For professional services organizations, the adage “time is money” is a fact of life. However, one of the major challenges of the average project-based business is timesheet completion and accuracy. It’s almost impossible to measure and track the organization’s key performance indicators (KPI’s) without timely, accurate information about the work that its staff did on its clients’ projects.
Whether your agency charges work on a time and material basis, fixed price, capped price, etc., it is highly likely that an estimate of the time required to deliver the piece of work is the budget’s base.
Given the above, it’s surprising to see so many organizations that don’t embed good timesheet practice into their culture.
Here are 3 simple steps that organizations can take to ensure that staff complete their timesheets in a timely and accurate manner.
1. Educate staff
This may sound obvious but it’s vitally important that everyone in the organization understands why proper timesheet completion is important. Therefore, you should explain this during the onboarding process and reinforce it through regular communications.
Most importantly, senior management should set themselves as examples to the rest of the organization.
2. Keep timesheet completion simple
Most organizations will set utilization targets for their staff. (These are linked to billing rates and are used to establish the organization’s desired profitability.) These targets are set as percentages, but the problem is that it’s harder for employees to conceptualize percentages.
What’s easier for an employee to understand?
- You have a utilization target of 80%
- You need to spend 32 hours or more on chargeable client work
A decent, intuitive, simple-to-use timesheet system is very important. Let’s face it, nobody likes timesheet completion. As a result, the last thing people want is a tool that makes it even more of an unpleasant experience.
Do you have any more suggestions/comments? We would love to hear them.
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