Time, as the old saying goes, is our most precious commodity, and the consultancy industry is no exception to this rule. Whether you’re at the helm of a consulting business or pursuing a freelance career, the adage “time is money” rings especially true.
To make every minute count, consultants must embark on a journey of time tracking that extends beyond mere clock-punching or scribbling notes during tasks. It’s about resource optimization and leveraging time for maximum efficiency.
Within this article, we’ll delve into the world of time tracking for consultants, demystifying its significance and advantages, while also offering insights on how to master this essential practice. Join us as we explore the art of time management, poised to enhance your profitability and productivity in the consultancy field.
Start tracking every billable minute with Timeular to maximize your revenue
“We are much better at accurately tracking our time, which improves client billing” – Michele C., Founder at Clementine Healthcare Marketing
In this article, we’ll see what time tracking means for a consultant, its benefits and importance, and how to track time as a consultant.
Keep reading this blog to master how you manage your time to make it profitable and productive.
Time tracking is the process of recording the number of hours worked, over a certain period, on a task or on a particular project.
Using time tracking as a work tool allows for monitoring and logging work hours. Time tracking can be performed manually (for example, using an Excel sheet) or automatically via a time tracking app.
Read also: What is project management tracking?
For a consultant freelancer or company, time tracking is vital because their working hours are usually managed differently than the traditional 9 to 5.
Did you know that accurate time tracking is a good way to increase billable hour? Find more in our guide.
A consultant usually works by the hour without holding a standard weekly timesheet. So, keeping an accurate record of the hours spent working for clients is vital because they will be paid for those registered hours – the billable hours.
These are the main benefits of time tracking for consultants:
A detailed breakdown of how much time is spent by a consultant professional or company is something that a client may request to see.
A consultant must be transparent when billing a client. Time logs and time-related records are handy for this purpose.
Transparency regarding hours spent vs. billing increases customer retention and improves consultant/client relationships.
By tracking time as a consultant, you’ll be 100% aware of how much time and effort is spent on a particular project or client.
The data collected contributes to better time estimation and accurate billing on the professional’s side. That’s why it’s critical to have accurate data. And to have that data, we suggest a time-tracking tool because it’s better to rely on an automatic tool than on human memory.
If you need help with billing, you might be interested in our guide about client billing.
We can easily forget important details that, down the line, may have a crucial role when presenting the results or billing a client.
Accurate time records provide real insights into consultancy activities and allow for more efficient resource planning for future jobs.
If data from a previous project shows that, for example, creating a communication plan takes three days, the consultant can consider that when creating a task list for a new client that requires a plan too.
Shortly, better time estimations increase client satisfaction since you’ll meet expectations. As a result, you’ll have higher customer retention rates.
Read also: Ways to get consulting clients
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Keeping track of working hours is also essential and required for profitability reasons.
In the consultancy business, firms or freelance professionals usually charge by the hour. Therefore, every hour must be accounted for since there isn’t the “basic” 9 to 5 to go from.
The hours tracked are precious time that is worth money. If billable hours are not tracked, the professionals and firms will do work for free and lose profit.Tribes.ai
Every moment, from the beginning of a project, the research time, meetings with clients, until the execution of the tasks, is billable.
Time tracking provides data on how time is spent for real. With data at hand, optimizing a workload, a team, or a business is easier because you’ll know which tasks are taking your time if you can delegate or automate tasks, for example.
Once again, if you want to track time as a consultant, we recommend using dedicated software because it automates the process, which means more time to focus on what matters the most – work and being productive.
Track time with Timeular to identify time-wasting tasks
Spend less time on unnecessary tasks and work on what matters the most
Some tools are even more helpful than others because they allow consultants to export reports anytime. Automated time reports are essential for consultants to deliver and update clients on progress.
As a result, you’ll see a boost in employee efficiency and project managers, as well as for freelancers and the company.
You might be interested in our guide to improving business efficiency.
Time tracking improves productivity levels because it will help you to focus on one task at a time, avoiding multitasking.
According to a study, multitasking can decrease productivity by up to 45%, and multitasking without time tracking decreases productivity by nearly half. Multitasking employees are way less likely to be focused and not complete tasks.
So, time tracking adds healthy pressure and helps professionals stay invested in one task at a time until they finish it.
Get to know the best tips to improve focus and concentration.
Time tracking can improve this statistic because it can be the basis for completing the work on time. As we explored above, efficiency is highly improved by using time tracking software.
Billing hours become clearer; reports are issued faster. By helping with automation, deadlines are met in time, and workers avoid wasting time they can spend on personal activities.
If the scenario entails a team of consultants that need higher management, time tracking is once again a valuable tool. It’ll help answer the “How is everybody performing?” question.
By tracking the working hours of each consultant, managers will be able to see how long each person spends on specific tasks. The data gathered in these individual reports helps understand every consultant’s most vital and not-so-strong points.
The more detailed the visibility, the better the resources can be organized and optimized. Issues and roadblocks can be addressed even before they become an issue.
If you’re a consultant and have never time tracked before or are willing to improve your current process, this guide may help you.
First, you need to know that you can track your time using a timesheet, a calendar, an email, or a time-tracking tool. As we said before, a time-tracking app is the most accurate and easy to use because it’s automatic.
This activity goes beyond pressing play on a tracker and includes planning ahead. So, ensure you are clear on what tasks you need to track. Let’s see an example.
If you tell a client you will work 6 hours on a project, those hours must be accounted for in detail.
For example, from these 6 hours, you plan on spending 2 doing some research on the project’s needs and doing benchmark research on the competition.
After this, you’ll need another 2 hours to gather and analyze your findings. After that, you have 2 hours to work on a presentation and report.
For these three separate blocks of time, when will you track the time spent on each of them? How much time did you spend on each task? Consultant time tracking is essential for transparency and resource optimization (when needed).
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To do this, what tool will you choose? An email or timesheet that requires a lot of manual work or an automated platform that brings extra benefits such as reporting, billing, and scheduling of breaks?
Choosing a time-tracking software for a consultant is a decision that demands consideration. Some features must be included when a professional consultant is looking for the best software.
Priority should be given to tools that:
- Offers customizable timesheets that can be edited seamlessly and efficiently;
- Allows automated reports that will allow consultants to keep clients and stakeholders up to date on their progress;
- Offers flexible time logs, with the choice to track both automatically and manually;
- Offers security and good customer support;
- Can be easily integrated with other apps (calendars, e-mails, Asana, Gitlab, Slack, etc);
- Permits space for both billable and non-billable tasks;
- Allows seamless integration with the finance system used by the consultant;
- Has dashboards that can be customized according to what the consultant prefers, from tracking budgets to checking tasks;
- It’s able to track time across clients, projects, and tasks;
- Offers a free trial so it can be tested before buying.
Success Story: discover how consultants improved their productivity with time tracking
Timeular is the most intuitive and easy-to-use time tracking software. It helps consultants daily to capture every billable hour and keep track of budgets accurately.
Thanks to its accurate insights and reports, teams can easily export and forward excellent ready-made reports to clients. As it is so easy to use, it does not create extra distractions. It helps the team focus on the critical tasks they need to accomplish while the tool handles logistic details.
Timeular offers transparent, sharable, and automated reporting, making it easier for employees, teams, and companies to improve their productivity and for clients to be on top of things. Not one more billable hour will be missed.
Consultant companies and freelancers should track their time to promote better client relationships, make better time estimations, bill every worked hour, and increase efficiency and productivity. The final result will be enhanced profitability.
To track time as a consultant, the best way to do it is by using time-tracking software. It’s possible and essential for consultants to prevent over or under-utilized resources, minimize revenue leakage and monitor progress to understand how and when new projects can be initiated.
The main benefits of time-tracking software for consultants are the possibility of managing time more efficiently and effectively, preventing the misuse or overuse of resources, minimizing revenue loss, understanding how the workday is better organized, monitoring progress, and, through transparency in billing and reporting, improving relationships with clients.
Consultants might choose to track time using automated time tracking software, a customized calendar, an email, manually logging in to an Excel spreadsheet, or other documents created for this purpose.
Yes, time tracking is effective. It’s the best method for businesses and professionals to allocate their resources more efficiently and avoid time wasters that can lead to loss of revenue.
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