FREE AbaKast Online Training: Be the Security Ninja!

We noticed we often had questions on security settings in Abak. Our clients, after implementation was complete, needed to change security settings and they did not feel comfortable doing it without the help of a trainer.

We are happy to debut a new AbaKast training session in May: Security!

  • Learn how to setup security groups
  • Understand how to control access to specific information, for example cost information
  • See real-life examples – you can even submit your own before the session

May 31st, 2012, 1:30pm Eastern Time
Only 99$
15th anniversary special – FREE

Register now!

The missing timesheet nightmare: 5 strategies to fix the problem

Martin Keamy's NightmareWhen we meet prospective clients, we often hear about their difficulties in getting everyone to fill out their timesheets in time. Missing timesheets create problems for administration: information missing at billing time, project performance reports are incomplete, and payroll requires assumptions to be made, which are difficult to correct later on.

The fact is, very few people enjoy logging their time. It’s often perceived at a clerical activity that is not productive to the employee, and provides a sense of “being controlled from above.” Not every part of one’s job can be fun, and we have to live with that.

However, as managers, we can use strategies to motivate our employees to hand in their timesheets. Here are five of them:

  1. The hard line: No timesheet, no pay.
    Pros: It’s highly effective. If someone misses a paycheck once because they forgot to submit their timesheet, it certainly will be their last.
    Cons: Repressive strategies tend to breed discontent in teams.
  2. The positive reinforcement: Get a perk every week the timesheet is filled on time
    Pros: Getting the perk is a positive motivator and people will enjoy it.
    Cons: No perk comes for free: allow to the additional cost in your budget.
  3. The nagger: Automatically (or manually) tell your employees when they have not filled out their timesheet
    Pros: This method works well with the forgetful employees
    Cons: Most employees will become accustomed to the reminder over time, and the method may lose effectiveness in the long term.
  4. The gamification: The first timesheet submitted gets a prize.
    Pros: Gamification of the workplace is all the rage these days. It’s especially effective with younger employees.
    Cons: As the article suggests, making a game out of timesheets does not make up for bad management. Plus, the game needs to be kept interesting, so it requires frequent updates and changes.
  5. The social reinforcement: Teams who submit timesheets on time get recognition, team who don’t lose a perk.
    Pros: This strategy promotes working as a team and may improve team cohesion.
    Cons: A non-compliant team member might be ostracized and experience adverse effects from his or her colleagues, creating more conflict in the workplace.

What are your strategies for getting timesheets done in your organization? Tell us in the comments!

Project-based accounting: how to find where your highest margins are hiding

Margin's logo: "Make mine Margin's"

In the world of a service-based business, like any business, you have to know where the money is coming from. More than that, you have to know where the profits are coming from. After all, running a charity is not the intention, so why take on contracts for clients that are barely breaking even? Why work with clients that always end up costing more than they bring in revenues?

With project-based accounting, knowing where the money comes from and where the money goes can be done in real time. With a centralized time and billing system like Abak, you can charge all costs to the proper project or contract. You can also attribute all revenues to the relevant project. Once the data is there, figuring out where the margins are highest is kid’s play.

When costs and revenues are associated with a project, a client, an account manager, a project manager, a business line, or even a partner, it becomes easy to analyse your business performance. For example:

  • Do margins differ significantly from one project manager to the next? What about account managers? Partners?
  • Is there a specific client type where margins are higher?  What about project types?

With quality business performance data on project margins, our clients were able to identify where they were successful financially, and where they were not. The next question would then relate to business strategy:

  • Are you willing to tolerate a lower margin on some projects, because they bring in other higher-margin project?
  • Are you willing to keep a low-margin client because of the visibility it brings to the business?

What do you think? How to you evaluate profit margins with your projects and clients? Tell us in the comments!