the time spent on tasks by showing them as "Suggested Work" between their start and due dates. To convert these suggest work entries into actual time on your timesheet, simply click on them, confirm the time you want to log, and you're done!
If your manager takes the next step and assigns a number of hours on a given day to work on a task, it will be shown as part of the "Committed Work" list, making it easy for you to go back and enter the actual amount of time you spent. Simply click on the committed work entry, confirm the hours you want to log, and you'll convert that committed work into actual work, adjusting budgets automatically and in real time.
While automating timesheets can help recover a lot of lost time, we all know that the best way to keep track of the time you spend doing client work is to log it as you're doing it.
The Timers feature in Accelo makes real-time tracking fast and effortless. Simply click on the + in the top right and then "Add Timer". After you give the timer a name, and a starting amount of time (optional), you can start running it. If you create a new timer, other timers will be automatically paused.
When you're ready to convert a timer into a timesheet entry, you can simply click on "Complete" and log your time.
I'm sure you've noticed that the left-hand side of your timesheet contains a list of all the client, projects, sales, tickets and other types of client work that the timesheet already knows about. But what if the work you want to enter time against isn't already there? The good news is that finding and adding a new row is easy. All you have to do is type in the client, project, sale or a name in the top left search box and you'll be able to see a super-fast search across all your client work.
Once you've added this new row, you can easily type in the hours and minutes spent on that client work into the relevant days. You'll see a handy real-time total updating as you go and adjusting biggest used and remaining automatically too.
Accelo's automated timesheets make it easier than ever before for you to keep track of your client work. Got questions about the Timesheets module, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org, or send us a tweet @Accelo and lets us know how we can help!
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