From XU Magazine, 
Issue 25

Why You Should Be Tracking All of Your Time

Whether You Plan to Bill for it or Not!

The team from MinuteDock put forward an argument for tracking billable and non-billable time to get the most out of your time tracking service...
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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It’s a common misconception when people start using time tracking software: the idea that we should only bother tracking the hours we mean to actually charge the client for. But it’s important to consider whether keeping track of your non-billable hours might be worthwhile. In fact, you might well discover that tracking all of your work hours during a given day is highly worthwhile. Understanding how much of your workday is getting used for certain non-billable tasks, such as staff meetings, will let you identify areas where you might be using an inefficient process.

It’s hugely valuable to gain an in-depth understanding of which parts of your workday are actually generating income for your business. Knowing how you are spending billable and non-billable time is the first step to streamlining your work processes and making every moment count towards your business success.

Knowing how many non-billable hours are being put towards clients will allow you to identify the kinds of clients who require more of that time, allowing you to make prudent decisions around the value of a given product to your business. You might find that a particular type of project would be better billed at a fixed price to better reflect the overall work and effort put in by your team.

Recording all the hours you work, whether you bill them or not, will let you identify work hours which you perhaps should be billing for, but currently aren’t. It’s important to the long-term health of any business to make sure that your work is being appropriately compensated.

“Ultimately, regardless of your profession, the time you spend working is a valuable and finite resource. Don’t make the mistake of wasting it by not knowing exactly where it is being spent!”

Keeping good track of your time will help you to figure out where you may be wasting it! You will be able to identify those non-billable tasks which might be taking up more of your time than they should, and make appropriate changes to streamline those processes.

It’s only natural to prefer to be spending your time on work which you will actually charge for. So how do we try to minimize the number of non-billable hours we accumulate, without sacrificing the benefits that those hours can provide? One good trick is to try to use as much automation in your non-billable processes as you can. Reducing the administrative workload, for example by making payment reminders automated, can be a huge time saver. You can also digitize your documentation whenever possible to make finding what you need as easy as possible.

But why track time at all? Your key performance indicators in many industries will include meeting deadlines, making sure all hours are billed, and identifying profitable service areas. Time tracking increases productivity by making it clear where time is being spent throughout the day. The identification of time spent on non-billable work is massively valuable for determining what tasks can be outsourced.

Ultimately, regardless of your profession, the time you spend working is a valuable and finite resource. Don’t make the mistake of wasting it by not knowing exactly where it is being spent!

Why leave it there?

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