Today we are talking about tracking many different kinds of time in one interface and why that is valuable for people.
There are many software solutions you can buy out there to track time with. Some of them are great at tracking vacations, some are great at billing clients, some are great at project accounting, some are great at payroll. Very few of them can do all of these things in one place. It’s important that you do all of these things in one place so you don’t have employees entering time in five different systems – one for government contracting and one for payroll and one for billing and one for vacation and one for project accounting. You don’t want that because it’s hard enough to get people to track their time once, in one interface. So the last thing you want to do is make it harder.
When you have all these different data sources going to all these different places, you end up with a situation where the data doesn’t agree. The data that you’re sending to the government doesn’t agree with the data you’re sending to the payroll service provider. That can cause you a problem at some point, perhaps even legal problems. These things have been known to happen…especially in California.
Ideally, you’re going to be sending the time data that you collect into some accounting system…maybe into multiple systems: project management system, vacation tracking system, an HR system, an accounting system, different places. You need to have one system that is the master, the owner, the record of last resort for the time data. It doesn’t have to be the time collection system, but that’s not a bad place for it. Otherwise, it’s not obvious when there’s a dispute about what data…where’s the correct data. It’s not obvious where you’re supposed to go to get the right answer. So it’s important to have one place that is the system of record for the time data. Just like your accounting system is the system of record for data having to do with money – paying the vendors, paying other employees, capital assets, depreciation, that sort of thing.
When we collect time for multiple different reasons, for multiple different departments in your company in multiple different ways, and we do it all in one place, we call that Enterprise Time Tracking. Departmental time tracking is where you’re just doing vacation for this department, or you’re just doing project accounting for that department. Enterprise time tracking is where you’re collecting time data from all of the employees in the company for all the reasons that it needs to be collected and then feeding that data back to people (to managers) in a reporting system that gives them what they need to do the thing that they’re trying to do in their part of the business. You may have a person who’s running the consulting division of a business that cares very much about the percentage of our time that our employees are billable, the percentage of the time that they’re sitting on the bench. That’s completely different from the manufacturing guy who cares about getting payroll done appropriately, or the HR person who’s trying to make sure that the right amount of vacation gets taken and not too much and…that people are not taking their vacation and burning out.
Having one system of record for all of these things, that’s enterprise time tracking.