Workflows for Tracking Billable Hours: Don’t ‘Wing It’
The business world has always been home to businesses that bill by the hour. The most commonly encountered type is probably the law firm. But many other types of businesses track billable hours too.
If you run your own business, perhaps you charge by the hour for your services. Or perhaps you have dealt with others that do. Consultants, marketing agencies, PR agencies, web designers, and programmers are all examples of businesses that must track billable hours to turn a profit and remain operational.
We’ve come a long way from the days when billable hours were written down by hand, yet even with all the tools we have, it’s still all too common for billable hours to be forgotten, and that’s like walking away and leaving money on the table. Automated workflows are the answer to tracking billable hours. Your services are far too valuable for you to rely on “winging it.”
Methods for Accounting for Billable Time
Employees who want to be absolutely diligent in time tracking efforts can use a “stopwatch” method for tracking billable hours, recording start and end times of work sessions and billing accordingly. Workflow software with simple “start” and “stop” functionality buttons makes this easy.
Some employees may choose to track hours on a daily basis, spending a few moments at the end of the workday tallying billable time for that day and making a record of it. Again, automated workflows can be designed to allow this type of hourly billing.
Still others may only want to account for time on a weekly basis. While this gathers all time-accounting activities into one session, it can result in mistakes more easily than more frequent tracking of billable hours. Nonetheless, workflow management software can be designed to accommodate this technique.
Workflows Can Be Tailored to Users
You may run a business that depends on billable hours, but has employees with different approaches to timekeeping. Naturally, you want to emphasize to them how important it is to keep track of every billable hour, however they choose to do so. With the right workflow software, you can create automated workflows to accommodate the “stopwatch” employee, the person who accounts for hours daily, and even the person who chooses to tally billable hours once a week.
The key is making the workflows as easy as possible for your team members to use. When they know that tracking their hours is as easy as clicking and filling in a few key form fields, they’re far more likely to assimilate the workflow into their routines. The result is more accurate billing for your company overall, with less hassle for everyone involved (including the customers who are billed).
Make Automated Workflows Mobile
Another important tip for better accounting of billable hours is to make the workflows mobile-friendly. That way, if an employee goes straight from a client consultation at the end of the day to their child’s ballgame, it’s still quick and easy to record those billable hours with a minimum of disruption. And if you should need to remind one of your employees that payroll needs their billable hours for the week ASAP, they won’t have to be in the office in order to submit them.
Don’t Leave Money on the Table
Clients want to be confident that the hours of services for which they’re invoiced are accurate and not inflated. At the same time, business owners want to be confident that they are billing for every legitimate work hour the employees work. Automated workflows are the key to reassuring clients they are being billed fairly while making sure that no billable hours are accidentally given away for free.
PerfectForms is workflow software with an intuitive interface that requires no programming for the creation of fully customized workflows. Whether you have your team track billable hours as they happen, daily, weekly, or however they see fit, you can create automated workflows that help ensure that every last hour is tracked and accounted for. PerfectForms invites you to have a look at some of our many case studies so you can see the huge variety of tasks for which automated forms and workflows can be created. You’re sure to be inspired with ideas of your own!