Using Time Wisely: How AI Can Help Professional Services Firms Recover up to $10K Annually
Maximizing billable hours is one of the top priorities — and top challenges — for most professional services firms. It’s been estimated that consultants may ultimately bill for only 67% of their actual billable time. Time spent on phone calls, online messaging, or time spent traveling are just some of the hours that may get overlooked by consultants trying to recreate their billable hours for the time period. How can you capture that lost revenue? By using time wisely – with the help of Artificial Intelligence. In fact, AI tools can save professional services firms more than $10,000 annually.
How big is the problem?
A recent McKinsey study found that professionals spend just over 2.5 hours a day reading and responding to an average of 120 emails received per day. A separate survey of 500 workers found that almost 40% of respondents reported never tracking the time spent reading and answering email. Just one-third of those surveyed said they always or often track their time spent on email.
Let’s walk through the math on this one. If only one-third of respondents are tracking the time they spend on email, and the average professional spends 2.5 hours a day on email, over 350 hours of email work is going unrecorded (and unbilled) every year. That adds up to $70,000 in unbilled revenue each year — for each consultant. Yikes.
Think that number is overly pessimistic? Consider this more modest assessment of lost revenue. Losing just 12 minutes a day adds up to one hour a week, four hours a month, and 52 hours a year, which totals up to roughly $10,000 for a consultant billing $200 an hour.
Losing just 12 minutes a day totals up to roughly $10,000 in unbilled revenue potential per consultant.
How AI can make a difference
Software vendors like Sage are now leveraging AI to help professionals make smarter use of their time. Sage Intelligent Time is one such solution — and one that is built directly into Sage Intacct. Sage Intelligent Time was introduced in September 2020. How does it work?
Using technology similar to what you’ve seen on your smartphone, an AI-powered personal digital assistant identifies dates, times, and other activity indicators in professionals’ email and calendar entries and presents them to the user for review. Users can make any necessary adjustments and then drag the items onto the timesheet – saving time and improving accuracy. And the time assistant gets smarter each time it’s used as it recognizes users’ patterns — saving even more time.
Sage Intelligent Time can help Professional Service firms raise employee utilization rates by capturing billable hours that might otherwise be lost or forgotten. But utilization isn’t just about maximizing the number of billable hours for each employee. Billable utilization can also be increased by reducing the hours consultants spend on non-billable administrative tasks and manual processes — like sifting through their calendar and emails looking for billable time.
With Sage Intelligent Time, the risks of forgotten activities going unbilled is greatly reduced, as is the wasted time professionals spend simply trying to recreate their week’s billable hours.
In addition to online accessibility, Sage Intelligent Time is available as an app for use on users’ mobile devices. This allows professionals to keep their timesheets accurate and up-to-date even when they’re away from their desks. And it can help eliminate the usual process of project staff spending valuable time attempting to reconstruct the last week (or two) for their timesheet.
Boost project insight, speed billing
Sage Intelligent Time helps project managers gain continuous visibility into project hours, including real-time project status and profitability information. Armed with these insights, managers can more accurately guide future project resourcing and pricing to optimize profitability as well as provide more precise forecasts.
And since Sage Intelligent Time is built directly into the Sage Intacct cloud financial systems, the finance teams get timesheets that are in-sync and reconciled, allowing them to close the books more quickly and bill on time.
Recapture tens of thousands in revenue
By leveraging AI to streamline and simplify timesheet entry, Sage Intelligent Time enables services firms to recapture potentially tens of thousands of unbilled revenue annually. That’s using time wisely.
Curious to learn more about Sage Intelligent Time? Contact a member of our consulting team to arrange a quick demonstration or to get your questions answered.