Timekeeping for Architects
After nearly a year of research, I realized that I couldn't produce the ideal bookkeeping system for architects. Yet I now know a lot about the problems that many firms face with their accounting systems. Those problems fall into all three major bookkeeping tasks that architect’s have - Timekeeping, Invoicing, and Expense Tracking. These problems often lead to difficulty with Project Accounting, which is another problem shared by many firms.
Harvest is a project oriented, cloud-based timekeeping and invoicing system used by creative people all over the world. This is the first of several articles describing how I would use Harvest to solve all those bookkeeping issues. Cheaper. Faster. Better.
- to get it all added up per project,
- per phase,
- and per task,
- and to get it logged into your invoicing system,
- and logged into your project accounting system.
Whether you compile the time yourself or pay someone else to do it, you are wasting time and/or money. In fact this one feature of Harvest will reimburse you for its cost.
Harvest will cost you about $11 per month per person. Let's see how the economics work out for different scenarios.
The Principal Does The Bookkeeping
Sometimes there is no one else to do bookkeeping except a technical staff member or the principal of the firm. Being conservative, let's say this person earns $40,000 per year and has a billable rate of $60 per hour. Now let's cut my earlier estimate in half an say they spend 1/2 hour per month per employee getting the time entries ready for invoicing and preparing new time sheets. So they are being paid about $13.50 (including benefits) per person to perform this task each month. Harvest costs $10-11 per person per month. Harvest is a bit less expensive. But if you look at the lost opportunity of billing for that half hour per person, the lost revenue is $30 per person per month versus $10-11 spent for Harvest.
Of course there is the principal who does this chore after hours "so there really isn't any cost". Well, you could get your life back for $10 or barring that do some marketing instead. [link to marketing category] You are better off with Harvest.
A Nontechnical Staff Member Does The Bookkeeping
If you are fortunate enough to have a support person on staff, Harvest still makes sense. Let's say this person earns $20,000 per year. Using my estimate of 1/2 hour per month per employee, they are being paid about $7.50 (including benefits) per person per month to perform this task. Harvest costs $10-11 per person per month. You are better off paying the $3/person premium each month to have your support person spend more time on marketing, which will reap benefits later. If it takes your support person 3/4 hour per month per person, it’s a wash and you get ’free’ marketing.
A Part-Time Bookkeeper Does The Bookkeeping
This scenario is the same as the previous scenario except that you will save money unless your freelance bookkeeper is working for minimum wage.
Remember I am being conservative on time and money. It is hard to imagine who would not actually get a better payback - and other benefits as well. With Harvest you can:
- See how much billable time has accrued - anytime
- See who has been working on what
- See which projects need attention
- See historical project records with a couple of clicks
I am impressed with Harvest and have become a ’reseller’, which means that I can offer a discount on your first month and I will make a few bucks if you decide to use Harvest.
The discount code is ARKWIKI50 and gives you 50% off on your first month.
I can also use my Harvest account for demos. Contact me directly and I will set it up. I would be happy to walk you through all the ways Harvest is Cheaper Faster Better
Harvest is much more than a timekeeping system. Some of the other features of Harvest that you will want to explore:
- Collect mileage with the same system
- Log reimbursable expenses alongside time
- Track Receivables (even if you don't send Harvest invoices)
- Expense Bookkeeping
- Integration with Trello project management
- Mobile Timekeeping Apps
I will be describing the benefits of these other features in the coming months.