How Your Agency’s Time Tracking is Derailing Your Budgeting
Earlier this year we completed our first Industry Report, analyzing the productivity and profitability of small to mid-size advertising agencies and creative teams. By surveying over 400 agency leaders, project managers and creatives across North America, we took inventory of what drives agency success, and where project teams were struggling to meet their goals.
One of the more startling results we uncovered was that 67% of agencies state they over-service clients by 50% or more. It goes without saying that over-servicing clients by such a high percentage is running down many agencies’ bottom lines and ensuring that the majority of projects aren’t as profitable as they could be. While this statistic is startling, I’m here to tell you that it’s not entirely demoralizing.
Understanding Agency Budgeting
In order to reduce over-servicing, agencies need to understand that over-servicing clients is a direct result of inaccurate budgeting processes. If agencies are able to better understand the amount of time and resources that go into completing a project and turning a profit, scope creep becomes a thing of the past.
Since we first launched FP, we’ve gained a solid understanding of what goes into accurate budgeting by working backwards. To understand why agencies are missing deadlines and running over budget, we must work backward to understand exactly how much time and resources go into completing projects. That’s why integrated agency time tracking has become such a key feature for Function Point.
44.1% of agencies say their time tracking is somewhat, or not at all accurate. When we discovered that nearly half of the agencies reported that their time tracking wasn’t very accurate, it made sense to us that so many potentially profitable agencies were still over-servicing clients. Without the time tracking data needed to hone budgeting processes, scope-creep, missed deadlines and over-servicing are inevitable.
But here’s the good news. Since implementing project management and agency time tracking software, 65% of agencies saw an increase in their ability to meet deadlines.
Over-servicing, missed deadlines and inaccurate time tracking aren’t a reflection of a poorly managed agency. They’re indicative of poorly managed software programs that aren’t successfully meeting your agency’s needs. With the surplus of SaaS programs available, it’s easy to spread your data thin across a martech stack of multiple disjointed programs, siloing your analytics and creating project management disconnect.
At Function Point, we believe that creating a streamlined, all-in-one agency project management solution creates a single source of truth for your project’s budgets, resource management, and creative workflow. All of this boils down to providing your team with a simple but accurate system for tracking time.
Function Point Time Tracking Features
We believe that creative teams won’t track time if they don’t feel like they have to—and the fact that 44% of teams aren’t tracking accurately reinforces this theory. Getting your creatives to track time comes down to 2 things: making it mandatory, and making it easy.
Making time tracking mandatory is a methodology that must be built into your corporate culture. One of the ways that I’ve seen this is when team leads take an active role in setting the example of consistently tracking their own time. In addition, internal competitions and contests can go a long way in making sure that time tracking is front of mind among team members.
Making time tracking easy is our job. We’ve designed Function Point to make it easy to track time with only about 5 minutes per day. It’s integrated into our project management tools, making it impossible to miss when creatives upload their work. Last year we made it even easier by launching the Function Point app to allow creatives to track time on the go – via phone, tablet, or even Apple watch. If your team already uses Function Point, here’s a great refresher for how to track your time entries to a task. If you aren’t already using Function Point, we’d love to offer you a demo.
Founder & CEO
Chris started Function Point over 20 years ago in his basement as a way to help professional service agencies run their businesses more efficiently. Since then he’s grown FP into an international success, working with over 600 agencies from around the world and continues to run the company from the head office in Vancouver, Canada.