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What to Look For in a Timesheet Vendor, Pt. 3: Reporting

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When implementing time and expense tracking software, start with the end in mind – what do you want to get out of it? That’s why, as Curt explains in this episode, having a solution with robust reporting is critical.

We’re talking about reporting today. When we start to roll out your timesheet software platform for your company, the very first questions that we have for you are really about what kind of reports do you want to get out of the system – do you want payroll reports, do you want billing reports, do you want project accounting reports? What kind of reports are you looking for? You probably are already trying to answer some questions today about how your business, where the profits are and these sorts of things…profitability. So, it’s really important that your time tracking software platform gives you the flexibility to get the kind of reports out of the system that you need to run your company, that you need to understand which customers are profitable and which ones are not, that you need so you can pay people correctly. So the reporting system is critical, right? And, no matter how much capability we build into the reporting system, people always want more. There’s two kinds of compliance that we look for in the use of the product, in the use of a time tracking product. The first one is to actually get people to track their time. So we have reports that tell you, are people actually tracking their time and are they doing it on time, are they getting it accurate and this sort of thing. But the second kind of compliance is does anybody actually look at the data. Are your managers using the data to do a better job at running their departments. So if the reports are boring, if the reports aren’t pretty, if the reports don’t give you the data that you’re looking for, if the reporting engine isn’t easy to use, then it’s highly unlikely that managers will run the reports and use the system and do a good job of running their company better with the time data that they’ve been provided. No matter how awesome we make the time reporting software, eventually people want to get it into Excel to do things with it, massage it, do graphs with it, things that we’re just not going to ever be able to do. Microsoft has spent billions of dollars making Excel the magical piece of software that it is. So we have a variety of ways to get the data into Excel very quickly and easily and allow you to run all kinds of graphs, reports and other sorts of metrics. Financial people already know how to use Excel. Excel is a powerful business intelligence tool, and it’s important that the reporting system of your time tracking product goes directly into Excel wherever possible, so that you can have that capability that Microsoft spent billions developing at your fingertips.