Accountants often think time tracking is 100% necessary for service based businesses. How else will you know what projects are profitable and what employees are performing? Project managers feel it’s necessary to see how their projects are doing. Your employees hate it, but it’s the “only way”.
I get the accounting and project management point of view. Hell, I’ve spent time in my career extolling the virtues of time tracking. However, I also see that it’s a culture killer.
Great employees feel stressed to be super efficient, but also do excellent work. You know what happens when faced with that conundrum? They work longer hours without recording it. They slowly burn themselves out. They begin to resent the job and everyone who clocks out for the weekend. Eventually, they will move on.
If you’re billing hourly, employees see no point in finding a better way, being more efficient, or stopping the clock for non-client work. Non-performers can look like heroes in this environment. Continue down this path for long and you’ll end up with a culture of non-performers and find it difficult to win work.
Every once in awhile, we all come across a situation in the office that turns us into Estelle Castanza. When we need something from George, we usually start with “hey George, can you get me those TPS reports by Noon”. At Noon, as usual, the nagging commences.
How can you be less naggy and get what you need in a timely manner?
The right approach really will depend on the person involved and the reason they never seem to meet your needs. You’ll need to consider the obstacles and find ways to solve them before lobbing in your request.
Make sure S- Corp shareholder health insurance premiums (more than 2% shareholders) are going to be included as wages on your W-2. It’s always easier and less expensive to work with your payroll provider before December 31st to make it happen.
Recently I’ve been asked to attend a daily 15 minute project status meeting. So far, each day at least one person has kept the group waiting 5 minutes. That’s 1/3 of this meeting, but I digress.
At first glance, you think “It’s only 5 minutes, what’s the big deal?” Well I have a couple of issues with tardiness to meetings. First, where I come from, punctuality is a sign of respect. I know sometimes there are traffic or other issues and I am certainly not 100% perfect. Occasional lateness is understandable and 5 minutes late for a one time meeting is not that big of a deal (but do apologize!). However, when it’s a phone meeting that is every day of the week, being late every day is unacceptable in my book. It’s disrespectful to those who are waiting for the tardy attendee to show up.
Now let’s move on to how much money this costs. In the case of the project meeting I’m attending, at least 2 people are waiting every day for others to show. 2 people, 5 minutes a day, 20 days in a month. That’s 3.33 hours of WAITING. Is that in the project budget? I doubt it. Assuming a minimum bill rate of $100 per hour, that’s $333 per month because one person hits their snooze button every day. What a waste.
Sometimes the best business lessons are really life lessons. Do you know the song “The Gambler”? This song hits the nail on the head: “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run”. How can you apply this to various aspects of your business? (more…)
For the most part, 1099 rules remain the same this year, but there is one major change. The IRS is now requiring third party payment processors to report payments made to you through their systems. You’ll get a 1099-K for each person who paid you with a credit card, debit card, PayPal, etc. Similarly, people you have paid via these methods will receive a 1099-K from the payment processor. What does this mean for you?
You need to EXCLUDE from your 1099-MISC calculation any amounts you paid via a payment processor (for most people, debit/credit cards and PayPal).
Intuit is providing solutions to this issue for their QuickBooks products, but you may have to re-code some transactions to get the proper report from your system. Please follow the appropriate links below to find out how to get the right information out of your accounting system.
Have you ever wondered why your day always ends before your to-do list does? Are endless interruptions keeping you from focusing on the creative or business development work you know you need to do?
Join Pam Bryan, Certified Productivity Coach, for a zero-cost, fast-paced, 60 minute TeleForum to learn why personal productivity is such a challenge for creative professionals and what you can do about it.
Get MORE Productivity TeleForum – For Creative Professionals
Time tracking is an area that most creatives vehemently oppose. “It’s a creative process, we don’t know how much time it will take.” or “It depends on the person and the project. Sometimes it’s quick and sometimes it’s not.” These are valid arguments. These arguments can be applied to other service based businesses as well. I can assure you, I don’t like time tracking either and when I hire bookkeepers, some are faster than others.
Even though the argument is valid, you still have to find a way to price projects appropriately, track work in process, and measure profitability. Like it or not, time is the best measure. That’s not to say there aren’t other ways of estimating. You have to figure out the easiest, best way to reasonably approximate how much effort each project takes.