Tag Archives: time and billing

Timesheet Data can be the center of your data universe

When you publish a multi-functional timesheet like TimeControl, it should be no surprise to see a conceptual data diagram that includes all the places timesheet data might be used or which might integrate with other corporate systems.  We see such diagrams virtually every week. TimeControl at the Center

For many organizations, becoming more effective requires integrating systems from many sources.  Big ERP vendors will promote doing everything under their umbrella but that’s not always practical for operational systems.  As soon as you must consider a project or estimating or cost control or government compliance system, you have to think about the timesheets that will drive the actuals.

The worst-case scenario is finding an organization that is trying to support more than one timesheet system at a time.  It’s hard enough to get people to fill in one timesheet in a week, imagine having to fill out two or three or more.  We encounter this worst-case nightmare all the time.  The challenge that TimeControl answers is having a single source of auditable timesheet data that can be used for multiple purposes and multiple systems at once.

That’s why the integration and interface abilities of TimeControl are such an important aspect of its functionality.  TimeControl is known for having pre-built integration to more project and cost control systems than any other timesheet in the industry but the integration doesn’t stop there.  Here are some of the tools that you can consider when building TimeControl into the center of your data universe.

Import and Export Transaction Files
Transaction File Interfaces are the most popular method of linking to or from a Finance or ERP system as CFOs can be reluctant to direct connect their Finance system with direct input or output.  TimeControl can create a transaction file in many formats and then place that file in a place where the Finance, Payroll or ERP system can consume it and ensure that any data coming in is going through their systems business rules.

TimeControl can consume transaction files in just the same way.  So, new employees can be added directly from the HR system by bringing in a transaction file.  There are many file formats supported including CSV, XML and Excel formats among others.  Not only can transaction files be consumed or generated on demand but TimeControl can schedule these links to occur at any time or as often as you require in the background.  Files can be transferred to or from a network location, a laptop or to and from an FTP site to which you and your external corporate systems have access.  This makes Transaction File integration as efficient on our subscription service, TimeControl Online as with TimeControl on premise.  With this integration occurring in the background, the effect on users is to make the integration completely transparent.

Programmable Integration
The ultimate in integration is often considered to be through an Application Programming Interface (API) and TimeControl includes an API with bi-directional abilities to both send information out to or receive information from external systems.  The RESTful API is extensive and highly secure.  The API works in both the Online and on premise versions of TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial.  Programming integration to the API takes more work but the level of integration is complete.  Clients can weave TimeControl into as many other systems as are required to make an overall control environment.

Database to database direct connection
For clients who have TimeControl installed on premise, connections can even be made directly to and from the TimeControl database.  TimeControl on premise can be installed on MySQL, SQL Server and Oracle databases and HMS provides the schema to allow for a direct SQL link to or from the database.  There are rules, of course, when pushing data into TimeControl but our technical services can help with that.

Project Management and other Systems

TimeControl include direct pre-configured links to Project Management systems either on demand or on a schedule. With Microsoft Project Online, BrightWork and Primavera EPPM you can even have the link into TimeControl notice when a new project appears in the project system and import it automatically. Pre-configured links to other systems include:

TimeControl supports all of these connections simultaneously. You can have multiple project links, multiple corporate system links and using multiple techniques. This is why TimeControl is often the center of data flow diagrams in an organization as links may be used for any combination of bidirectional updates with project management, payroll, HR, billing, R&D reporting, job costing, presence management systems, contractor management and more.

To find our more about specific links, go to.

For more information on how TimeControl integrates with other systems, go to TimeControl.com/use-cases or contact us at TimeControl.com/Contact for help on integrating many requirements into a timesheet single system.

 

A timesheet, is a timesheet, is a timesheet… Isn’t it?

A timesheet is just a timesheet, isn’t it?

Not so much.

What we’ve found here at HMS since 1984 is that timesheet requirements seem to be all the same until you put different departments who need them into the same room. Suddenly, the requirements seem quite different.

In 1984 when we were working on the very first mandate as HMS Software, we had to create a timesheet that would encompass the requirements of payroll and project management at the same time. The design requirements were so different, we ended up almost doubling the effort we had estimated in doing the work originally.

We needed a Time and Attendance timesheet for payroll with numerous requirements from the Finance department.

We also needed a task-based project tracking timesheet with the ability to update the project management schedule.

And, that was complex enough. The project was delivered successfully but the seeds had been planted for what would ultimately become the commercial TimeControl 10 years later.

As we did design on the out-of-the box multi-function TimeControl we realized there were more types of timesheets than just those two.

How about Time and Billing? What about Job Costing?  How about timesheets for R&D tax credit compliance and so on.

We’ve created a short white paper identifying some of the timesheet types that we are most commonly asked about but this is not a theoretical exercise. If no one intervenes in what kind of timesheet to select, the most likely result is that multiple timesheets will be implemented.  Payroll and HR will want a Time and Attendance timesheet.  Finance may require a Time and Billing timesheet or a Job Costing timesheet or both.  There may be requirements from Sales or Contracts to comply with government regulation timesheets in order to successfully comply with a new order or contract.

In some organizations we arrive to find 2, 3, 4 or even more timesheets all deployed at the same time. In a worst case scenario, employees must fill in 2 or 3 timesheets every week to accommodate all the requirements.

The best solution for this dilemma, as we discovered over 3 decades ago, is to create a multi-function timesheet that has a single interface in the front end so it is easy for end users, yet has all the controls that each of these requirements demands in the back end so Administrators can fulfill the different needs from a single source.

You can read the Timesheet Types and TimeControl white paper at: TimeControl.com/pdf/whitepapers/tc_timesheet_types.pdf.  To see our complete list of white papers, visit TimeControl.com/resources/whitepapers.

Creating your Rate Structure in TimeControl – an updated white paper

Rate functionality in TimeControl is so extensive that it can be overwhelming to the uninitiated.  TimeControl has the capacity for an unlimited number of rates, numerous rate values for each rate code, filtering to show some rates for some conditions and rate calculations that can be updated through Accruals and other mechanisms within TimeControl.  TimeControl Industrial includes additional functionality for Extended labor and non-labor rates.

There is a tutorial within the TimeControl Reference Guide and we have taken this content and turned it into a white paper on the TimeControl website so it is more easily accessed by existing and prospective users as they consider how they’d like TimeControl to cost the entries in the timesheet or materials and expenses areas.

TimeControl can serve to cost the same line in a timesheet one way for payroll, another for billing and yet another for project management.  Take a look at Creating your TimeControl Rate structure at TimeControl.com.

FAQ: How do we manage timesheet rates when we need one value for payroll, one value for billing and yet a third value for project costing?

Calculator_300x169This is a great question and a challenge easily managed in TimeControl. TimeControl’s rate system is incredibly flexible. First of all, you can have an unlimited number of rates defined per employee, per resource and/or for the whole organization.

So, an individual might see different possible rates for overtime, billable time per client etc. Next, for each rate there are by default 9 values. This combination gives limitless possibilities. Imagine that you had a regular rate and overtime rate for a staff person but you also charge different rates when you invoice.

No problem.

You can have two rate codes per client with each rate code pair having one internal value for the code and one billable value.

There are so many possible rate options that we’ve created a special area to talk about rates on the website which includes a comprehensive white paper.

You can find more on this area of TimeControl at www.timecontrol.com/features/rates.