Timesheet & Project Management Blog

The goal of this blog is to provide tips and ideas for improving time tracking and project managment for our customers and other interested people.

Time Off Accrual Tips

 

Let’s take a look at Time off Accruals. Let’s say your company gives you, or your employees, 40 hours off each year. Standard Time® is able to automatically accrue that time on a periotic basis. Whether it’s on a monthly basis, yearly or weekly, Standard Time can add those hours to your Paid Time Off (PTO) bank. Let’s take a look at where that occurs. I’m going to click on this Time Off tab; you see the 6 tabs along the top. This last one deals with time off and that generally deals with the PTO or other reasons you may be taking time off. You see a series of records that are for employees that have taken time off or who have submitted time off records. What I’m going to do is right click on this so I can edit the Time Off Policies. In this right click menu you also see the Time Off Reasons that you can have, the policies, there are blackout periods, meetings affect the time off because people want to know what meetings they will miss, holidays are also skipped. If I choose Time Off Policies this dialog box opens you see on the left hand side a list of reasons. These are the policies for each employee, in fact it’s for each employee and each reason or possible reason that they would be taking time off. You also see a drop down at the top, as you look through this you see people listed here. In this case I have Buzz, I can see all the possible reasons for Buzz to take time off. I can see the available hours, the number of hours he earns in a period. For instance vacation 12 hours each month, you could choose bi-weekly, monthly, yearly, compensatory and so on. There’s different ways to choose the earned period. You also can reset this if you like. That implements a use it or lose it policy. In this case if Buzz doesn’t use his vacation it’s going to be reset every year. But in this case he can carry over some hours. So that’s a use it or lose it policy; normally this it set to Never so that you don’t reset every year but some companies do implement a use it or lose it on certain reasons. You can see in some cases we reset in some cases we don’t, we can carry over. We also have a date of hire so we know when Buzz was hired. The Accrue day is when we earn on a monthly basis we know which day of the month to accrue. You can also set a Do not Exceed limit which prevents people from hording time. So if they’ve reached 900 hours of vacation you can prevent them from exceeding that so that they don’t go off and loot the company when they leave with so many hours you would have to pay for those. You also have an Overdraft column that allows the employee to pull hours from their bank even if they don’t have enough. In this case Buzz has 59 hours but let’s say he wants to take one giant vacation for 100 hours. If he had some Overdraft hours here or allowed to overdraft a certain amount you would allow that. If it’s set to zero then that’s not allowed for that particular reason. There’s a button down below that is the Time Off Reasons button. When you click that you will see all the time off reasons in the system. You can add and remove these to fit your company needs. When you do that you’ll see the time off reasons listed here. When you close and go back to the timesheet and open up this little Time Off area you’ll see the reasons there as well.

That gives you an overview on how Standard Time handles the automatic time-off accruals.

Project Rollups and Task Totals

 

Project management isn’t always easy.  But Standard Time® has at least one automatic feature to change that.

It’s called Project Rollups.

Have you seen it?  It’s in the Project Task window.

When you create project tasks, they show up in the Project Task window.  And there’s one really neat thing that happens when you do.

Rollups.

Most of the task columns ‘total up’ to the project level.  Take a look at the Duration and Actual Work columns.  The hours are summarized on the project row.  Those are called roll-ups.

Most of the other task columns do it too!

Even the Gantt column.

So when you create tasks, you get a dashboard view of all your projects.

Does that make your project management easier? Why not try it out?

Click to download, and you’ll be an instant project management professional!

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzjsSANMOWc

Overtime and Regular Time

 

Some people have asked how Standard Time® handles overtime records. This video is going to explain that.

In this timesheet, first of all you can see the weekly total at 45 3/4, the daily totals show those daily totals for the week Monday-Friday. In this particular example we can see that this record is overtime, this one, this and this. What I’m going to do is mark those as overtime and you’re going to see a change down here at the bottom of the timesheet. I’m going to click in this and click in Notes and Detail, the pay type for this says regular, I’ll click in this cell and choose overtime 1.5. We have the option of choosing 2x I’m going to choose 1.5. When we do that we get a new line down here that shows the overtime for that particular segment. Let’s go over to this segment here, choose Notes and Detail, and again choose overtime. We can see now that this is changed to 3.25 hours. Let’s go back to this one, change it to overtime; then the last one, we’ll change that to overtime. We now see we have a weekly total of 45 ¾ hours, 5 ¾ of those are overtime. That’s a way of seeing that in the timesheet.

There’s another area I’d like to introduce you to and that is the Time Log. You see the six tabs along the top; the Time Log also displays timesheet entries, they are sort of close relatives. When I click on the Time Log I see a whole list of records, too many records for me to look through so I’m going to click on This week and now I see the records for this week for my timesheet. I’m going to the View menu and choose Columns, let’s get rid of the User column because I don’t really care who the user and client is in this particular case. I’m going to put in Pay type, click add, Move Up. I now have this column displayed, I click OK. Pay type column now shows me which ones are overtime which ones are regular. I could click on this column it would sort, click it again it would sort in the other direction. Normally those are sorted by the starting date, so you see the overtime records spread throughout that time. Go back to the timesheet see those same records here and the 5 ¾ hours at the bottom.

That’s a brief explanation of overtime in the Standard Time timesheet.

Project Task Warnings

 

Standard Time® is a project tracking program.  And it has a nice little feature to make sure tasks get completed on time.

  • Task Warnings

Here’s the problem:

Sometimes employees ‘camp out’ on tasks they like.  Maybe upcoming tasks are scary.  Or, the employee doesn’t feel ready to move on.  Or, they just feel comfortable on the current task.

For whatever reason, they don’t move on.  And that may be costing you money.

Now there’s a solution in Standard Time.

Project managers can set a percentage cut-off.  When users hit this percentage, a pop-up tells them to finish up.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you set a warning at 90%, and a final cut-off at 125%.

The user first gets a warning, and then the task closes.  No more time can be added.

Want to try it?  Click to download.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtue-oZBiJg

Timesheet and Time Log Pages

 

Some people have asked what is the difference between the Timesheet and Time Log. You see these 6 tabs along the top and the timesheet and time log tabs are right next to each other. In fact some have asked what is the Time Log at all. Let’s take a look at that. Essentially these two tabs are close relatives. In fact they display the same information, they just look a little different. Let’s click over on the Time Log. Here you see a list of records and it turns out those records are the same ones that are displayed in the Timesheet. It looks a little different; you’ve got the Monday-Sunday view or whenever your first day of the week starts. In the Time Log you’ve got a list top to bottom of all the same records. These are the same time records you see over in the timesheet. One way to verify this is open up one of these, click notes and details, 1st thing we can see is that this is on 4/9 and starts at 11:30am. And the notes this person put in was Installed web server. Let’s go over to the Time Log and because we have such a long list let’s go over to the Date range and look at This week. We’ve got records here, turns out I’m looking at this week for Ray which is the same filtering we had over in the timesheet. If I look at the 4.5 hours we see that this is 11:30am, installed web server. You can go over to the timesheet, click on this triangular dropdown and choose Daily Hours and there is a graphical timesheet. We see this same 4.5 hours just displayed in graphical format. If I were to double click on that we’ll see it starts at 11:30am, installed web server is the notes that the person put in. We’re seeing the same information it’s just formatted a little differently depending on the view you have. There are lots of ways to look at timesheet data (timesheet records). This Time Log is useful in a lot of other ways. If we go to the View menu, choose Column, let’s get rid of the Client rate and Cost client, useful fields but for this case we’re going to put in the Client and the User. A couple different fields, you can add a variety of different columns to this display. So we now see some new columns here again we’re looking at all the records for Ray. If I click the yellow X I’ve now removed all the filtering, I see all the records in the whole system because I’m an administrator. Let’s look at This week; now we see a mixture of Ray and Buzz. If I went over to the Users section I could click on Buzz see all of his records or Ray see all of his records. This is that 4.5 hours we saw earlier. So the Time Log can be useful to find things that are not immediately apparent in the timesheet as your looking through a Monday-Sunday view. Simply seeing them in a top down fashion can sometimes be useful. That’s why we have the two views in addition to the graphical timesheet.

Hopefully that helps in distinguishing between these two close relatives. 

Watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwmgIgx2Mgw

Time Tracking with Quick Tasks

 

Looking for a quick way to track time?  Billable hours?  Employee time?

Here’s a new idea from Standard Time®!

It’s called Quick Tasks.

Let’s say you have to start and stop a timer, and report all the hours you worked.  That’s reasonable.  A lot of people do that.

Wouldn’t it be nice to just click a button to start, and click again to stop?

  • No forms to fill out
  • No timesheet
  • No hassle

That’s what Standard Time Quick Tasks are for.

You literally just click a button to start.

And click again to stop.

Standard Time keeps track of your hours throughout the day.  You just click, click, click, and your timesheet automatically fills up with time.

All your projects are listed, and your tasks under them.  Just click a task to start the timer.

Download, and give it a try!

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcurDKF6szc

Client Invoices

 

Let’s run an invoice in Standard Time®. You can see first of all I’m in the Timesheet. There are six tabs along the top, the Timesheet is normally where you put your time in. What I’m going to do before running an invoice is switch over to the Time Log. This is essentially a list of all the entries in the time sheet; it’s the same data just organized differently. What I’m going to do is filter this view by a client so I can see all of the records that have been logged for that particular client. I’m going to go here to Date range and look at all of them for This month. These are the records that I hope to put out in my invoice. Over in the Billing tab is where the invoices reside but switching back here to the Time Log, can switch back and forth. I’m going to go to the Inset menu and choose New Invoice. From there I will then choose the client, optionally you can choose a project if you want to break down the invoice into smaller detail. But I’m going to go from the first of the month to the end of the month. You can see here the subtotal comes up to kinda know how much I’m going to be billing. The template I like to use is the detail template; it’s going to create an invoice file with this invoice number ‘course you can change that. Let’s click Save and Close to create that. When I do Microsoft Word comes up and shows me the invoice file, this is actually an rtf file that I can save to the hard drive or I can save as a PDF. You see the total down here. In this invoice you can put your company logo and change this up, add some color spice it up a little bit. Because it is just an rtf you can edit those invoice templates as well.

Wanted to show you how to create an invoice. Pretty simple!

Watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hhCdc3lIJY

Declutter Your Timesheet With Favorites

 

You have to track employee hours in a timesheet, right?  Hey, everybody does.  But what if there are stacks of projects to look through?

You know which one you’re looking for, but still… you’ve got a huge list to tackle.  You can’t even enter your time until you find it.

Standard Time® has a solution, just for you!

It’s called Timesheet Favorites.

If you’re like most people, you have just one or two projects you’re working on right now.  Those are your favorites.  So why sort through all the rest?

Just click Favorites… choose the projects you want... and go to work!

  • Timesheet clutter is gone
  • Scrolling is gone
  • You’re in and out, in no time

Timesheet favorites!  A new Standard Time feature just for you.

Download and see for yourself!

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmOJ7C80Izs

MS Project Integration with Timesheet

 

In this video let’s take a look at bringing in a Microsoft Project file. Turns out you can integrate with MS Project for the purposes of tracking time to project tasks. When you bring in an MPP file into Standard Time® you’ll see all of the tasks that you are assigned to on your timesheet. If you log in as a different user you may see different tasks that those users are assigned to. After you’ve logged time administrators can then send that time back to MS Project.

To get started I’m going to choose Tools, Projects and then the projects dialog opens up. I can then go to the Tools menu in that project dialog and choose New Project and name the new project anything I like. I’ll name it MS Project. I can then go up to the Tools menu again and choose Microsoft Project Integration Wizard. When I do that a wizard comes open that allows me to go and integrate with a Microsoft Project MPP file. I can then browse for that file open it up and here’s it’s actually complaining about having a local hard drive path to the file. But this should be OK this is just a test. The next thing I’d want to do is Test the Connection to make sure I can see all the tasks in that file. When I do that MS Project opens up and I see all of the tasks listed here. They all look good to me so I’ll click close, click Next, click Next again, you can choose to have a Bidirectional or Unidirectional connection to MS Project; I’ll choose Bidirectional and also choose to Map the work column in MS Project to the Standard Time duration column. I’ll click next again, then click finish. Standard Time will go out to MS Project and pull down those tasks. So when I click OK I can then go over to the Project Tasks tab; I see my new project here, all of the tasks listed, some of those are assigned to me some to other users. I’m going to check the Quick Task check box and that causes those tasks to show up in the timesheet. When I go over to the timesheet, open up the project I then see the summary tasks and the actual tasks assigned to me. I can then go and put in some hours for those tasks. I’m going to send this time back to MS Project. Now that I’ve done that I can go over to the View menu choose Refresh Project Tasks. This is only available to administrators who want to send the actual work back to MS Project. I choose that and see my project listed here, to send the time back to Project I click Refresh Now. We can see the project file has been updated; I click OK, close this then I can open my MS Project file and see the results. We see here we have some actual work on those tasks that we have been working on in the Standard Time timesheet. I’ll close out of the MS Project file.

That’s essentially the round-trip story for MS Project files-you simply bring them in, integrate with them, log some time to them and go and refresh the project tasks to send the actual work back to MS Project.

Hopefully that helps!

Benefits of using Standard Time®

 

This segment addresses the three benefits or biggest benefits of using Standard Time®. And addresses the three biggest pain points that consulting and manufacturing companies have. Those being 1. Being to maximize your billable versus non billable hours and addressing admin vs non admin time. 2. having priorities messed up so that you’re working on projects that don’t matter. 3. Cost over-runs or budget over-runs. I’m going to address those quickly. First thing you see here with the Standard Time timesheet is you get a weekly total at the bottom so that you make sure that you’re hitting your weekly goals. Another thing you can do is go over to the left hand side, open up this Billing section and look at Billable hours. We see 24 ¼ hours here, if I click on Not billable you have 18 ½ hours. So you can compare and find you’re billable versus non billable hours. Another thing you can do is go to the Tools Users and Organization, right click on a user, choose email notification and make sure you get an email out when people have less than 40 hours or people haven’t submitted their timesheet for approval. That obviously doesn’t affect billable vs non billable but it does make sure people get their time in. Another thing you can do is run a Utilization report from the Management section. When I run that, in this case I’ll run it for the last 120 days, you’re able to see the billable vs the non-billable plus the percentages for each user. Then you’re also able to see the effective billing rate so you can keep those billable rates under control.

This next pain point would be having priorities messed up so that you’re working on projects that don’t matter or their not strategic to the company. One of the things you can do here is run a pie chart, I’m going to run the pie chart for projects, no filtering. You see right off the bat which projects are having the most time spent on those so those would be the highest priority. And you can check yourself to make sure you’re doing the higher priority projects. You might consider running another report, a custom report Project Percentages. This is a simple little report that finds all the percentages for each project. This is much like the pie chart but in textual form where you can make sure you are working on the projects that are highest priority to you.

The third pain point I’d like to address for consulting and manufacturing companies would be budget overruns. If you click on the Project Tasks tab this can be set up so you see columns for the Cost Client, Cost Client Actual and Cost Client Remaining. You can also see salary rates. You can use these to find out where your project is. You can see % complete, status % column, things like that to help you see where your project is. If you’re using an Excel spreadsheet you’re not likely to get this kind of information. So that’s a valuable dashboard view. If I open up another report Project Budget Burn we can see here from a report like this a list of all the projects and for each project we get to see the budgeted amount, the amount used on tasks, amount used on expenses and then the remaining amount for each project. That is another way to keep those things under control.

Those are some of the ways Standard Time can help keep the company in line for those three issues. Which were the billable vs non-billable hours, project priorities messed up and budget and cost over-runs. Hopefully that has helped!

Watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZQdNknupIc

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