Quantifying the cost of multiple timesheet systems

We’ve talked for a long time about the inherent cost to an organization of supporting multiple timesheet systems. We’re updating several pieces of internal collateral on the subject right now but one thing we’ve never done before is to quantify the actual costs.

Think about this.

On average (according to industry surveys), employees spend on average about 15 minutes per week completing a computer-based timesheet. This doesn’t include any time for supervisors, managers, administrators or IT assistance. This number matches up well with our own internal discussions with our clients who report that with TimeControl the average per day is between 2 and 5 minutes of time.

The numbers vary when looking at more manual timesheet solutions such as Excel-based or paper based systems (yes, there are plenty of those that still exist)

We encounter numerous companies who have deployed multiple timesheet systems. Let’s take the easiest one. Imagine a company with 100 people with one timesheet for project management and separate timesheet for payroll.

Based on a salary of, say, $40,000 per year and regular salary burdens, a 40 hour work week and 15 minutes of time on timesheets per week, the company will spent about $480 per week of time on each timesheet. So the extra cost of having two timesheets for that 100 person company is a whopping $25,000 and that is for the time spent by employees only. There’s also time for supervisors, managers, reporting, analysis and (the worst) reconciling data between systems that has to be paid for as well. The problems get compounded when there are additional timesheets that have to be filled in for, say billing, HR, job costing and more. It is not uncommon for us to encounter companies with 3 or 4 timesheet systems which are all active at the same time.

This alone should encourage consideration of a multi-function timesheet but there are numerous other reasons. Imagine the happiness of employees who are told that they will no longer have to spend time entering two timesheets because all the timesheet requirements can be handled by one entry.

Take a look at how the multi-function aspect of TimeControl can generate a tremendous efficiency savings for clients by talking to one of our Timesheet Executives.

It’s the end of the year and time to be sure your R&D reporting is up to date.

With the end of the calendar year in sight, it’s time to review the R&D tax credit reporting that you are shortly going to be asked to deliver.

TimeControl has been used for R&D tax credit reporting since it was first created and here at HMS we are well familiar with the process. Many governments in the US, Canada, Australia, UK and Europe have some kind of Research incentive program. It often occurs at both the federal and state levels. Virtually all jurisdictions have similar requests and TimeControl is well suited to the requirements of this type of tax reporting.

When creating a request for an R&D tax credit or to report on R&D grants or any similar government sponsored program, the needs are often the same. There must be timesheets used to track the time spent on the reported work. Those timesheets must track the time at a “sufficient level of detail” usually at the task level. The people who work on the projects must be eligible for the program. That usually means that they are residents of the appropriate jurisdiction and that their work is not covered under any other program. Finally, the accounting that comes from Finance must balance against the report. So the values in the request for credit has to match the values in payroll or invoices received etc.

TimeControl was designed with this kind of requirement in mind. As a multi-function timesheet it works well in the Finance structure with auditable data. As a project-oriented system, it works well in project management structure with projects and activities and as a multi-function system the flexibility of TimeControl’s data allows meta data with user defined fields to tag activities and people as eligible for different programs. That makes reporting for R&D simple.

The TimeControl website has an entire portal of resources for using TimeControl for R&D Tax Credits including a white paper that explains the triangle audit that is often required when an audit occurs. Other resources include webcasts, case studies and slide presentations.

You can find the TimeControl Research and Development portal at TimeControl.com/use-cases/r-and-d-tax-credits or contact a TimeControl Specialist at TimeControl.com/contact.

Security resources for TimeControl are plentiful

Here at TimeControl Headquarters, we think about security all the time.  Security for modern day applications is a multi-faceted conversation.  We have to think about keeping TimeControl safe of course and that effort goes all the way into the architecture as we think about database access, application protection and more.  With TimeControl Online we have to consider the environment as well including the servers, malware protection, monitoring and more.

Aside from keeping the application and its underlying structure safe, we have to also think about security from an application standpoint.  TimeControl’s internal security includes everything from authentication and single-sign-on to data access, menu control and down-to-the-field level controls on every aspect of the product.

We use the OWASP security standards to test TimeControl and test for any vulnerabilities and eliminate them before TimeControl users would ever encounter them.

Aside from our own testing, we have a third party conduct a security audit to ensure we are SOC II certified.

Because TimeControl is available both for an on-premise deployment or as TimeControl Online, our Software as a Service subscription in the Cloud, there are different resources for thinking about TimeControl security.  Take a look at the TimeControl On Premise Security Architecture or the TimeControlOnline Security Architecture white papers for an in-depth look at security or stop by the TimeControl Security page for more information.

TimeControl flexibility happens at every level

We often talk about the flexibility of TimeControl.  As a multi-purpose, multi-function timesheet and project system, it really has to be.  Over the many years TimeControl has been on the market, we have never met two companies who want to use it in exactly the same way.  So, the ability to configure the system to adapt to work flow, approvals, functions that are visible, tables that are used and even down to the field level selections are all part of the flexibility philosophy with the TimeControl team.

Flexibility in TimeControl extends not just in how you configure TimeControl but all the way down the line to the end user.

Where we work with administrators on how they would like to integrate TimeControl with other systems and what fields of data to show and not, even end users get choices about how to personalize and customize TimeControl.  Here are just a few ways individuals can modify their TimeControl experience:

Timesheet configuration

By selecting the Options in the timesheet, end users can change the field order, what fields are visible and how to sort the fields.  End users can choose to group their timesheet lines hierarchically if they have many entries or to sort entries however they wish.  Don’t want to see weekend days?  No problem, that’s changeable right in the options and TimeControl will remember the preference for each user.  Right on the timesheet, users can change the order of fields or change the width of fields to suit them.

Also in options is the ability to Wrap the headers of each column and to show line numbers or an on-line access to Line item Notes along with an indicator to show if that line has notes entered already.  In the same options screen users can even select the day/date format to show at the top of the entry columns.

Language and Dashboards

In the MyAccount area, users can select what language they would like TimeControl to be presented in.  More comfortable in French? No problem.  Spanish?  No problem.  This is a user-level selection so only this user’s interface will change.  Users might also change which dashboard they can see (If Administrators have allowed this) or what they would like their starting page to be both for TimeControl and TimeControl Project.


Aside from Resource Assignment Pre-loading which might or not be in use for an organization, end users can also select what timesheet lines they would like to always automatically be preloaded.  So, if a user has meetings virtually every week, they can elect to always show a “Meetings” line item without having to add it all the time.  There are other options too for defaults and pre-answering questions that a users always answers the same way such as do they want to send a notification to their supervisor when they release their timesheet.

It’s all part of the same underlying philosophy with the TimeControl team.  End users should be able to be as efficient as possible in the product.  But in the background, all the functionality that we talk about so often is kept away from them having to wade through.

For more on flexibility, see the TimeControl website at TimeControl.com/features/flexibility.

New Online TimeControl Report Designer Course

We’re very excited to announce the availability of a new multi-part video training course on the use of the TimeControl Report Designer.  Created by the HMS Technical Staff, the course comes in 12 bite-sized 3-5 minute sections and covers how to create your first TimeControl Report from scratch and how clean up the formatting so it’s ready for production.

The course video sections can all be downloaded so if you’d prefer to keep the files onsite or on your own system for later reference, that’s easy to do.

You’ll find the new TimeControl Report Designer Course at: TimeControl.com/resources/online-training/timecontrol-rw.

Additional video training for TimeControl and TimeControl Project can be found at TimeControl.com/resources/online-training and many other resources can be found on the Resources Page at: TimeControl.com/resources.

Data Sovereignty matters more and more

When we started with TimeControl, the location of the client’s data had nothing to do with us.  We published the software with an on-premise license and the client decided where to install the product and where to locate the data.  The location, security and access to that data was completely decided by the client.  With the release of TimeControl Online a dozen years ago, that all changed.  TimeControl Online’s data was originally stored only in the US but as Software as a Service (SaaS) became more popular in medium to large corporate environments, the location suddenly became more an issue.

As it has with so many changes to the technical world, TimeControl adapted.  The TimeControl Data Location option, allows a client for a fee to decide from a wide range of countries where to locate their data.  The option is well established in our own technical department and has been taken advantage of over the years by clients requesting their data be stored and secured in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.  There are other countries and regions that can be supported as well including Brazil, South Africa, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, India, Australia, Japan and others.

The TimeControl Data Location option goes beyond just storing the data.  At HMS we understand data sovereignty.  So, when this option is used, we don’t backup or transport data to any other location outside the country or region where it is located.  We also don’t ever read client data directly from our Canadian offices in Montreal without a client’s direct request.  And, when the Data Location option is involved, we work with the client on how to access the data through their own systems to achieve whatever might be required to help with support or features.

HMS does manage these remote servers of course. We monitor all our Data Location servers just the way we do with the US-based servers on a 24×7 basis. We also handle all the upgrades and updates directly but that is an application-based update, the TimeControl application then handles upgrading the data locally in each location on its own.

Storing the data and self-restricting our access to the data is only part of the data sovereignty conversation.  It is then up to the client themselves to determine which users can access TimeControl and from where.  For global companies, that can take some thinking to make sure that both data sovereignty and user privacy are respected.

The Data Location option is available to TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial Online clients at any time.  If this is of interest to you, contact your TimeControl Account Executive at: TimeControl.com/contact

The TimeControl Evolve Program brings your on-premise data to the cloud

The TimeControl Evolve program enables TimeControl on-premise clients to easily migrate to TimeControl Online.  And, it’s a lot more than that.

First of all, TC Evolve is designed to enable TimeControl on-premise clients to migrate to TimeControl Online, our TimeControl Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription in the Cloud.  The evolve program is an inexpensive and effective way to move your TimeControl system into the cloud.  It works for both TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial Online.

TimeControl on-premise has been sold since 1994 and there are many on-premise clients out there.  It’s true that most of our sales these days are for TimeControl Online but TimeControl on-premise is still sold and supported and will be for as far into the future as we can see.

In the last few years, more and more on-premise clients are thinking about what it would take to move their TimeControl system into our SaaS model.  The number one concern is how much their TimeControl will change.

If you are using the most current version of TimeControl or TimeControl Industrial on-premise, then there is no change to how will be online.  That’s because we committed years ago to keeping the source base of both on-premise and on-line systems the same.  That’s a big deal.  So, features that work for you in the on-premise version, work just the same in the online version!

The second concern prospective migrators have is what about their current configuration and their existing data.  While you could always start fresh, clients don’t. HMS helps them move 100% of their existing configuration and existing TimeControl data to TimeControl Online.

There are many advantages to migrating to a TimeControl Online subscription:

  1. First, all maintenance of TimeControl is handled by HMS. We do all the server, database, malware prevention and application upgrades for you.
  2. TimeControl Online is upgraded automatically by HMS. You will no longer have to be concerned about upgrades.  HMS takes care of all updates, upgrades and new version installation centrally on the TimeControl Online servers.
  3. Continuous monitoring is handled for you. TimeControl Online is monitored 24x7x365.  We are looking at the system continuously and are proud of our 99.9%+ uptime since the service was first launched in 2011.
  4. TimeControl Online and TimeControl on-premise are the same code. That means that all functionality that you know and love in TimeControl on-premise is already in TimeControl Online.
  5. Data backups and disaster recovery is already included. TimeControl Online is backed up daily and you can even download your own database backup in case you want to be sure to have control over it.  Disaster recovery is layered to handle issues of different scales and types.
  6. TimeControl Online is highly secure. We follow the OWASP standards for testing and our data is housed by Amazon Web Services in highly secure facilities.  Our SOC II certification let’s you know that our security protocols have been examined and audited by external third parties and deemed secure.
  7. TimeControl Project is an optional part of TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial Online and is not available with TimeControl on-premise.  Moving to TimeControl Online means you can elect to use TimeControl Project.

The TimeControl Evolve program will let you migrate your TimeControl on-premise licenses to the cloud and we won’t charge the subscription until your current support contract expires.  There is no subscription cost for the entire remainder of your already active support contract.  If you just updated your technical support for your TimeControl on-premise today, then that’s a whole year of TimeControl Online for free.


When you sign up for the Evolve program we are available to assist you in migrating all your existing data to TimeControl Online.  If you haven’t upgraded your TimeControl on-premise to the most current version, then we can help do the upgrades to ensure that the data you have will immediately migrate to the online version.  We can also advise you on maintaining or enhancing your links to external systems such as Project Management tools, Finance, Payroll, ERPs and more.

Everyone’s situation is different.  If you’d like to talk to one of our Account Specialists about whether the TimeControl Evolve program is right for you, contact us at: https://www.timecontrol.com/contact or email us at info@hms.ca.

See Choosing Timesheets our latest webcast from HMS Software

We’ve just posted a new webcast on a subject that we are asked about often.  How does one go about choosing a timesheet and why is what sounds like a simple exercise so common.  Our President, Chris Vandersluis goes through the answer as well as showing how to overcome the challenge of choosing multiple timesheets.

You can also see the slides from this presentation at TimeControl.com/pdf/presentations/choosingtimesheets.pdf.

For more webcasts, see the TimeControl Webcast page.

TimeControl uses hierarchies to manage huge volumes of charges

One challenge we faced when first creating TimeControl were the types of projects that we were presented with.  We’d seen other timesheets which could handle a dozen possible charge types on a timesheet. They’re still quite common.  That’s not at all what we were facing.  Our earliest clients described projects with hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of tasks each.  One client explained that they had over 50,000 active projects world-wide that they expected to load into the system and each project had approximately 1,000 tasks.

The idea that a user would scroll page after page looking for a possible task to charge their time against was a no-starter.

So TimeControl evolved with several possible methods of reducing what end-users would be presented with.  We introduced pre-loading, dynamic filters and assignment selections but perhaps the most powerful tool for displaying high volumes of data in a digestible format was the notion of hierarchies.

The idea of breaking down tasks into groupings and sub-groupings wasn’t new.  The very project management tools we wanted to integrate with already used the idea of Work Breakdown Structures for large projects.  So we incorporated the concept into TimeControl.

At the end user level, the idea is very straightforward.  The possible charge codes that an end user has access to are presented in a breakdown.  The most simple would be just like a project system using a delimited charge code with each period being a new level.  This is amazingly effective.

But TimeControl doesn’t stop there.

The Charge Table can be organized with not one but multiple hierarchy definitions.  Let’s say that for some users, breaking the charges down by location, then billing status then priority is the way to go.  For others perhaps breaking the charges by billable then capitalizable makes more sense.  TimeControl’s hierarchies format can define multiples and end users can select the hierarchy that makes most sense to the.

We didn’t stop there.  The selection of Rates can use the same type of hierarchy structure as can the selection of Employees in other parts of the product.

TimeControl Hierarchies take massive lists of possible data and breaks it down to bite-sized selections.

The official blogsite of TimeControl