7 tips for implementing time-tracking in your accounting firm

 7 tips for implementing time-tracking in your accounting firm
After months of consideration, research and chat’s with fellow accountants, you’ve made the decision to implement time-tracking in your accounting firm. Following a decision comes a strategy; a game-plan. What’s yours? Up to 87% of companies experience set-backs with implementing a time-tracking software. This resistance is largely due to an inability to drive cultural change. The key to implementation therefore lies in successful change management. Change will not be welcome as soon as it creates stress for your employees. In this article we’ll share some tips and strategies for the successful implementation of time-tracking in your accounting office.

1. Explain why you want to implement time tracking to your team  

Communication, communication, communication. 

We cannot stress this enough.  

Tracking time is stressful and is often associated with micromanagement. To ensure that time tracking isn’t interpreted as something sinister, you need to communicate to your staff exactly why you’re introducing it. Everyone on board needs to have a clear understanding of the motives and benefits. Trust is of the essence for successful cooperation, and trust can only be achieved through open and honest communication. 

2. Identify the main stress drivers to implementation  

The key to successful implementation and buy-in hinges on your ability to address your teams emotional concerns. The biggest challenge is getting people to feel comfortable tracking time.  

Have an honest chat with your employees about their concerns. One of the main issues is that time tracking makes people feel policed, anxious, self-conscious and perhaps miserable because of increased expectations. 

Set realistic expectations and discuss these with your team. We guarantee that your team will not be productive for the full 8-hour workday. In fact, there’s research to back this up. Research suggests that in an 8-hour workday, the average worker is only fully productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes. Keep this in mind when setting your expectations, and make sure to focus on quality and not quantity.  

3. Explain how time tracking will benefit them 

Answer the age-old question “What’s in it for me?” 

Lay out exactly how your team will benefit from time tracking. A few common benefits include:  

  • Protection against burn-out/better work-life balance 
  • Ensuring a fair allocation of work 
  • Over-time transparency 
  • Pay transparency 
  • Highlighting distractions and low-value tasks/ improving working habits  
  • Providing team transparency over project progress  

4. Choose a user-friendly software  

The more user-friendly and intuitive the time-tracking platform, the fewer mistakes there will be and the higher the rate of adoption. The software needs to be easy to learn and use, and it must be able to be accessed from any device and location.  

We strongly suggest that you ditch paper and Excel and join the cloud. It really doesn’t get easier than tracking time with a click of a button.  

5. Dedicate time to training  

Once you’ve chosen an appropriate time tracking software, you should dedicate time to training your employees in it. It’s your job to instil confidence in them, and there’s nothing worse than being expected to use a program that you’ve never been exposed to and don’t know how to use. Remember – be patient. You can’t expect everyone to learn at the same speed. Set aside time for training and education and ensure that everyone knows what they’re doing.  

6. Set clear rules and guidelines  

Rules and procedures need to be laid out in a crystal-clear manner (again, communication is key). If people don’t know what’s expected of them, they’re bound to be apathetic. Your team is likely to have a myriad of questions to ask, so ensure that you spend the necessary time getting everyone on the same page.  

You could receive questions like:  

  • Do I track lunch breaks?  
  • What do I do if I forgot to track my time on a particular day?  
  • Do I track time for internal meetings/speaking to colleagues, going to the bathroom etc?  
  • Does time need to be tracked daily, weekly etc?  

Once clear rules and guidelines regarding time tracking are established, and everyone understands them, your employees will track their time more accurately and confidently.  

7. Lead by example: Track your own time  

Don’t force change from the side lines – lead by example and track your own time too. This will motivate and encourage the rest of your team and will be ease their opinions of time tracking being something intrusive.  

Click here to learn more about our time tracking functionality!