Performance Improvement

May 20, 2021

Smart Solutions to Revenue Leaks: AI-Powered Timesheets

Sage Intelligent-time-header

What were you doing last Wednesday at 2:00? How about Friday at 11:30? When we don’t record our time at the moment, we all have a tough time recalling it later. If that were billable time — it might just go unbilled. It’s been estimated that consultants may ultimately bill for only 67% of their actual billable time. It’s called revenue leakage, and it can be a significant drain on a service organization’s profitability. Timesheets are nobody’s idea of fun, but they’re a necessity, and with technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), time tracking becomes smarter, simpler, faster, and more accurate.

Where Does the Time Go?

The failure of professionals to accurately record their time is the primary source of revenue leakage. A study by the London Business School* and a software firm found that only 20% of surveyed professionals record their activities multiple times a day and 18% do so once a day. Around 40% of professionals track their time just once or twice a week. The balance (22%) indicates that they only do so once or twice a month!

Many of us wait until the end of the billing period to think about timesheets. Then, we have to recreate our activities. On average, professionals spend one-to-two hours each week searching through email, calendars, and messages trying to recreate their timesheets. Even that might not capture all potentially billable hours though. A survey of 500 workers found that almost 40% of respondents reported never tracking the time spent reading and answering client-related email**.

Forgotten and overlooked activities go unbilled, leaving money on the table. Additionally, when professionals wait until the last minute to begin work on their timesheet, it can delay billing — exacerbating the revenue leakage problem.

Time on Your Side

As with any software, time tracking applications are only of value if they get used. To accelerate user adoption rates, we need applications that are easy-to-use, comprehensive, and convenient. Some time tracking applications are nothing more than glorified spreadsheets. They might be easy to use, but they may also lack the functionality and controls needed to capture billable time accurately. Other applications are overly complex, and it doesn’t make sense to expect professionals to waste billing time learning how to bill time! Yet others lack the convenience of a mobile interface, making it less likely that on-the-go professionals will record their time regularly.

One time tracking application that checks all the boxes is Sage Intelligent Time. It’s the first time management application to use Artificial Intelligence. Here’s why that’s important.

You’re familiar with the iPhone’s Siri Suggestions feature (Android phones have a similar feature), which offers to create a calendar event from information found in your email or text messages. That’s AI at work. Sage Intelligent Time performs this same kind of task — sifting through your calendars and emails looking for events that you may want to include in your timesheet. This digital personal assistant gathers and presents its suggestions, and you simply drag and drop into your timesheet. The extra smart part is that the application learns from your activities, allowing it to make better suggestions next time. AI-powered Sage Intelligent Time works just as well on your mobile devices as it does on your computer and tablet, saving time and making it easy and convenient to complete the task.

There’s an adage out there that goes something like, “Managing consultants is like herding cats.” Consultants are an independent bunch to be sure, and most prefer to focus on serving their clients rather than recording their time. Perhaps, though, AI-powered timesheets could be the catnip that gets them interested.

Sources:
*https://www.consultancy.uk/news/3447/15-percent-of-chargeable-consulting-work-is-not-billed-to-clients
**https://hbr.org/2015/01/workers-are-bad-at-filling-out-timesheets-and-it-costs-billions-a-day

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