All posts by chris.vandersluis

TimeControl Handles Resource Assignment Progress in So Many Ways

One of the key advantages of TimeControl is its ability to update planned tasks with the actual progress.  Gantt_and_Phone_300x200We often think of managing the progress of resource assignments in the simplest of terms: I assign you to do something, you tell me when you’re done and how much time you spent.  Yet, real life presents us with so many different resource progress options.  We won’t cover the many aspects of resource assignment management here and will, instead, look at just resource assignment progress.  We’ll cover just a few of the many ways TimeControl deals with resource progress by looking at specific business challenge scenarios here.

It’s more than just hours

TimeControl has always had the ability to go beyond the hours.  In some cases, costing of resource assignment progress is critical.  TimeControl is excellent at that.  In some cases you will want to identify the work remaining (Estimate to Complete) as a percentage or hours.  In some cases you will want to distinguish the assignment progress with the task progress.  TimeControl manages that as well.  In some cases you will want to go into more detail than the task assignment and TimeControl allows for lower entries with a summarization to the task and the assignments.  In some cases, there are progress costs that are both for labor and non-labor.  TimeControl’s expense entries or, in TimeControl Industrial, materials entries can handle that.

When transferring data to a project system, the options include hours, assignment progress, task progress, and costs.

A person does the assigned work of someone else

An assignment is made in a project management system and assigned to a particular person.  It turns out that someone else now completes the assignment even though they weren’t assigned to it themselves.  How can TimeControl manage that?

This is something TimeControl has had to deal with since its infancy in 1994.  When data is transmitted back to the project management system, the project manager has a choice:

  1. Do they wish to reject actuals in this situation or;
  2. Do they wish TimeControl to create an assignment in the project management system.

The results are quite different and the best choice is dependent on your project management process and what your project managers are happiest with.

In option 1, the actuals which can find no assignment with that individual will be rejected and those rejections will appear in a log.  Then the project manager will have to go to the project management system and alter the assignments to remove the first person and insert the second person.  Then the transfer can be restarted and those previously rejected records will go through.  For some project managers this is ideal.

In option 2, there will be a new assignment created in the project management system in the associated task.  The result will be a task that has one assignment for person 1 with no progress and another assignment for person 2 with completed progress.  Project managers then have to create an exception report to highlight tasks with progress for the last week but with assignments that have no progress.  Then they will have to decide how to alter the assignments to best reflect what actually happened.

One of the things about TimeControl that is handy is that this is not a global setting.  One project manager may be more comfortable with option 1, the other with option 2.

A person does work at different rates at different times of the day

This is a common request and we are often asked why project management tools don’t offer more options with rates in their systems.  The short answer is that when you are planning, you typically don’t think of all the rate variations that are likely to appear in real life.  It’s not something that occurs because you plan for it.

Let’s say a person works on multiple projects.  On project #1, they are billed at $75 per hour. On project #2 they are billed at $60 per hour.  TimeControl handles that easily by having multiple rates.  But, you say, what if they are billed at those rates but we pay them the same internally.  Again, no problem.  Each rate code can have multiple values associated for things like Internal Cost, Billing Value, Project Average Cost, etc.

Ok, let’s say there is one project and someone is working at different rates for different situations.  For example, we cost them at one rate when the weather is good and at a hazard rate when the weather is bad.  TimeControl handles this easily.  It allows the same task to appear multiple times in the same timesheet so that you can enter values like the Rate Code or other User Defined fields for that same task.  When this information is sent back to the project system, the project manager has the option to send the costs as well or just to send the hours.   The choice depends on what the internal costing process is for the project manager and the company but TimeControl will maintain the auditable values at a detailed level no matter which option is selected.

A person works as part of a generic or role definition of resource

When looking at resource assignments in a project system, project management software vendors would love it if you only made assignments at the individual level.  This is largely due to the licensing advantage to those vendors as each individual will now have to look at the system to see their tasks and then those people will need to purchase an individual license.  That’s all understood but this method then disables one of the project management systems’ most powerful tools: resource leveling.  Resource Leveling at an individual level makes no sense.  The algorithms and concepts are most effective when we use generic or role-based resource assignments.  If we do that and leave individual assignments as a separate exercise for team leads, you can end up with a project/timesheet disconnect.

Not in TimeControl.

In TimeControl for each employee, there is an option to say what resource code that employee is associated to.  That can be an individual resource code.  That’s certainly the easiest.  But, it can just as easily be a generic or a role resource.  Then when progress from that person is recorded, it is sent to the project system not as an individual but rather as the role or generic resource, aggregated with all other employees who are defined to that role or generic resource.

A person works part of the day as one resource and another part of the day as a different resource

In this situation, we have people who have different roles in different parts of the day.  Perhaps someone is a designer in the morning and billed at one rate but will be working as a documentation specialist in the afternoon and billed at a very different rate.

TimeControl handles this with the optional “Line Item Resource”.  When activated, a user can select in their timesheet what resource code they would like associated to each line.  That leaves them as many choices as are appropriate to their situation as you wish.  When data is sent back to the project system, the resource progress will be sent back line-by-line, assignment-by-assignment with the resource codes that were chosen.

And…

Of course, we’re not done.  Sometimes it seems that there are as many resource management scenarios as there are clients and having a tool as flexible as TimeControl means we’re almost always able to adjust to accommodate a particular resource process.  Plus, for many, many, clients sometimes simplest is best and none of these more involved scenarios apply.  In this case, you can reduce or even remove resource assignment and progress management altogether.

Talk about Resource Progress are sprinkled all over the TimeControl.com site or, if you have a specific challenge you’d like to talk to us about, contact us on the Contact form.

 

 

 

The free TimeControl Mobile App makes your timesheet feel natural even when you are working remotely

The free TimeControl Mobile App is designed to bring the power of your TimeControl timesheet and project progress updater right to the palm of your hand no matter where you are.  Designed to work with TimeControl on premise, TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial, the Mobile App works on both Android and Apple devices.

The free TimeControl Mobile App takes advantage of whatever screen resolution it finds to make the system as effective as possible for any device.  For timesheet functionality, the Mobile App takes your existing TimeControl configuration, profile security, data selections, language and customization so what appears on your mobile screen matches what you are used to whenever you use TimeControl!

All you have to do is log in as you normally would to your TimeControl system and you can create a new timesheet, edit an existing timesheet, approve or reject timesheets and even edit posted timesheets right in the App.  Have expenses to post in your timesheet?  The TimeControl Mobile App is ready for that too.  You can add expenses to each line and even take a picture from your mobile device of receipts and attach those to your expense report.  That’s even easier than it is on your desktop! All the permissions you have in your TimeControl system are taken into account in the TimeControl Mobile App.  The TimeControl Mobile App also supports your single sign on corporate authentication.

TCi_Mobile_CrewTimesheet3_300x237When linked with TimeControl Industrial, the Industrial functionality of Crew Timesheets is also available.  You can edit who is on a crew and create a new Crew Timesheet, edit an existing timesheet or submit the Crew Timesheet for approval.  If you are using a tablet, the TimeControl Mobile App will take advantage of the extra screen real-estate and present easier to tap-and-go entries for the Crew data.

TC_Mobile_Views_PolarArea_300x237Make decisions while away right from what you see on your phone.  With the free TimeControl Mobile App, data visioning is included.  The app includes many ways for you to display selections of data and then save that view for later use.  The ability of the mobile app to present data makes on the fly decision making easier than ever.  There are numerous formats including pie charts, bar charts, histograms and more so you can envisage your data in whatever format you need for instant decision making.

The TimeControl Mobile App has asynchronous support.  If you are working with the TimeControl Mobile App and you lose your Internet connection, there’s no need to fret.  The App will keep track of any changes you make and once your Internet is restored, it will automatically synchronize to make sure the App and the centralized system are both up to date.

What do you mean it’s free?
We mean there is no additional cost. None. When you download the app from Google Play or the Apple App store, you don’t pay a thing. All you need to do is connect to your existing TimeControl system.  The TimeControl Mobile App supports TimeControl on premise version 7.2 and higher, TimeControl Industrial on premise version 7.2 and higher, TimeControl Online or TimeControl Industrial Online.

You can find out more about the TimeControl Mobile App at: Mobile.TimeControl.com.

You can download the TimeControl Mobile App from Google Play or the Apple App store.

Contact HMS for more information on how the TimeControl Mobile App can help your remote workers get connected.

Tracking costs for special purpose accounting

costtracking_300x240We’ve been asked lately about how to configure TimeControl to track costs for specific short term purposes for situations that were unexpected.  A couple of recent use-cases include a manufacturer who has been asked by the government to do research and retooling to make medical grade equipment that they have had little experience in.  The government has promised to reimburse certain elements of this work.  Another case involves an organization that will do research then delivery of services that the government will reimburse.

As one of the most flexible timesheet systems in the industry, TimeControl is designed for such challenges.

First you need to determine what conditions you need to track for.  In situations where there might be government or tax incentives such as we are seeing with Covid-19, then you must determine if the incentives are simply objective based so that you can track them at the project level or type of work related so that you must track them at the task level.  Also, is there a requirement that the people doing the work be located in a particular jurisdiction?  For R&D type of work, it’s often the case that the workers must be located in a particular area in order to qualify for tax incentives.

Let’s take the most likely scenario given the challenges of today.  We’ll figure that all our staff are located locally or at least in the country and that the type of work is important, so we need to identify the hours that will go against certain types of tasks.  So, for example, if the project includes some effort by HR to transfer people from one department to another, that might not be eligible for government reimbursement but if the work is about re-engineering one of our production lines for the expected new product, that is eligible.

In this case the best configuration method would be to either use one of your existing user-defined fields or just add a new one.TC_AddNewFielda

If you have configuration rights as an Administrator, just click “Add a New Field” at the bottom of the Charge Table and TimeControl will ask you what type of field to add.  In this case a text field seems appropriate and you can create a description such as “Special Cost Type”.

TC_AddNewField2croppedNow the field appears in the list of User Defined fields.  We can make a drop down list by clicking the gear icon on the right and asking to add a Link list.  Then we click it again and ask to Edit the Links.

TC_AddNewField3cropped

Let’s add two possible entries for now.  One for Covid19 eligible for reimbursement and another for Covid19 non-eligible.

TC_AddNewField4aThat’s all there is to it.  There’s no special instruction for end-users. They just keep doing their timesheets on tasks they’ve been assigned.  The ability to group those hours is all in the background for administrators and Finance personnel.  That means there’s nothing special to do in order for this work also with TimeControl Mobile.

Now all charges against tasks in this project or any other that has this field set will be able to immediately be pulled out in reports and exports and making a costing of how much this project has cost should be relatively simple.  TimeControl will report any hours in timesheets against tasks with this flag set along with the appropriate rate values in reports that you create or in the Drill Down Analyzer.  If you aren’t using rates at all, you’ll still be able to get the total number of hours and then use an average cost rate to make the reports you need.

You can use this field in the future if there are any other use-case scenarios or, if you choose, you can always hide the field if you have no further purpose for it.

For more help on configuring your TimeControl, contact HMS Technical Services at support@hms.ca or speak to your account manager at info@hms.ca.

 

Thinking of migrating from TimeControl on-premise to TimeControl Online in the Cloud?

Since its first release in 2011, our TimeControl subscription service in the Cloud, TimeControl Online has been accompanied by a process for existing TimeControl on-premise clients to migrate to the online service.LIA_1_300x192

TimeControl is available both as a purchasable license for installation on your premises or as a subscription service.  The product is identical in both scenarios and, in fact, comes from the same code-base so any fixes or enhancements done by the HMS Software development team become available to both products right away.

The TimeControl Crossover Program provides a credit to an existing TimeControl on-premise client when they want to migrate to the in-the-cloud version.  The credit is based on the number of licenses, the original purchase price of TimeControl and the date when you last renewed your TimeControl Support contract.  In many cases, the credit is substantial and is applied to your first year’s subscription costs of TimeControl Online.

Once you are using TimeControl Online, HMS takes responsibility for maintaining the environment.  We manage the servers, the databases, backups, the web server, automatic upgrades to the latest TimeControl version, malware management and 24×7 monitoring of the environment.   All you have to do is login and continue using TimeControl.  All your familiar data is ready and you will be able to continue to enjoy your integrations with Project Management tools and your Finance systems.

The process for migrating to TimeControl Online is well established by our technical staff.  First, you need to be upgraded to the latest version of TimeControl.  This can be done on your own or you can have HMS assist you with the upgrade.  Once the data is on the same version as TimeControl Online, HMS takes a backup of your data and translates it into the data format used by TimeControl Online.  Then that data is uploaded by HMS to your TimeControl Online environment and all you have to do is log in.

All your data, reports, filters, validation rules, dashboards, login information is all transferred and is immediately available to you online.  TimeControl Online is already set up to use the free TimeControl Mobile App so if you’ve been waiting to set that up, you are ready to go there too!

One option is to have HMS do the upgrade and data transfer simultaneously as that can be done quite quickly.

If you have made more extensive integrations directly to your TimeControl on premise database or you have made other customizations for things like authentication, then you can speak to the TimeControl technical staff to see how this functionality can be replicated in the TimeControl Online environment.

If you are interested in taking advantage of the TimeControl Crossover Program or in finding out the advantages of using TimeControl Online, please contact us at: https://www.timecontrol.com/contact or by email at info@hms.ca.

For more information on TimeControl Online, visit TimeControl.com/features/timecontrol-online.

Have your TimeControl rules changed?

For many organizations in the past weeks, employees have changed their working conditions.  changesahead_300x223For TimeControl, this may warrant relooking at your timesheet and project progress capture processes.  This is a common occurrence when an organization merges with another or brings on a new department.

For most TimeControl clients, when they implement TimeControl, a process guide is created that covers all the different practices and procedures for events such as onboarding new staff or adding new projects or doing timesheet and project approvals.

In the last few weeks many clients have been shifting staff from working at the office to working at home or working at different hours in order to facilitate social distancing.  This might affect your regular TimeControl processes in a number of ways.

Perhaps your regular office hours are now flexible for anyone working from home.  Perhaps you have new sick leave procedures for your remote workers.  If someone has been tested positive for Covid-19 do you have new timesheet charge types for that person?

There are a number of TimeControl functions that processes that might need checking:

Filters

Filters are used throughout TimeControl to enable features such as restricting what projects are visible to what employees or how a validation rule should work.  If your business has been changed with some people now working from home or taking on new responsibilities, then these filters might need a review.  In particular:

Validation Rule Filters

Validation Rules can changed when working conditions change.  Perhaps you now have more staff working flexible hours or perhaps your current policies on personal time off have altered.  A review of the filters that are the building blocks of Validation Rules can help you adapt.

Employee Table Filters for Projects, Charges, Rates

In the TimeControl Employee Table, there are places to implement filters for each employee.  These filters determine what projects, charge codes and rate codes can be viewed by that employee.  If your situation has changed the way that projects and tasks are being completed, then looking at these filters to see if changes are needed makes sense.

You can find out all about Filters in the TimeControl Reference Guide.

Validation Rules

Have your Validation Rules changed?  You can deactivate a Validation Rule or change it to be a warning only instead of an error if your business conditions are in flux.  This can be done for each rule.

Projects and Charge Codes

Are you still creating projects and charge codes in the same way you done traditionally?  Also, are you creating certain project and charge code entries to identify the specific costs of the change due to Covid-19?  Being able to identify these costs specifically might become important in the near future because of insurance claims or government recompense for such expenses.

Assignments

With people not co-located, you may be rethinking how tasks are assigned. TimeControl’s Assignment function lets you assign or re-assign tasks and create budgets for them.  Perhaps your tasks and assignments should be rethought also in terms of your target completion.  It may take more (or less) time to get certain types of tasks completed.

Dashboards

While most organizations use email effectively to send out news, the Dashboard area of TimeControl is an ideal place to put persistent notices and relevant news in the Announcements area.  Announcements can have as-of and expiry dates and can be fine-tuned to be visible only to certain roles so not all announcements need to be seen by all employees.

TimeControl Mobile App access

Finally, the free TimeControl Mobile App may be more attractive than ever.  If you are using TimeControl Online then you already have everything you need to activate the Mobile App.  The App is enabled in the Administration Area for TimeControl overall then per Profile in the User Profiles area.  Users can download the App for free from Google Play for Android devices and the Apple Store for iOS devices.  If you are using TimeControl OnPremise, then you may have to configure TimeControl to be enabled for the Mobile App.  Contact HMS Support if you have questions about how to do that.

And more…

Aside from actual changes to configuration, what about your approval process and allowances for people who are not in their normal roles.  You may want to investigate delegation through the Alternate User functionality as well as how you are doing your approvals for both the timesheet as a whole and line-item approvals for projects.

What about new processes from HR for onboarding or offboarding?  Are there employees who might be temporarily not doing timesheets?  Are there any new rules from Payroll?

Typically such changes are quick to do in TimeControl but it is important to keep track of what you change because you are likely going to have to change it back sometime soon.

If you need assistance with changing your TimeControl, TimeControl Industrial or TimeControl Online configuration, talk to the HMS Technical staff at info@hms.ca.

 

 

SEFA is helping us start your week with some good news

sefa_300x65Here at HMS, whenever we receive a testimonial letter from a client, we get very excited.  This most recent letter from thee people at SEFA is no exception.  Bret Harris, SEFA’s Chief Financial Officer has written to us explaining how the TimeControl Industrial version has replaced a manual timesheet system for project tracking.

SEFA has deployed the Crew Timesheet option of TimeControl Industrial as well as the TimeControl Mobile App for some of their users’ phones and tablets.

The implementation of TimeControl at SEFA has streamlined numerous processes and they have also integrated TimeControl’s data into Microsoft’s Project Server as well as other corporate systems.

We deeply appreciate our partnership with SEFA and Bret’s kind letter.  You can read it in its entirety at: Timecontrol.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/sefa.

 

 

HMS / TimeControl Covid-19 update

As we told you last week, HMS capabilities of working remotely have been well established for years.  In fact, our staff already work from 3 separate locations.   To better ensure we can continue serving you without interruption, starting Monday, March 23rd, HMS will be instituting a work from home directive.  HMS staff will largely be out of the office and only necessary in-person visits to the office will occur for a minimum of personnel.

As a TimeControl or TimeControl Online client, you probably won’t even notice.  For those seeking technical support, using the support@hms.ca email or going to the TimeControl.com website support contact page at: https://www.timecontrol.com/contact/tech-support is the best way to get your request into the proper queue and responded to quickly.  If you are used to calling into the office directly on the phone, you may find that this is somewhat slower than you’re used to.  Using Email or the Website will be as effective as it always is.

For those seeking information from our sales, administration or operations department, using email or the TimeControl contact form at https://www.timecontrol.com/contact or sending email to info@hms.ca is the most effective way for us to determine who you need to talk to and make sure they are getting back to you promptly.

We anticipate no interruption of service for TimeControl Online or service for our TimeControl on-premise clients.  HMS remains committed to making sure we are serving you with the same high-quality standards that we have been known for for over 35 years.

HMS Contingency Plans for the Coronavirus

For clients who are concerned about HMS Software’s plans in case of a Coronavirus outbreak in the Montreal area or any interruption in our services, we’d like to let you know our contingency plans for any such eventuality.

First of all, HMS is already set up for critical workers to be able to work from home in case any of our staff would require at-home quarantine.  We set up secure access for our key staff to be able to do this some time ago and keep the capabilities current.  Our servers for TimeControlOnline are located with Amazon in different data centers and this combination of factors ensures that we are able to maintain all TimeControl Online services uninterrupted regardless of where our staff need to be located.

Our technical support is similarly equipped to handle requests, and then deliver fixes and updates to our clients as required.

New sales can be taken care by our account managers working remotely as well.

Payments we expect and payments we need to make from an administration standpoint are largely done electronically now so any requirement to physically go to the office to retrieve a payments or sign and mail payments is reasonably rare.  We have made arrangements so that this too can occur off-site.

Our current prevention plans have curtailed any international travel for our staff and any staff who already work remotely are going to delay coming or going to the office for the moment to increase our ability for readiness if there should be any reason for concern.

As a result of this planning and preparation started years ago, HMS is confident in being able to maintain operations without any interruption of services to our clients.  Should there be a change of status at HMS, we will announce that on the TimeControl Blog,. the TimeControl website and our Twitter account.

If you have specific questions about our contingency readiness, please let us know on the TimeControl website at: TimeControl.com/contact.

Capitalization and why it matters to project management

If you work in the Finance department Cap-Ex and Op-Ex are terms that are often used to differentiate between capital expenses and operational expenses.  That can matter to a project manager when trying to find the correct type of funding for a project.  There is, however, an aspect to capital management that is much more significant for most high-tech organizations and that is the notion of capitalization of project work.

Ever since the Y2K period when we saw IT firms going public with balance sheets that would vary greatly from one firm to the next, the US Federal Government has made rules about how assets are calculated.  When an organization invests in an asset such as a piece of software they are developing or a process or equipment they are inventing, they can have a line-item on their balance sheet that refers to the item’s value as an asset and is likely called “Intellectual Property”.  The concept makes common sense.  Let’s say a high-tech company invents something like a piece of software.  The software has some intrinsic value so if you ever sold the company, the value of that software would have to be taken into account yet how do you determine the exact value?

Capitalization targets that exact question and if your firm is or is about to be publicly traded, the concept is even more important.

Years ago, when proposals were first made to the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) I was asked by Strategic Finance Magazine to write an article about how this would promote activity-based-costing for project managers.  I’ve written about what would become Sarbanes-Oxley several times since.

The Sarbanes-Oxley law says that you have to be able to account in an auditable fashion anything you put in your balance sheet.  The penalties for failure can be significant.  The law has teeth and the CFO’s of firms traded on US exchanges know it.

One way that follows “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles” (GAAP) of calculating the value of an asset is to define the actual cost of it.  That cost includes the labor of the inventors, the indirect costs of their work as well as any equipment and materials they needed.  If you know what people are being paid and you know what they work on, then this amount can be calculated.  But, that requires tracking activity-based-costing.  In the TimeControl world, this is one of the goals of many of our clients.

This may sound similar to Research and Development Tax credits that we’ve written about on the TimeControl site often.  But the rules are somewhat different.  R&D tax claims are designed to promote companies and employees in the country to work on inventing new things.  Capitalization focuses on calculating the value of the thing created.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say we write some software and we pay the salaried staff in our own firm who are working here in our country $100,000 to invent it.  That $100,000 cost includes only those activities which are R&D eligible so inventing time, coding time, testing, even documentation.  But it doesn’t include marketing efforts, sales efforts or services such as technical support.  The $100,000 of costs can be applied to a research tax credit wherever it is available.  We can capitalize $100,000 of those costs and make the value of that software equal to the costs.  The timesheets that show the inventing, coding etc. tasks all count towards the capitalization of that project.

In TimeControl terms we configure the timesheet to code the tasks which are R&D eligible and then the staff by location and payment type to be able to report these amounts simply at any time.

Now, imagine we have a second similar project.  Our costs were also $100,000 but instead of using all of our internal staff, we outsourced half of the work to a contractor in another country.  We make both staff and contractors fill out our timesheets configured just as we did above.

But the results at the end of the year can be different.  The total that is capitalizable would still be $100,000 as that is the intellectual equity value that we’ve added to the company.  But, the Research Credits almost certainly don’t include the contractors from another country.  So if half the work was done outside the country then it’s entirely likely that our Research Credit is only $50,000.

For project managers and Finance Directors, we can often find conflict in being able to get to that auditable intellectual equity calculation for R&D or for Capitalization or both at the same time.  Finance is looking to accomplish what they need from their own tools and Project managers are just looking to finish projects as quickly as they can but when both parties collaborate, the benefits to the company can be significant.

Finance may find that just a payroll timesheet isn’t enough as they need the activity-level data.  Yet using a project-only timesheet such as Project Management might want isn’t enough because we need auditable results and those are always easiest when we are looking at 100% of time accounted for.

Using a multi-function timesheet like TimeControl makes this type of decision much easier.  It is common for TimeControl to be configured to achieve multiple corporate goals at once.  TimeControl’s extensive rate functionality is able to track multiple rate values simultaneously so for the same hour of work, we are able to calculate a billing cost, an actual or payroll cost, an average project cost or other cost types.  This allows us to use one of these many rate values to track the actual cost to us for capitalization.  Next we need to make sure we are only calculating those capitalization tasks that are eligible.

The TimeControl task lists that might start in a project management system can arrive into TimeControl with Capitalization codes already established or they can be added by Finance after the tasks enter TimeControl.

The coding for staff as contractor vs. employee or country-of-origin can also be coded directly in HR or added to TimeControl later.

The beauty of the system is that end users don’t have to care.  This kind of background coding and decision making between Finance and Project Management allows the timesheet process to continue unimpeded and results in different parts of the organization getting the detailed financial or project information they need when they need it.

For organizations already using TimeControl for other purposes such as project tracking or HR or payroll, configuring the system for an additional purpose takes very little effort.  For those who haven’t yet started using TimeControl, adding the tracking of capitalization just becomes part of the basic configuration when the system is deployed.

There are processes to create and follow of course.  There will need to be someone in Finance who is responsible for following and reviewing the Capitalization data and reports that come out of TimeControl.  In addition, there will probably need to be some level of communication between Finance and Project Management to make sure that both parties understand what defines a capitalizable task or not.  But that kind of additional communication is probably a healthy addition to your regular process.

The advantage of using a multi-function timesheet like TimeControl is that a) different parties such as project management or Finance don’t have to compromise and not get the data they need and; b) end users don’t have to start filling out more than one timesheet.

Talk to HMS if you are interested in using TimeControl for capitalization, R&D tax credits and project management tracking as well as all the other aspects of timesheet collection that can be managed by TimeControl from the same system at the same time.

 

 

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.