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Profit & Growth Tips for Digital Agencies

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Why a Timesheet Tool Isn’t Enough for Your Digital Agency

Posted by Nicolas Jacobeus on Aug 3, 2016

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For your digital agency to grow profitably and sustainably, time tracking is essential. But a timesheet tool alone isn’t powerful enough to provide all the insights you need to run a growing digital agency. Today I’m looking at 3 limitations of a simple timesheet tool, and the insights you’re missing out on by not expanding your agency management toolkit.

1) Your Focus is on the Past, Not the Future

The main problem with using a timesheet tool as your main source of insight for your agency and employee performance is that all the information relates to things that have already happened. This means that while you can use timesheet data to draw lots of insights about the profitability of your agency’s past projects, you can’t use it to improve the profitability of your future projects.

2) You Lack Planning Capabilities

A side-effect of timesheets only providing insights to your agency’s past activities is that most timesheet tools don’t have the functionality to enable you to plan for the future. You can try and use the insights from a previous project to estimate costs and scheduling for an upcoming future project, but the timesheet tool won’t have the functionality for you to input those estimations or compare them with the actual time taken once you’re working on the project.

3) You Can’t Get Deeper or Actionable Insights

A timesheet tool doesn’t give you any deeper insights beyond identifying how long team members spent on specific projects, or how long was spent on a project overall. But as this information relates to a project that’s already been done, it’s not actionable – you can’t use it to improve the efficiency of your team or how your next project is run.

The data you get from your timesheet tool is very simple – you won’t even be able to compare the time your team spent on the project with the project budget – you’ll have to do those calculations manually.

How Your Agency Can Get More from Your Timesheet Tool

A timesheet tool is an important part of your agency toolkit. You need a way to track employee time so you can accurately measure the profitability of your projects, and timesheets are a simple way to do this. Unfortunately, timesheet tools are limited by their simplicity. Used in isolation, you’re missing out on vital data and insights that are essential for agency growth.

To get the best, most actionable insights from your timesheet tool, your agency should use it in conjunction with other tools, to help you draw strategic insights about your agency performance and set measurable goals to help you grow your agency:

  • Project management tool (like Trello) to help you plan upcoming projects and manage deadlines.
  • Resource management or resource planning tool (like Scale) to help you manage your agency resources – time, budget and employees – and to get a high-level overview of your agency’s future workload.
  • Communication tool (like Slack) to share planning and cost forecasting information within your agency team.

Learn how to make your digital agency more profitable. Download our eGuide below.

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