All posts by BigTime

Would you use a tool that could save your consulting firm time and money? Most likely, your answer is a resounding “yes”!

Enter resource allocation. It’s a new BigTime tool that helps companies manage their resources: staffers and budgets. Knowing how and where time is being spent can ultimately help your consulting firm save time and money.

There are three ways BigTime’s resource allocation can help you manage your resources effectively.

1. Create a Plan

When you create a plan, you think through how to get from point A to point B. It’s no different for project managers. They use resource allocation to plan projects from start to finish.

The resource allocation editor is where you create the project plan. Use it to add project and staff details:

  • Add employees to a project and allocate the hours they work on it.
  • See if you’re over or under the project budget.
  • Gauge whether or not you’ll hit a project deadline.
resource allocation software tool

As you fill out the allocation editor, you’ll think about a project from multiple perspectives. You may ask: Which employees are over and under capacity? Do you have the employee resources to get this project done?

The answers to these questions may incite action. Perhaps you shuffle staffers between projects in order to hit a looming deadline. Or maybe you inform your client that a project will be over budget by 50 hours. The point is, resource allocation helps keep you informed and accountable to make important business decisions.

2. Prepare for All Scenarios

Jim Collins writes in his book, Great by Choice, that successful business leaders practice “productive paranoia.” Collins describes it as “worrying about all the possible things that could go wrong and then building in the preparations that allow you to have options to deal with them.”

You, too, can be prepared by using resource allocation. Think about your present and future needs, as you plan months in advance. Then, take action as you prepare for various situations.

Consider these scenarios:

  • You expect to land an important contract with a big project. In the allocation editor, you move your best senior engineers to this project. Then, spread out your junior engineers among smaller projects.
  • March is your busy season. When using the allocation editor, you realize you need more programmers to handle the workload. So you begin looking for freelance programmers to help cover the month of March.
  • Henry has been over capacity for the past two months. You reduce his allocated hours for the next several months and give Jan more hours, since she’s under capacity.

Although things are going well now, by thinking about and preparing for the future you won’t be caught off guard when you land that big contract or hit a notoriously busy time.

3. Get Instant Feedback

Feedback from resource allocation can help you hit deadlines and stay within budget. There are three ways to get feedback from BigTime’s resource allocation feature:

  • Resource allocation editor. See if you’ve over-allocated hours to your employees. In the image below, we did just that, as indicated by the red “Allocated:116” in the right corner.
     
    resource allocation tool
  • Resource allocation data. Notice which employees are logging the most hours to a project and whether the project is on budget.

    Based on this information, you may speak with the employee that’s logging tons of hours to the project and find out why. Or you have a conversation with your client asking for more hours to complete a project.

    resource allocation report
  • Run resource allocation reports. Drill down further into project details. Resource allocation reports allow you to see how the many parts of your business fit together. You can get the answers to questions like these: Is time being spent on the right projects; and how much time did we actually spend on the project?

*Resource allocation is available to Premier users, however, existing Pro users can get a free 14-day trial. To find out more about resource allocation, contact your sales representative or email us at sales@bigtime.net.


Amy Haddad is a writer at BigTime Software. She writes articles about the company’s software for product users. She also contributes blog posts on product features, company news, and workplace productivity.

Consultants don’t get enough credit. They hit project deadlines, give presentations, and write reports in order to help businesses achieve goals and solve problems. How do they get it all done? This article answers that question by providing four ways to effectively manage your days and time.

meet consulting project deadlines banner

1. Have a Plan

Most people don’t start their day with a plan. They instead react to whatever comes their way, from email requests to impromptu meetings. But this how deadlines are missed and consulting projects that should take two hours to complete, take four.

That’s why you need to start each day with a plan. Create a schedule with what you need to work on and find the blocks of time to get it done. Here’s an example:

  • 9am – 12:30pm – Draft report for ABC project
  • 12:30pm – 1:30pm – Lunch
  • 1:30pm – 2:30pm – Prepare for presentation
  • 2:30 – 3:30pm – Respond to emails and voicemails

You get the idea.

A detailed plan like this can be a boon to your productivity. Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University and author, attests to the power of method: “A 40 hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure.”

Plus, since you’re billing a client for the time you spend on a consulting project, you need to accurately report your working hours. Planning your days can help you accurately gauge the time you spend working—and your priorities.

2. Prioritize

Peter Drucker’s advice to do “first things first” is timeless.

As you plan your day, determine your priorities and stack them toward the front of your day and get them done. Don’t procrastinate and leave the important stuff for the afternoon when you’re mentally exhausted and rushed to get out of the office.

3. Focus

There’s a lot competing for your attention in the workplace, but multitasking is not the answer suggests a growing body of research. A Cleveland Clinic article explains that “for nearly all people, in nearly all situations, multitasking is impossible…we are wired to be mono-taskers.” Adding to the evidence is a study by Sophie Leroy, a business professor. When you start working on one task and switch to another, your mind is still thinking about the original task.

For example, say you’re writing a report for your client, Smith’s IT Firm. You’re 30 minutes into the task and you take a fiery call from another client about a past project. Now you’re thinking about your former client and how to remedy the situation, instead of the report you have to write. In other words, you’re distracted.

Your current client doesn’t want to pay you for spending time thinking about or dealing with past projects. So put your phone away, close your email and Slack tabs, and focus on the task at hand.

4. Bundle small tasks

Instead of spending five minutes here and ten minutes there throughout your day on small tasks, bundle them together. Not only is this a better use of your time, but it also help prevent succumbing to distractions all day long.

In the above schedule, you’ll notice that one hour is dedicated to responding to email and voicemail. You’ll also notice this hour is scheduled toward the end of the day—after the important stuff is complete.

It takes a little discipline to follow the suggestions outlined in this article. But you’ll reap the benefits. Incorporate these strategies and you’ll likely find that your productivity soars.

Amy Haddad is a writer at BigTime Software. She writes articles about the company’s software for product users. She also contributes blog posts about product features, company news, and workplace productivity.

resource allocation software for consultants

It’s 3pm on Thursday afternoon and your client calls with an urgent request due the next morning. You commit to the deadline and spend the next hour scrambling to figure out who can work on this request, without jeopardizing your other projects. After a very late and stressful night at the office, your team gets the job done. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there before, but a situation like this can be prevented with resource allocation: a process for allocating resources, like budgets and staffers’ time, and planning for future work. Companies of all sizes use it to effectively manage multiple projects and staffers. Who can take on more work? Do we need to add more staffers to handle that big project coming up? Did we exceed the budget for this project?

Get answers to these questions with resource allocation. Then, when your client calls, project managers can proactively explain what can get done by a specific deadline based on resources available, since they’ll have a lot of data at their fingertips—instead of reacting impulsively to frantic requests.

The Many Benefits

See how projects, budgets, and staffers fit together with resource allocation in BigTime—a new feature available for Premier users.* Think of resource allocation as an investment in your employees and client relationships because everyone benefits:

  • Project managers stay organized. No more scrambling to see who’s free to take on client requests or committing to projects that you can’t reasonably fulfill. Now you’ve got the details readily available to make important business decisions.
  • Employees are busy, and consequently, engaged because you see who’s over and under work capacity.
  • Clients are easily informed about projects and their statuses, like whether or not they’re on budget.

When to Use Resource Allocation

Resource allocation in BigTime allows you to stay on the pulse of your projects and staffers. Here are some situations when you’d use resource allocation in BigTime:

  1. Communicate with your client. A client calls and wants to update an existing project. You explain you’ve got the staff capacity make the update, but you’ll exceed your budget by fifty billable hours. Knowing this, your client decides not to go forward with the update in order to stick to the budget. However, you’re seen as a resource: informing the client of what’s possible and at what cost.
  2. Avoid unpleasant surprises. You budgeted 300 hours for a three-month project. You’re at 200 hours by the end of the first month. Be proactive and inform your client of your status and ask for more hours, instead of submitting an invoice for 600 hours at the end of the project. Not only are you seen as a resource, but you also prevent an unpleasant surprise: an invoice that’s double the budgeted amount.
  3. Plan ahead. You’ve got a big project coming up, and you need your best people on that project. Use resource allocation to make sure it’s covered, as well as other smaller projects that’ll be running concurrently.

We live in a data-driven world. With resource allocation, you can use data in a way that’s meaningful to you, profitable to your company, and useful to your clients and staff.


*Click here to learn more about Premier. Existing Pro users can get a free 14-day trial to see if resource allocation fits your business needs. To find out more about BigTime’s resource allocation, contact your sales representative or email us at sales@bigtime.net.

If you’re looking for better ways to track projects, log time, and manage staffers, you’ll love this release. Read on to find out what’s new at BigTime.

Task Editor

One new feature is our task editor. Think of it as a one stop shop for entering task-related information for a project all at once, instead of individually on the task dashboard. Your task editor will look like this:

Project Task Editor

In the image above, the tasks are in green and the subtasks are in black beneath them.

There’s a lot to like about the task editor. For one, you can add subtasks, or smaller “to do’s,” for each task. Subtasks can help you think through all the necessary steps to get a task done. For example, the task of writing a press release may include subtasks like interviewing the CEO for quotes and getting images from the marketing executive.

Another benefit is using hotkeys for easy navigation. Save yourself a few mouse clicks and try these hotkeys:

  • Arrow keys (left, right, up, down) to move across cells in all directions.
  • Tab key moves across cells horizontally.
  • Enter key moves vertically within a column.
  • ALT+Down arrow key opens a picklist.

Best of all, you can customize the task editor window so tasks and subtasks are organized and sorted as you like them. In the image below, we’ll move “Write blog posts” ahead of “Build website” by clicking on the double row of dots and dragging and dropping it above “Build website.” Follow the same process for sorting subtasks.

Project Task Editor

Note: BigTime will automatically apply your existing tasks and related information, such as due dates, to the task editor. You can edit this information if you choose.

Resource Allocation

The second new feature is resource allocation. It’s hard to manage multiple projects and staffers, and that’s when resource allocation can help. With resource allocation, you can:

  • See how projects and staffers fit together. Resource allocation will get your diverse team working together on separate projects in the most effective way.
  • Plan for future work. Think ahead and allocate budgets and hours months into the future. This way you’re prepared for that big project coming up in six months.
  • Use your staffers effectively. See which staffers are being over or under utilized, and adjust hourly allocations accordingly.

Simply put, resource allocation helps you stay organized, hit deadlines, and keep your staffers busy, and, consequently, engaged.

Use the resource allocation editor to input information about a project and your staffers. The editor looks like this:

Resource Allocation

Then, use the allocation graphs to get important details about the project and how it’s tracking. Find out which key staff members are logging the most hours to the project and see if your team is exceeding its budget.

Resource Allocation Report

At the same time, feel prepared when client calls unexpectedly with project-related questions, since you’ll have project details at your fingertips, and be a resource to your client. Proactively tell them if you’re running over budget on a project and propose a solution based on the data you have.

Firms with the Premier level of BigTime can access resource allocation. Click here to learn more about Premier. However, if you’re an existing Pro user you can get a free 14-day trial to see if resource allocation fits your business needs. To find out more, contact your sales representative or email us at: sales@bigtime.net.

Timers

We’ve updated our timer feature. Now you’ve got even more functions available. Within the timer itself, you can:

  • Stop a timer, which means BigTime keeps the timer in your list of timers and adds the incurred time to your timesheet.
  • Remove a timer, which means BigTime removes the timer from your list of timers and adds the incurred time to your timesheet.
Project Timer Stop

In your list of timers, you can now choose to “stop all timers.” This means all timers are stopped, incurred time is added to your timesheet, and the timers are kept in your list of timers. This is helpful because you’re keeping your timesheet up to date, while saving yourself some effort tomorrow when you need to access the same timers again.

Project Timer Start

We’ve made many smaller additions and changes to the system, but these are the highlights. We’ll cover some other improvements in future blog posts. If you reported an issue and it was addressed in this release please be on the lookout for a notice from our support group.

 

When you’re searching for the right time and billing software to run your firm, you need to know what questions to ask a vendor. You’ll save time (and money) in your software selection process when you ask these essential questions.

Is Their Time and Billing Software Customizable?

  • Can terminology be personalized by industry?
  • Can you make certain timesheet fields mandatory?
  • Can you customize invoices?
  • Can you customize reports for your purposes?
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Can the Vendor Accommodate Variable Billing Rates?

  • Do they make it easy to adjust rates based on a staffer, a role, or a task?
  • Can they manage variable rates that also change from project to project?
  • Can they edit a rate on an invoice without changing the base rate?
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Is the Time and Billing Software Capable of Scaling as You Grow?

  • Can you manage budgets in real time?
  • Can you manage tasks and their budgets?
  • Is there a review and approval workflow?
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How Easily Can  You Add Users?

  • Does the time and billing vendor require that you pay for a new user immediately?
  • Do you have to fill out paperwork every time you add a user?
  • Can your new user access free online training tools?
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How Often do Updates Go Out? Are You Notified?

  • Does the time and billing vendor practice customer-informed development?
  • Does the vendor have a roadmap for additional features or fixes?
  • Does the vendor offer free training on how to use new features?
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Does the Vendor Charge for Product Integrations?

  • Does the vendor’s software integrate with other productivity applications?
  • Will you need an IT specialist to make the integrations work?
  • Will the time and billing software vendor help you troubleshoot integration problems?
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What Kind of Support and Training Resources are Available?

  • Will the vendor be there for you when invoices have to go out today?
  • Does the vendor have a training plan to get you up and running fast?
  • Does the vendor continuously update their knowledge base and training video library?
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Get the Free Guide

Get All 7 Questions and understand why they’re important. We hope the guide helps you prepare to ask time and billing software vendors all 7 essential questions. And that you’ll be listening to see if they ask the right questions of you.

Get Your eBook

We Can Help You Select the Right Software

In a 10-minute call, we can help you identify the software features that you need to manage your firm. No sales pressure. Just guidance and good advice.

Email sales@bigtime.net or call 312-346-4646.

Subscribe to our blog for firm management advice, tech trends, and our service industry research.

BigTime Software delivers real-time, metrics-driven time tracking, billing and project management for more than 2,000 professional firms, tracking over $2 billion (USD) worth of billable time each year.

 

 

At a recent American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) meeting, the talk at our table was about the value gap. Clients and municipalities are cost-conscious, and rightly so. They are mandated to get the best possible price for a project.

Engineering firms, on the other hand, must provide competitive pricing in order to compete in the marketplace. But the lowest price doesn’t accommodate the cost of value. That’s the value gap.

The Cost Value Gap

As described at the ACEC lunch, the cost of value is the work that a firm does to ensure that a project is successful. Work that is often invisible to the client and frequently unbilled.

For example, firms manage vast amounts of project data. They carry the cost of hosting the data, keeping it secure, and tagging it so it’s easily retrieved. Project data management is a valuable service. Yet firms rarely bill for it because clients don’t associate the cost of this service with the value it provides.

Another Example of the Cost Value Gap

Firms end up owning relationships with entities hired by the client. Think public utilities or construction companies.

The firm takes on the responsibility of collaborating with the entities they had no hand in hiring. To ensure that the project succeeds, the firm keeps the client informed about, well, everything: work order changes, potential cost overruns, delays and so on. This level of collaboration and communication consumes firm resources but clients don’t equate the cost of this service with the value they receive.

As the conversation died down, firm owners and project managers shrugged their shoulders, agreeing that they just couldn’t be competitive if they included the cost of value in a Request for Information (RFI). They’d be out of the running. And that’s bad for business.

Close the Cost Value Gap With Information

In his seminal book “Managing the Professional Service Firm,” David H. Maister devotes an entire chapter to How Clients Choose [a firm]. It’s entirely relevant to closing the cost-value gap.

Maister writes, “From the buyer’s perspective, the two stages [of selecting a firm] are experienced as qualification and selection.” Master goes on to say that qualification is a rational, logical process based on the evaluation of a firm’s competency.

Firm selection, on the other hand, is much more personal and intuitive. It is largely based on the firm’s ability to be helpful to the client. As Maister puts it, “Give me some new information.” Information that I [the client] will find useful, that will help solve my problems. And it has to be the kind of information that I can believe in, that’s documented and demonstrable.

How to Get the Data That Demonstrates Value

Consider running your firm in the cloud. If you’re trying to manage people, projects, and billing with spreadsheets and disconnected applications, it’s a time-consuming hassle to collect accurate data. This applies equally to your firm management and your ability to document costs and demonstrate value to your client.

In their paper, “The Industry Software Revolution,” authors Brian Feinstein and Trevor Oelschig write, “The value of running your firm in the cloud is its ability to connect people on a job site or anywhere in the world with shared data in a collaborative environment.”

Think about connecting your project delivery workflow with an online app. In order to sell your value to a client, you have to know what it costs you to deliver services. An online time and billing application can capture data at every point in your project workflow, as shown in this diagram.

Get Clients Table 2

Many service professionals, regardless of industry, are experts in their particular field but they don’t start out as experts in managing a firm. An online time and billing application is kind of like an MBA in a box. Except there’s no box because it’s in the cloud. Regardless, this type of application provides real-time visibility into what’s going on with a client’s project. Exactly the kind of data that you need to communicate your firm’s value.

7 Ways You Can Use Data to Communicate Value

Calling upon Maister one last time, here are 7 ways you can use your command of data to help you communicate your firm’s value.

  1. Tell the client something they don’t know.

Give your client context. Without disclosing proprietary information, draw parallels between similar kinds of projects. Let your client know how their project compares to another in terms of budget vs actual, staffing allocation usage, even project data file size. Tell the client something they don’t know.

2. Tell the client something they need to know.

Give your client a heads up. If a project budget is at risk for an overrun that’s something your client needs to know. But when you alert the client before there’s a budget overrun and you have ideas about how to prevent it, that’s more than something they need to know. That’s valuable.

3.  Bring useful information to meetings.

Use your command of data to inform and advise during meetings, even those that come up at the last minute. You can open up a dashboard to confirm a project budget Not-to-Exceed (NTE) amount. Or show your client that the hours actually worked on a project task are getting close to the hours allocated. Then deliver even more value and help your client arrive at a solution.

4.  Show what you’re doing and why it matters to the client.

Set up a regular cadence of communication with your client. It doesn’t matter how easily you can access project information if you don’t form the habit of communicating it to your client. It’s important to share project status updates and discuss options to avert potential problems like a cost overrun. It’s just as important to listen to your client. Be there. Fully present. And listen. That’s invaluable.

5.  Involve the client in major project milestones.

Give your client something to celebrate. Create a shared sense of accomplishment. Review the project information with your client—things like project stages, due dates, staffer assignments, budgets, and percent complete. Nothing communicates value like success.

6. Inform the client about consequences of a change in scope.

Be constant, steady, and reliable in your client’s changing landscape. Use the data you’ve captured across many client projects to accurately forecast the cost of a change in scope. You’ll be of value to your client and you’ll be confident that your firm can afford to take on the work if offered.

  1. Be helpful beyond the specifics of the project scope.

This excerpt from“Manage Your Manager,” a training by Dr. Todd Dewett says everything that needs to be said on the subject. “Being a helpful person is not only the right thing to do in a professional context, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure that long term, the people you’re helping will be willing to help you.”

Learn more about using data to communicate your value. We’re here to help. Because if you succeed, we do too.

Let's Talk Value

 

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BigTime Software delivers real-time, metrics-driven time tracking, billing and project management for more than 2,000 professional firms, tracking over $2 billion (USD) worth of billable time each year.

 

As a time and billing software company, we’re always on the lookout for articles about time management. You see, we help thousands of service firms run more successful businesses with online time tracking, project management, and reporting. And all of those things are related to time: tracking it, connecting it with firm workflows, and capturing the data associated with it.

We really like quick tips on how to make the most of the time we have at work. We enjoyed reading “10 Tips on Time Management Within the Workplace” so we’re sharing it with you. The approximate reading time is 5 minutes.

Forming Good Time Management Habits

Habits, at least the good ones, help us streamline our routines in positive and productive ways. We don’t have to think about flossing. It’s just something we do. (We’re all flossing, right?)

Counter-Intuitive Time Management Habits

But good time management habits sometimes go against the norm. For icon_work_2instance, free software trials are an industry standard. We’re delighted when someone wants to independently explore our product. But the truth is, most people don’t have the time to find their way around a new software application. That’s why we think free software trials are a waste of time for most people.

Why Free Trials Aren’t Good Time Management Hand_Clock_Icon

We have hundreds of free trial sign-ups every month. These folks have the best of intentions. But a lot of the time people don’t use the free trial because software evaluation isn’t their job. It sounds like a good idea. But it’s not a good use of their time.

A Time Management Tip

Here’s our time management tip. Skip the free trial. Focus on running your Jamdsjale_Iconbusiness. And outsource your software evaluation to the people who do that for a living.

Our sales team has educated thousands of service firms about our product. But it’s not about us. It’s about you. And how you can run a smarter and more profitable firm with our time billing software.

If you’re looking for a better way to manage both your time and your firm, Skip the free trial. Let’s talk.

Let's Talk!

Subscribe to our blog for firm management advice, tech trends, and our industry research.

BigTime Software delivers real-time, metrics-driven time tracking, billing and project management for more than 2,000 professional firms, tracking over $2 billion (USD) worth of billable time each year.

A recent article from the Wall Street Journal revealed that U.S. companies increased spending on consulting by 7.1 percent in 2016 as more businesses sought advice on cybersecurity, according to a report by Source Global Research.

Spending on management-consulting reached $58.7 billion last year. The pace of hiring outside advice rose fastest in the pharmaceutical industry, though financial services companies maintained their dominance over the market, with cybersecurity advice as the fastest-growing segment. According to new research from American Express and Dun & Bradstreet, business services are the fastest growing segment in the middle market.

Companies Push for a Return on Investment from Consulting Work

Fiona Czerniawska, director of Source Global Research said about the demand for cybersecurity advice, “I can’t see how it stops.” She also cautioned that consulting firms are often seen as able at optimizing back-office tasks, but are not seen as the people you need to grow your business.

Time Billing Software to Position Your Firm as a Strategic Advisor

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BigTime iPhone and Android app for time tracking and expense reporting.

 

We can see the raised eyebrows. But look at it this way. A strategic advisor is a value-add role. Your expertise is the price of admission. Your breakout ideas will get attention. But your value is associated with your insight. And your insight is based on data – the data you’ve captured with time billing software, starting with online timesheets and expense reporting.

The Value of a Connected Project Management workflow

The time and data you enter are associated with a client project. More than that, time and data are associated with, well, even more data: the project budget, tasks, even sub-tasks and its budgets, billing and invoicing, and finally, real-time reporting.

The Value Added Advisor

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Suddenly you’re the go-to person for valued insight based on real-time data that’s easy to access. When your clients ask, “How’re we doing?” you can do more than answer the question. You can tell your clients how they can grow their business.

Read the WSJ article

 

To keep up with BigTime’s firm management tips, tech trends, and time and billing research studies, subscribe to our blog

BigTime Software delivers real-time, metrics-driven time and billing software for more than 2,000 professional firms, tracking over $2 billion (USD) worth of billable time each year.

 Product Update – April 2017

Android users: you deserve a better smarter mobile timesheet app that simplifies your on-the-go work life. And that’s exactly what this product update delivers. Let’s take a closer look.

Timesheets, Timers, and Expenses

Now Android phones recognize the required fields feature. Mobile Timesheet with Required Field

A required field is exactly what it sounds like in that the user is required to complete a particular value. For example, if the Admin has made timesheet notes a required field then the staffer must complete the details field for each time entry before they can submit their timesheet.

If a required field is left blank, an error message pops up. This eliminates the possibility of user error by omission. You’re using a smartphone for work. Now, your Android mobile timesheet app helps you work smarter by recognizing required fields. 

One more thing about notes. A recent BigTime research study based on the analysis of 12 million timesheets revealed that the presence of timesheet notes improved billing realization (the comparison of time billed with time entered) by almost 5 percent). That’s right. A timesheet note about the length of a Tweet can significantly increase your billing realization rate. Something to think about.

Little Things Add Up to a Great Mobile Mobile Timesheet for AndroidExperience

A delightful user experience allows you to focus the task at hand. So when you whip out your Android to track time or expenses you’re going to have a friction-free experience.

Here’s a quick look at other changes we’ve made—all of which add up to a big difference in your Android’s performance.

Fixes

SaaS software is all about continuous improvement. Here are a few things that will work better for your now:

  • The Staff List member information now includes home phone numbers.Mobile Time and Expense Tracking Client Information With your mobile timesheet app, you can be anywhere and access the home phone of an employee or a colleague.
  • Full names now display properly for our IQ Enterprise users.
  • The Expense Entry screen is no longer visible for our IQ Express users, in order to eliminate confusion. Email sales@bigtime.net for more info on how you can add Expense tracking to your time tracking app.
  • To eliminate confusion for our IQ Express users, the Expense Entry screen is no longer visible. Email sales@bigtime.net for more info on how you can add expense tracking to your time tracking app.
  • We resolved a few issues with your Projects that were impeding the ability to load Billing and Primary contacts.
    • We fixed some minor label issues. They now display properly in the Expense Entry screens.
    • We updated the menu option for our Knowledgebase. It now points to the current version.
    • We resolved a few offline entry issues Mobile Expense Trackingthat occurred when trying to load class information.
    • We corrected an issue so that expenses will properly exit out of the unsubmitted expense area.

Go to the app store and see all of the Android app goodness

To keep up with product updates, industry-relevant trends, and our time billing research studies, subscribe to our blog.

BigTime Software delivers real-time, metrics-driven time tracking, billing and project management for more than 2,000 professional firms, tracking over $2 billion (USD) worth of billable time each year.

Our talented Q&A development specialist Monica shared an article from the Harvard Business Review, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. It got her attention because the principles outlined in the article sounded a lot like the way our development team plans features for our time and billing app. Of the article’s three main points, it was the second that resonated most with our dev team. Ask “What is essential?”

Our dev team repeatedly asks themselves this question. Then, they plan the feature that will tackle a root issue in our time and billing software. That’s how they arrived at their own 3 rules of less for successful time and billing feature design.

Rule #1. Know the primary function and keep it simple

Time billing software with mobile time and expense tracking appHere’s an example. Our online timesheets, including the mobile app, look super simple. The absence of distracting features make it functional—and yes, beautiful. Sometimes it’s what you don’t see in our time billing software that makes it so functional.

The primary function of the timesheet is to make it easy for employees to use. Since time is money at a service firm, employees can get in and out of the timesheet quickly with minimal disruption to their billable work.

Timesheet detail field notes

By the way, timesheet notes the length of a tweet (yes, 140 characters) can increase your firm’s billing realization rate by almost 5 percent. We’re talking about the percentage of recorded billable time that gets billed to clients. To learn more, read the BigTime research study based on the analysis of 12 million timesheets.

Rule #2. Offer more when more is necessary

Time billing software with customizable timesheets

Continuing with our online timesheet as an example, we offer more choices to the site administrators who are responsible for customizing the timesheet. The purpose of “more” in this instance is to provide options so the admin can set up the timesheet to capture information relevant to running the business.

We give our customers the choice to deliberately limit access to projects within the timesheet. Why? Because employees only need to track time against the projects they’re working on. This optional feature eliminates the need for employees to scroll through an exhaustive list of all projects. Anything other than the projects they’re logging time against is non-essential information and a potential distraction. But we leave that decision up to the firm owner.

As BigTime’s CEO Brian Saunders often says to customers, “The whole point of tracking time is to collect data and then use that data to make better business decisions.” With that in mind, admins can customize our online timesheets, adding or removing columns (with the exception of Projects), renaming or reordering columns and fields, even making certain fields or columns required.

We design our software on the “need to know” principle. In other words, what exactly do our users need to know in order to perform a specific action or associated actions? Our design thinking is informed by what the customer needs to do and what they need to know in order to do it.

Rule #3. Strip away the extraneous

Albert Einstein is credited with the memorable paraphrase of the aphorism, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” And that’s what our dev team does. Let’s use project management as an example.

Time billing with project management Firm owners can get the big picture on any given project from a single dashboard, seeing at a glance who’s working on what and for how long. Project managers can drill down to get detailed information on tasks, due dates, budgets, staff availability, and more.

There’s a lot of intelligence under the BigTime hood. But we practice the disciplined pursuit of less until our customers need more. In a previous post,  3 Must-Have Time Management Skills for Professional Service Firm Owners, experts reminded us that there will never be enough time for everything. There is only enough time for what truly matters, for the essential. And that’s what we focus on when designing software to help our customers succeed.

If you’re looking for the right software to manage your firm, we can save you a lot of search time. Reach out today!

BigTime Software delivers real-time time billing, project management and reporting for more than 2,000 professional firms, tracking over $2 billion (USD) worth of billable time each year. To keep up with product updates, industry-relevant trends, and our time billing research studies, subscribe to our blog.