Home » Blog » Time Tracking for Agencies – A Resource Planner Point of View

As an agency owner or a manager of a creative team, you have likely already heard that time tracking increase an agency’s productivity and gives your business a significant boost. Yet, some teams are wary of time tracking as it may feel obtrusive. At the end of the day, however, if you pick the best employee time tracking software for your team’s needs and foster a culture of time tracking, it’s a very useful tool. In this blog post, we’ll go through different benefits your agency may notice once you start tracking time.

Task management software and agency time tracking software should be in the 1 tool

Obvious benefits of time tracking for agencies

Asking your employees to track their time gives you excellent visibility into how creative teams spend their time. You’ll know who’s overworked and who has too few tasks. You’ll also know which clients’ projects are in danger of being delayed or going over budget. These insights allow you to:

Prevent money leaks

If you don’t rely on timesheets to bill your clients, chances are that you’re charging them too little. Many employees will forget to record that they spent an extra hour or two working on a given project. Unfortunately, these unbilled hours tend to stack up if you’re looking at a monthly or yearly perspective. As an agency, you can’t afford to have similar money leaks. Precise timesheets enable you to see what everyone has been up to. No client work will go unnoticed.

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Teamdeck - the agency time tracking app that basic features help with analysing of each team member working hours and availability
Team utilization and timesheet descriptions in Teamdeck - the resource planner with time tracking and timesheets features

Achieve better resource utilization

Agency time tracking
Agency team utilization [Source: Teamdeck – resource planner with time tracking for agencies]

Agency life may get hectic, and most employees are no strangers to putting in some extra hours. Still, agencies shouldn’t ignore their employees’ workload, as the consequences of overutilization can be very serious. At the same time, employees who simply don’t have enough particular tasks to fill their days are also unhappy.  As a team leader, you should try to maintain balanced resource utilization. Thanks to timesheets, you can easily spot who has too much on their plate and who is underutilized.

Invoice agency clients efficiently

Many agencies bill their clients in a time & materials model.  If that’s the case for you, you simply have no excuse for not tracking your team members’ time. When you have accurate timesheets, it’s very simple to issue an invoice based on them. Your finance department will definitely appreciate having access to comprehensive data on project work.

Time tracking for agencies
Analysis agency’s anticipated payroll based on the project team’s timesheets and provided hourly rates.

Forecast agency’s resources

Resource forecasting means predicting how many resources you will need and when. Historical data collected from your team’s timesheets will help you tremendously here. Look at how much time your teams tracked in different months or weeks, and you’re likely to spot patterns (e.g. more hours logged when working on winter holiday campaigns). This year, instead of rushing to recruit new employees or employing freelancers at a higher cost, you’ll know to secure more human resources in advance.

Agency time tracking tool
Forecasting overview in software for agency time tracking

Keep track of contractors, freelancers, and part-time employees’ work

Agencies often work with contractors or freelancers. Ask them to track time along with your team, and you’ll see how much time they spend on your project and how much you should pay them. If you’re using Teamdeck, you can also ask these people to log their daily availability. You’ll know exactly how much time they can spend on your project and when.

Agency time tracking software with scheduling and availability management features [Source: Teamdeck]

Create better estimates for future projects

Granted, estimates are rarely *really* accurate, but time tracking will help you to refine your agency’s estimation process. First, analyze your past projects by looking at the estimates and actuals (planned hours and tracked time). Try to identify patterns: it may, for instance, turn out that your team is often underestimating the design phase of the project. Having this insight, you can draft the next estimates with more confidence. 

Increase productivity

In the previous paragraphs, we mentioned patterns that are often visible in timesheets. Looking at your team’s time entries, you may also spot some improvement areas regarding their productivity. For example, you may be surprised at how many hours your employees spend sitting in meetings.  Chances are that you’ll get instant ideas for optimizing your company’s internal processes or refining project management techniques. It’s even more helpful when your team tracks time, tagging both unbillable and billable hours. This way, you’ll see at a glance which activities are costing you the most.

Employee time spent for different projects to get better insight into project budget
Tracked time distribution summary report displays hours worked and tasks

Optimize your pricing

Speaking of billable hours, they’re also very important when it comes to assessing the profitability of your projects. It may be the case that your team works very hard on a project, manages to deliver it on time, and yet your agency is barely making any profit. If that’s the case, you should definitely look for opportunities to optimize your pricing or negotiate your contract terms. For example, if you treat implementing client-requested changes as unbillable time and yet it makes a bulk of your team’s timesheets, perhaps you should charge for it after all.  Time tracking provides you with tools to explain and justify these decisions to your clients.

Improve employee satisfaction

You want your agency team to be happy and engaged at work. That goes without saying. Tracking their time, you’re confident you’ll have their workload in check. Has someone recently started logging some serious overtime? You’ll see this in the timesheet and will be able to react or improve current overtime management. Your team will appreciate working at a company where their efforts are noticed. They’re also likely to see that tracking time has a positive effect on their personal productivity.

 

Automatic time tracking software for agency workers always increases team management, team's productivity and helps track projects

How to pick the right agency time tracking software?

On the market are many project management tools (also dedicated to the creative industry) or – speaking more specifically – time-tracking apps. From end-to-end platform to dedicated to the specific task and responsibilities tools. Each with slightly different capabilities and use cases, and sometimes with all the necessary features in one, reasonable price.

In one of our recent articles, we listed tips on how to pick employee time tracking software. In short, you’ll have to take figure out what you want to achieve with a tracking app and how your team will use it. Then, pick the tool that best fits your needs.

In Teamdeck, a convenient time tracker is part of a complete resource management software that can help you with resource scheduling or leave management as well. If you want to take a closer look at our app, get a 30-day FREE Trial or schedule a consultation with Aniela, our customer success expert.

Track billable and non billable hours, and use time sheets in Teamdeck.io - solution with budgeting feature

Looking for agency time tracking software selected by Circus Maximus, Hill-Knowlton, Wunderman Thompson?

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