Most professional service companies want to improve billable utilization rate, or the amount of time staffers spend doing billable work. But how? This post gives you four ways to take action today.
1. Track time
Daily time tracking is one of the best ways to find out where staffers spend their time. Some project managers encourage staffers to track project time at the end of the day. Others prefer staffers to track time throughout their day, as they move from project to project. Either way, make tracking time a daily habit.
Convenience equals compliance. To get staffers to track time daily, choose software that makes the time tracking process seamless and convenient. That way, staffers can log their hours when working in the office, at home, or around the world. Look for time tracking software with a mobile app and the option to log time even when offline.
2. Add timesheet notes
Are your staffers adding notes to their timesheets? They should. This is one more way to understand how staffers spend their time. It’s helpful that staffer Joe works six hours on a project for Putnam and Associates, but what does he do during these six hours? Is he doing tasks that an administrative staff member can handle, like making copies and organizing meetings, or is he designing a webpage? Timesheet notes can reveal these details.
Plus, there’s another benefit. According to our 2016 study, timesheet entries with notes of 140 characters yield a 4.95% higher billing realization rate compared to those without notes. This means the small to mid-size US professional services market could increase billings by $35 billion just by adding on timesheet notes the length of a tweet.
3. Monitor data
Once your staffers log time regularly, monitor it constantly. Run reports and monitor real-time dashboards to see where time is spent and who’s working on what. How much time is spent on non-billable work, like internal meetings? Use these resources to spot trends and find irregularities.
4. Use resource allocation
Put the data you’re tracking to good use with resource allocation: a tool companies use to help manage their resources, like staffers and budgets. You decide where staffers spend their time by allocating hours to each staffer. Then, review actual hours to see if your staffers are working the hours you’ve allocated to them. Resource allocation is a powerful tool that helps you stay on the pulse of project and staff details.
Some software packages track utilization automatically with real-time utilization dashboards, where you can see a staffer’s overall utilization can their utilization rate per project. Utilization dashboards along with the resources mentioned in this post can help you increase billable utilization in order to help boost your bottom line and get the most from your staffers.