If you're reading this article, you probably know what time tracking is (if not, be sure to check out this article). There's no denying that time tracking brings a slew of benefits to businesses like software development companies or digital marketing agencies.
But here's something they don't tell you about time tracking: The value of time tracking changes with time as your company grows from a small operation to a real mid-sized venture.
And this is something you should take into account when choosing a time tracking solution. The idea is that you don't grow out of it too quickly and keep on using it for as long as possible. Now you know that a time tracker will play different roles at different stages of your growth.
And this is a real problem with the time tracking market. Most time trackers concentrate on smaller companies. They're simply not versatile enough to grow together with the company until it reaches the level of 100+ employees. How to deal with it and use time tracking to your advantage while building your company?
Read on to find out how time tracking can help you at different company growth stages and get expert tips for choosing the right time tracker that will support you during every step of the journey.
Small (1-10 people)
Value 1: Productivity
The primary benefit time tracking brings to a single-person operation or small companies with fewer than 10 people on board is the possibility of analyzing how you spend time at work - and then optimizing your habits and schedule for productivity.
By knowing how you spend time, you can pinpoint inefficiencies, optimize your processes, or even remove yourself from processes where you end up becoming a bottleneck. It's that simple: when you know where your time goes, you're in the position of taking full control of it.
If time is running and you can't tell how you spent it (what tasks you've completed or which business areas you've addressed during the day), there's just no way for you to take a good, objective look at your schedule and optimize it for productivity.
Value 2: Financials - billing clients
At this stage of your operation, you probably deliver services to a number of other companies. It's a common industry standard for hourly-billed services to present a detailed timesheet to the client so they can sign it off. Only once the client has full knowledge about the exact number of hours dedicated to their project, the provider issues the invoice.
Note that the majority of time trackers today offer the option of exporting such a timesheet to a file in formats such as CSV, XLS, or PDF. Companies need to manually send these timesheets to clients, often adding branding or even creating their own scripts for handling tasks.
At Weekly, we aim to automate this process and create a handy online client panel where clients can take a look at the hours being spent on their project and accept them directly. This is how we can eliminate the entire process of preparing a timesheet to be sent and signed off by the client, leaving your employees more time to support mission-critical areas of your business.
Mid-sized (10-50 people)
At this point in the journey, your business processes will become a little more complex and demanding. A time tracker will still help you in monitoring and increasing your productivity, but it can support two other key areas.
Value 3: Project management
Once your company gains traction, and you end up counting between 10 and 50 people on board, a time tracker will come in handy for tracking project management goals.
For example, a time tracking solution can help you to measure a project's progress. Once you set the project budget in hours or their monetary value, you can ask your team members to log the time they spend on the project and check its status at any time. That way, you will gain control over the amount of time and energy your company dedicates to the client and will be able to compare time spent in the project against initial estimations.
If you combine this with a resource scheduling feature, you will be able to easily see whether you're under or ahead of your schedule/budget. That's why choosing a time tracking tool that offers integrations or includes such features is a good idea.
Value 4: Human Resources (HR)
Time trackers are valuable also to human resources professionals who can use them to monitor the employees' working hours and time off.
For instance, if they see that a person's timesheet is empty, they should easily tell whether it's because they're off on holiday or because they forgot to fill it. However, HR people usually store the information about holidays in other tools, so to do that they need to switch contexts.
Weekly will eliminate this need by offering all of the information in one place. This type of transparency greatly reduces the amount of work and communication required to understand what everyone is up to.
Ultimately, at this stage of growth, you want to make sure that you're using your resources to achieve maximum efficiency – and that includes the time of your employees.
That's why enabling them to track their time and log the hours they spend on different projects is so important. Reports from HR can help in proper resource allocation based on the in-depth awareness of how much time each client is receiving from your experts.
Large (50+ people)
At this point, your company counts more than 50 people. This means that many processes are more complex, and the internal workings of your company had changed massively from the moment when you were just a few people in a room. Time tracking can help you resolve these complexities by painting a more accurate picture of what's happening at your company. Naturally, the use cases we've mentioned so far apply to this model as well. Here are two more ways you can use a time tracking tool when your organization grows.
Value 5: Finance – measuring the profitability of your project, team, or even the entire company
Let's say that you've been using time regularly tracking to keep track of the hours spent on different projects in your company. Once you put all of your billable hours and costs in, you can get a fair and reliable view of your company's financial situation.
However, here's the problem: most of the tracking tools on the market can't handle multiple currencies or costs/billable rates history reliably. That's why you might end up only with an approximate of this number and have to calculate everything from scratch in separate spreadsheets.
This is something we are looking to address at Weekly. We think that larger companies could benefit a lot from what a single tool that brings time and money together to create a transparent view of the financial situation in just a few clicks.
Value 6: Legal – documenting work and meeting legal requirements
Larger companies might not care so much about billing their clients extremely precisely due to the scale. But time tracking tools can come in handy for classifying and documenting work so that it can be processed formally.
For example, appropriate classification of time entries supports scenarios like grant applications where the company needs to distinguish "maintenance" work from "Research and Development." This is another area where time tracking holds immense potential. By categorizing and documenting projects, time tracking tools allow companies to measure and report on the work being carried out.
However, if you research the time trackers market, you'll see that few solutions support the multi-level classification of time entries. Here at Weekly, we're planning to address this problem to help companies easily categorize their expenses and document the work to meet the strictest legal requirements.
Value 7: Business intelligence
Timesheets are a rich but rarely used source of knowledge about how your employees are working and performing. Few companies can reliably use time tracking tools to understand things such as resource utilization or profitability.
As we're building Weekly, we want to help companies to understand the profitability and performance of their talents. That's why we aim to add features that allow gaining real business intelligence so that our users can fully understand what's happening in their companies and how they could improve their processes to increase employee performance and, in consequence, the company profitability.
Time trackers can support business growth well as long as they have all the features and integrations that become important to businesses as they expand in size. This is exactly what we're planning for Weekly.
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– and keep on exploring this blog to learn more about the business value of time tracking.