Timesheets. There may be nothing hated more in our world. Many agencies and agency owners look for a way to avoid doing them or doing them with some sort of shortcut built in. Sadly, they’re missing the point. Timesheets are one of the cornerstone data points for your agency. If you do it right.

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Hey everybody. Drew McLellan from Agency Management Institute. This week, I’m coming to you from beautiful Montclair, New Jersey where the fall weather is feeling very cool and lovely. So, in the Facebook group this week, we were talking, somebody asked a question about tracking time. And one of the things that she said was, “We’re only going to track billable time.” And I jumped in and said, “You know what? I don’t think that’s a great idea.” Here’s the deal. Only tracking billable time is sort of like covering up the bottom half of your gas gauge in your car. So you only know when you’re going from full to half full, but you have no idea what’s happening on the bottom half of the gas gauge. You need to know what your employees are doing all of the time that they’re on site, or working for you remotely, or wherever they are. You’ve got to track all of their time. You need to understand what they’re doing when they’re not doing billable work. You need to understand what your accountant is spending their time on. You need to understand what you’re spending your time on, whether it’s billable or not billable. Think of the hours that we have, both our own and our employees as our inventory. And we have no idea what our capacity is, if our estimates are accurate, if we’re having too many internal meetings, if we’re spending too much time or having too many people in biz dev meetings. All of the things that don’t get tracked when you only track billable time are as important to you as the billable time is. You need to have a full picture of what your team is doing so you can better allocate their time, or you can see if you need new staff, or you can see if maybe somebody is lost, or isn’t getting enough work because it’s not being allocated to them. It’s not about being punitive. It’s not about somebody getting into trouble because they’re not doing more billable work. It is about you understanding how your team is spending their time so that you can readjust as needed and you understand what you are spending your money on every day. If, for example, you have a billable employee that’s only billable at 30% or 40%, which, by the way, many of you do, that’s a lot of skill and talent that is not being applied to clients. Might be that that’s perfectly appropriate. Maybe they’re helping build your agency’s website or maybe they are on the new business team, but it also may be a lot of other things that you need to course correct. And you won’t know it until you look at their time, all of their time to see how they’re spending their day on your behalf. So, don’t half track. You need to fully track time every minute when somebody is on the clock. You want to know what they’re doing so you can decide if that’s the best investment for your resources. All right, I’ll see you next week.

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