Tag Archives: TimeControl

Why are there so many types of timesheets?

TooManyChoices_300x300If you do an Internet search for the word “timesheet” you’re going to find hundreds of thousands of timesheets.  That makes the search essentially useless.  If you start looking at what you might need in a timesheet you’re still going to find hundreds of options.  Why does the market support so many different timesheets?  Are they all the same?

They’re not.

One of the reasons so many timesheet systems survive in the market is that many of them are targeted at specific uses.  By far the most popular timesheet type is for time and attendance.  This tracks how much time each employee spends at the office and, if they’re absent, why.  This allows payroll to be calculated and for the HR department, allows banks of vacation, sick leave and time off to be update.

The next most popular type is almost certainly time and billing.  Popular with professionals like accountants, lawyer, engineers and consultants, time and billing timesheets need to track the company name for which work was done, the rate at which time was billed and enough description to justify the invoice later.

Project manager systems also have timesheets, they are designed to update the actual time spent against planned tasks.

And there are other timesheets for other purposes such as government programs that require particular kinds of timesheet reporting to be compliant.

The challenge with so many types of timesheet systems is that different parts of an organization can end up selecting something very different to meet their particular needs.  That can result in deploying multiple timesheets in the same place and in a worst-case situation, employees might have to fill in one, two or even more timesheets to complete their week.

We’ve recently updated our webcast and produced both a white paper and presentation on this phenomena and how TimeControl can be used to overcome the multiple timesheet challenge.

You’ll find the webcast at: TimeControl.com/resources/webcasts.
The White paper is at: TimeControl.com/resources/whitepapers.
And the Presentation can be found at: TimeControl.com/resources/presentations.

Managing what isn’t there – missing timesheets

Nerd_Lost_iStock-906654482_300x200.jpgOn a Monday morning, sometimes the tougest thing to deal with is what isn’t there at all.  Anyone who has ever been a supervisor, timesheet administrator or team leader knows that the most challenging thing on a Monday morning can be locating and managing any missing timesheets.

TimeControl has features and functions to deal with missing timesheets and we’ve just released a new White Paper to help you navigate your many options.  The white paper is organized into three sections:

1. Avoiding Missing Timesheets

That should be the first step of course.  If we didn’t have any missing timesheets we wouldn’t need to manage them!  This section looks at Reminder Emails, TimeControl Reminders, Notifications of Missing Timesheets, Validation Rules and Individual’s Dashboards among other features.

2. Locating Missing Timesheets

If timesheets still turn up missing, TimeControl has numerous methods of locating them and informing users that they’re missing.  This section covers the Missing Timesheet Notifications, Missing Timesheet Reports, Supervisor Dashboards and how to be notified once the missing timesheets are on the way.

3. Managing Missing Timesheets

Timesheets can be missing for many reasons and depending on the cause and the particular situation, TimeControl has tools for managing the timesheets and ensure they get created or completed and released to the appropriate authority.  This section covers Alternate Users and the Change Timesheet Ownership tools.

The White Paper: Managing what you can’t See.  How to manage missing timesheets with TimeControl is available now on the White Paper page of the TimeControl website.

For a complete list of TimeControl White Papers, visit: TimeControl.com/resources/whitepapers.

What do the version numbers mean?

We’re often asked what the significance of our version numbers are and how often we release a new update, upgrade or version.  Here is an extract from the TimeControl Installation Guide explaining our 4-part version number:

HMS releases updates to TimeControl in three different levels:

Updates

An update to TimeControl is identified by the 3rd level of the version number.  For example, in version 8.0.1, “1” would be an update.  An update to TimeControl includes fixes to existing functionality and while it may have small additions to the data structure it has no changes to the existing data structure.  An update may include minor enhancements to existing functionality and, less typically, new functionality.

Upgrades

An upgrade to TimeControl is identified by the 2nd level of the version number.  For example, in version 8.1.0, “1” would be an upgrade.  An upgrade to TimeControl may fix existing functionality and will contain enhancements to existing functionality as well as new functionality.  An upgrade may include some changes to existing data structures as well as additional data structure elements.

Versions

A new version of TimeControl is identified by the 1st level of the version number.  For example, in version 8.0.0, “8” would be a new version.  A new version of TimeControl represents a change in the underlying architecture.  This may mean a change or an increase in the types of platforms supported, in the technology layers such as database connections or communications protocol and in the fundamental interface design and architecture.  A new version typically includes new functionality and enhanced or changed existing functionality.  In some cases, functionality in a new version is deprecated.  Data structures may undergo significant change in a new version compared to an old version.

Build

In addition to new updates and upgrades, you may find a 4th digit in your version.  For example, in version 8.0.1.4, “4” would be a new version.  This is a “Build” number and this may change over time.  A new build is usually made when we identify a hotfix that is required but only for a limited circumstance so a complete new Update isn’t required.

Where to find your version number

Click on your profile logo at the top right of the screen and select “Support Info”.  You’ll see a screen like the one here.  The version numbers is in the Web Information area.  You can see the version is 8.0.1.0.  That’s Version 8, Upgrade 0, Update 1 and build 0.  You can ignore the “a” as this is sometimes used for internal systems.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

Webinar Présentation de TimeControl et BrightWork    

If you are English speaking…
You’ll find below an invitation to an upcoming webinar in French on improving your project management environment with a combination of BrightWork, TimeControl and SharePoint. If you have colleagues who speak French, please feel free to pass this along to them. If you are interested in attending this webinar in English, please let us know by replying to this message. We expect to do this webinar in English in October.


Améliorer votre gestion de projets et votre suivi du temps avec SharePoint

Trop souvent, les projets et les feuilles de temps sont gérés en utilisant le courriel et Excel, sans contrôle ni guide des meilleures pratiques. De nombreuses organisations exigent et méritent que leurs données de feuille de temps fassent plus que simplement mettre à jour les tâches dans un système de gestion de projets.

Avec TimeControl et BrightWork, les feuilles de temps et la gestion des projets de l’organisation fonctionnent de manière transparente avec la plateforme SharePoint. Les utilisateurs disposent d’un point d’entrée unique pour saisir leur feuille de temps et aussi suivre facilement l’avancement et le suivi de leurs projets.

Rejoignez Novexe et Logiciel HMS pour un webinaire en direct où vous pourrez:

  • Découvrir comment démarrer rapidement votre gestion de projets et de portefeuilles dans SharePoint avec la solution BrightWork
  • Découvrir comment transformer SharePoint en un système de gestion de feuilles de temps d’entreprise avec TimeControl
  • Assister à une démonstration en direct de l’utilisation intégrée de BrightWork et TimeControl dans SharePoint

Si vous ne pouvez y assister, ne paniquez pas! Inscrivez-vous et nous vous enverrons l’enregistrement.

Inscription: www.brightwork.com/webinars/ameliorer-votre-gestion-de-projets-et-votre-suivi-du-temps-avec-sharepoint

 

 

 

TimeControl / PRISM Integration now available

A few weeks ago, we announced a strategic alliance with ARES PRISM who are the publishers of enterprise project control ares_prism_200x90.jpgsoftware. We’re delighted to tell you that the integration of the ARES PRISM and TimeControl is now available.  A design team made up of both HMS and PRISM staff created the link which is available from ARES PRISM as a plug-in for their G2 system.

Now our joint clients can integrate the power of TimeControl’s multi-purpose timesheet and field data collection system matched with enterprise level forecasting and analysis.

We have created a solution page for the PRISM/TimeControl link at: TimeControl.com/use-cases/prism where you’ll find screen shots, factsheets and more.  Contact your HMS or PRISM representative for more information.

Join our Live Webinar: Integrating TimeControl and BrightWork

TimeControl is a multi-purpose timesheet designed to integrated with multiple project webinar_300x178.jpgmanagement systems.  When it is integrated with BrightWork, you can create a collaborative project management SharePoint environment where the organization’s timesheets are blended naturally into the project process.

Join BrightWork and HMS Software on July 11 for a live webinar where you will:

  1. See how to quickly get started managing projects and portfolios with SharePoint
  2. Learn how integrating TimeControl as an enterprise timesheet brings a single point of entry for timesheets into the project environment
  3. Get a live demo of BrightWork and TimeControl working together

Don’t worry if you can’t attend! Sign up anyway and we will send you the recording.

The Webinar is scheduled for July 11th at 4pm GMT | 11am EDT | 8am PDT.

To Register click: Register Here.