As a consultant, it is important to accurately record and manage working hours. For example, you can make sure that you are paid for your consultation hours. Modern time tracking tools help. In this guide, we explain the importance of time tracking in consulting, and introduce you to best practices as well as essential factors for choosing the right tool.
Why is time tracking essential for consultants?
In addition to project controlling, time tracking is one of the most essential tools for successfully completing the often numerous, parallel running consulting projects and for billing in a timely manner. Here are the most important points at a glance:
- Accurate data instead of incomplete memory
Whether you simply want insights into your own work performance or need accurate hourly logs for billing with your customer: without time tracking, you don’t have reliable data at hand.
- Check and manage productivity
Accurate tracking of worked time per task and customer allows you to more easily assess and – if necessary – manage the work performance of individual employees, departments or yourself. Do you on average require more time for the same task as your colleague? Talk to each other, maybe they are using a tool you don’t know, or they’re just rushing through things and make more mistakes. Either way, productivity as well as efficiency can be increased with enough information available.
- Transparent customer relations
Avoid misunderstandings and discussions about billed hours by keeping accurate hour logs. 40 hours of consulting on the invoice make customers more suspicious than a detailed listing of all performed services, including time and hourly rate.
- Fast billing for timely cashflow
The more reliable you keep track of time throughout your workday, the easier it is for you to use this data for invoicing with your customer. The simplified process ensures that bills are paid faster.
- More efficiency with automatic time tracking
Many providers of time tracking tools also have solutions for automatic time tracking in store. For example, the TimeChimp Tracker tracks your activities in the background and at the end of your day all you have to do is select which records you want to submit. This saves you valuable time on administrative tasks.
Best Practice: Project time tracking instead of hour tracking
As already mentioned, project controlling is just as important a tool in assessing the success of consulting companies as working time tracking. Simple tracking of hours without assigning it to projects is therefore only an option if you only work on one project or customer at a time. However, consulting projects often run in parallel. So this type of time tracking is quickly leading to unclear costs for customers or even false invoices. Project-based time tracking, on the other hand, enables clear project controlling per customer and project phase as well as simple and reliable invoicing. It seems that the well known principle consulting = project-based work stays accurate.
The combination of project management, working time tracking and final project accounting is not only efficient, but also more informative than mere attendance time tracking. As a manager in consulting, you receive comprehensive data on the productivity of your employees. Does a consultant spend a lot of time writing a report? Someone else seems to perform particularly well in customer projects in a particular industry? Use this information to train your employees and make the most of their strengths.
The right tool for time tracking in consulting
Choosing the right time tracking tool in the consulting industry depends on 3 important factors:
- Flexibility: As a consultant, the “4 + 1” model (four days at the client’s office, one day in the own office) is widely used. But the development towards remote consulting also demands flexibility from a time tracking tool. A combination of an easy to use desktop application and mobile app is therefore the best solution, even when tracking expenses and mileages.
- Overview: The more detail you can capture with the tool, the more insight you get into your team’s productivity. In addition to assigning customers and projects, information such as the type of task provides in depth information about performance and efficiency within individual projects.
- Integrations: Automated processes save time and ensure faster cashflow. By linking your calendar application, you can quickly simplify your time tracking. Or synchronize your accounting software or payroll with the data from the time tracking tool to keep your finances in order.
TimeChimp offers a flexible, clear and intelligent solution for digital time tracking and makes management in consulting companies easier. Project-based time tracking meets efficient project management and enables quick invoicing to the customer. Smart features such as automated time tracking and client portals help you to keep track of all consulting projects, customers, and employees. Easy does it.