Why Your Small Business Needs Time Tracking Software

Okay, so at some point, every young entrepreneur or small business owner wants to know which Time Tracking Software is best for their business.

But, there’s one more question to ask yourself.

When does your small business actually needs a Time Tracking Software?

Ever gave a thought on it? Not actually, right!

Well, that’s okay, in this post I’m going to show you WHEN to actually go for a Time Tracking Software and for which type, depending on your business.

small business working hours

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Setting up a small business is great, but running it is the real battle. Business owners go to great lengths to ensure smooth operations and optimal workforce management. Thanks to advancing technology, achieving these objectives has become a lot easier.

Time tracking has a huge role to play in streamlining work processes. Yet several businesses continue to underestimate it and use manual process and spreadsheets to this end. This can result in human error, duplication, and wastage of time, which in turn, can be disastrous for your business.

This is where a robust time-tracking software comes into the picture. It not only gets you real-time information, but also makes business processes transparent, error-free, and quick.

Here are a few other benefits of using time tracking software in your business.

Better Workflow

A comprehensive time tracking software enables you to be in the know of all the goings-on within your business. You will always know exactly how your business is running, what your employees are doing, which projects are taking the most/least resources, and more. This knowledge will help you streamline processes, organize projects, delegate responsibilities, track cash flow with ease.

Every business workflow is designed with one goal, i.e. profit. Another closely associated objective relates to cutting overheads. When you have an efficient time tracking system at your disposal, you are always equipped with the right numbers. Moreover, you are able to address the minutest issue in a timely manner.

Resource management becomes easier, which results in timely and quality output. A time tracking program can also help business owners allocate the right levels of resources among different projects, depending on the workflow. This helps in personnel management as business owners can gauge if they need to create certain permanent positions or simply outsource certain tasks to contractors.

The process of performance review and reporting can be simplified and expedited by having proper time tracking software in place. Further, it also becomes easy to minimize waste and increase operational efficiency. Reviewing workflow over a period of time becomes convenient as does identifying scope for error and improvement.

Improved Employee Productivity

Did you know, a whopping 70% of US employees are not engaged at work?

An online time tracking system is great for boosting employee productivity. It enables them to track the exact amount of time they’re spending on their projects and assess how productive they actually are.

Employees can easily monitor their tasks and calculate how much time they’re spending on each one. This helps improve their focus. If they find that their productivity is low, they can quickly take steps to improve their performance through better time allocation.

If they estimate a delay in the project’s delivery, they can inform their manager and clients along with a reasonable deadline, thereby feeling more accountable and in control of their work.

Further, employees can manage their vacations and sick days better. They will not need to wonder about their leave balance as the system will provide them with all the necessary information. This way, they feel more in control of their time off as well.

This provides another indirect benefit: when employees know about their holidays, they can schedule their work better. Employers need not to be surprised if they notice a reduction in the number of unplanned employee absences (sick days notwithstanding since these cannot be planned). Having a time tracking system will enable better time-scheduling and flag employees who are taking undue advantage of the system.

Superior Payroll Management

A well-equipped time tracking system will enable you to create error-free timesheets that can be used for payroll purposes. Almost all companies encounter pay-related issues where employees receive an amount that’s either lower or higher than their monthly remuneration. These kinds of problems can be eliminated with time tracking tool.

Sometimes, employees may be required to work in shifts or at odd hours. In such cases, it can be challenging for the payroll department to compute work hours and ensure accurate payments and/or deductions. Using time tracking software makes this easier and virtually error-free. All calculations are entered into the software, and employees can track their own time while receiving the right pay.

Eliminate Time Fraud

According to a recent study, the average employee steals approximately 4.5 hours every week from their employer, totaling nearly six full work weeks per year while costing businesses hundreds of billions of dollars every year worldwide.

Also, up to 10 minutes per day, per employee, is lost due to tardiness, long lunches and early departure, as per the American Payroll Association.

Simply put, time fraud refers to the practice of inflating the number of work hours. Sometimes, employees receive pay for the hours they haven’t worked. This means they accept money from their employer without giving anything back to the organization. Time theft is more common than we think and can affect a company’s budget, resulting in losses amounting to millions of dollars annually.

This can be prevented with the use of the right time tracking software as it registers every working hour of every employee. All they need to do click on the timer. A good time tracking tool can track billable hours for every project, bringing transparency in the process of calculating the time dedicated to them. This, in turn, empowers employers to make faultless payment for every minute.

Client Billing

Financial accuracy is crucial for running a lucrative business. However, client billing is a common problem that several companies grapple with. It is crucial that clients are accurately billed within the specified timeframe. Companies that don’t use a potent time tracking and invoicing software often experience difficulties in achieving this.

Some companies bill clients by the hour, while others may bill them by the project. This can be a perplexing task to perform manually. With time tracking software, you can remove the confusion from the process and charge every client the right amount.

Losing track of billable hours can lead to employees missing out on their wages. In fact, even businesses can miss out on bringing in revenue, resulting in losses of tens of thousands of dollars in every cycle. When billable hours are computed properly, it becomes easy for the payroll department to be timely and accurate. The entire process becomes simplified and efficient, and the cash flow becomes steadier.

Additionally, if you’re looking to reduce the length of the billing cycle, all you need is an efficient time tracking program. It can help you transform and modernize your billing cycle and improve cash flow. Currently, you may be taking a month or two to just bill clients and, in turn, receiving delayed payments. It’s time to bid adieu to these outdated practices.

Real-Time Analytics

Every business reaches a point when it has to consider increasing the prices of its offerings. To be certain of getting the pricing right, you’re going to need a time tracker that comes with the analytics feature.

Once you know the average time it takes for completing a task, you can deduct employees’ salary for that period and cut your costs to see if the current price is still feasible for your business. If you’re falling short, you need to raise the rates. This clarity can be derived only if you have access to accurate real-time data, which you can easily extract from time tracking software.

The buck doesn’t stop here. Your software should make it easy for you to view and comprehend the data. Managers will do well to have access to detailed business reports complete with a visual representation of data like charts and graphs.

Analytics features that can be customized according to your preferences can be like icing on the cake. Reliable data derived from analytics helps in arriving at the crucial daily and/or weekly numbers, and in generating visually-appealing reports.

Time-Tracking for Different Types of Businesses

No two businesses are the same and neither are their requirements. Business owners will do well to pick time tracking software armed with features that can meet their specific requirements.

For Freelancers

Freelancers tend to work at their own time with clients from various industries coming from different time zones. A simple time tracker that allows multiple time tracking options along with the ease of editing time entries and continuing tracking time will be ideal for them.

Because freelancers perform every business task on their own, it will be convenient for them to have easy accessibility to all their data and time entries in one place. At the same time, features such as reporting and sending/exporting files to clients are also essential so clients can track work progress and be in the know of each minute of the billable time.

For Remote Workers

While freelancers work independently, remote workers often have to collaborate with different teams as well as with their employer. They’re also required to account for their work hours to their managers, which is why they need a time tracker that allows them to do so.

A time tracker that is equipped with team viewing capabilities is ideal for remote workers so employers can always know what the team members are up to. Such a time tracker overcomes the hurdle of the lack of physical monitoring due to distance and keeps employers on top the latest in every project.

For Small Businesses

Small businesses may have fewer employees compared to large enterprises, but both perform almost all the same tasks. Further, small businesses also have smaller budgets, which is why they’re always looking for reasonably-priced yet effective solutions that are compatible across devices, and provide quick access and support to important business data from anywhere.

Team collaboration and management is a huge challenge for business regardless of their size. This is why small businesses need time tracking software that enables people to work together. Such a system will make it easy for business owners to create and delegate business-critical tasks so all team members are on the same page.

Conclusion

With a plethora of different time tracking systems out there, it can be bewildering for small business owners to pick one. At the end of the day, it all boils down to considering your business’s unique needs and expectations. The type of business you do, the devices you use, and your typical workflow will also guide you in making a sound decision. Remember, good software offers not only critical features, but also ease of use. Make sure you ultimately pick one that is efficient, affordable, and feature-rich.

3 Software Marketing Ideas to Increase Sales

The software industry is currently experiencing a development renaissance. This is great news for business owners looking to shop around for a new vendor, but it makes gaining market share challenging for software companies. Given the crowded apps marketplace and the prevalence of cloud-based SaaS solutions, it’s vital for software companies to market their products appropriately.

In order to scale past early adopters and into mainstream sales success, nearly 90 percent of SaaS companies reported new customer acquisition as a top priority. Lead generation can be a costly process, but with a solid software marketing strategy, growing companies can lower those customer acquisition costs and potentially increase sales. Let’s take a look at some software marketing tips that can boost revenue.

Focus on customer service
Customer service has become a cornerstone of brand strategy in a digital age where companies are cultivating a richer understanding of the impact of customer experience on the sales funnel. Customer service, however, is more than just responding to questions and complaints online. It’s about understanding the customer journey. What do they want? Where are their businesses headed, and how does a company’s software fit into that niche? How are they currently evaluating their vendor options? Questions like these can help segment the buyer persona more effectively. Answering these questions gives insights to marketing teams so they can more intimately understand how stakeholders make purchase decisions, allowing them to more precisely build marketing campaigns and target more qualified leads.

Another valuable element to SaaS marketing is examining the value proposition behind the product offering as a potential vehicle for marketing efforts. Identifying key elements like price, data storage, analytics, and other facets business owners are particularly interested in plays a role in developing solutions to fill those needs. Software CEO Mark Hurd echoed this theme by saying, “aligning technology strategy to better service customers becomes an essential path to revenue growth.” If software companies can isolate the most appealing aspects of their offering, thus reducing costs for their customers while remaining competitive in terms of function, they can translate their developments into better customer service. Outstanding customer service can act as a key differentiator and provide valuable marketing clout.

Optimize content marketing
Content marketing has experienced explosive growth across industries, especially in the SaaS sector, where breaking down more complex topics can be integral to converting sales. Two ideal places to offer such content are blogs and social media channels. A unified blog and social media strategy can extend the half-life of popular posts and drive organic traffic to target pages. Additionally, offering engaging content can help software companies build up an email list to send out newsletters and marketing material.

Businesses should offer relevant, expert content that appeals to their target audience’s particular set of interests and expertise. Content can take the shape of standard blog posts, podcasts, infographics, and videos. The idea is to create “explainer content” framing data or product information in an easily digestible and shareable format. Current trends in media consumption point to mobile devices as a leading source of paid and organic clicks, so focusing on content such as video and audio can help capture an audience who is always on the move.

Feature marketing is one SaaS marketing trend that can be augmented with content marketing. Many software companies develop side features, apps, and widgets that stand alone from the main product but provide added value to target buyers. These additions have the potential to confuse customers if they are not communicated properly. Yam Regev, a software content marketing expert, commented, “the fact there are lots of new features is just like having more content! Extra features enable marketing to better inform and engage targeted audiences.” Sometimes, companies develop features that become more widely used than the main platform itself. Savvy marketers will consider the development of new products and apps as valuable opportunities to attract new customers and upsell existing ones.

Crowdsource reviews/client testimonials
Customer testimonials are essential when building up credibility surrounding a software product. They are an important part of a brand’s presence and stand as a testament to what prospective clients can achieve, or “social proof.” Because 92 percent of e-commerce buyers stated they sought out and read customer reviews before making a purchase decision, positive testimonials are increasingly important to those considering a software vendor, which is a more nuanced purchase.

Marketers can encourage customers to leave reviews or identify and reach out to specific clients who are likely to leave a positive testimonial on their site. Case studies are a great example of leveraging client results to inform future purchase decisions and can be a valuable asset in a content marketing campaign.

Standing out in the bustling SaaS marketplace can seem daunting. The tips above can help software companies cut through the noise and communicate their product offering more clearly to prospective customers.

How to Choose a Small Business Invoicing Solution: The Complete Guide

small business invoicing solution

Did you know that 27% of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) admitted that they have a hard time creating and sending invoices?

You may want to take a look at the infographic below to gain a better understanding of the current state of invoicing.
smb invoicing

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As you can see, a seamless and intuitive invoicing system is an indispensable requirement for your business.

Starting a small business may be a dream come true for many an entrepreneur, but running it takes effort and smart work. Modern businesses need to harness technology that not only supports their processes, but also betters them to set the tone for long-term success.

Every time your small business sells a product or a service, an invoice is generated. For a thriving business, that’s way too many invoices being made every single day. This is where an efficient small business invoicing solution comes into the picture. It takes the worrying and erring out of making sales and payments, and makes the process expedient and hassle-free (and environment-friendly).

This post will shed light on the purpose of online invoicing, its functioning, and the factors that will help you choose the right online invoicing solution for your small business.

The Purpose of Online Invoicing Solutions

Having a small business invoice software in place will allow you to bid adieu to traditional solutions like MS Word and/or Excel. This, in turn, will enhance your workflow and eliminate the frustration arising from the arduous process of managing invoices.

With the right invoicing solution, it becomes easy to create, track, and process invoices as well as business and customer details. Further, such a software can accelerate and augment your cash flow, as well as expedite and simplify payments, apart from helping you save time and money.

Online invoicing software allows you to store all your data in the cloud. This means you can put your worries related to losing invoices or client data, or even your computer crashing and hacking issues to rest. All you need to do is log into your account to access all your business-critical information and start billing your clients.

Mentioned ahead are a few undeniable advantages of using online invoicing software.

a. Automated Digital Payments

Invoicing software allows businesses to carry out secure digital transactions and automate outflows by setting up recurring payments. This is particularly helpful with long-term clients. The system sends follow-up messages and payment reminders for forthcoming and due invoices. This, in turn, eliminates the stress of manually tracking and chasing down these payments.

b. Secure Your Data

Paper invoices can easily get lost or land in the wrong hands. A good invoicing system prevents this by making data security a priority. Ensure to invest in software that complies with PCI Security Standards. Such software employs advanced security safeguards, such as SSL encryption, against threats and loss of data.

c. Get Multi-Language and Multi-Currency Support

Technology has brought the world closer, enabling small businesses to work with global clients. Cloud-based invoicing platforms are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to allow users to choose their preferred language and currency, making interactions and transactions between companies and clients smoother and clearer. Because online invoicing systems are able to operate flawlessly in the global marketplace, the payment barriers are eliminated.

d. Access Information at Any Time from Anywhere

Online invoice management systems empower business owners to access and manage client information and billing data from any location and time zone and on any smart mobile device. Whether you’re working from office, home or are on-the-go, you can do business as usual without a hitch.

e. Easier Auditing

It is easy to access and interpret information with an invoicing software as it allows you to save and view your bills, estimates, expense receipts, transaction statements, and other important documents on one dashboard. The system creates a systematic and quick process for assessing financial statements related to your accounts and tax deductions. This makes it convenient for you to maintain your records in an error-free manner, which can be especially helpful during IRS audits.

f. Quicker Payments

Sending invoices online and receiving payments is quick and easy with an invoicing system in place, even more so if you use the recurring billing facility. Receiving, reviewing, and returning invoices can be done with the click of a button. This translates into quicker payments in a safe manner.

g. Save Time and Costs

Business owners can say goodbye to tedious data entry with online invoicing systems as they let you generate and distribute multiple invoices without reentering customer information each time. Bills can be tracked easily as well. Further, overheads can be brought down by jettisoning the use of paper, stationery, stamps, and document storage items used for sending invoices.

h. Reinforce Your Brand Identity

All your system-generated invoices will have your company logo, color schemes, and fonts that are a part of your brand standards. With a strengthened brand identity, clients are bound to take your business seriously and make payments on time. Further, you can customize your invoices with messages such as “Thank You!” You will also be able to link to piece of content created by you to help solve clients’ specific problems. This will reinforce your brand identity while establishing your leadership and expertise.

How Invoicing Software Works?

To put it simply, online invoicing systems for small businesses allow owners to create and send bills electronically. However, there’s more to them. These systems also enable users to create, control, and evaluate invoices on your smartphone or tablet. This essentially means that you’re on top of your work-related developments at all times. Read on to gain a thorough understanding of how to use an efficient invoicing solution to simplify your life:

  • Start by entering your client’s information on your invoicing system. This includes their name, contact details, email address, billing and mailing address, and preferred payment method. Organizing this data will enable you to set up recurring payments and issue invoices instantly.
  • Users can also input the usual billing costs once and for all in the system. The software will calculate the total bill at the end of each cycle automatically. This works particularly well if you charge an hourly rate.
  • Set up your payment terms and policies as these will determine how your invoices will be paid. Other factors to consider are payment schedules and preferred payment methods. Deciding on these aspect will make your billing process glitch-free. This should motivate clients to pay invoices on time and without hesitation.
  • Invoicing systems allow you to carefully design invoices to prevent confusion and delays. While this may seem complex, it really isn’t. Make sure your invoices include your brand’s logo, color scheme, your contact information, invoice number, payment due date, payment terms and policies, itemized list of products/services, and a note of thanks to the client for the payment.
  • You can maintain records of contracts, agreements, payments (paid and due), and other documents in the most orderly manner with the help of an online invoicing software.

How to Choose the Right Online Invoicing Software?

One of the conundrums small business owners find themselves in relates to choosing the right invoicing software. This can get tricky because of the variety of industry-specific solutions available in market. However, you will do well to focus on the following criteria when picking a system for your business to ensure that all its needs are met.

a. High-Level Data Security

Figure out if your invoice management system stores your data on its own server or a third-party server. Ask providers about the security measures they take to ensure the security of your information. Also, verify if the software providers are using HTTPS connection (from their website URL in the address bar). This protocol ensures that the data transferred from your computer to their server is encrypted and safe from hackers. You can also view their security certificate on their website.

b. Availability of Essential Features

An efficient invoicing solution will easily allow you to:

  • Create and manage customer records and purchase information on a centralized database in a secure manner
  • Enable quick payments by processing credit cards promptly and allow recurring billing
  • Create high-quality, professional-looking, and customizable invoices with predefined templates
  • Categorize and track costs and transactions according to projects
  • Manage inventory, stock movements, and wastage
  • Settle accounts by importing banking transactions
  • Create and record purchase orders
  • Record voucher entries
  • Integrate seamlessly with payment gateways
  • Manage customers and vendors list
  • View balance sheet, account payables and receivables, profit and loss statement, and tax statements
  • Receive multi-lingual and multi-currency support for issuing receipts, accepting payment and managing taxes
  • Send quotes to customers from a centralized database
  • Add team members and grant access control

c. Ease of Use

Not all business owners are well-versed in accounting, which why an invoicing suite becomes a necessity. Even with a dedicated accountant in place, business owners should be able to view and make sense of the financial information without any trouble. Ensure you get an easy to use software with a clean user-friendly interface that allows you to focus on business-critical tasks.

d. Scalability

A lot of business owners make the mistake of thinking short-term and buy software that fails to support the needs of their growing operations. This slows the progress and forces entrepreneurs to migrate to other software, which can be a hassle. It is, therefore, prudent to get software that scales with your business needs. Go for one that offers free entry-level features and can be upgraded to an advanced fully-equipped paid version, which you will need in the future.

Conclusion

Having an ingenious invoicing software in place can certainly help small businesses streamline their processes and work better with clients. From automating invoices and organizing data to receiving payments safely, online invoicing solutions can do it all. The kind of system you need depends entirely on your business goals and the kind of legacy software you have been using. Use the above information to make an informed decision and propel your business towards success.

What kind of challenges did you face when picking an invoice management system for your business, and how did you overcome them? Do let us know in your comments.