Five ways to make timesheeting easier with Synergist

 |  In: Product

Filling out timesheets is never going to be top of any agency team member’s list of favourite things. But it’s one of the inescapable parts of agency life.

For agency managers, time is what you sell, so it’s essential that you have a true picture of where and how it’s being spent. (Read Timesheets — does your agency really need them?)

For creatives, keeping a clear timesheet helps to make sure your jobs are kept in budget, but also helps production managers keep your workload balanced. (Read Why do we have to timesheet? A letter to creatives)

Thankfully, we’ve moved a long way from manual timesheets frantically filled out on a Friday afternoon. And Synergist offers several different methods to time sheeting, so you can tailor your approach to best suit your agency’s needs.

Here are the five ways to record time, either through Synergist or on the mobile app.

Five ways to record time in Synergist

1. Daily timesheets

As the name suggests these are for daily tasks and are used by those who are working on different jobs every day. Best for team members who don’t use the calendar function, simply log into Time & Expenses – Daily Timesheets – New. Then select job, charge code and time (quick tip, this is entered in decimal format, so for example 0.25 is 15 mins). Alternatively, you can use the timer to record time spent.

2. Weekly timesheets

As a creative, you sometimes work on the same job all week, and this option saves you having to fill out a daily timesheet. Project managers simply add the job to show the working week Monday to Friday – it will then be added to the following week too, so you don’t need to keep re-adding it. You can schedule it to appear automatically showing a calendar sign, which then allows you to log time, or use the timer to record time.

3. My Calendar

For those who have work scheduled in for them using the calendar, this option is perfect. Users can just click on the ‘quick timesheet’ option from the job in My Calendar and this will then be automatically posted against the job. Quick and simple for creatives and project managers alike, giving clear, up-to-the-minute timesheet data.

4. Activity

Some jobs are done via a Kanban board or a special requisition (which requests work to be allocated via the Calendar Bookings system) and project managers can add a ‘quick timesheet’ onto the activity. If you’re working on this, the job, phase and charge code will already be added, so you just need to populate the time section.

5. Time tab

Those who are already in the job management screens can add time here, saving the need to add jobs to daily/weekly timesheet views. Simply go to the job in question and select the ‘Time’ tab, which will bring up a list of all time logged on the job. Click to add timesheet – easy!

Top tips for timesheeting

However you’re doing it, the crucial thing is it’s being done, and accurately. Here are some ways to really get the best out of your timesheeting:

Log on the go if you are working on multiple jobs, or at the end of every day if you’re on one job. Tempting as it might be to leave it until the end of the week, it can be difficult to remember clearly how much time was spent on each job, and that’s when data can get blurry.

Set up email alerts/reminders using Synergist. A lunchtime alert is a good idea, reminding you to fill out the morning’s activity and keeping in mind to log the afternoon’s jobs too.

Make sure it’s the right job and rate (aka charge code). Time is money and understanding this can help make sure estimates and quotes are as accurate as possible. You can set up timesheet approval workflows on Synergist so they can be assessed and queried if necessary.

Separate out overtime. Synergist can be configured to log overtime separately. This is a good way to determine if team members have too much to do, or make sure payments are made accordingly if you pay overtime.

Log non-chargeable time. Plenty of work falls into the category of internal jobs, meetings, and admin – still time spent but not billable to a client. It’s important to track this time though, so you can make sure the right people are working on the right jobs. There’s no point having a senior creative doing all the internal work and putting juniors on client work, for example.

Delegate. While the mobile app is a great tool, sometimes it might not be possible to use it. The delegation function on Synergist allows one user to log time for another, which is a great way of keeping everything bang up to date.

Check the personal dashboard. This shows four weeks’ worth of timesheet entries, broken down into chargeable and non-chargeable hours. It shows the total required hours and reminds you if you haven’t filled out your quota.

Set a missing timesheet report. Line managers can set up this function as a final reminder to team members to fill in their hours, as a last rallying call each week.

There really isn't any getting round the importance of logging time. Without it there's no way of knowing what it's costing you to deliver work. However, no one likes doing it and no one likes reminding people to do it. But using these functions in Synergist makes it as quick and easy as possible whilst helping to keep the data accurate. Time is your business, so make it your business to put it at the top of your priority list...