Tracking and Accounting for Time on a Labor Hours contract, for some is cut and dry. I charge you for the time spent on the project or with the client at a set labor rate. It’s applicable to Lawyers and other Professional Services. In Consulting, where a Corporation is on contract to provide services to the US Government or other company is a little different because some want Time and Accounting on a Task Order level to show how much time and resources were allocated to a specific Task or Project. In some ways this makes sense and sounds simple, just track time spent on each project, but again, to provide Quality Consulting Services, a Company with multiple employees must take project overlap into consideration, as well as broad working models for Executives.
Case: A Government Contractor had a Labor Contract where hours were allocated on a Task Order on a large contract where over 400 employees offered consultative services. Their practice was to track and record time spent by Task Order. This was the responsibility for every person in the Company including the Executives. Much time is lost with this model because Leadership and internal business time, like Team Meetings or Professional Development was not directly chargeable to the client. I had no insight into the Accounting Process for this time or how it was paid for, but was assumed it was Company time (out of profit) for the Contractor. This didn’t make sense. Consultants were asked to spend time in business development, but the time and accounting structure didn’t allow for that because every Consultant had to be a certain percent “billable.” This hurts both the client and the Corporation, turning them into sales hunters when they should just provide services across an Enterprise (if they have an Enterprise Contract).
The Vice President charged his time to various Accounting Codes by the hour for a contract where he led over 400 consultants. Not only was it an administrative burden, it made no sense to manage his time & accounting by the Calendar and use Accounting Codes to charge the Task Order that the person he met with worked on. So much is lost with this process. Not only was the process ridiculous and in obvious violation of the Paperwork Reduction Act, it was an accounting nightmare where the Executive’s time tracking was so closely tied to his calendar that if he had to go without an Assistant for the day, week, or month, he wouldn’t be able to account for his time, unless someone else stepped in and knew what they were doing. The whole thing was done on an honor system anyway, leaving much room for misappropriation and mistakes. It’s not that they have ill intentions, but to show that a Team Meeting about his major client should be tracked at an Executive Leadership and Management level, applicable to all task orders. The person he meets with is who has to track that time, not him. It was designed to track his 8 hours, making it take more time just to track his time, when it’s a given; if he’s at work, he’s leading, managing, and controlling his Managers on his Contract. If he only had 3 meetings with managers for 3 hours, then 3 hours had to be tracked to the Manager’s contract and the rest in Executive Services? This doesn’t make sense.
If he’s spending his time in Corporate Management on how to grow his client base, then his time is Corporate Time and not Government Time, unless such efforts benefit his client. There was no allocation for this and his time seemed unbillable on the current contract. They acted as if any discussions or work to gain new business or attend training was not billable (or perhaps it was) but required tracking. Time Tracking on a Labor Contract for hours billed is a nightmare for both the tracker and the employee who has to track it.
As long as they consider current client business efforts (which they do) in their endeavor, then it should be billable. It’s like if a Business Lunch is tax deductible, if you talk about business, then it’s tax deductible. I guess it leads to the question as to whether or not you can bill a current client for Corporate Strategy or Administrative time? This should already be built into the Contract – period, just like 8 hours of Executive Leadership. If a business runs off of Labor Costs where services are provided on more than one contract, I guess there would need to be good time tracking, especially considering the nature of the business, but only to the extent that it becomes a time tracking nightmare and you’re spending the majority of time counting time and not what the client is paying for.
Executives’ time needed better tracking and the Government needed REAL time allocation.
Simple: If the Executive manages employees working for different contracts with something in common, then his time should be tracked for Corporate purposes and not on the contract level because he is still providing leadership expertise for the business. No one can say that his time split should be narrowed down and ridiculously managed splitting him up in 1 hour increments, especially if he works for the Department of the Navy. His time is Navy Executive time and shouldn’t be client specific.
Why did they want to track him by the hour? I guess they thought they could save money or gain some valuable insight into Time Management? Waste of time and excessive Administrative burden. The Boss Man should have a flat rate period called an Executive Leadership fee, spanning across the entire Contract and tracked and managed by the day and hour and if it is done, it should be for Corporate Metrics and not client billing.