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2009/09/23

Track your time in NetSuite - Where has my time gone!

Most of our customers use the capability to track time to bill customers or track time spent on projects.

Another great usage is to track the time spent on non-billable or project activities. This is a must for metrics-driven (read: obsessed) executives!

I personally use it religiously to track how I spend my time during the day. I started by using simple Service Items like Administration, Sales, Marketing and Vacation.

I was then able to see where I spend my time for a given period using a customized Time by Item report. NetSuite's standard graph feature gave me the big picture:

I realized I was spending way too much time on Administration, so I set a goal for myself to spend 10% more time on sales, and delegate some tasks.

Now I needed more data within the Sales Service Item. On which prospect did I spend my time? When I sign a contract, what is my profitability, including my loaded cost?

So I started to enter the prospect's name on my time entries.

I make a phone call? 0:05 minutes on the prospect. Sent an email with a PDF? 0:15 minutes on another prospect.

Now I have a great image of how I spend my time!

It's all in the categorization

After 5 years of running this consulting shop, we came up with a good list. We are still improving on it and cleaning it up, but we are way ahead from where we started.

Here is the non-billable items we use as of today:

  • Administration
  • Business Development
  • Estimates, POC and Sales activities
  • Family obligations (bereavement, kids)
  • Marketing
  • Marketing - AdWords & Analytics
  • Marketing - Customer Surveys
  • Marketing - Events
  • Marketing - Newsletters
  • Marketing - Press Relations
  • Marketing - Technological Watch
  • Marketing - Web Site - Content & Structure
  • Paid Holidays
  • People - Evaluations
  • PMO
  • R&D
  • Sickness
  • Strategy
  • Training
  • Vacation
Entering time for service items that are non-billable has no financial impact in NetSuite and is a great way to push yourself to do things better. Remember, you can only know what you measure!

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