The latest news and insights from the HarmonyPSA team

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Why buying a timesheet system is a bad idea

In this fourth blog post covering aspects of best of breed (BoB) system architecture, we look at the advantages (and disadvantages) of buying a timesheet system.

Probably one of the earliest computer systems developed for companies to use internally were timesheet systems. They have certainly been around on mainframe platforms for 50 years and as cloud solutions since the beginning of the internet.

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Billing for time

One of the things we notice when talking to customers are the differences that exist between the US and the UK.  In America technology companies generally bill time in hours while in the UK day rates are more common, though in both cases not exclusively so.  I’m not sure why this is, possibly in the US, developers are (like engineers) viewed as technicians and so invoiced hourly, I don’t know.

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Improving timesheet compliance

"What is the point of having timesheets if no-one uses them!" This is a common refrain which we have heard many times speaking to prospects.

There are a number of key reasons why people do not like filling in timesheets, but usually it boils down "it takes too long" or "I don't know where to book my time".

There is an additional reason that is rarely mentioned and that is that people do not like to be innacurate. They do not like to misrepresent what they have been doing.  They WANT to be honest.

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Re-working the WORM - centralised and shared organisational data

What does WORM mean when it’s related to data (as opposed to it’s old use relating to drives). Well it means the same thing, Write Once Read Many, but now the applicability relates to centralised and shared organisational data.

How many customer lists do you have? Typically, we see them contained in your CRM system, your accounting system, your service desk system, your timesheet system and the list can go on...

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Time to re-engineer your IT business?

The Holy Grail of business process re-engineering is STP (Straight-Through-Processing) underpinned by the principle of building in quality rather than relying on inspection to deliver low processing error rates.  Put another way, using an emerging phrase of relevance to growing businesses of any size, this approach is sometimes summarised as “high-volume, light-touch processing married to low-volume, high-touch exception management”.

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Cash Slow? 5 tips to speed up your billing processes and improve cash flow

Bill promptly

Have a good look at your billing processes. Could you be getting your invoices out more quickly? Do you have an automated billing process? Using an automated system to manage your billing will create invoice events automatically, not only to reducing workload, but also making absolutely sure you never forget to charge.

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Understand who is making a financial contribution to your business

Technology and professional services businesses spend over 70% of their fixed budget on staff.  However, the connection between their revenue streams and employment spend are often very hard to analyse and even harder to optimise.

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The solution to billing in days

One of the interesting cultural differences we have noticed between the US and the UK is in the treatment of billable time, in particular the time currency of charge rates.

In the US, technology businesses traditionally operate time and materials contracts expressing rates in hours while in the UK, day-rates are more frequently used.

In this, our American cousins have the simpler problem to solve when it comes to billing because there is a simple relationship between the time worked and the time billed.  All that needs to be considered is the minimum fraction of an hour that is worth billing.  More sophisticated time recording systems may introduce the concept of “first fraction and later fractions” to bulk up time charges to a reasonable minimum quantity as no one wants to be billed for 3 ½ minutes, but nevertheless the problem remains relatively straightforward.

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5 tips to maximise billable time

Is your business losing billable time? You may be amazed at the extent. You’ve done all the hard work, so why let it evaporate away? Even a marginal increase in billable time can make a substantial impact on your bottom line. Here are a few tips to help you increase billable time in 2014.
  1. Accurate time keeping  

Differences in ‘time spent’ and ‘time tracked’ can lead to loss of profit. All time spent must be recorded or you will lose legitimate billable time and the associated potential profit.  

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