On behalf of the company I am pleased to announce the arrival of our first official add-on, Glide Time, a timesheet, WIP and billing module. I thought I’d take a moment to explain why we decided to develop a time recording module.
We started Glide because my experience of the practice management software that I had used was that it did a reasonable job of recording time but completely lacked any sensible way of efficiently managing job progress, deadlines and priorities. Our early customers were in the same boat, they used a leading timesheet system but also pulled their hair out due to the lack of visibility over the practice workflow.
We sought to target firms in a similar position and as such timesheets were never really on the agenda, in addition the profession’s media drilled into me the impending ‘death of the timesheet’, why would we bother building something that was about to die?
The answer unsurprisingly lies in the people we have met and what they have said, such encounters revealed both the truth behind current billing/fee trends and how current timesheet software was simply not built for this era.
Take ‘Bob’ [a fictional character, but one that I meet over and over again], he left a large firm 15 years ago and set out to ‘do it his own way’. When we meet he introduces his team, often 10 or 15 and all working together in the same building. We talk about how clients are managed and how work is organised. Fees will be agreed in advance with a client and are therefore largely ‘fixed’ (no major surprise there I hear you say). More impressive in my opinion is that staff are managed without the need for timesheets. Instead a combination of focusing on the turnaround period, motivating staff, training clients and sensible capacity planning seems to simply lead to a well run ad highly profitable practice.
So where does this leave the timesheet?
Well I can tell you that Bob really wants a timesheet program, just not one of the existing offerings, hence he asks us to build one! Why? Here’s my thoughts…
Firstly the timesheet is now fully about monitoring client/job profitability. Staff are motivated to work efficiently without the need to complete / fabricate a timesheet at the end of the day and for 80% of work the fee will not be determined by what is on the timesheet, it is already known. This means the sole purpose of the timesheet is to track profitability and existing systems simply didn’t do that quickly or well enough. Too much focus was on the laborious process of reviewing WIP, allocating to jobs, writing a few pounds and pence off/on here or there to get to the bill (that you already knew).
Secondly you have to think to the 20% of work that escapes the fixed fee arrangement, Bob suspects that he simply forgets to charge for a lot of this, it having been informally recorded on a combination of Excel, e-mails and the mind palace! This is where timesheets have always made sense.
We’ll update the website soon with screenshots and of course you can start a trial system to play with Glide Time now, however, hopefully you have gathered that Glide Time is all about making sure you know which clients/jobs are profitable. It does this by making the billing process on fixed fee arrangements simple whilst ensuring your 20% of extra work remains in a traditional WIP system.
Please do have a look and let us know what you think.