From one week to just hours, consulting firm shortcuts audit reporting
A longtime presence in the Houston market, the Principle Partnering Group (PPG) helps companies of all sizes establish, manage and maintain successful business-to-business collaborations. The strategic relationship management firm acts like a matchmaker in connecting small and disadvantaged businesses with government and corporate contracts, and ensuring that those organizations perform as agreed.
As a model and consultant to its clients, PPG tries to apply best practices and methods to maximize efficiency. A few years ago, the firm identified a major opportunity to streamline one of its more cumbersome and expensive processes and save a significant amount of time and money by doing so.
At the time, employees logged their time on paper. Not only did a paper-based approach conflict with the firm’s green objectives, but it made it extremely difficult to pull together reports – an essential requirement for government contracts.
“We were paper-based and had numerous files of timesheets.” said Lolalisa Decarlo King, Director of Business Operations and Administration. “We realized this was just not going to work. The green issue is important to us and when we work on federal contracts, we have to be auditable.”
That means keeping documents and timesheets for three to five years after completion of a project, on projects that can last several years. With paper timesheets, it could take at least a week of full time work to assimilate hundreds of timesheets across all employees on a project – non-billable work that was very costly in staff time. “Instead of proactively serving our client, we’d be pulling together paper,” she said. “Imagine the cost and inefficiency associated with that.”
‘Green’ Tracking and Reporting
King led the search for an electronic time and attendance solution, tracking the capabilities of half a dozen companies against PPG requirements. Replicon’s TimeAttend stood out for its superior functionality and low-cost Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.
“Replicon was better than any other time and attendance solution we looked at.” King said. “With SaaS, people can do timesheets from client locations or wherever.”
Most importantly, Replicon gives PPG an electronic tracking and reporting system, a major step toward its green efforts and enables the company to provide documentation to clients much more easily.
Up and Running in One Day
With Replicon’s web-based model, PPG implemented the solution in just a day. “We signed off on it and the software was up the next business day. I was in actual shock!” King said.
In addition to accessing built-in Replicon reports, King worked with Replicon customer service by phone to customize a dozen reports for the company’s internal and client requirements. As for employee training, all users picked up the solution with a short 20-minute orientation.
About 25 PPG employees and contractors record their time and attendance using TimeAttend. The company customized the menu of activities for employees to categorize how they spend their time. Additionally, employees are required to enter notes about each activity during the day to ensure the firm has clear records if ever audited. The software automatically reminds employees when their timesheets are due, and routes them to designated managers for approval.
With Replicon, King regularly pulls reports on employee time and activities for payroll support, and can export it to Excel, as PDFs, or email them. If audited, King could produce the required documents in a couple of hours or less, compared to the cumbersome process before the move to Replicon.
Previously, the team would have spent at least a week pulling, copying and binding years of hardcopy timesheets across multiple employees from filing cabinets – a practice not aligned with the firm’s green goals.
Now they run each report in minutes. They simply enter specific dates, employees on the relevant projects, and check any boxes for other required fields. In the event of an audit, PPG could be ready with time and attendance documentation in a few hours.
“It’s extraordinarily easy to use reporting in Replicon.” King said. “I’m talking about three to five minutes per billing period. It allows us at a moment’s notice to report to clients how money is being spent.”
PPG’s relationship with Replicon extends well beyond the software itself. In fact, Replicon as a company has become a reliable partner to the firm, ensuring the system always works as PPG needs. They’ve found Replicon responsive and open to integrating their suggestions for updates.
“We believe that Replicon is the best in the industry for customer service.” King said. “I don’t care what time of day or night, they have people available on the spot to answer any questions, which really makes a difference for a small business.”
Replicon’s flexibility and ease of use help PPG meet its environmental goals and contribute to the company’s ability to support clients.
“We strongly believe that PPG has increased its efficiency two-fold because we do not have to physically write our in/out time, nor do we have to prepare reports manually.” King said. “We now have that valuable time to serve our clients better, strategize further and engage others even stronger. While we are a very small company, Replicon’s TimeAttend helps us serve very large clients.”
- Improved allocation of resources
- Started using an electronic system that supports its green goals and reduces its physical file storage
- Prepared reports for audits in a couple of hours, compared to at least a week previously
"We now have that valuable time to serve our clients better, strategize further and engage others even stronger. While we are a very small company, Replicon helps us serve very large clients."