Time Tracking

Small Business Software

How do you manage billing your hourly clients? Do you know how much time you and your employees are spending on various projects? Time tracking will help you with these areas and more.

App Spotlight

Time is money, of course. In small businesses where resources are constrained, time management is even more valuable. Harvest makes it easy for small businesses to track time and send invoices from one integrated application. Once invoices are sent Harvest allows you to instantly and securely collect payments via the web.

Give Harvest a try

What is time tracking?

Time tracking methods involve keeping track of time spent by each person working at your company. It can be used for tracking specific projects or it can be used for everyone’s time in general. Time tracking might be necessary for billing purposes but it’s also used in the name of production enhancement as well as strategic planning. Time tracking isn’t a new concept and many businesses have historically used time sheets (paper based time tables) to help them understand how their employees’ time was divided between different tasks. Done effectively, time tracking can help you lower your costs, better serve your customers, and manage your staff's time in the most efficient way possible. Time tracking might be an older concept but it isn’t extinct. Nowadays, though, there are more modern and effective ways of managing time tracking than with a pencil and paper.

Why is time tracking important for small businesses?

Time is money, of course. Whether you are billing a dollar value for your time or just want to better manage your time and maximize your output, you’ll benefit from understanding exactly where the time in each day goes. Time tracking can work for individuals and for entire teams. It can help you track and analyze your day, your week, your staff, your customers, and so on. It can also help you plan ahead so you can not only be more productive but so that you can also be more proactive, too. Once you break your day down into time blocks and determine what you did in an eight, ten, or twelve hour workday, it can be very clear that changes need to happen in order for you to maximize time spent and open up more of your calendar so that you and team members can spend time on the most productive and profitable tasks possible.

Effective time tracking can help small businesses grow

Small business owners are busy. But some of them don’t know exactly how to go about freeing up more time so they can be more productive and proactive --- especially as their business starts experiencing growth and success. A time and motion study can help you determine where you can make changes. If you’re spending a lot of time on administrative tasks, for instance, you can analyze time spent and determine that a good chunk of your time could be more profitably spent elsewhere. Time tracking can help you justify adding headcount, determine where things can (and should) be outsourced, and it can help you determine and allocate adequate budget based on how much time specific tasks should take. If you have staff working for you, knowing where their time is being spent can help you with numerous areas including payroll, performance management, and process optimization. If you or your people are discovered to be currently spending too much time on a task that’s not generating very much income, this could be a catalyst for positive organizational changes. In terms of staff management, time tracking can help you substantially. And time tracking can also help you with customer relationship management. If you track and analyze time and then drill down to time spent per client, this can be very revealing. It’ll tell you about your most profitable clients, illustrate which of your clients need more nurturing, and it will help you with planning for customer relationship management, business development areas, and strategic direction in the future.

Implement a better time tracking solution

Taking the time to do time tracking might sound like tedium beyond your tolerance abilities but this exercise could be the start of vastly improved productivity. Instead of relying on paper forms, whiteboards, or even an Excel spreadsheet, consider an automated solution. An automated time tracking solution will allow you to track your time with just a few clicks. You can find cloud-based time tracking tools that will let you track your time from anywhere. Time tracking applications won’t just help you see where you’re doing things reactively. They’ll also help you become a more proactively managed company, too. Beyond seeing that changes are needed (which you probably already know), it can quickly become apparent exactly where those changes need to happen.