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To a services business, it sounds simple enough: The sooner you bill, the sooner revenue can be available as working capital. Ostensibly, the steps for services delivery follow a straight line from A to Z – but in reality, they tend to do anything but. Instead, organizations relying on manual approaches to project time tracking, approvals, expenses, and more find themselves on a zigzagging path of delayed billing and all the negative effects that come with it, including high overhead costs, inhibited cash flow, and reduced profits.
Timely and Accurate: Twin Requirements for Project Billing Success
Invoicing can only begin once all employee hours and project expenses have been captured, but ensuring everything has been submitted and approved on a timely basis is no picnic. More often than not, resources are late or even forget to submit altogether while focusing on other work. Stack that on top of regular billing inaccuracies due to manual rate calculations, mis-tracked time, and more, and things can start to go south. So what can businesses do to enable billing done accurately and efficiently?
It starts with having the right tools. A configurable time tracking solution designed to unify capture and billing across an organization will play an important role in setting things right. Businesses today require scalability, flexibility, and easy-to-use interfaces to account for 100% of resource hours and gain real-time visibility into project hours, costs and employee productivity, especially as remote work becomes the standard. The best practices below can ensure that you choose the right one to help accelerate cash flow and shorten project billing cycles for your organization.
1. Graduate from antiquated paper- and Excel-based tracking
Using a paper time tracking system in 2020 is a risky endeavor. Even managing a few projects can quickly become untenable as documents from numerous sources multiply quickly, each requiring review, validation, and transcription. And electronic spreadsheets don’t fare much better when it comes to alleviating human error and near-constant data exportation.
2. Ensure your solution is accessible and intuitive
Capturing accurate data relies first and foremost upon the ability of your employees to enter information with as little effort as possible. The less intrusive, the better, because the future is now – and intuitive, mobile and cloud technologies are fundamental tools within the evolving landscape of project time tracking.
True industry-leading solutions will always enable your teams – especially those that are remote – to submit time and expense entries from anywhere, anytime, on any device. Automating configurable workflows for supervisors and project managers is also a key function of a project billing software prepared to streamline your billing processes, from validation to sharing data across systems.
3. Real-time data for informed billing and invoicing
Relying on manual processes can introduce a whole host of challenges, much of them stemming from the information silos created by the clash of multiple fragmented systems failing to communicate. When these systems cannot provide the right people with all relevant developments as they happen, work is delayed and supervisors are left making reactive decisions in the aftermath.
Embracing intelligent, cloud-based, and mobile-enabled project time tracking solutions ensure that updates are made available in real time as users enter data. This way, billing information is always up-to-date and within reach, which is especially helpful if clients have any questions.