Sabrix is a long term Timewatch customer and is today part of the Thomson Reuters family. Its service enables companies of all sizes to achieve accurate, timely, and cost-effective compliance with domestic and international tax regulations.
Sabrix provides a range of payment options to its customers, including fixed bid projects and time-based payment. What Chief Financial Officer Jeff Stephens is most interested in is the ability to track the time actually spent on any activity.
“We provide professional services such as installation and implementation and we conduct processes such as filing tax returns. We need to log how much work we do and check that everything is within budget,” he explains.
When Sabrix was established in 2000 the founders developed an in-house programme for consultants to log time spent on customer accounts. This was adequate for the first two or three years then the company really began to expand.
As the number of employees grew the program’s shortfalls became more obvious. The biggest problem was the lack of a reconciliation method between different components such as people and projects. It was difficult to spot any mistakes and when discrepancies were noticed it was not always easy to resolve them.
“We had a relational database but could not easily amend it to enter extra information,” explained Jeff Stephens. “Adding a tag or new field was problematic, we were restricted to a certain number of queries and creating a new report was very time consuming. We simply could not generate all the comparative reports we would like to have had.”
He began to investigate commercial applications for time and billing within professional services companies and came across Timewatch while browsing online.
“The usual choice is to buy everything in a box or purchase a flexible and open system. We chose time® because it gives us both a proven structure and the flexibility we require. All the other applications we looked at were missing something and did not quite suit our specific needs. In contrast we found that if time® did not have exactly what we needed we could find a work around.”
“We [now] have the ability to drill down and take a look at anything by customer, project or employee. We had nothing like that before. We can now see the time it takes to do a specific process such as a tax return.This will help us benchmark where we are and set objectives for improvement. For example, if it now takes 20 minutes, is it possible to do it in 15?”
The system automatically reminds users when they have not accounted for daily and weekly hours. If the user does not respond the user’s manager receives an alert. This leaves little scope for non-compliance and no need for manual chasing by project managers. In addition nothing gets lost or hidden.
“Previously, we sometimes found that we had clocked up non-billable time but did not know which customer it was for. If we missed something out altogether we did not know it. Now we know because we can trace everything.
“Managers and supervisors, especially those who are travelling, just want procedures that are simple and easy. time® is just what we need.”
Stephens estimates it would have cost $30,000 to rewrite the company’s in-house programme.
“time® was a lot less than that and I do not have to allocate several hours per month at $250 an hour for a systems analyst. There are no ongoing costs. It’s a stable product and we have all the support we need. Timewatch has improved the visibility and integrity of our time and billing system.”