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Time and expense tracking software helps businesses know what their employees are spending time on in order to accurately budget for labor on all projects. This solution works by simultaneously tracking two separate elements: employee time spent on tasks and project-related expenses. The first can be done by using anything from traditional timesheets completed and submitted by workers to online check-in apps which automatically calculate labor. The latter details money spent through expense receipts and reimbursement claims made during the project.
There are software options which offer just time tracking or expense management functionality. By tracking time and expense information together, your company can see the direct correlation between labor and material costs on every project or service you offer.
There are several benefits to implementing a time and expense tracking system at your business:
One of the main benefits of time and expense software is demonstrating to employees how their labor directly impacts company spending. Tracking can show employees exactly how much time they’ve spent on any given task. They can then adjust their schedule to accommodate tasks they know will take longer to complete. Using this method can streamline workloads, leading to faster turnaround times on projects overall.
Time and expense software lets managers track time and review manual time entries made by employees. If certain projects start to take too long, known as scope creep, managers can intervene in real-time by identifying when workers are falling behind. Redistributing the workload or changing the schedule can compensate for these delays before they snowball out of control.
Unanticipated overtime can be a major expense for businesses. Time and expense tracking lets managers review timesheets in real-time to know when employees are getting close to overtime thresholds, letting them either adjust the schedule or prepare payment in compliance with Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) records.
When relying only on a manual time clock system, there are many reasons an employee might not correctly log their hours. Maybe they simply forgot to clock out one day, leaving their timesheet incomplete for a pay period. Or a client meeting ran longer than anticipated. If these mistakes aren’t caught quickly, it can lead to payroll delays or unexpected overtime.
Time and expense tracking software provides an easy-to-use interface for employees and managers to double-check billable hours and attendance. If an error with an employee’s hours isn’t caught quickly, it can lead to issues with FLSA and other compliance requirements.
Mobile time clocks allow employees to punch in or out while on the go. This can be helpful when workers have to attend meetings or visit with clients away from the office. This extra accessibility is also useful for remote employees who need a way to log hours when working from home. Mobile apps for time tracking software are compatible with iOS and Android devices.
Like manually punched time, out-of-pocket expenses can be difficult to track without a time and expense tracking system. Delayed reimbursement can cause employees to worry about ever getting paid back and hurt their relationship with the company. Timely repayment can build up more trust amongst workers.
By using a time and expense tracking software, you can set up an automated approval process for repeat charges based on a pre-approved budgeting. Or require all expenses to be personally approved before reimbursement. Regardless, employees simply submit their own expense receipts through a self-service portal to start the process. No more collecting and cataloging paper receipts! Customize the process for different employees or departments based on their usual expense requirements.
Projects can over budget and fall behind schedule for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it comes down to a task taking more resources than anticipated. Sometimes it’s a client making additional or unreasonable requests. Time and expense tracking software with invoicing tools can show how these changes are impacting billable labor.
For example, does one client regularly request additional services beyond the scope of the original request? Fight against scope creep by holding them accountable for all time and expenses they incur. Build custom reports every time a client requests more work without offering additional payment.
Knowing your time and expense history on projects can lead to better job costing methods in the future. The goal of job costing is to increase project profitability through better management of cash flow and expenses. This is particularly useful for construction companies, though many industries benefit from the improved cost control opportunities offered by these technologies.
Time and expense tracking solutions tend to benefit those industries which depend on hourly rates, including:
Time and expense tracking software can be deployed on-premise or through a Cloud-based platform. Each has different benefits and potential drawbacks, depending on your exact needs.
On-premise deployment is ideal for industries with plenty of available computers. For example, a healthcare facility with shared computer terminals could use an on-premise solution so medical staff can log clinic hours as they move between patients. In contrast, a contractor who starts each day at a different construction site would want to use a Cloud-deployed time and expense tracking system in order to clock-in on mobile devices as soon as they arrive to work.
Some time and expense tracking software offers hybrid deployment models, meaning businesses can blend on-premise and Cloud-based options to fit their business needs. This is useful for any company which has some employees always clock-in onsite while others may have to log hours while away from the office.
Time and expense tracking software pricing is often based on two factors: the number of users and the types of expense being reported. The total costs to implement this software is highly variable based on your company. There are plans available for as little as $7.95 per month per user while other plans may reach $24.95 per month per user.
Time and expense tracking software is just one way to better manage your valuable time. There are other options, many of which can be used in conjunction with a time and expense software:
Whichever solution is best for you will depend on several factors. For example, if you regularly hire seasonal staff at certain times of the year, a time and attendance system will be the best option for ensuring employee scheduling covers all upcoming shifts without forcing anyone into overtime.