Managing Banked Time in TimeControl

banked_vacationMany organizations start using TimeControl because of its tremendous power as a project tracking tool.  But, TimeControl has been designed from its inception to serve many purposes at once.  For HR departments, one of the areas of functionality that is often asked about is how TimeControl manages “banked time”.

“How much time is in my vacation bank?” is a common question for many of us.  TimeControl can tell how much time is left in the vacation bank as well as how much time was earned, how much time was taken and audit that information for each transaction.  But the Banks functionality of TimeControl goes quite a bit further.  For those who much track not only project time, but also time spent on non-project tasks, TimeControl includes a number of abilities that will be of interest.

Bank values in employee table

The results of transactions for Banks end up in the Banks Tab of the Employee Table.  This area of the product is typically viewed and managed by someone from the HR department though there are many ways this element of TimeControl would be of interest to others.  At first glance, it is apparent that there are a total of twenty different Banks available by default for each employee.  When delivered, TimeControl includes banks for Vacation, Sick Leave and Personal Time off but these banks can be re-named and re-purposed to leave many different places that banked time can be stored and spent.  For some organizations, they will want to store banked overtime in one of the banks.  Other organizations will want to see how much training time was banked or certain kinds of training like safety training for each person.  There may be requirements for each employee to spend a certain amount of time on these kinds of activities.

In each bank, there is the concept of Starting Balance, Amount Earned, Amount Spent and Ending Balance or Amount Remaining.  For smaller organizations, the banks can be set manually with amounts per year input for each person.  For other organizations, the banks can gradually earn time in the banks through several methods.  The TimeControl Accrual module can help earn time into areas like Vacation or Sick Leave by calculating either just on time-served or by calculating the amount of time in each timesheet and then placing that new time earned into the proper bank.  For some organizations, they might already do those calculations externally, perhaps in the Payroll system.  For those organizations, simply importing the new values is most effective.  Regardless of how new entries into the bank are created, TimeControl creates an audit trail of them which is visible in the Employee Banks Report.

When an employee takes time in their timesheet, the charge code they use can be flagged as time that is counted against one of the banks.  This configuration is visible in the Charge Table screen.  For example, a Vacation Charge, would typically be flagged against the Vacation Bank.  This means that any time that is posted against that charge code, will remove time from that bank.  This flexibility also allows you to create other types of charges such as “remove time from my overtime bank” or to use vacation time from any other bank that you’ve created.

Employee Banks Report in Report Menu

This dynamic view looks at the banks records from the audit trail of time entered and time taken in each bank for each person.  The view is hierarchical to keep it uncluttered but you can quickly find the employee that is of interest to you and then display all details for all banks for that person including each hour put in and each our taken out of any bank.  This view is one of the most popular with HR personnel.

Employee Banks Detail Report in Report List

The Employee Banks Detail Report in the Report List gives a more static printable view of the details of each employees transacations in each bank.  Just like all other TimeControl reports, this report can be scheduled to be emailed to certain people based on changing conditions and the report’s results can be saved in Excel, CSV, Word, or image formats.

Accruals earns values into banks

TimeControl’s Accrual Module allows you to create earning formulas in four different ways.  Each formula can focus its earning rules to work for only certain employees or only certain employees under certain conditions.  There is no limit to the total number of accrual rules created.  The four methods are:

  • Calendar Accrual Based on Static Values
    This method is designed for a set number of hours to be posted in a bank based on just the passage of time. For example, 1.25 vacation days are earned each month.
  • Calendar Accrual Based on Posted Time Values
    This method depends on the values within the timesheet that is being posted. This might be more appropriate for a wage employee who earns a certain amount of vacation time for every certain number of hours they’ve worked.
  • Calendar Accrual Based on Rates Codes
    This method is designed to be activated when certain Rate Codes are used. For example, using an Overtime Rate banks 1.5 times the hours into a Banked Overtime Bank.
  • Timesheet Accrual based on Timesheet Hours
    This method looks at the total number of hours in the timesheet. It would be an excellent choice to tackle a rule where any hours over 40 per week is banked at 1.5 times into a Banked Overtime Bank and any hours over 60 per week are banked at 2 times the hours into the Banked Overtime Bank.

The Accrual Rules follow the TimeControl philosophy of being tremendously flexible and there can be rules for some groups that are different from others.

End of year procedures

At the end of each year, most HR departments do a review of the status of bank values and make sure that any adjustments are made at that time.  TimeControl banks can be configured to zero themselves at the end of your fiscal year or to just keep running year after year.  Some banks will be better with one configuration, others not.

Validation Rules

All other elements of TimeControl are “bank-aware” so if you need to make Validation Rule Warnings or Errors or Workflow emails, all of this can be done while using the values in the banks.  For example, you might make a Validation Rule that says that employees cannot book more time on vacation than they have in their vacation bank.  Or, perhaps you have a rule that says that employees can use up to one week of next year’s vacation in advance.

All of this and much, much more is possible with TimeControl’s banks functionality.  For more information on getting the most out of TimeControl’s Banked Time functionality, consult your TimeControl account manager at info@hms.ca.

I’ll be on the Peggy Smedley Show later today

I’m delighted to have the chance to talk to Peggy Smedley later today on her radio show.  The Peggy Smedley Show has been a source of expertise in the world of digital transformation.  At 1:40pm Eastern Time, Peggy and I will be discussing the impact of voice-assisted systems on construction and industrial software such as the recent announcement we made of our partnership with EasyVoice and how being able to enter information into TimeControl by voice alone can make a big impact on efficiency.  You can find out more about the TimeControl/EasyVoice link at: TimeControl.com/use-cases/easyvoice.

You can listen to the broadcast yourself by going to the Peggy Smedley Show website at: https://peggysmedleyshow.com/.

 

Have you seen the latest letter sent to us from Sinope?

We are always delighted to get input from our clients. This month brings us a lovely letter from Sinope Tech. It’s especially exciting for us as it comes to us from a client in Quebec, Canada in the same province where HMS Headquarters is located. Sinope is a manufacturing company specializing in innovative smart home products.

Cassandra from Accounting at Sinope explains in her letter that their team is using TimeControl for employees to track project and non-project hours and this allows Sinope to use reports from TimeControl for Research and Development Tax Credits.

Cassandra is also highly complimentary about our services:

TimeControl also offers an exceptional support service! Quick and clear answers are always given to us.

We’re delighted to be working with Sinope and proud to be a part of their project control environment.

You can read Cassandra’s letter at: TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/sinope.

De-centralized Project Management and Centralized Timesheets with TimeControl

wp_decentralized_centralized_300x383The most common notion of Enterprise Project Management (EPM) systems means that all users access a single centralized system for all related functions.  This concept became popular in the late 1990s with the rise of ERP systems.  Project Managers have been asked to store their data and adopt the centralized project management system.

Yet there are still millions and millions of individually run project management tools running on desktops or even as services in the cloud but not part of a centralized project management process.

That might be fine for each project manager but when it comes to a process that needs to be centralized like timesheets, we run into a bigger problem.  The result is that one aspect of the enterprise such as Finance insists on a timesheet for payroll for all personnel.  Another department insists on a timesheet for all users for HR to track time off and another department needs a billing timesheet for all users who contribute to billing time.  Each project manager might need to deploy their own timesheet system for their teams.

It can become chaos in a hurry.

We’ve just released a white paper that deals with this exact business challenge.  It’s called “De-centralized Project Management and Centralized Timesheets with TimeControl”.  It’s free to access and it’s available right now as part of our ongoing efforts to show how to realize the benefits of TimeControl. If you are interested in having project managers continue to use multiple systems but need to have one timesheet to bring all the actuals together for different purposes, you’ll find this paper of interest.  The white paper can be downloaded from: https://www.timecontrol.com/pdf/whitepapers/centralized_decentralized.pdf.

For more free resources on enterprise project management and enterprise timesheet systems, go to: TimeControl.com/resources.

TimeControl timesheets and Primavera project management make a winning combination

TimeControl and Primavera have a long history together.  First paired in 1997, HMS Software has ensured it’s TimeControl has had a continuous link to every version of Primavera since.  For those users who need a Primavera Timesheet that supports both financial and project processes simultaneously there is no better selection.

TimeControl includes links using direct database-to-database connections for Primavera Professional and Primavera EPPM and a Web connection link for Primavera EPPM so all the basis are covered whether Primavera and TimeControl are in the cloud or on premise.  The bi-directional link moves projects, tasks, resources assignments and progress to TimeControl then sends back hours, costs and progress.

Primavera clients who need a single timesheet to update not only the task progress in Primavera but also Payroll, Billing, Finance, Job Costing or HR use TimeControl to provide multi-purpose timesheet functionality that will allow a single point of timesheet entry and multiple corporate uses at the same time.

Some of the benefits of integrating TimeControl as your Primavera Timesheet include:

  • Automated Business Validation Rules
  • Expense tracking
  • Extensive Rate Management with unlimited rates per person and multiple values per rate
  • Management of Vacation, Sick Leave, Personal time banks
  • Crew Timesheets (with TimeControl Industrial)
  • Material consumption, Equipment usage and Production accomplished (with TimeControl Industrial)
  • Management of Banked Overtime
  • Included integration with Oracle-Primavera Pro, EPPM and many other project systems
  • The free TimeControl Mobile App for tablets and smartphones
  • Missing timesheet management
  • Multi-lingual interface
  • The Matrix Approval Process for Labor Actuals™

TimeControl is available as a subscription in the cloud or for on-premise deployment or.

HMS has a free information portal with white papers, video lessons, slide presentations and factsheets on our website at: http://primavera.timecontrol.com.

 

Keppel FloaTEC sends a strong recommendation for TimeControl

Just in time for the holidays we can share yet another great reference from one of our TimeControl clients.  Keppel FloaTEC is a leading provider of engineering services and solutions for deep water floating production systems.  They are a long-standing client of TimeControl with over 13 years of experience with the system.

TK Das, the President of Keppel FloaTEC penned a great recommendation for TimeControl which he has graciously allowed us to publish on the TimeControl website.

“Our labor records are subject to audit by our customers,” TK explains.  “We have been able to satisfy our customer requirements using this system and most of our customers are major oil companies around the world.”

That’s high praise indeed.

We thank TK and the entire team at Keppel FloaTEC for our long standing relationship and for this great recommendation.  We look forward to serving his team for years to come.

You can read TK’s letter in its entirety at: https://www.timecontrol.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/floatec.

US Properties increases efficiency with TimeControl

We are delighted to have received a letter from US Properties about their use of TimeControl. US Properties is the leading commercial real estate brokerage and property management firm in Eastern Connecticut.

Erik Mills, US Properties’ Vice President of Operations penned a letter to us recently explaining how the deployment of TimeControl has allowed the company to improve efficiency to be able to grow without increasing its staff.

“We strongly recommend the system for its ease of use and customization but more importantly the invaluable tech employees who are readily available to assist,” said Mills.

Here at HMS, these letters are a huge motivator for our group so we thank Erik and the whole US Properties team for their support and their letter.

You can read the letter in its entirety at:
TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/usproperties.

TimeControl joins the Internet of Things (IoT) with voice command

TimeControl has taken a leap forward to join the Internet of Things (IoT) thanks to a new Alexa skill released by EasyVoice. Over the last few months, HMS has worked with EasyVoice to help the new Alexa skills understand how to interact with TimeControl and it is now available.

Now you can say things like “Alexa, add two hours on my timesheet to my meetings task for today” or “Alexa, how much time have I booked to meetings this week?”.  The new skill allows users who are in situations where using their desktop or mobile interfaces is challenging, such as when they are driving.

To see the new EasyVoice skill in operation, go to our solutions page at: TimeControl.com/use-cases/easyvoice.

You can subscribe to EasyVoice’s Alexa skill and even get a free trial of the skill at: Voice-Time.com/giveaways.

Which browser is best with TimeControl 8?

We have had numerous questions about the performance of different browsers with TimeControl. With the release of TimeControl 8, these question have expanded to which version of TimeControl is faster, version 7 or version 8 and which browser performs better.

The HMS Technical department devoted some time to benchmarking the answer to these questions and we’re happy to share the data with you.  We tested 80 different TimeControl functions in TimeControl 7.4.1 using Internet Explorer (the most popular browser used with TimeControl when TimeControl 7 was first released) and in TimeControl 8.0 using Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer  (yes, Explorer is still part of Windows 10).   When we were done with our findings we were delighted with most of the results.

TimeControl 8 is, on average 33% faster than TimeControl 7.4.1.

The fastest browser when using TimeControl 8 was Chrome.

We were a little surprised at the poor performance of Internet Explorer.  So, in TimeControl 8.0.0.12 we included some IE-specific performance improvements which boosted the IE performance by a whopping 62% over earlier 8.0 builds and we’re delighted with that.

For those who love the raw details, we’ve included the entire study here: TC80_Benchmarks.

Migrating from Excel Timesheets to TimeControl?

There are countless organizations that still do their timesheets in Excel.  Is it any wonder that in every copy of Excel there are templates included to make multiple types of timesheets?  The advantage of using Excel for such tasks is twofold: First, it is instant.  If using a template, an Excel timesheet could be deployed in an hour.  Second, it is ultimately flexible.  An Excel timesheet can be changed to whatever degree you wish.

But, as easy as it is to create an Excel timesheet for a small group, organizations often outgrow such systems very quickly.  When the requirements for the timesheet include auditability or the need to harmonize coding to a central structure or just trying to find missing timesheets, the ease of Excel is eclipsed by its challenges.

TimeControl was designed from its inception in 1994 to have Excel integration and now, 25 years later, that integration is multi-faceted.  Aside from being able to consume Excel worksheets for lists of projects, charges or employees or being able to create Excel workbooks to enable analysis, reporting or external integration, TimeControl is a likely and common place for organizations to migrate their Excel timesheet systems.  Maintenance and the management of an Excel timesheet when an organization grows, becomes more complex, more costly and a bigger challenge.  That’s where TimeControl’s centralized data structure becomes much more attractive.

TimeControl has numerous points of contact with Excel:

Importing and Exporting data between TimeControl and Excel

TimeControl includes complete support for transferring data to and from Excel files.  If you maintain some data now in Excel, then moving that into TimeControl is a matter of moments.  If you use Excel for analysis of data, then sending TimeControl’s source data to Excel is very simple.  You can even schedule exports to Excel or imports from Excel to happen automatically on a schedule you define.

Importing legacy timesheets from Excel to TimeControl is already included

TimeControl includes import functionality for timesheets themselves so if you have an existing timesheet system in Excel you can transfer that data into TimeControl.  Our Excel Solutions Portal even has a template for you to download and use so you don’t have to create it yourself.

Integrating Excel Services dashboards into TimeControl

Some people like using Excel’s server-based charting capabilities to create analysis of timesheet or project management data.  TimeControl supports displaying Excel views in the dashboard.  Need an Excel pivot report in your TimeControl dashboard?  No problem. Need an Excel traffic light on the TimeControl dashboard?  No problem.

Displaying TimeControl Reports in Excel

Every TimeControl report including those created in our TimeControl Report Designer or with the TimeControl Drill Down Analyzer can be saved as Excel files so you can do more extensive analysis and reporting in the tools you are familiar with.

Migrating from Excel to TimeControl or TimeControl Online is so simple

TimeControl and TimeControl Online are almost always configured from Excel files.  Our technical staff give templates to new clients so they can configure the data they want into TimeControl with the features they want to enable.  If you’re using Excel already you’re all set to go.  And, if you’re subscribing to TimeControlOnline, there’s nothing to install, no servers or databases to configure.  Once your subscription is activated, you are ready to start moving your data into the system and activating your users.  Most small to medium sized organizations are able to enter timesheets a few days after subscribing.  You could be looking at your own TimeControl system only a couple of hours from now.

You can find out more about how TimeControl and Excel can work together to help your organization become more efficient on our TimeControl/Excel Use-Case portal at: Timecontrol.com/use-cases/excel-to-timecontrol.  On the portal you’ll find webcasts, factsheets and slide presentations explaining some of your options and potential benefits.

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