Posts Tagged ‘operational tools

20
Sep
12

Time Gathering and Billing

Most businesses I service (including my own) essentially rent out the expertise of their employees.  You bill your customers by some mix of specific time, general costs, and reimbursements.  The legal industry’s “fees and costs” bills are a typical example.  Aside from the obvious disciplines of organization, consistency, and honesty required by your “time-keepers,” you as a business manager need to shape their data into a bill that your customer can agree is fair.  Having a system, both logically and electronically, is often the difference between red and black on your ledger.

There are three main roles in this system of converting tracked time into bills: the time-keeper, the billing clerk, and the account manager.

Role

Function

Concern

Time-keeper
  • Do the work
  • Enter time accurately
  • Requests checks
  • Simple Entry
  • CYA Details
Billing Clerk
  • Organize billable items
  • Generate Prebills
  • Process Checks
  • Consistent entry
  • Timely submission
Account Manager
  • Process adjustments
  • Approve Final Bill
  • Organized
  • Analysis Reports of clients and time-keepers

Different variations of the above exist depending on how big the organization is.  The processes need to occur whether manually or ideally with the help of a database system specifically designed to handle it.  How  you divide the tasks may be equally determined by your process as well as the software limitations.  The ideal package not only conforms to your operations, but hopefully adds features that improve it.  Since your business may have multiple units that bill differently, your creativity in creating billing codes and tracking actual versus billed time will have a great impact on how any system can be fit to your organization.

Whether via paper, spreadsheets, or custom applications, some flow of the information needs to be mapped out and kept consistent across the roles outlined in the table above.  Also not to be missed is integration with your accounting system.  At this point, the market for these products is mature enough to come with and without their own accounting and CRM systems built-in.  Those aspects are beyond the scope of this article though.

09
Jun
09

WordPress as a Blogging Tool

I’ve experimented with a few different tools for blogging over the past few years.  Wordpress seems to meet my basic needs:

  1. Web-based – Its in the cloud, so I can get to it from anywhere and don’t have to run my own server
  2. Easy to Use – Not just to write one blog and easily adjust the themes, but to manage multiple blogs
  3. Free – C’mon, lets be realistic; why pay for something when there are perfectly good tools out there?!  When I need more, I’ll buy into a more advanced platform, but for 90% of us out there, WordPress works.

Now, if it only took dictation so I could rant from my cell phone rather than actually sit down and type this, maybe I’d update it more than a few times per year 😉

25
Nov
08

I Want My Business to Show Up in a Google Search

This entry is about the very simplest of steps to help your website be found on the internet. Here are four simple steps that cost nothing except time and know-how:

  1. Your website should have text content that is naturally found by search-bots. Make sure titles and main content is text (not graphics or flash). Think of the phrases that you can envision typing in Google (or any search engine for that matter) and try to incorporate them into the natural text and even better – the titles of your website.
  2. Use keywords tags in the html code of your pages to make sure its obvious to the bots what you should be identified for, whether its in the natural text of the site or not. This is a great way to fit expressions (including the order of words and phrases) that may not appear in the visible text, but is encoded intot the HTML code of the page itself.
  3. Register your site at http://www.dmoz.org/ to validate it as a business in that free official directory used by all of the search engines
  4. Maintain a blog. You should write about your expertise commenting several times a week on current activities and referencing your main site. The frequency of the page changes helps get noticed in the search engines.

That’s it. You’ll probably need help from your web designer. I’d be happy to help you make that happen.




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