Fox Kalomaski Timesheet Case Study
Timesheet system helps leading media agency to bill with confidence
London marketing agency Fox Kalomaski Crossing overcomes lazy time keeping with a simple, cross-platform timesheet system. Utilising online technology and offline mobile capability has transformed the business data.
Without proper visibility over resource allocation and team structure, it’s all too easy for costs to spiral out of control and profits to start taking a hit. A few years ago, London-based creative marketing agency Fox Kalomaski Crossing (FKC) were in this predicament.
“You always expect to over-service clients a bit,” says Jane Stevens, Head of Finance at the agency.
“Our problem was that we had no way of knowing which ones were being heavily over-serviced until it was too late to do anything about it. At that point, fee negotiations are out the window and you have to hope you can gain remuneration in subsequent work,”
Eventually, FKC decided to look for a dedicated agency timesheet system that would give them real-time visibility on how much jobs were costing them. It was also key that the selected system could be used with little to no training. As a busy agency, catering to many clients, they just didn't have time for a system that required days or even weeks of training.
After searching online for a suitable system, three software developers were invited in to pitch. Straight away, according to Ms Stevens, it was clear that Tempora had the attributes they were looking for. It was also immediately clear that Tempora was built with agencies in mind from it's core functionalities.
“Like lots of creative agencies,” she explains, “we have people working on Macs as well as PCs. Not only could Tempora work across both platforms, but it was by far the easiest to use.”
So they signed up to Tempora for a Trial and were convinced before the Trial had even ended.
Jane Stevens, FKC London
Several years on, Ms Stevens has no regrets about that decision.
In the beginning she admits, getting staff to fill out electronic timesheets was something of a culture shock. These days, they do it without thinking, which means that at any point in time, FKC has reliable information on the progress of jobs.
“That’s the beauty of Tempora,” says Ms Stevens.
“It allows us to see what’s going on on a daily basis, which means we can act straight away to fix things. We can even model future quotes from previous work conducted within seconds.”
If costs appear to be escalating, the reassurance and accuracy of Tempora’s data gives the agency a number of viable options. They can go back to the client and renegotiate their fee, or they can reallocate staff onto different accounts. Either way, FKC can step in before profits take too much of a hit.
As well as shedding light on various aspects of client billing and profitability, Tempora allows the agency to interrogate data at multiple levels. This saves a lot of time.
“With our old system,” says Ms Stevens, “income was presented as a lump sum. To look at individual income items (such as fees or purchasing) we’d have to export the whole lot in bulk and then manually assign it to relevant cost centres. We certainly didn't have the option to assign individual projects their own budgets or specific job titles their own rates.”
In Tempora, the agency can simply select the type of income they want to see and run a report there and then. Whether they want to look at cost accrued or billable value generated, the data is there and easily reportable.
On a day-to-day basis, it’s Tempora’s job profitability reports that FKC tend to rely on most. These provide accurate snapshots of various jobs and projects. Of course, there are quarterly and annual meetings where more in-depth reports are generated, but for quick weekly meetings then a snapshot is more than enough.
“Where we want to report at board level,” elaborates the Head of Finance, “we tend to export data to Excel, where we can present the information in bar charts. That’s how we’ve always done it.”
Asked whether she would improve anything in Tempora, Ms Stevens insists there’s nothing she can put her finger on.
“We are obviously aware of other programmes out there, but we’re yet to come across another cross-platform timesheet system that meets our needs as well as Tempora does.”
“To date there’s nothing we haven’t either been able to do ourselves, or had Tempora’s support team guide us through. That,” she says, “is very reassuring”.