Study: Untracked Emails, Meetings Cost Businesses $110,000 Per Employee

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AffinityLive study finds that emails, meetings and poor timesheet habits result in a loss of 38 percent of billable time annually, the same as if businesses shut down two days a week.

The average professional services employee costs firms $110,000 annually by not properly tracking time spent in meetings, on emails and by filling in timesheets only once a week, according to a study released today by AffinityLive.

The study, which surveyed over 500 IT, digital & creative, engineering, legal, accounting and public relations professionals, found that 51 percent rarely or never track time spent reading and answering emails, and 28 percent said the same for meetings. Amounting to 736 hours a year, or almost two full days of billable time per week, this costs your average professional services business over $110,000 per year in lost revenue.

“Whether they bill on an hourly or retainer basis, professional services firms make money based entirely on time spent completing projects,” said Geoff McQueen, CEO of AffinityLive. “If services employees are failing to record almost 40 percent of their work, the resulting revenue loss is colossal. This is similar to a business keeping its doors closed until half way through May every year, while continuing to pay salaries, rent and all of their other expenses the whole time.”

While the charge-out rates vary significantly between different professions, using a conservative rate of $150/hour, AffinityLive calculated that when employees fail to track time in meetings and on email, it is worth $110,400 each year.

“Firms that are not accurately keeping track of emails, calls and meetings are literally throwing money out the window,” McQueen said. “This has an even bigger impact on professional services firms, as the primary method of service for this industry today is through emails, calls and meetings with clients and colleagues to successfully deliver their professional service.”

The study also revealed that professionals who track their time more frequently are more accurate. Roughly half (49.5 percent) of respondents said they complete their timesheet at least once per day, with 36 percent admitting that they complete it weekly or less. And those who complete their timesheet less frequently than once day were half as likely to be accurate.

Additionally, the AffinityLive survey found that professional services employees generally have poor time-tracking habits:

Only 17 percent of respondents said they always keep track of the time they spend reading and answering emails
22 percent said they always keep track of time spent on phone calls
44 percent said they always keep track of time spent in meetings

The full report is available for download at

About AffinityLive
Based in San Francisco, AffinityLive was initially developed as internal system for a fast-growing professional service business that was struggling to manage sales, projects, service and billing. The company now offers business-automation tools designed specifically for professional service businesses with a focus on helping companies improve sales, billing, project management and CRM inefficiencies, and ultimately keeping staff and clients happy.

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Kelsey Gunderson