Re: Question about time accounting at your work

From: Stephen Booth <>
Date: Sat, 19 Sep 2009 16:27:18 +0100
Message-ID: <>

On 18/09/2009, Taylor, Chris David <> wrote:
> Ok fellow full-time employee DBAs I have a question. (Not for contractors
> :)
> How many of you use project accounting at your place of work. Where every
> hour has to be accounted for against projects, or maintenance or some other
> code?

Most of the places I've worked do this. I think it largely depends ont he size and form of the company. For a small to medium sized company with only one line of business you probably won't find it but as soon as the company gets bigger or has multiple lines of business or departments (in particular where each has their own budget for which the head is responsible) it becomes important. It's all down to cost.

The ballpark cost of employing a technical, non-contractor, front line employee is around 3 times their salary (this includes salary, HR support, benefits, training &c right down to the cost of your desk and the rent for the floor space it sits on). so if you're on $70k pa your boss has to charge you out at $210k pa to break even. If your company has 21 lines of business and projects you may work on the logical approach may seem to be to just charge each one $10k each or divide it on the basis of number of databases or transactions per day &c. This is often called Top Slicing and I know of companies that use it for things like desktop support (a per desktop charge) or HR support (a flat charge per employee, this may or may not include things like support with recruitment or employee relations events) where there is a reasonable expectation that use (on average over a period of time) will be the same for everyone. If I manage one of those projects (and am therefore responsible for the project budget) then there's a good chance I'm going to go to your boss and (assuming we're going with the $10k flat rate charge) say "Just a minute, I'm not using $10k worth of Chris's time on Project A, nowhere near. I'm using maybe $3k. Project B is using way more of his time, probably $15k worth. Yeah, they're using at least 5 times as much of his time as my project." You're manager would probably try to argue back but if you're not logging your time against projects and lines of business they have no basis to support their argument. For all they know maybe my project is using closer to $3k of your time than the $10k I'm paying for and project B is freeloading off of my project and others.

If you do log your time against projects and lines of business your manager can charge more realistically (either an annual charge based on average usage over the preceding year and planned usage over the coming year or a monthly bill based on actual usage over the past month) and can defend their charges when challenged (so when the project manager of Project B claims they don't use $15k of your time your manager can show that they do). Even time when you're not working on projects and lines of business (training, breaks, leave &c) can be charged this way by amortizing it over the time you do spend on projects and line of business work in proportion to that time.


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Received on Sat Sep 19 2009 - 10:27:18 CDT

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