Chasing Missing Timesheets Just Got Easier in SAGlobal’s ProjAX (now known as Projects+) for Microsoft Dynamics AX
For professional services organizations whose billing and revenue recognition processes are contingent on getting time sheets submitted and approved in a timely manner, managing time sheet related processes can have a direct impact on your billing cycle and cash flow.
In our experience implementing the Microsoft Dynamics AX Service Industries ERP solution for professional services organizations, we’ve noticed that time sheet compliance is a universal challenge for most firms. The Monday morning ritual of chasing down missing time sheets and begging employees to phenomenon.
To help address this challenge, SAGlobal has introduced a new feature in our ProjAX (now known as Projects+) industry solution for Microsoft Dynamics AX that will help make the process of managing missing time sheets considerably easier. Let’s start by discussing how the standard Microsoft Dynamics AX solution works, and then describe the new functionality that SAGlobal has recently introduced.
In the standard Microsoft Dynamics AX solution, there are two tools to help you chase down missing timesheets.
- The first is a Missing Timesheets Report that shows which employees have not yet started a timesheet. However, there are challenges with using a static report like this because it won’t keep up with the dynamic nature of chasing down timesheets. In addition, this standard report only picks up records where a timesheet has not been started. If a user has started a timesheet but just not submitted it yet, it is not considered a “missing timesheet” and it therefore won’t be picked up on the report. So this report does nothing for “late timesheets”, which is often more of an issue than timesheets that are totally missing.
- The second standard feature is a job that can generate an email reminder to employees to remind them to complete their timesheets. This email job has the same limitation as mentioned above in terms of not being able to pick up both late and missing timesheets. In addition, the filters available on this job which can be used to generate the emails only include the timesheet period and start/end date. So you can’t select specific users, groups of users, practices/departments, etc… to send the message out to in more of an ad hoc fashion. In addition, you can only have a single email message format that automatically gets pulled into the email, meaning that you can’t add specific messages or text in the emails. There is also limited visibility in terms of which users have been selected for the email or received the email.
To address these shortcomings, SAGlobal has added a new Missing Time Sheets feature to Dynamics AX via our ProjAX (now known as Projects+) industry solution for Dynamics AX. This feature provides a queue (called a list page) where a user can view and manage all missing time sheets, regardless of status, user, etc… From our experience, we’ve seen that it’s a lot easier to view and work down a queue of missing time sheets, instead of continually re-running a static report or email job. A view of this screen is shown below.
To address these shortcomings, SAGlobal has added a new Missing Timesheets feature to Dynamics AX via our ProjAX (now known as Projects+) industry solution for Dynamics AX. This feature provides a queue (called a list page) where a user can view and manage all missing timesheets, regardless of status, user, etc… From our experience, we’ve seen that it’s a lot easier to view and work down a queue of missing timesheets, instead of continually re-running a static report or email job. A view of this screen is shown below.
New Missing Timesheets Screen in Microsoft Dynamics AX
A lot of flexibility has been built into this feature to control what you’re seeing on the screen using a Yes/No/Blank selection for missing timesheets. Selecting “yes” will just return timesheets that are in a status prior to posted or not started. Selecting “no” will return all completed timesheets (posted). And leaving the field blank will return all records. This is the only place in Dynamics AX now where you can see all timesheets for all users, and then filter and select records based on your criteria. And because it’s a standard Dynamics AX list page, you can set your filtering and sorting criteria, save that view for future use, and set it as a cue on your dashboard if you want visibility on your home page (role center). You can also use any of the standard Excel export capabilities to push these missing timesheet records into Excel for further analysis or manipulation.
We’ve also enhanced the email blast feature to allow you to dynamically select specific individuals or groups of employees to send out an email reminder to, as well as the ability to add personal or ad hoc messages within the email to the recipients, in addition to using standardized text in the email when preferred.
Other important features include:
- No Timesheet Required – Often a timesheet is not required for a user, with examples being if they’re out on leave, or simply aren’t required to submit a timesheet. These would typically be considered a “missing timesheet” in Dynamics AX, which would clog up the missing timesheet report and send emails to these employees unnecessarily. In ProjAX (now known as Projects+), you can now mark a “No Timesheet Required” field which will exclude these records from the missing timesheets queue and email blasts.
- Workflow Visibility – Often times, a timesheet has been submitted by an employee, but is stuck in the workflow process awaiting the appropriate approvals. Right from this new Missing Timesheet queue, you can click the “workflow history” button and see all of the details of who is holding up the timesheet so that you can get things moving again.
- View Timesheet Details – For timesheets that have been created or submitted, you can click a “view timesheet” button and jump right to the detailed timesheet record to get additional details.
We expect that these new features should dramatically improve our clients’ ability to track down missing timesheets of all flavors, as well as better manage the overall timesheet process, which should hopefully provide some benefits in terms of accelerating their billing cycles and improving cash flow.
About the Author
Andy Yeomans is Director of Business Development for SAGlobal, where his role is to help project-driven organizations evaluate and select ERP software systems to better manage their finances, projects, clients, and resources. Andy was instrumental in developing the organization's Microsoft Dynamics AX industry solutions and practice area for the AE & Environmental industry. Andy has over 17 years of ERP experience and has helped dozens of AE & Environmental firms evaluate, select, and implement ERP software systems for their business.