Time tracking is painful for small businesses and something that staff members often forget to do. This is particularly true for trade and construction businesses who often move around between jobs and don’t get a lot of desk time .
Time is the bread and butter of small service businesses. Whether you charge a fixed price or by the hour for your services, you need to know how much time is spent on a job in order to gauge profitability, and to quote more accurately next time. Time is equally as important for hourly-rate employees who get paid for the time they record on their timesheets.
Location, location, location!
Now, a new feature in the Xero Projects iOS app suggests time entries against a project based on the time spent at a particular location. This means no more manual tracking of how long you (or your employees) have spent on the job.
Rather than track every move, the app uses geo-fencing to register when you arrive at a site and then automatically stops the clock when you leave. Geo-fencing means your device recognises it has entered a set location and that triggers an action – in this case to start timing how long you spend there.
Xero only stores your location data on your mobile device. It’s not saved anywhere else and the details aren’t shared, so your privacy is maintained and you operate in an environment of trust. (You can check out our privacy terms for more about how we collect and store your data.)
Because the locations that you add to a project aren’t shared, each team member needs to set up the locations for the jobs they’re working on in order to get automatic time suggestions.
How it works
Using the location-based time entry feature has minimal impact on your device battery and doesn’t use any mobile data. Here’s how it works:
- Make sure you have the latest version of the Xero Projects iOS app.
- Select a project and tap the + icon to add one or more locations for a job.
- Tap Always when prompted to allow location access.
- In the time entries tab, view suggestions based on how much time you spent at each location.
- Review, and save or discard the suggestions.
Read more in the support article on enabling suggested time entries by location at Xero Central.
Why it’s important to keep track
Keeping tabs on the time and materials that go into a project is the only way to know if your price is right and the job is profitable. By tracking time across your project, you’re able to:
- understand what project tasks take the most time and cost you the most money
- quote more accurately on future projects
- experiment and allocate staff to work on high-value tasks first or where they’re needed most
- bill accurately if you’re charging by the hour, or rein in the job if needed to ensure the fixed fee covers all your time and expenses.
Location-based time entry is being built for the Xero Projects Android app. Soon your whole team – whether they’re Android or iPhone users – will be able to get time entry suggestions based on their project locations. We’re also working on a useful new feature to help you estimate and track time on fixed price tasks.
We love getting feedback, so please leave us a comment and let know what you think.