The Practitioner: Make time to fill in your timesheet, or…

The Practitioner

“IF YOU DON’T fill in your timesheet I’ll assume you’ve done no work – and you’ll either get sacked or not get paid, or both!”

I remember hearing this being shouted by a senior partner in the firm I trained with. At that time I didn’t even think that not filling in timesheets was an option. I was amazed that anyone would even consider not filling one in.

How times have changed. As a partner, my timesheets are very easy to fill in. I’ll spend at least one full day on a particular client, if not a full week sometimes. I remember the days however when I had more than one full sheet for one day.

While my timesheets are easier to fill in – and I sometimes do them retrospectively – I still expect the staff to fill in them religiously. I’m not quite as grumpy as several partners I’ve worked under in the past, but I do constantly stress to staff the importance of recording time correctly: “If we know how long we take to do a job, I can make sure we bill the client correctly. If we are billing the client, he will pay, and I can pay your wages.”

I must say this at least once a week, and although they probably think I’m a broken record it is the basics of any accountancy practice.

Senior moment

All this having been said, I blew my top this morning at a senior member of staff who had concealed the fact that he hadn’t been filling in timesheets since the middle of September.

We use an online system to make the process easier by having the client list already pre-populated and a pre-determined list of tasks available to choose from.

I ask every week if timesheets have been completed and everyone says yes. I don’t expect my most senior member of staff to say yes, when actually he means no.

My anger today was impossible to contain. I made it clear to the staff member in question that he had half an hour to complete them fully or he would not get paid this month.

We are now going back to hard copy timesheets being presented to me by hand by 9.30am every Monday.

A wise man once told me, “They only do what you inspect, not what you expect…”

On this occasion he was totally right.

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from within their own practice – having left a regional firm in the heart of England

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