Why Time-Tracking Software is a Must-Have Essential for Any Field Service Provider

Manual time-tracking can cause all sorts of problems. Learn about how time-tracking software should be an essential part of your business.

Table of Content

    Time-tracking software is essential for any company that works with contractors, pays employees by the hour, or bills clients for time. It’s a valuable tool for improving admin tasks billing, payroll, and estimating. And — it gives business leaders insights that can be used to increase efficiency, utilization rates, and profits.

    Since professional services is one of our core practice areas, we’ve covered time-tracking in a project management context across countless blogs and downloads. 

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    But — time-tracking is just as important for field service providers, who, similarly, must manage a whole lot of moving parts just to keep their business in the black. 

    Field orgs must account for all billable hours, employee time & expenses, inventory, and assets — accurately and in real-time. Time sheets and reports from the field provide valuable data that supports all business operations. 

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    It ensures that employees and contractors get paid on-time for the work they do — and that their checks aren’t missing OT, commissions, or bonuses. 

    Field managers can create complete service histories for each customer — with detailed accounts of all work order and projects — and their status. 

    When customer records also include contracts, SLAs, and communication logs, time sheet data helps improve estimation, invoicing, and billing. Accounting teams can easily see what services were performed — and whether some or all of that work is covered under warranty or a managed service plan.

    Time-tracking tools also help field providers optimize resources and improve team performance — even if you rarely see field techs in person. And, they play a central role in financial decisions, sales strategies, training, hiring, and more.

    The point is, time-tracking touches the entire business — whether you know it or not. Here, we’ll look at some of the benefits these solutions bring to the FSM stack. 

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    Replace Manual Time-Tracking Processes

    Manual time-tracking — whether by paper or analog spreadsheet — causes all sorts of problems. It’s uniquely prone to human error. It creates unnecessary work for everyone involved — field techs, accounting staff, the managers tasked with approving timesheets and expense reports, even the customers themselves. 

    Worst of all, manual time-tracking processes undermine data integrity, which can cause catastrophic ripples throughout the entire org. 

    Inaccurate time-tracking means financial decisions are based on bad information. Forecasts can’t be trusted, so business leaders must rely on “their gut” for critical tasks like capacity planning, resource allocation, or procurement. 

    Sales teams close deals with inaccurate quotes and promises they can’t keep. Field managers struggle to balance scheduled work orders with incoming emergencies. Service agents get stuck in a tough spot — fielding calls from angry customers they can’t help because they don’t have the insights they need to do so. 

    Tackling this challenge begins with consolidating all business operations into one unified platform. In other words: a cloud ERP system that directly links field ops, sales, project management, etc. to your core financials.

    If you’re using Dynamics 365 Business Central or F&O, data automatically syncs across all connected sources. 

    So, even if you do nothing else on this front, you’ve established a “single source of truth,” eliminated the need for double (or triple) data entry, and made it much easier for folks to find and share key information. 

    All of these things allow you to improve business processes, planning, and efficiency on multiple levels. 

    For example, D365 BC users can leverage timesheet data with other critical insights to ID financial patterns, track real-time cash flow, and analyze trends – then use those findings to make more profitable decisions.

    Why Time-Tracking Software is a Must-Have Essential for Any Field Service Provider


    What’s more, familiar apps like Excel integrate seamlessly with D365 – allowing users to stick with the processes that work for them, without undermining data accuracy or creating new silos.

    As you can see, “FSM unity” goes a long way in improving visibility, data accuracy, and decision-making. But – it’s only the first step. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, you can then start using time-tracking data to optimize and automate processes. 

    For example, customers expect a detailed breakdown of what they’re paying for. How much did each part cost, how much are you charging for labor, what’s covered in the SLA (or not)? The more information you can provide upfront, the less time you’ll spend answering billing questions and the faster customers will pay their invoices.

    So, you might consider something like D365 Project Operations to make things easier on everyone. The platform allows users to submit, approve, and process time sheets from any device – thus accelerating the billing cycle and establishing more predictable cash flow. 

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    Beyond that, it comes with baked-in intelligence and automation capabilities that enforce compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards, streamline revenue recognition, and serve up actionable AI insights that support better decision-making.  

    Alternatively, you might try something like TimeIt, which bills itself as an all-in-one time management solution for field service orgs. 

    This app includes features such as automated workflows for faster payroll processing and project-based approvals, role-based analytics, and even features for preventing fraud and time theft.

    Put Tech Empowerment First

    Time-tracking solutions need to be easy for field employees to use. We’re talking: seamless, intuitive, mobile, and ideally, automated. Most of all, they need to put field techs first. 

    Now, “tech empowerment” is not a perk you can use to attract and retain talent. Yes, it absolutely supports those goals, and thus justifies the investment. But – focusing on tech empowerment directly supports the more immediate and, arguably, tangible goals today’s budget-conscious C-suite cares about right now.

    In other words, if time-tracking is an inconvenience for techs, they’ll either take their sweet time when it comes to submitting reports or phone it in on the details to appease their manager. 

    If your techs fail to submit reports on time (or at all) or provide incorrect information, it prevents you from getting a clear picture of how your business is doing – and makes it difficult to make decisions and meet customer expectations. 

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    Let’s say even a single technician uses parts for a job and doesn’t report it. That “small” mistake skews your inventory data, making it difficult to know when to place an order, let alone how much you need to buy. 

    That means, you’re looking for tools that make it easy to capture and share key information during service calls, without over-burdening your most valuable asset – your mobile workforce.

    Field techs must be able to submit timesheets and expenses while working a job. They need to be able to record what parts were used during each call, how long they were on-site, and what, exactly, they did while they were there.  

    You’ll also want to look for solutions that automatically capture job-related data (perhaps via barcode scans or uploaded photos) and populate reports. Mobile apps should include AI-guided workflows and make it easy to log billable hours, order parts, and keep customers in the loop/

    You might also look for ISV solutions that empower workers in different ways — whether they’re in the field, the office, or at home. 

    Search for field service solutions in Microsoft AppSource, and you’ll find a diverse mix of apps designed to “enable” field teams in slightly different ways. Think —  AI-guided training, automated workflows, or functional enhancements that further streamline processes or make it easier to submit reports and work with data.

    For example, ODT Field Ticket 365 is a field ticketing app that integrates with D365 BC — bringing advanced functionality to that core platform that makes it easier to document job details, track work orders, consolidate costs, and capture data directly from the field. 

    Tickets can be used to generate reports, which later, can be converted into invoices, then automatically pushed to payroll for processing and approval.         


    Here, multiple teams stand to save a ton of time. Data syncing and automated routing ensures that no detail falls through the cracks. And, fewer data entry points enhance visibility and preserve data integrity. 

    If your company does a lot of project-based work, something like Mobile Time Tracking for D365 Project Operations might help you get field service, sales, and project teams on the same page. This ISV app enables field-based teams to record working hours from their smartphones, track open tasks, and measure progress toward each milestone. 

    Transform Resource Management

    Optimizing resource management involves multiple “upgrades.”  Think — investing in mobile apps and augmenting them with AR or other mixed reality tech, embracing connected field service, and empowering your entire workforce with self-service BI and advanced analytics. 

    Of course, all of these improvements are driven by data. Workforce analytics. Process data. Insights from support tickets, old work orders, and customer reviews. Among so many other things. 

    But, remember, field service orgs rely on a mobile workforce and its ability to provide timely, consistent, and effective service to an entire roster of customers — all with unique service histories, assets, and concerns.

    As such, time-tracking software is a valuable data source that plays an instrumental role in transforming all business operations. In this context, improving performance largely centers on leveling up resource management. 

    Because the majority of their “business value” is generated off-site, time-tracking software plays a central role in establishing transparency with customers and other stakeholders (sales reps, partners, suppliers, etc.). And, in gaining control over complex and sprawling field operations where there’s a lot at stake (for customers that depend on key assets and the providers that serve them). 

    In D365 BC, you can manage resource utilization by looking at real-time sales data and planning capacity. You can also track customer invoicing against quotes, budgets, and actual costs – by project or individual work order.

    Why Time-Tracking Software is a Must-Have Essential for Any Field Service Provider


    You can also assign field techs to work orders or projects and use built-in reporting tools to track SLAs and ensure customers get reliable service and the top-tier experiences they expect. 

    You might also use ISV apps like TimeIt to streamline scheduling, review time sheets, and process payroll. This particular app lets users set rules-based automations that scan for instances of time-theft or fraud. 

    It also includes comprehensive timesheet reporting that can help you better understand field and project operations, and drive improvements that lead to efficiency gains and higher profit margins.

    Final Thoughts

    While time-tracking is vitally important, it might take some time to find a time-tracking solution that works for your org. Accounting, HR, project management, and field service solutions might all include some off-the-shelf time-tracking features, but may be missing the capabilities you need to gain a competitive advantage. 

    So, it’s really a matter of assessing your entire stack, then looking for solutions that can fill critical gaps. 

    For example, D365 Business Central includes a flexible timesheet tool that integrates with existing FSM and Project Management solutions — and can be configured to include resources. But — D365 BC lacks the advanced resource management, reporting, and automation capabilities that really change the game for service providers. Meaning, BC users will need to look toward ISV solutions and integrations, or build their own customizations using the Power Platform.

    Enterprise users can extend  Finance and Field Service apps with additional modules like D365 Project Operations or Human Resources. Or — they can go the ISV/custom app route if they only need a few time-tracking features and can’t justify investing in a bunch of features they may not need. 

    Velosio can help you uncover gaps in your field service management stack and ID the right time-tracking solution for your team — and the clients they serve. Contact us today to learn more about our field service practice, proprietary solutions, and past work. 

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