Seen the new R&D Tax Claim white paper?

As part of our new R&D Solution Portal, we’ve created a brand new white paper that you may find of use.  The extensive paper covers an overview of how R&D tax claims work.  We cover something we call the “Triangle Audit” which describes how most government tax agencies go about doing an audit of Research and Development tax claims.  There is a section on how TimeControl timesheets work in an R&D setting and even instructions on how you can configure your own TimeControl to comply with auditing requirements.  There are screen shots of individual TimeControl tables and example reports.  The paper covers an overview of R&D claims in the regions we know best which includes: The US, Canada and within Canada, the province of Quebec where HMS Software’s headquarters are located.  HMS has extensive experience with doing our own R&D claims. 
For those who want to do more research, there are links to appropriate areas of websites at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the US, Revenue Canada (for the SRED program), Revenue Quebec, HMRC in the UK and in the EU. 
You can download the R&D white paper for free at HMS Software’s Research and Development Tax Credit Solution Center.

Take a look at the new TimeControl R&D Tax Credit Solution Portal

HMS has just published a collection of new tools and resources for those organizations which do Research and Development Tax Credits.  R&D tax credit programs are offered by governments all over the world including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and throughout the EU.  Virtually all R&D tax credit programs require documenting what eligible work was done and who did it and that’s one reason TimeControl is often part of the R&D reporting environment.  If your organization does an R&D tax claim then our new Research and Development solution page includes a range of new tools that you may find of interest:
There’s a new white paper on how R&D tax claims work and how you can configure TimeControl to help overcome the “Triangle Audit” that is often how R&D tax claims are reviewed by the particular jurisdiction.
There’s a new webcast talking and R&D tax claims and a demonstration of TimeControl 6 already configured to do R&D reporting.  The reports we used in that webcast are available for download from the MyTimeControl Plugin library on the timecontrol.com website in the Support area.
There is a new case study of how TimeControl is being used at EXFO in Canada for their R&D reporting requirements.
There are slides, links to online resources in numerous countries, slide presentations, other white papers and fact sheets.  You can even try TimeControl for free on our Free Hosted TimeControl Trial site.
The new TimeControl R&D Tax Credit Solution Portal is at www.timecontrol.com/solutions/randd.

It’s the holidays–Here’s how to deal with absences in TimeControl

With the holiday season approaching, it’s a good time to talk about how to handle timesheets for people who will be away. TimeControl has several options for dealing with absences whether they are planned in advance, or unplanned.

Unplanned absenceTimeRequest_Add If an employee is absent and the timesheet for the week in question has not been started, the employee’s supervisor can create the timesheet and enter the time data on their behalf. The supervisor uses the Add Timesheet function and selects the employee from the Employee List in the Create Timesheet dialogue box. TimeControl is designed to allow supervisors in an employee’s approval path to enter timesheets for them.
If the timesheet has already been started, we have a couple of choices, a supervisor or designated replacement can log in on behalf of the employee by using the alternate log in function. An alternate log in can be specified for any employee from the User Table / Other Information tab. This allows someone to be the delegate of someone else. When setting an alternate log in, you also must set an expiry date. When a user logs in as an alternate for an employee, the audit trail records that the alternate has made the entries, as opposed to the original employee. This function is an easy way for a supervisor to complete a timesheet for an employee who has an unplanned absence or for another supervisor to approve the timesheets of a supervisor who is absent.
There is another option to managing timesheets that are already underway. A supervisor or administrator can use the Change Ownership function to move the control of a timesheet from one user along the approval path to their supervisor to have the timesheet completed and approved.
Planned absence If the absence is planned, TimeControl’s new TimeRequest function allows users to request approval for various types of time including vacation or time off. The employee enters the type of time-off, dates and hours requested and then submits the request to the supervisor. Once the TimeRequest has been approved, it is maintained in a queue and will automatically appear in that employee’s timesheet when it is created.

TimeControl and Primavera P6R8 tested

O_GoldPartner_clrFor those using TimeControl 5 or TimeControl 6, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve completed our testing under the just-released version P6r8 and that TimeControl and release 8 are working together just fine.  No new TimeControl upgrade is required in order to do your Primavera upgrade as the current releases of TimeControl 5 and TimeControl 6 flew through our tests with flying colors.

Keeping TimeControl 6 from timing out!

Users of TimeControl 6 may have found that after a few minutes their TimeControl session times out.  This is something controlled from within Internet Explorer 7.

Here is a quick little tutorial on how to modify the TimeControl 6 session timeout from within IIS 7.

1. Session State

We use the session state value as a timer to show the “Session timed out” message that will force users out of TimeControl. This value is the main control for the lifetime of session variables. To set this value:

  • Open IIS and click/select the TimeControl web site; this will show a range of options on the right hand side of the screen including an item under “Application Development” titled “Session State”. Double-Click “Session State”.

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  • When opening the session state options a dialog will appear. All options should appear as the screen shot below does and to change the timeout value simply modify the value in the “Time-out (in minutes):” field and click “Apply”.

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This tells the application how long a session is allowed to live. However, this isn’t the only option that needs to be modified because in our code we also check the validity of the user’s authentication ticket which is a separate time-out value.

2. Forms Authentication

The forms authentication uses an authentication ticket that is created when a user visits the site, and then tracks the user throughout the site. In TimeControl 6, we validate this ticket every time we load the page and if the ticket is no longer valid we redirect the user to the login page. If the session state is modified, the forms authentication will need to be modified as well.

  • Open IIS and click/select the TimeControl web site. On the right hand side there will be an option under “Security” for “Authentication”. Double-Click “Authentication”.

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  • A list should be shown with a few items including “Forms Authentication”. Select the “Forms Authentication” item from the list and further to the right hand side of the screen an “Edit…” link will light up. Click “Edit…”.

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  • The options for forms authentication will appear in the dialog and should look like the screen shot below. The “Authentication cookie time-out (in minutes):” needs to change to match the setting for session state.

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These two time-out settings are used by the TimeControl 6 web site code and work well for a high traffic site, but what if it isn’t a high traffic site? In IIS “Application Pools” there is a setting for an “Idle Time-out”; meaning if there is NO traffic on the web site for x number of minutes then the Application Pool will recycle the web site, terminating any and all sessions.

3. Application Pool Idle Time-out

  • Open IIS and click/select the “Application Pools” from the left hand list. A list of applications pools will appear, click/select the application pool used by the TimeControl web site.

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  • There will be a link on the right hand side of the screen under the heading “Edit Application Pool” title “Advanced Settings…” click this link. A dialog will appear with a number of options but we are only interested in the item under “Process Model” that reads “Idle Time-out (minutes)”. This value should get a setting equal to the session state and forms authentication to ensure the web site application doesn’t force a recycle before the session is supposed to time out.

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These are the values that affect the TimeControl 6 session.

TC6 and ASP Impersonation

You’d think that the word “impersonation” would be used only by those trying to defeat security but in fact, the term is quite commonly used by those dealing with web-based services such as those found in .Net applications like TimeControl 6.  We’ve had a couple of clients who are not using the default ASP.Net security profile when running TimeControl 6 under Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 and only under some circumstances clients have experienced a The pipe name could not be obtained for the pipe URI: 5 (0x5) error to indicate that Access to the website and the service was denied. 

To fix the problem, Microsoft tells you to enable “Impersonation” (no, I’m not kidding). 

You can find out more about how to do this within your Windows Server environment, take a look at

Configure ASP.NET Impersonation Authentication (IIS 7) which one of our clients pointed us to.

Customizing the TimeControl 6 login screen

Did you know that you can add your logo or other information to the TimeControl 6 login screen to customize it for your own use?  It’s true.  Within the design of TimeControl 6’s login screen we’ve hidden a blank graphic called CompanyLogo.gif.  It’s a 300×300 pixels white graphic that you can replace with your own.  You typically wouldn’t see this screen as we’ve placed the white square over a white part of the login but if you make your browser quite small as you can see in the picture on the right, the white graphic becomes immediately apparent.  To change the graphic, replace it with a GIF of identical size.  The file is located in the installation directory of TimeControl 6 under the /images/Logos/ directory. 

Linking to Primavera Financial Periods

When linking with Primavera’s P6, TimeControl can now optionally send actuals to be posted directly to Primavera’s financial period table. This is the same destination supported by P6 when “Period to date Actuals” are activated and then posted into a particular financial period.

Using this feature will update both the Actuals which are already updated by previous versions of TimeControl and the period records so that financial and earned value reports in Primavera will report the data in the appropriate financial areas.

In order to activate this function, the Primavera Administrator must first define the financial periods and ensure that the Financial periods completely cover any period for which actuals might be sent from TimeControl. This is done in the Primavera Administration menu.

Primavera Periods

If data from TimeControl is transferred while this option is on and the appropriate financial period for the TimeControl “Date Work Performed is not located, the transferred data will be rejected and this will be reflected in the PM Links log.

In the TimeControl Project Transfer options, the “Transfer to Primavera Periods” option must be selected.
TimeControl Transfer Options
When this option is selected, the Date Transfer Options are no longer selectable as the “Date Work Performed” now becomes the relevant transfer date. This date will be used to determine which Primavera financial period in which to put the posted line data from TimeControl.

TimeControl 6 Free Hosted Trial site now available

You can now try TimeControl 6 for free on the TimeControl 6 Trial site!  Simply go to www.timecontrol.com/download/register/ and sign up and you will be given instant access to a hosted trial of our exciting new version of TimeControl. 

(For users who have recently registered, you will need to re-register as the system’s user table was reset for the new version)

The TimeControl 6 trial requires nothing to install to get the main timesheet functionality up and running in moments on your browser.  You will be able to see the timesheet, the timesheet list adjustments, the brand new vacation request module “TimeRequest”, the new MyOptions and approvals.  And, you’ll be asble to try all of this in a range of browsers, computers and operating systems.

For those who want to delve deeper into the administration functions you’ll see instructions and the requirements for making these functions available to you which will require using Internet Explorer and allowing ActiveX controls.

The official blogsite of TimeControl