Tracking Consulting Expenses

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At the end of the first year of self employment, consultants quickly discover that their income is taxed differently than that of an employee. To offset this, self-employed consultants also have the advantage of claiming far more expenses. Long before tax time arrives, talk with your accountant to learn how the tax law applies to your practice and develop a method to track these expenses as they occur. Then, tax time will become a far less painful experience.

Expenses While Consulting

Almost any amount spent with a client can be claimed as an expense, as long as it pertains to the job. You can claim paper, pencils or any office supplies. Rental of equipment like a computer or projector and the purchase of items for the client need to be tracked and can often be included on invoices. Food set out during presentations or meetings also can be reported, but track meals with a client separately, since different rules apply.

On the Road

Airfare, hotels and car rental all qualify as business expenses. Keep all bills and receipts and credit card slips. Some meals can be reported, but talk with your accountant to determine which can be expensed. When driving to a client, whether to a distant city or just up the street, always track the miles driven. Keep a log book listing the reason for the trip, the starting and ending odometer readings, and then calculate the number of miles driven. Each year, the IRS publishes a standard mileage rate and these miles add up quickly.


Home Office

If you set aside a separate room for your consulting practice, the IRS allows you to expense a percentage of your mortgage, utilities, insurance and other home expenses. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to this practice, so discuss this with your accountant. Even if you choose to not deduct the space, keep track of the furnishings and equipment purchased for the business. Desk, chair, computers, fax and other equipment all apply. Also remember to track phone calls and consider purchasing a separate cell phone specifically for the business.

Tracking Expenses

The best time to track an expense is when it occurs. Keep a notebook or Day-Timer handy to jot down expenses or tap them into your smartphone. Remember to also keep all receipts. Once you are back at home, enter them into a spreadsheet or small business accounting program. For most, a checkbook program like Quicken works well, is easy to learn and offers a variety of reports by category and time period. Buy a file box or cabinet and a stack of file folders. Then, organize the receipts, credit card slips and other paper by expense category, month or client.

Timeboxing - An Efficient Time Management Technique for Productivity

Our inability to efficiently manage time often lands us in hot water, with hordes of delayed assignments and fast-approaching deadlines. Keeping up with the daily activities then becomes a Sisyphean task where you do not actually get anything done but are always in the grind with no way out.

While most of us are eager to start and end our daily tasks on time, very few of us are actually able to do that because of poor time management. Even with a set to-do list or proper planning, staying on track is a difficult feat. Fortunately, we have the gift of different time management tools and techniques that aid in improving our time efficiency.

People use different methods and tools to make the most of their time. On average, a person uses around 13 different methods for time management. Among these different methods, one that has proved its efficiency time and again is timeboxing.

Timeboxing is hailed as one of the best methods for time management. The method targets gaps in time management to help you improve your work productivity. Additionally, the technique can help you fight procrastination and narrow your focus for better working.

This article will answer your questions as to what is time boxing and how to use time boxing.

What Is Time Boxing?

As we mentioned earlier, timeboxing is a time management technique. The unique method offers a different approach to time management wherein you allot a specific time to a task.

This method of management can help you focus your attention on the task at hand without any distractions or lapses in the focus. Your goal is to accomplish the task within the specified time limit. There is no flexibility in terms of increasing your time.

Scheduling your tasks into timeboxes significantly improves the time spent on tasks. When you start your timebox, you have to rid yourself of disturbances to make sure you optimize your working during this time and accomplish your goal.

Hard Timeboxes Vs. Soft Timeboxes:

There are two types of timeboxes that you can schedule your work in:

Choosing between the two is completely up to you!

How To Use Time Boxing?

How to timebox your tasks? Managing your time through timeboxes is as easy as it seems. Follow the following steps and you will realize how easy and quick it is to manage your time with timeboxing technique.

1. Create A Timebox for The Items in Your To-Do List

The first step of the technique involves determining the complexity of each task on your to-do list and allocating a timebox to it. You have to determine the approximate time that will be required to complete the task and create a timebox accordingly.

Make sure to leave some time for breaks and unexpected disturbances that may hinder the smooth working. You should have sufficient time to complete the task within the specified timebox.

2. Set A Timer on Mobile or Desktop

Once you have figured out the time you will spend on each task, you can set a timer that will alert you whenever you have to move on from one task to another. The time will help you stay focused so that you can optimize your work performance during that time and accomplish your goal within the specified time.

You can use your phone or desktop for this purpose.

3. Hard Timebox or Soft Timebox

Before starting the timer, you can also decide whether you will go with a hard timebox or a soft one. A hard timebox will work better if you are looking for perfection and are certain that you will be able to complete the task without any delays.

If you are not sure about the time limits or are afraid that it might take more time to complete the task, you can go for soft timeboxes that offer more flexibility. A soft timebox will give you the freedom to adjust your time and keep yourself focused on the task.

4. Start The Timer

Now that you decided everything, the only thing left is to start the timer for the timebox and start working. The end of the time limit does not only indicate the end of the allotted but also notifies you of the impending task that needs your attention. So, make sure to follow the timebox.

5. Evaluate And Revise

Once you have completed your tasks, evaluate your performance and revise your schedule to improve your work efficiency. Take a look at your performance during the day and analyze whether you completed all the tasks on time? Is there any room for improvement? How can you optimize your work?

With each evaluation, you can identify the gaps in the process and develop strategies to enhance your productivity.

All in all, timeboxing is a simple and easy technique. You can easily use the method to make significant improvements in your work.

Benefits Of Timeboxing Your Daily Tasks

Timeboxing has several benefits to offer, some of which include the following:

With all these benefits, timeboxing can help you ace all your tasks within the deadline.

Tips To Make Timeboxing Work for You:

Before we conclude this article, we would like to add a few tips to make sure that the technique works for you:

You can take help from these tips and create efficient timeboxes for your work. These tips will surely come in handy when you are working with timeboxing.


We hope that this article has answered all your answers related to timeboxing or how does it work. What do you think of this technique? Is there any other technique that you use to manage your time?

What is Timesheets in Project Management?

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Timesheets rarely get a lot of good press among employees. Admittedly, they often live up to their bad reputation: nobody likes to sign a ton of papers just to “prove” they had put a given amount of work time.

On the other hand, however, timesheets can be truly beneficial for both managers and their team members. The key is to select the right tool for your team, establish processes you can follow regularly and support everything with ongoing communication. In this article I will outline a couple of ways in which you can gather insights from your team’s timesheets.

Let’s start with the question at hand:


What is timesheet management?

Simply put: timesheet management is a practice of monitoring and analyzing timesheets (recorded work hours). It can also involve taking different actions e.g. calculating employee payroll or invoicing the client based on these timesheets.

The working time used to be summarized on a sheet of paper, hence the name of the timesheet. Nowadays, online timesheets are much more popular, although there are several options here as well: from simple spreadsheets to AI-powered software tools.

As I’ve mentioned at the top of this article, timesheets are notorious for being rather unpopular among employees. Let’s dive into this topic and try to answer a question that is being raised frequently:

Are timesheets evil?

Not necessarily, but there are definitely cases in which timesheets are an utter waste of time that may greatly contribute to people’s dissatisfaction with their workplace.

See, historically, timesheets have been a way to prove that people have actually done their work. That’s where things get problematic. First of all, this can easily create a culture in which people feel that their timesheets are more important than the effects of their work. It doesn’t feel good to have to prove that you worked or that you’re being that closely watched (and timed) by your supervisors.

Also, this doesn’t incentivize people to be more efficient at work. Why look for better solution if you can just log more time in the timesheet (and possibly get paid more)?

This is not to say that paying by the hour is necessarily bad, even in the project setting. While in this text we don’t go into detail about using timesheets to determine one’s monthly earnings, we understand that it’s an important use case for companies who e.g. work with freelancers. This is why we’ve created a separate guide on calculating employee payroll.

Finally, people are really bad at remembering how much time they’ve actually spent working on something. This is why filling out timesheets at the end of the week or, worse even, a month is closer to writing fan fiction than collecting reliable data.

All in all, we can say that timesheets have little effect unless:

The latter aspect is something worth emphasizing as many teams still rely on simple spreadsheets to do the job (most companies have thankfully moved on from actual sheets of paper). It’s a step in the right direction, since an online document can be easily updated and accessed by multiple team members if needed, but it’s still a sheet that needs to be filled out, which is not the most convenient thing to do.

Modern time tracking tools often come with start/stop trackers that can be switched on and off by one click. Others offer beacons that automatically record clocking in and out.

From the managerial perspective, another important aspect is that the timesheet software is paired with a leave management tool. People need to be able to record their working time as well as their time off, otherwise you might end up worrying about empty timesheets of someone’s who’s just on vacation.

Using software that serves also as your team’s schedule gives you an extra value of being able to compare the planned working hours with the recorded ones. Data-driven project managers can use this insight to evaluate the state of their project and whether anything should be adjusted.

That’s just one example of how timesheet management can support PMs in delivering their tasks but there are more. In fact, I’m going to dedicate the next section to ideas as to how you can use your team’s timesheets to the benefit of the team and the project.


Effective timesheet management: use cases


Calculate the cost of your projects

A must-have for companies who operate on time & materials contracts. Since you’re billing your clients for the labor your team puts into the project, you might simply use their timesheets as the base for your invoice. Many resource management tools allow you to export the timesheet data or share it externally.

Find room for improvements and savings

Analyzing your team’s timesheets is a great opportunity to dive deeper into the data and identify improvement opportunities. Many time tracking tools offer an option to tag recorded time entries with predefined categories or add comments to them. This way you can analyze how much time of your team goes into non-billable activities. Granted, a lot of it is probably well-justified, but you might also see worrying patterns. What could they be? An abundance of meetings could be a red flag. People spending a lot of time on administrative tasks would be another one. It might turn out that investing in collaboration or knowledge-sharing tools could be a money saver in the long run. Your team morale will also benefit from a more robust process.


Forecast resources

Historical data, such as timesheets, can be also used to forecast recruitment needs. Looking at numbers from previous years or months, companies are able to spot trends that are likely to happen again.

Identify problems before they escalate

Sometimes project difficulties are fairly simple to notice just by looking at the recorded timesheets. For example, people may start logging a lot of overtime in order to deliver the next milestones.

It’s a good practice, however, to regularly compare your team’s recorded time entries with the estimated schedule. This will allow you to spot any inconsistencies before they result in missed deadlines.

Another important thing to keep in mind when it comes to timesheet management is that timesheets can’t replace regular communication with your team.  

The numbers will provide you with information that something happens. But in order to understand the “why”, you need to discuss matters with the project team. Not only will you be able to get to the bottom of the problem, but it’s also a great way of building a workplace culture in which employees are actually heard and respected. As such, they’re less likely to treat timesheets like a necessary evil hanging over their heads.

Timesheets alone won’t tell you everything you need to know about your team’s effectiveness or the quality of work, but they can provide important signals for project managers to act upon. Creating a deliberate and transparent policy of timesheet management, backed by open communication with your team will help you keep your projects under control while maintaining high employee satisfaction.

Benefits of a Cloud-Based Project management Software [Platform]

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting social distancing at the start of 2020 forced companies that hadn’t already done so to transition to a remote workforce.

While there are numerous remote work benefits like increased job satisfaction and cost savings, the especially suddenness of the transition has its downsides.  

The below project management statistics highlight some of the problems the remote workforce faces. These problems can be solved through the use of workflow management features like task assignment and employee workload overviews.  

Using project management methodologies, PM software, and having a project scrum master unites a remote workforce and increases project success rates. 

According to the Pulse of the Profession study from the Project Management Institute, businesses with a clear project management structure in place have 38% more successful projects that met their original goals than those that did not.   

Having a PMO led by a project management professional means companies adopt a clear, standardized approach to project management. A project management office has the necessary soft skills risk management needs to prevent problems like schedule overrun. 

Additional statistics showing the value of project management are: 

(sources: GallupWellingtonePMP GartnerPMIUM Saint Louis)