Oftentimes we find our biggest source of inspiration for what to write about in our Journyx blog actually stems from some of our biggest FAQ’s here. But even that isn’t enough. When searching for your time tracking system, here’s our list of top checklist items to consider before making your big purchase.

Have a Buying Process

Timesheet software will touch everyone in your company. Nobody likes to track their time, so it must be simple to use, have a friendly interface and encourage accurate data collection. The system should serve as a real accounting system with double entry methodologies and approval processes, and have automatic reminders for the busy executive (you know who you are).

First, you need a requirements list. This will enable you to eliminate many of the vendors that pop up when you Google “timesheet.” To assemble your requirements list, ask all the pertinent departments in the company for their input.

Here are a few potential requirements:

  • Do you need to verify invoices sent to you by contractors, and test the timesheet system on them first?
  • Do you need a system that prevents people from tracking time against projects they shouldn’t have access to?
  • Do you need to send payroll data to ADP or Paychex?
  • Do you need to send billing data or payroll data to QuickBooks (or Dynamics or SAP or Oracle)?
  • Do you need to get the system rolled out now with no time to wait for IT?
  • Do you need to split-bill project costs to other internal departments?
  • Do you need to fix your estimation process?
  • Do you need Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) compliance or very accurate IT capitalization data for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)?
  • Do you need to understand your R&D costs on a per-product basis?
  • Do you need a tightly controlled purchasing process where everyone gets a company credit card?
  • Do you need to reimburse for mileage?
  • Do you need a low monthly fee rather than a giant one-time fee?

There is No Magic Fix

Some vendors claim that they can “implement in 2-3 days”. However you can’t roll out your time tracking system in two days unless your problem is simple enough to only include one of the above requirements. If they really are that simple, don’t spend your money on software; stick with Microsoft Excel.

The technology is powerful and it can help your company become more profitable in a number of ways. It can lower your payroll processing cost while increasing accuracy. It can also speed up your billing and convert more A/R to cash; automate travel expense reimbursement; and most importantly, it can tell you which projects are broken before you would ever have known it before.

Vendors that claim two-day rollout times are just plain lying. Don’t let them fool you. This process requires time and energy to accomplish it correctly.