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How to get Consultants to submit time sheets on time?

Almost all the time performed by a consultant/employee is billable back to our clients. We also have to give the clients a weekly update. Our Admin Team is constantly sending out reminder emails asking for time sheets. Never have they been handed in on time. Currently they track their time in an Excel and just email it to us. Then at the end of the month they attach the monthly sheet to their invoice. Any suggestions on how to get them to submit on time?

Answers

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Anon,

While many of us will sympathize with your predicament, your chances of making changes that stick will increase if you:
1. objectively analyse and quantify the issues today: over the past x months, how many are late, how late are they in reporting, how does this affect your client reporting/what do clients feel, impact on cash flow, extra hours worked, errors missed, etc.
2. propose a solution (maybe with options) and validate it with your boss
3. get the CEO/owner/managing partner buy in (not lip service, but real buy in)
4. plan the announcement - what to say, how to say it, who will say it, what is needed in future, what will happen if you submit late, etc.
5. update your subcontractor agreements to include new time and invoice submission routines
6. monitor adherence

PS - time reporting via excel files/email is kinda 1990s at best. Look at some cloud solutions/google docs that make it easier for all

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

I am sorry to say your pain is common. I have seen threats. I have seen policies. I have seen excuses. The only policy that works is linking pay to time sheet submission. Note – if you implement this type of program, you will experience about a month of pain. But then it is done.

If you are able to get Senior Management to agree, you will issue a policy. It will be ignored. You will withhold pay. Your Consultants will complain and you will release the pay. But it will never happen again. Your Consultants will begin to comply, rather than go to their Managers and ask for an exception. The patience of your Manager to give exceptions will be very short.

This process may seem extreme, but it works and will end your issue.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

There are two issues here (and not necessarily in this order): 1. paying the consultant and 2. charging the client.

You can always change billing to a time period that allows you to estimate the number of hours and then correct on the next bill.

You can do this with your consultants. In fact you can make the terms net 30 to your consultants, so those waiting 30 days or more to bill you don't get paid for 60+ days. Eventually when they have no money, they will learn.

I also make it a strict rule: I don't pay my consultants till I receive their invoice.

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

I would add, the employees need to be engendered to have fiscal accountability for how they carry out their responsibilities as an employee. I would concur with earlier comment about excel being 1990s (the message that sends to employees is "submitting your hours aren't worth investment in an automated tool/efficient process" hence a low priority). Hope this helps. Good luck.

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