They say time is money, but it just sounds like a tired cliche. One small business is proving it true. Architect for Life, a small firm specializing in green technology projects, found itself facing an operational challenge familiar to many service businesses: Clients pay for its billable hours and expenses, yet it spent way too much time just tracking its time. Tracking employee hours and expenses–and then turning that information into a billable invoice–was a painstaking patchwork of documents, spreadsheets, and–gasp–actual pens and paper. The problem was compounded by the firm’s virtual nature: It has 12 people spread across five states, and it adds temporary staff on a project basis.

So the company moved everything online, automating its time and expense tracking with Replicon’s cloud-based software. Architect for Life president Lolalisa King said in an interview that the productivity gains have been enormous–more on that below–but the real return on investment came with an actual dollar sign. Since automating time and expense management, Architect for Life has begun going up against larger companies for federal contracts–and winning.

“There is no way we could compete with multi-million dollar companies without this Web-based system,” King said. A key reason: The heavy-duty regulatory demands attached to government money. Architect for Life recently won a $2.8 million Department of Energy grant to oversee eight different green projects.

“Whenever we’re working on federal [projects], you can guarantee the auditors are going to come in and look at how you’re invoicing and what you’re invoicing,” King said. “When we get audited by a federal agency like the Department of Energy or Department of Transportation, we can pull those records in no time and show them how we accomplished what we did, say, three years ago.”

Prior to automation, King said her firm simply wasn’t equipped for that kind of compliance. Particularly given the virtual makeup of Architect for Life’s small team, storing everything centrally at a data center—albeit someone else’s–has been a boon. King said it also suits the firm’s green.

“Nobody has to have a desktop anymore,” King said. “As long as they can get Internet access, they can log in to all of their drawings, proposals, accounting information–whatever they need to work and do what they have to do.”

While the bottom-line boost is exhibit A in proving ROI, King said productivity gains–no small matter with just a dozen people on the regular payroll–have been significant. Generating a client invoice used to take anywhere between eight and 16 hours, according to King. Today, it takes 15 to 20 minutes. King calls her company’s technology portfolio “kind of boring,” but she’s a converted proponent of the cloud: “It’s the way to go.” Pay-for-what-you-use models are a good fit the firm’s flex staffing needs.

“Talk about low overhead,” King said. “It makes us very competitive.”

By Kevin Casey
https://www.informationweek.com/default.asp

Get started today.
Set up a free trial based on your business needs. Start Free Trial

Global Compliance Desk – California

Changes to Wage Premium Payment Practices for Non-compliant Meal and Rest Periods The California law [California Labor Code §226.7(c)] requires employers to pay non-exempt employees an additional hour of pay…Read More

5 Steps to Proactive Resource Management for Services Firms

As a business leader, you do your best to make your service organization successful. You invest in the latest technologies, hire the best candidates, and get all the essential resources…Read More

Calculating the ROI of Your Projects with Time Tracking

Before initiating a project, professional services firms want to know how much profit and revenue they can generate for the company. Return on Investment (ROI) analysis helps firms to evaluate…Read More

Using shared services? These five technologies are a must

As organizations continue to scrutinize operating costs and look for areas to drive efficiencies, shared services centers (SSCs) are a no-brainer. The concept of a multi-function SSC has been around…Read More

Employee time tracking is dead

iBeacons, Bluetooth Low Energy, Proximity sensing and the obsolescence of time tracking as we know it. Businesses have to track the time their employees work for a variety of reasons,…Read More

Reducing Absenteeism with Effective Time Management and Absence Tracking

Workplace absenteeism is a major concern for American companies. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, unplanned absences cost American businesses an average of 2.8 million workdays every year,…Read More
  • Polaris
  • Time & Project Insights
  • Time & Projects Solutions
  • Replicon Products
  • Replicon Users
  • Cloud
  • Corporate
  • Professional Services Management
  • Shared Services Management
  • Time and Attendance Management
  • Customer Feature
  • Time Intelligence
  • Industry News
  • Global Compliance Updates
  • Others