Ask your team members what task they hate most and I bet you’ll learn that they hate to do time entry.
While time entry may not be critical for some businesses, in a project based business it is very important. In fact, the entire project, maybe the entire business, can be undone by inaccurate accounting for time. The easier you make time recording for your team members, the more likely they are to do it accurately and on a regular basis.
What is not the best method of compiling time records?
Some companies have used a process of collecting time records through their ERP system because that is where the billing is done. We would suggest that time be collected instead through your CRM solution. After all, your CRM is where you have all your data regarding customers and their projects with all the component project tasks.
Another mistake often made is having individuals manage their time on spreadsheets which are then sent to someone who will compile and aggregate all the time, designate it to a specific project, and then manually enter it into the ERP system to be factored into an invoice. It becomes impossible to access important data at points other than the final tally.
These methods truly waste time, frustrate users and risk inaccuracy.
What is a smarter, simpler method of time entry.
Crowe has developed a tool designed to work within your Microsoft Dynamics® CRM solution. This project management tool allows team members to view each day of their work week, see each project or task that they are working on, and enter the time spent on each endeavor. They can record both billable and non-billable time. Because entry is done on a regular basis, there is no need for guesswork or trying to remember what was done when.
Each main project is listed, along with its budget. Time can be entered against each specific budget line item. This gives employees as well as management a clear view of estimated time vs actual time spent vs time billed for each project.
This tool saves time and resources by allowing time entry data to be entered and compiled all in one place. Administrative labor is kept to a minimum.
Another advantage to using the Crowe project management tool is that collected data allows for deeper analysis by those having oversight. Project reports allow managers to spot areas of concern and make decisions necessary to keep the project on schedule and on budget and to adjust for future projects when necessary.
If a project is over budget, you (and your client) will need to know why. Did you underestimate time and resources? Is there an area in which you could have been more efficient? Did you underestimate how long individual tasks would take? What can we do differently on the next project? Even if you come in under budget, there should be questions: Did we miss something? Did we budget too high?
Having a time entry system that is correctly integrated with your project management system in your Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution will allow you to have answers to those types of questions. Ultimately it will lead to more successful projects, better internal resource management and more satisfied clients.