Time does truly fly.
We’ve all seen the usual photos of friend’s children, scrubbed clean after the summer holidays ready for the new school term, posted on Facebook in crisp clean uniforms, with comments underneath that usually say something along the lines of, “where has the time gone?!”
But, time flying past can have a serious consequence; if a project is bleeding time, you are losing money…
Sounds painful and unnecessary but when we say this we mean effectively undercharging for the amount of time you spend on a project. In fact, it can be quite a wake up call. Especially when you come across a program that can link what you input on the timesheet with creating an accurate invoice…
However, like most things, the internet has the answer; there are a plethora of applications and software that can effectively and efficiently track the amount of time you spend on a project.
How do you charge for your time?
Go on, admit it! You hazard a guess and, at best, hope that it hits the mark. You probably don’t bother re-negotiating for the odd few minutes here and there of the over time you do but, if you can see the project running and running you will, hopefully, re-negotiate a better deal.
If you are a one-man band, this may be OK-ish; when problems can become apparent is when it comes to leaking time (and therefore, money) is when you have a team of people working on various projects at once.
Which is why you may need one of the many online applications or programs to help you note the amount of time each employee spend on each project or assignment.
The cloud computing options
Remember our article on cloud computing? Well this is a great way of investing in programs that do not need downloading or expensive updates. These time sheet type applications can be free but other charge a monthly fee for their use.
Of course, as with all things, you need to research each of these applications thoroughly, checking that what they offer for the price you can afford is something useful; don’t be bamboozled into spending money you don’t have!
Likewise, as with all cloud applications etc., check out the security too; online reviews are a great place to start for which timesheet programs could be a contender for your business.
There are some great online timesheets that can function from a basic timesheet, to setting up projects so that more than one employee can input their time for each project. This way you can see what time is being spent on each portion of a project; you can then adjust your quotation system but also assess if there are some aspects that can be streamlined to make them flow quicker.
One application that we find useful is Toggl. Not only do you complete timesheet per project but they can also be used to create invoices – meaning you streaming the amount of time spent on creating invoices – take a look https://www.toggl.com/tour/web
Who could Toggl be useful for?
Anybody who charges by a ‘time unit’ and is intended for anyone who wants an overview of time spent on projects. It bills itself as an easy-to-use programme that can be up and running within minutes.
They draw their customers from across a wide sectors of industry and from across the globe, including consultants, book-keepers, designers, students for example and they also say they have small to large businesses using their application too – from charities, not-for-profit organisations to big, global companies.
Security and reliability
We have all, however, been in that dreadful position when we have tried to use an online program to complete a simple, yet essential task only to find that we are attempting to do so when there is essential maintenance or a glitch in the system.
So when checking for security and reliability with any cloud service is that they are duplicated and backed up – so if the night time cleaner inadvertently pulls the plug, your important data is not lost.
You will also find, like Toggl does, that cloud services talk about ‘uptime’ and you are looking for a high percentage of time – Toggl say they have an uptime of 99.9%, with data backed up every 12 hours, as well as being encrypted and stored in several separate locations. All in all, it seems that they take security and reliability seriously.
Should you pay? Or is free good enough?
Depending on what you want to use the service force, and how complex you need the functions to be, there may be a charge but, in all honesty, the majority of cloud services such as timesheet and connected invoicing are reasonable.
You will also find that many of these application and programs reel you in with a 30 day free trial for example but look out for…
- Contracts, termination fees and the like which may mean that once signed up, you are tied in for months…
- There are discounts available with many of these online services, such as for charities, not for profit organisations, students etc. as well as for larger companies
- As easy as they say they are to use, you may struggle with some features – what is the support like? Is there a cost to this?
- Many are run from countries across the globe – if you are on a different time zone, how does support work then? It will be no good if you have a burning question but it can’t be answered as the sun’s not up in America yet…
- Synchronicity is great too and so you may want to check if you can access it or have updates etc. across the range of technology you use