Re: Question about time accounting at your work

From: Bill Ferguson <>
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2009 08:58:00 -0600
Message-ID: <>

I work in the government, and they "try" to do this, but it really is a useless exercise. I work on multiple projects, quite often on my own time, and when they first started trying to do this, I religously started filling out the timesheet appropriately for all of my hours. Once I hit the 40 hour mark, then I would bill it as "unbillable", so no project was charged, but my time was accurately reported.

After the first payroll hit, my manager called me in and told me that I couldn't do that anymore, as any hours over 40 per work needed managment approval for overtime, whether I charged for it or not.

So, now I simply fill out my time sheet once every two weeks and bill everything to one account, and then they run a script to 'split' my hours across the various projects I work on, according to the percentages they requested my time for.

I still have to do a status report once a month for one project and I'll list a couple thing that I can remember from the previous couple days of work. By the end of the month, I can't remember what I did for the last 30 days, let alone the last week. It all becomes a big blur.

14 years ago there used to be 5 full-time government employees and 3 contractors doing what I'm doing by myself on one project, let alone the multiple projects I'm working on. I simply don't have time to write down everything I do, when I do it. If I did, I'd be farther behind than I am right now.

When a computer person leaves, management looks at the freed up money and instantly sees an oppurtunity to hire another scientist that accomplishes "visible" work (research papers, etc.). They NEVER see the freed up IT salary money as an oppurtunity to hire another IT person until nobody is left or there is a SEVERE problem.

-- Bill Ferguson

On Sat, Sep 19, 2009 at 9:27 AM, Stephen Booth
<> wrote:

> On 18/09/2009, Taylor, Chris David <>
> wrote:
> 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.
> Stephen
Received on Mon Sep 21 2009 - 09:58:00 CDT

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