The concept of billable hours first drew the attention of the world around the same time nuclear power and Gordie Howe did: in the 1950s. All these years later, we still haven’t got a handle on it.
Technology—surprise, surprise—can automate this process; can help offices be more efficient, productive and profitable; can furnish hungry clients with demonstrable, auditable records of what was done for them, and when; can bypass the typical scene that sees most billables calculations taking place after the fact, rather than during; can help small firms deliver a standard of customer service generally reserved for larger ones.
1. Bear the big picture in mind. Ideally, managers should procure billable-hours software that’s complementary to other technology purchases they’re making inside their overall IT strategy. Pick proven tools that are easy to implement, and clever technology partners to help manage them.
2. Stay connected. Because the number of hours one can bill to a client is limited, maximizing efficiency is key. Doing that means ensuring an unbroken access to information. Partner with help—human and otherwise—that can promise unbroken connection.
3. Multitask. Shop for software that’s multidimensional, that can generate customer invoices, cut staff paycheques and address expense reimbursements automatically.
4. Remember your itinerants. Conventional approaches to billable-hours management overlook the vast and evolving segment of the worker population known as the mobile professional. Some systems feature devices that use cellular technology to connect with the central database, thus capturing data for a mobile workforce.
5. Provide a homogenizing force. Lots of billable-hours solutions are mindful of the mix of technologies that bump elbows in business today. Get software that lets everyone in.
6. Teach. Education is important on this front. With the introduction of any timekeeping application, managers need to show employees how to maximize their most precious commodity to best effect.
Intuitive time-tracking and project-management solutions to help increase billable hours by better managing projects, are within easy reach. One need only stick out her hand.
Learn how 360 Visibility Inc. has helped National Public Relations’ and Cossette Communications fully capture all available billable hours, reduce their invoicing cycle by 10 days, deliver more profitable projects, and more.
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