Many companies are currently facing the challenge of digitizing business processes. In project-oriented companies, this applies in particular to the processes of time recording, project controlling and invoicing. The reasons are manifold, but the general challenge in most cases is: Where do I start? […]
Corona, NewWork, ECJ ruling, XRechnung: The pressure to digitise is increasing. For a long time, it looked as if companies were reluctant to approach the topic of digitization. “Never change a running system!”or” We have always done that ” was often the motto. However, there are now a large number of different green areas, which is why companies are literally “forced” to deal with the digitization of their business processes.
The most common reason cited is the impact of the corona crisis: Pandemic-related requirements and measures such as distance rules in the company, home office obligation and travel bans can simply not be mastered with traditional business processes, which focus on personal interaction and work as well as local access to company information and documents. And so Corona led in many cases to a” forced digitization”, which as often in life has a good and a bad side. The bad side first: Many companies had to react so quickly to the requirements and were so poorly positioned that digitization was” ad hoc “instead of” strategically planned”. The good side: In the post-corona period, companies have the opportunity to review and optimize the measures taken in order to be better prepared for future challenges as a digitized company.
Why companies need to drive digitalization
In addition to Corona, however, there are a whole series of other reasons and aspects for which companies must continue to develop in the direction of digitization. Here are just three examples:
Even before the corona pandemic occurred, new forms of work were intensively discussed: keyword New Work. The focus was on the possibility for the employee to freely choose the place of work and working hours, and also to be able to work mobile or from home. In project-oriented companies, mobile working has played a central role for many years. In many companies, there is the so-called “4:1 consultant week”: Four days on site at the customer, one day in the office or home office. A timely and thus precise time recording is only possible in these cases if the process is digitized and the necessary information and documents do not have to be recorded and/or archived manually. And cross-project project controlling is also made much more difficult if countless project lists and records have to be scoured first.
Another reason why many companies currently inevitably have to deal with the topic of digitization of time recording is the ECJ judgment of 14 May 2019. In this much-cited judgment, the ECJ had asked the member states to adopt regulations with which they oblige employers to set up a system with which the daily working time can be measured. In the meantime, the first courts in Germany have invoked this judgment and demanded that the employer provide a digitized form of time recording.
And another “digitization driver”, this time in the area of billing of project times: With the entry into force of the E-Bill Act, all public clients (state, federal states, municipalities) have been obliged to receive and process invoices in electronic form since 27 November 2020. , Keyword: XRechnung. Other formats may not be accepted since this time.
Digitization in time recording and project controlling: The strategy of small steps
Companies that are currently thinking about the digitization of processes in the areas of time recording and project controlling should first consider how it is possible to proceed in small steps and not to plan the big “digitization draft” right away. Corona has shown that companies that were forced to digitize almost overnight in order to maintain their business operations are now facing the almost even greater challenge of eradicating “childhood diseases”.
A first digitization step in the field of time recording could be to replace the good old Excel lists“ with a professional time recording solution. Above all, care should be taken that this solution can be operated cloud-based and/or provides mobile apps. This makes it possible to access the application and the information and documents processed with it regardless of location and time. Since these solutions usually offer employees a better user experience than an Excel spreadsheet, acceptance in the company increases.
The same applies to project controlling: A professional software solution enables project management or management to obtain an up-to-date overview of ongoing projects at the click of a mouse. On the one hand, it is about the current project status and the employee workload for the corresponding projects, but of course also the billing of the already completed project work hours.
For this reason, it also makes sense to integrate time tracking, project controlling and billing with each other. This means that the times documented in the time recording can be automatically adopted into the billing and forwarded to the customer. And if this is a contracting authority, the billing solution should definitely support the XRechnung format.
Digitization in time recording and project controlling with ZEP
The most important component in a digitization strategy solution such as ZEP, which makes digitization possible in the first place and facilitates the first digitization steps. Important functions include:
- A modular design that allows a step-by-step entry
- Cloud-based operating model and mobile apps for location-and time-independent work
- Comprehensive reporting and documentation functions, which can also be accessed independently of location and time.
An overview of the ZEP modules is available on the ZEP website.
* The author Oliver Lieven is co-founder and Managing Director of provantis IT Solutions GmbH.