By Helen Bradley
You’ve finally taken the plunge...
So the big decision has been made! You’ve checked out our blogs on why tracking Project Costing is critical to your business and our thoughts on the various Xero Add-Ons for Project costing that are on the market. And you have decided to embrace Harvest, a fantastic and cost-effective app. Great news!
So where do I start?
The key consideration when you start using a new app is how you set it up in order to get the best out of it. Here are my top tips:
1. Be in the know
You need to know the product well to get the best outcomes from it. Harvest has a great Help guide and a number of videos to help you understand how to set your projects up. It is a relatively simple concept of tracking time spent on projects but the range of reporting available means you need to know what you want out of it before you start. There is an upfront investment of time required to understand Harvest. Or alternatively, you can get your friendly accountant to help you!
What do we love about Harvest? Flexibility. What makes the set up a bit more time-consuming? Flexibility!
2. Rubbish in, rubbish out
Ah, that old adage. The quality of the data you put into Harvest needs to be tip-top, so you can get excellent information and analysis out to help with those critical business decisions.
Maybe you have already been capturing hours worked on current projects in a spreadsheet or another app? As long as you align fields and formats, the information can be uploaded into Harvest from compatible spreadsheet software. And once you have back populated the project information you will be ready to ‘go-live’. If you don’t have the data, you can estimate costs to date to get it up and running. Harvest also allows you to upload historic spreadsheet data for staff members, projects, tasks and expenses.
3. What to ‘measure’ and track against
Many businesses track metrics to ‘measure’ how they are doing. Which ones are relevant often depend on your type of business, the industry you are in and how you want to grow. Harvest is great at staff utilisation and tracking hours, against which you can report performance in any number of ways.
There are a number of options that you can choose at set up. Do you want to measure the total project fee against hourly rates for people or tasks? Or maybe you would rather measure budgeted hours by task or person? We can show you the options and what kind of information they will deliver.
What do we recommend?
The benefits of using an App like Harvest for project tracking can be huge for a small business. It can change the way you and your team think about and manage time and cost. But it can take some time and effort to set up if you are not familiar with it and we all know that time can be in short supply for small business owners!
We have supported clients through the whole process of completing the setup, populating historic data and training you and your team. We also provide ongoing help with how to get the best out of the information as part of the overall management of your business.
If you are interested in hearing more, then please get in touch. We have lots of experience and love what we do!
Who are we?
We are Xero Accountants and business advisors based in Epsom, Surrey who work with agency clients all over the UK as their finance team.