Job Costing Software with Employee Self Service
Teamspirit has developed a new web-based application which will give companies the ability to monitor individual elements of expenditure linked to a project at any point in time.
This new software, which addresses what is typically termed Project Costing or Job Costing, was developed in response to the significant pressures placed on businesses to get the most from its workforce and in turn demonstrate that each project they deliver is profitable.
Teamspirit’s software solution differs from other Project Costing/Job Costing software solutions on the market today because it is Self Service driven which offers a number of business benefits. Firstly, the fact that Project Costing/Job Costing is so closely linked to payroll and that Self Service puts the onus on the employee whose primary concern is to get paid and secondly information is captured at source in a timely and accurate manner.
So how do you set about getting the most out of your employees in an environment where project costing is a key factor?
In an ideal world the workforce should be flexible and multi-skilled providing a workforce that works when you want them to, where you want them to and does what you want them to do.
In times of budgetary constraint the last thing an employer needs are narrowly focused employees who perform the same or very similar tasks all day long. When the demand for their specific skills declines how much better would it be if they were flexible enough to instantly switch roles?
In many sectors employee contracts are becoming more diverse as employers try and build in this level of flexibility. Some typical examples include:
A formal contractual arrangement
Single employee with multiple jobs in a formalised way, for example job 1 you do for 20hrs per week and your salary is £X pa, and job 2 you do for 17hrs per week and your salary is £Y pa.
Flexible work content
Single employee working flexibly – today spend 7hrs performing your normal role at £X per hr, followed by 3hrs doing a more skilled task for £Y per hr at an enhanced rate.
Flexible work location
Single employee working flexibly – today you work at your usual location A, but tomorrow you work at location B, 35 miles away at the same rate but we will pay you a ‘site allowance’ of £X per day, plus 2 hours travel time at £Y per hour.
The three examples above are typical, but many more complex examples can and do exist. We have a client where a single employee can be paid at 11 different hourly rates based on the time of day (day or night shift), the day of the week (Monday-Friday, or Saturday or Sunday), the contract involved, the site at which he is working, whether he is working or travelling, as well as the task he is doing when working.
The allowances that can apply to the same environment include a supervisory allowance (acting up), a skills allowance, a callout allowance, a lodging allowance, a planning allowance, productivity allowance and several more. Certain allowances can have taxable and non-taxable elements, and can be applied as per hour, per day, per shift, per week or a per event basis. An employee in this environment can work on the same job all week, or work on several different jobs each day.
Not only does this approach complicate the payroll process, but it also makes it almost impossible to know in a timely manner whether the work being carried out is profitable or allow corrective action to be taken if necessary.
Given this flexible employment scenario how does the business then know that what it is doing is profitable?
Capturing the data quickly and efficiently is a prime requisite. If the employee is performing lots of different tasks at different rates of pay this is where the data capture must start.
In spite of the new technologies that have emerged in recent years paper timesheets submitted each week still abound in many areas.
Traditional paper timesheets are notoriously inaccurate for a number of reasons including:
- They could have been completed several days after the event – trying to remember what job you worked on Monday morning, when you are trying to complete your timesheet on Friday afternoon is not an accurate process.
- Poor handwriting can be misread, causing transcription errors.
- With a distributed workforce it is often difficult for a supervisor to question the information provided due to a lack of visibility.
- Timesheets are usually submitted weekly and then have to be collated, checked, corrected and payroll ready in a short time period.
This type of operation places huge demands on the back-office function, and further inaccuracies may be generated.
A simple solution to all of this is to change the way the data is captured. Capture it at source – doing this on a daily basis should be the goal. Avoid transcribing the information, and check and validate the data as it is being entered. Transfer the ownership of the data to its source whenever possible by making the employee responsible.
If possible interrelate the information required for payroll purposes with that required for project costing purposes. The employee is likely to be less concerned about the accuracy of project costing and will primarily focus on making sure that payroll is correct. Combining the two gives you the best of both worlds.
Take the bold step and make the move towards Self Service. After all, everybody else is – supermarkets, airline check-ins, event tickets, banks – all these businesses are saving money with this approach so why not do the same. All these examples have one thing in common – they involve customers, so we’re really talking about Customer Self Service.
By comparison Employee Self Service is making a relatively slow entry into the business world. It’s been around in some form or other for several years, but with recent innovations in web design software the applications are now becoming more sophisticated and capable of handling more demanding functions.
A recent example of this is Teamspirit’s new web-based Employee Self Service Project Costing module. This is geared to working in a project environment – lots of people working on lots of tasks each of which have a budget to work within. The new module is centred around a web-based ‘design your own’ timesheet that can be moulded to suit many different environments. Its key features are:
- The timesheet can be designed to fit a specific set of requirements. You decide what data is to be captured, and the terminology used to guide the employee through the process.
- Each week on the start day of the week a new blank timesheet automatically appears.
- Project or cost codes can be configured with up to three levels. You name the levels using your own terminology, so they can represent ‘Project – Job – Task’, or ‘Assignment – Skill – Activity’.
- Multiple pay rates can be entered for each employee, and these linked to the circumstances in which they can be used. For example, when John Smith books time on a Tuesday night shift at an off-shore location he gets paid at £X per hour.
- Multiple paid allowances can be entered for each employee, so that when these are selected during timesheet entry the correct rate is applied.
- Each day of the week initially assumes that at least one timesheet entry will be entered. If John has worked on three different tasks during his shift a simple click of the mouse will add in two extra entries.
- Non-worked days can be confirmed on the timesheets, as can days or part days of absence together with a reason.
- Each employee can be assigned a ‘proxy employee’ who can enter data on their behalf when they are unavailable – this could typically be their office administrator, or supervisor.
- When the timesheet is submitted at the end of the week it is routed electronically to a designated approver who is notified of this by email, and an entry made in a ‘To Do’ list.
Once fully approved the timesheet data is ready for transfer into your payroll and accounting systems.
If the timesheet data has been entered each day a series of ‘Flash Reports’ can be devised so that you are aware of costs incurred in the week so far. If you are running a monthly payroll these can provide a predicted payroll bill as the month proceeds so hopefully there are no nasty surprises when the actual payroll is run.
Project and Job Costing Software – Contact us now for further information or to discuss your requirements