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HPC Blog

October 7, 2016 at 10:00 AM

TSheets and Xero - Automate Billing, Payroll, and More

Written by
Bruce Phillips
Bruce Phillips |
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Payroll / HR, Professional Services Solutions



We have welcomed TSheets into the HPC firm process and as another great solution for our clients. Their new Xero integration presents new opportunities for many professional service firms and any business that needs to track time, bill time to customers, and pay their people for time worked.

At HPC, we spotlight one of our Xero EcoSystem partners on our site each quarter. For a variety of reasons, we have chosen TSheets as this quarter’s focus.

Time tracked billing solutions that sync with Xero have been around for a while, but TSheets has great additional features that set it apart. Additionally, there are new compliance factors given FLSA requirements that will impact a majority of employers by the end of this year. Below are more insights on the key features, how HPC is using TSheets, and a little more information on why time tracking, even for salaried employees, may actually be a requirement in upcoming months.

Automate more than time tracking with TSheets

If you are running a virtual company and need to pay your people or turn time into customer invoices, then you don't have a choice. You need a solution to track time, and having time cards or have people clock in when they come to the 'office' is not an option. You may also want to track time to monitor your people or know how long that project actually took. Using Google sheets is a manual process that leaves room for a lot of errors, and is not scalable. Other time solutions may sync to your payroll system, but nothing else, or is difficult for you and your staff to use. TSheets is different.

  • Easy time tracking, from anywhere - TSheets is cloud-based and available on mobile devices. It even has GPS tracking capabilities to help monitor staff and scheduled jobs. It has an easy to use interface with a clock in and clock out button to track time to the second. Users can track time while easily allocating to clients, and employers and managers, monitor and report on time from anywhere too.
  • Streamline paying your people - Approve time sheets from within TSheets and send them directly to your payroll software to automate running your payroll. This reduces time and leaves less room for error. No more last minute payroll runs.
  • Automate billing your customers - Paying your people is important, but so is getting paid. Your people will track time by customer so that time can be approved and created as a Xero invoice. Invoicing directly from your accounting software is awesome, and opens up a suite of options to automate invoicing and payment processes while reducing clerical and sync errors, the time it takes to send and collect on invoices, and merchant and other unforeseen costs.
  • What else? - Scheduling people, automatic notifications, real-time reports on when and what your people are working on, and an easy and affordable way to help prepare for the upcoming regulations that could require you to track time even if you don't feel like you have to. It also allows for segmented reporting so that outside accountants can help allocate location, projects, or other details you find important and want as part of your accounting processes and reports.

How and why is HPC using TSheets?

I have ran HPC for 24 years now, and the way in which we track time has changed more than once. As our business model moved to fixed fee/value billing, I have less of a need to see tracked time. However, we still have certain projects that for different reasons, are billed hourly, and I have a handful of hourly employees that need to get paid too. So, while a project management system can tell me the important outputs and help us manage our team and customers, it is still important for us to have a time tracking system in place.

We are a virtual firm, which means in order to oversee staff I can't take a walk around the office. Instead, I can login from anywhere I am in the world to see who's working and how much. My management team can gauge capacity, and measure performance with reports in TSheets. Our staff are required to track time as they work, which means they have to use a tool all day to do so. There is a lot to be said for what valuable time can be wasted by staff tracking time and trying to administrate it. Simple is better, and that's why we made the switch to TSheets. We were also able to make the switch to a task and workflow management platform, Karbon, that automates other parts of the firm, but did not have time tracking. We now have an affordable solution for the time tracking, so that is okay.

How did we do it?

We have a team of close to 30 people in 16 states all around the United States and were able to make this transition for the whole firm in a matter of 2 weeks. We setup the TSheets account, imported customers, and our staff. We notified our team of the upcoming changes. Mapped it all out to our Xero and payroll system. Setup our automatic notifications and policies for our team. Then we created a guide with a few screenshots on how it was to be used. A group training session by video chat was held last week, sent out the invites to Tsheets, and launched it by Monday. Everyone seems to be loving it compared to how they used to have to track time, which to me, means that it is a successful investment.


Why might you be required to track time whether you want to or not?

New FLSA regulations will go into effect starting December 1, 2016. We will have a more detailed blog later this month about this specifically. However, long and short of what it will mean for many businesses is that they have to be more careful about overtime, even for salaried employees. What may have been safe basis for salaried employees up until now is going to change dramatically. A time tracking system that is easy to setup and will allow you to track actual hours worked will be a needed solution in order to help avoid costly payroll compliance issues. For example, TSheets can send notifications automatically when staff are getting close to hitting overtime thresholds, allowing overtime to be managed proactively.

A simple and effective tool to be part of the big picture solution

In the past, for a professional service company owner that wanted to use Xero we would have had to recommend project management software to provide a solution for time tracked billing or tracking project or staff productivity. This makes sense for companies that need and can embrace a robust system, but it isn't cheap or a short process to deploy things like Harvest, WorkflowMax, Accelo, or others. TSheets is a simple switch, and with scheduling features and automatic notifications it can make a huge impact. It is also relatively inexpensive. It isn't just for service based companies either, given that running and administrating payroll is an inevitable need for a majority of businesses. I am thrilled to have TSheets for my firm and as another valuable resource for our clients.

At HPC my goal is to provide complete solutions for our clients, including leveraging technology and having a specialized team of experienced staff. We recommend solutions like TSheets, but it is just one piece of the puzzle for many business owners. Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and needs vary significantly. We streamline accounting, payroll, bill pay, and most essential back office processes. We combine that with a team of resources who focus on supporting and advising our clients on evolving best practices, how to grow, and planning for taxes and staying compliant. We can help you setup tools like TSheets, Gusto, Xero, and more, then have a flexible flat fee model to outsource all or parts of your accounting as you grow.

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Bruce Phillips

About Bruce Phillips

Bruce Phillips is Founder & CEO of HPC, an early adopter of cloud technology for accounting and other businesses. More recently he has been featured by Xero, Expensify, Gusto, Receipt Bank, and Hubdoc for successfully implementing this technology to firms in numerous industries.