Project time tracking

The 3 biggest mistakes when recording & accounting project times

ZEP by provantis IT Solutions offers project-oriented companies an automated and precise time recording solution to minimise errors and increase business success.

ZEP Blog

Companies in project-oriented sectors such as management consultancy, IT services or engineering are faced with the particular challenge of time recording that it is not only a question of who worked when, but also for whom. Because at the end of the day, the project working hours worked must be assigned to the corresponding projects so that they can also be invoiced to the appropriate client at the end of the project or month.

If one looks at the current practice of time recording and accounting in project-oriented companies, one all too often still comes across the following three mistakes.

Error 1: Manual recording

In many project-oriented medium-sized companies, time recording is still done manually: In these companies, everyone - internal and external - involved in the project enters the time they have spent on the project in an Excel list or an internally programmed tool and also notes which project they worked on. If you ask project staff, you will quickly learn that this is not exactly a job they like to do, but rather a chore that is often put off until the very end.

Furthermore, especially in the service sector, where most project-oriented companies are active, there is very close customer contact. Often, the consultants work directly on site with the client. Customer satisfaction is the top priority. Manual routine work such as recording the time worked on the project often falls behind, or is done at some point afterwards.

If the people involved in the project are then sick or on holiday, filling out the "timesheets" is left undone anyway, since no one else in the company knows what was worked for whom and when. Incidentally, the problem of manual recording does not only apply to pure time recording. Project-oriented companies with Microsoft Excel as a time recording "tool" often also create their evaluations for project controlling with the spreadsheet. Microsoft Word is then used to create offers and invoices, and the non-scalable and instead very manual process is complete.

Error 2: Incorrect recording

The improvised use of the Microsoft Office suite for time recording and project controlling inevitably results in the second mistake: inaccuracies arise. Tasks that no one likes to do, that are often put on the back burner and left undone due to holidays or illness, lead to a high susceptibility to errors. "When did I do what for which project?" is a question that is not so easy to answer when several days or even weeks have already passed since the work was done. A continuously growing project volume and an ever-increasing variety of project work make the answer even more complicated. And so it happens more and more often that working hours are not recorded, are assigned to the wrong project or only come to light when the project has already been completed but the person involved in the project was sick or on holiday.

Error 3: Incorrect accounting

Errors in the documentation of project working hours inevitably lead to errors in project accounting. Because what has not been documented cannot be accounted for. Many people responsible for project accounting already complain about the high effort it takes to record project times completely and precisely at the time of accounting. Elmar Weber, CFO of the software company, for example, reports that Extedo, about the combination of Excel and Word originally used for time recording and accounting: "Especially the aggregation of the numerous documents at the end of the month in order to be able to create the invoices from them proved to be very time-consuming and prone to errors".

Errors can occur not only when entering the times, but also when transferring them to the invoicing process. If this is done with Microsoft Word, errors are virtually pre-programmed, but even a manual transfer to a professional invoicing solution increases the susceptibility to errors.

Project-oriented companies: Time is money!

"Time is money!" This motto is especially true for companies in project-oriented industries. If project times are not recorded, they cannot be billed and thus have a direct impact on the company's bottom line. Even if the costs have been recorded, but very late, they may no longer be able to be invoiced if agreed deadlines for invoicing have expired. The time has been spent, the costs have been incurred, but the turnover has not materialised. Incorrectly recorded and billed project times affect the relationship with the client if the client notices the errors during the audit and complains. Project-oriented companies should therefore make every effort to transfer the entire life cycle of a project from the preparation of the offer to the recording of project times and internal project controlling to invoicing into a seamless process that is as automated as possible and reduces sources of error to a minimum.

ZEP - Because money is time

Right from the start, the ZEP makers recognised the sources of error that occur in time recording and project controlling, especially in project-oriented companies, and designed a solution with ZEP - Time Recording for Projects - that addresses precisely these sources of error. A pure "time clock" that only records the beginning and end of work is not sufficient in these companies. It must also be documented for which project work was done.

Furthermore, ZEP offers additional modules for quotation preparation, project controlling and invoicing, all of which directly access the data entered in ZEP and thus exclude errors in the manual transfer from the outset.

The project team member receives an intuitive, user-friendly interface through which he can quickly and easily record and document his project times. Thanks to mobile apps, they can do this on their computer or laptop, but just as easily on their tablet or smartphone. On site at the customer, while travelling, at home or in the office.

You can find an overview of the various functions of ZEP on the ZEP website.

The good news at the end: The investment in a professional time recording system like ZEP is worthwhile and pays for itself quickly because costly errors that would otherwise have caused much higher costs (loss of turnover) can be avoided.

Tanja Hartmann CEP

Tanja Hartmann

Content Marketing Manager at ZEP

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