Why Time Tracking Is Essential For A Company’s Success

Why Time Tracking Is Essential For A Company’s Success

What is time tracking?

Time tracking refers to the process of recording and tracking the time effort invested in each task, project, or client. Over a period of time, organisations can use data-driven decisions as a tool to increase productivity through increasing the efficiency of delivery by better utilising resources and aligning workflows.

Why time tracking is important for an organisation

For any organisation, understanding your available resources, including people, technology, financial, etc. is essential for organisational success. The operational metrics used to measure the success and impact of these resources on your organisational performance allows a clear path to be outlined towards achieving business objectives, through not only creating transparency and accountability, but also the ability to inspect and adapt in a more agile way.

There is the frequent question of why do companies need time tracking when clients and projects are billed by project rather than by time. The answer to this goes much deeper than just time worked and what that equates to in terms of billing.

Time tracking as a productivity measure produces insights to determine the cost of delivering a piece of work and the impact this has on future projects. The data may uncover indicators such as potential areas of learning and development for staff, inefficiencies in workflows and even distraction of teams in their day-to-day work, which may lead to wasted time – which is arguably the most valuable resource in a services organisation.

Why is time keeping important for staff?

It’s important to recognise that capturing timesheets is quite a hassle at times. It is therefore vital that the objectives and benefits of the exercise are shared with staff. Time tracking should not be used as a micromanagement tool, but rather to provide guidance to make more informed decisions, based on the data.

The value this adds and the impact it has on the business needs to be made clear to staff. The optimisation of any process which results in time wastage directly affects the organisation’s financial and non-financial performance, as well as how this potentially translates to the financial gains of employees. Thus, if the company is doing well, employee incentives are directly affected.

What are the benefits of employee time tracking for business?

Time tracking supports company success through:

  1. Collection of data to enable more informed decision making, directly impacting all areas of an organisation including areas of development for staff, planning and financial tracking of engagements.
  2. Visibility and accountability of objectives and deliverables and the impediments to achieving these. These insights also assist employees in evaluating their priorities of where time is spent and potential reevaluation of priorities.
  3. Identifying operational inefficiencies resulting in time wastage.

    Time tracking software like our Caseware Cloud Time enables simplified, automated billing through accounting software integration with Xero and Quickbooks. There are many benefits to be yielded from using software applications like Caseware Cloud Time, including the ability to identify, address and reduce wastage and inefficiencies, improve productivity, glean valuable insights, allocate resources more accurately and streamline workflows. With effective time management you create visibility and accountability to keep your team on track and ensure that resources are aligned towards increasing organisational productivity.

    Ultimately, efficiencies within an organisation are passed on to the clients whom you service, whether internal or external. To support the success of both the business and the clients serviced, internal processes need to be optimised for efficiency and productivity.

How To Make Your Team Collaborate More Effectively

How To Make Your Team Collaborate More Effectively

What is collaboration?

Collaboration in the workplace has historically been seen as anytime where more than one staff member must interact or work together with other members to produce a specific outcome. This has traditionally happened using phone, email and in-person meetings, however with the availability of more online tools, both the channels and cadence of collaboration have changed.

Collaboration as a norm has extended beyond the primarily internal teams, to include external stakeholders like clients. In addition, remote working conditions have directly impacted how and when communication and collaboration happen.

In the past, communication and collaboration have been seen primarily as two separate concepts. With communication generally being seen as the exchange of information, where collaboration takes this one step further by advancing the state of a “product”. This perception, however, is antiquated and should no longer be observed.

Why effective team collaboration is important?

Creating an organisational environment that enables teams as well as external stakeholders, like clients, to work collaboratively is fundamental to generating business success. Without effective collaboration, businesses are likely to face challenges like poor communication, a lack of innovation, and inefficient workflows, which all hamper your business’s ability to meet its objectives.

As effective team collaboration plays such a pivotal role in influencing your organisation’s ability to succeed, fostering effective collaboration amongst your workforce must become a top priority. Adding to that, the contemporary world of work has evolved to include workspaces that have transformed from traditional office buildings to co-working spaces; and workforces that comprise freelancers, staff on rotational schedules, and hybrid teams of in-office and remote workers.

To create a work environment that fosters effective team collaboration, your business needs to reflect the developments and demands of the contemporary work world. So, in a world where work dynamics are continuously evolving, how can team collaboration be improved in the workplace?

The features of effective team collaboration

Collaboration cannot be isolated to only internal business stakeholders but should be extended to include clients and other external stakeholders. 3 of the core defining features of collaboration are:

Efficient systems and processes: this entails the use of standardised and automated systems and processes throughout your organisation, so that your team can execute tasks faster and with greater accuracy. Standardised processes provide your team with an established way of working while creating visibility across the organisation and supporting greater productivity.
This can be supported using automated systems that enable communication, delegation, and brainstorming, which are secure, always available, and independent of geography and internet browser platform or source.

Accountability: is supported when organisations employ systems and processes that assign responsibility for the execution of work tasks to your workforce. This enables collaboration by ensuring everyone is clear on who is responsible for what. With a clear understanding of each team member’s responsibilities, your team is able to work cohesively with each individual focused on executing the task assigned to them. Should issues like delays occur, they can easily be identified and addressed.

Communication: is a core element of effective collaboration because it involves informing your team of work expectations, priorities and responsibilities so that they are able to work towards specific and measurable goals. Effective communication enables collaboration by ensuring your team knows what to work on and when to work on it so that any bottlenecks can be addressed timeously.
Consider these key features as part of your organisational culture and implement systems that foster and support seamless collaboration and promote productivity through more effective collaboration.

How can team collaboration be improved in the workplace?

In the contemporary world of work, promoting collaboration in the workplace begins with using software that supports and enables effective team collaboration, such as Caseware Cloud. Due to the evolution of the work world, a lot of collaboration now tends to occur online and remotely. So, for your team to be able to collaborate better, you need a software that enables them to:

  • automate work processes
  • communicate and collaborate remotely with ease
  • monitor and track output and productivity levels to maintain efficiency and productivity
  • access a centralised cloud platform for engagement and documentation, that relevant staff are able to access as and when required

Effective team collaboration enables your workforce to work more efficiently and to be more productive. So, incorporate a software tool that supports collaboration, to help your team collaborate effectively and with ease.

Our Caseware Cloud platform supports organisations through a secure, cloud-based platform to achieve effective team collaboration by enabling streamlined, efficient, and centralised management of workflows.

Caseware’s cloud-first focus pays dividends for clients

A few years back, Caseware took the decision to adopt a cloud-first strategy. As a result, those clients who had already adopted our cloud-based solutions were able to avoid any loss of productivity when forced to begin working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Cloud offers immediate and secure access to applications and data from anywhere.

Given today’s ever-changing threat landscape, it’s important to emphasise that our clients’ data is protected by solid multi-factor authentication and rigorous security protocols that are continuously updated.

Caseware’s applications are designed for use on the Caseware Cloud platform.

In alignment with this strategy, most of our latest applications have been developed for the cloud and are fully optimised for use on the Caseware Cloud platform. For example, using our ISAE Attestation app, auditors can easily conduct assurance engagements for attorney and estate agent trust accounts. Similarly, Caseware’s CloudTax and Corporate Tax applications allow tax practitioners and corporate finance teams to manage all provisional IRP6 and ITR14 annual tax returns, completely online with direct integration with SARS. With CloudSec, practitioners and company secretaries can manage CIPC compliant statutory secretarial tasks.

We are working hard on developing other cloud-first applications. Because of our cloud-based development tools and infrastructure, we were able to enable our workforce to work remotely when the COVID-19 outbreak made it necessary. Thanks to our cloud-first strategy, our development efforts have been unaffected by COVID-19.

Caseware Working Papers users can use a hybrid solution of desktop and cloud software to collaborate on files.

However, our cloud-first strategy also encompasses our large base of desktop users. Existing users of Caseware Working Papers who use our Assurance and Financial Reporting templates, can benefit from the cloud by combining these desktop offerings with Caseware Cloud and SmartSync. This hybrid solution allows our desktop users to store a centralised copy of a Caseware Working Papers file on Caseware Cloud, and then use SmartSync to enable a distributed team to collaborate together. This means that everyone can work simultaneously on the same file, with a complete audit trail of all changes, whilst a redundant backup of the engagement is securely stored on the cloud for access at any time from any location.

The cloud is better for remote work as it can handle multiple VPN connections

It’s also important to emphasise the benefits of the cloud over trying to collaborate via corporate systems. The latter typically require connection via a VPN for security purposes, and corporate systems can battle to handle excessive multiple VPN connections at once, thus limiting the productivity of remote workers. Expanding the corporate VPN capability is expensive. By contrast, the cloud is designed for remote access from any location and, as already noted, is inclusive of the latest security measures and protocols that large cloud providers offer. Individual organisations would find delivering this level of security both challenging and expensive.

Recent events make it more apparent than ever that the take-up of cloud-based solutions will accelerate, and that organisations will transition much of their software onto cloud platforms in the coming months and years. We at Caseware will continue to pursue our cloud app development initiatives, and look forward to introducing our clients to this new generation of benefits as they become available.

Christiaan Brink, Product Executive, Caseware Africa, a division of Adapt IT.

Christiaan holds a degree in Computer Engineering and has extensive product development experience and a passion for technology. He spent 12 years based in the UK creating software solutions for the investment data industry across EMEA. Christiaan joined the Adapt IT group in 2019 where he currently leads the product group for the Caseware Africa division.

The realities of remote working—but how long will they last?

By Christiaan Brink, Product Executive, Caseware Africa

Overnight, we all turned into remote workers, raising all sorts of technical and human issues for us and our companies. Now that we’ve been at it for several weeks, some trends are starting to emerge: 

Microsoft Teams and Zoom are clear winners when it comes to hosting video meeting between colleagues and with clients—not to mention virtual coffee dates with friends and even book club gatherings and the like. Teams reportedly added 12 million new active daily users in the first week of lockdown, which gives you some idea of what it means when businesses across the world move online more or less simultaneously. Microsoft has also made the product available to schools at no charge. Part of its success is probably due to the strength of the Microsoft brand, and the way it integrates with the ubiquitous Office suite. Zoom’s success is probably attributable to its free version, its efficient use of data and its good social interface.

The cloud is demonstrating its mettle.Corporate VPN capabilities have often buckled under the strain of the entire workforce trying to access systems, thus harming productivity and solving the problem has proved to be expensive. By contrast, those organisations that opted for cloud-hosted solutions have not experienced this difficulty—the applications and data are readily accessible from anywhere, are designed for high-volume access and are well-protected by the cloud provider’s large security teams and rigorous authentication protocols. Caseware’s decision to follow a cloud-first strategy means that clients who were already using Caseware Cloud were able to continue work seamlessly during this time.

Education could be in for a profound disruption.Education institutions latched onto online channels as an additional revenue stream a few years back, but now that the entire “real-world” student body has been forced online, there’s every chance that a more fundamental reboot of the education model is in the offing. It could mean that the best teaching would be available to anybody anywhere—provided that governments can offer the necessary devices and connectivity where they are needed.

Business real estate is in for a reset.They say it takes only three weeks to form a new habit, and by the end of lockdown, many of us will have become habituated to working from home. If a more hybrid work style evolves, with home perhaps becoming the place to do work that requires deep concentration, then companies may find themselves needing less floor area and even perhaps less appetite for prime locations.

Online retail will accelerate.The impact of a new habit could also be made about e-commerce. Lockdown will have prompted many to take their first steps into online purchasing, and if their experience is good, they may continue using digital channels. The big retailers are online already, but the smaller high street stores will probably need to do some lateral thinking.

Performing could be redefined.Many artists are streaming performances from their living rooms and other unlikely venues, and may be opening up a new stream of revenue for them once live performances become possible again. Just as many sports fans opt to watch the big game on TV for reasons of convenience and also the better view, so a new audience for all the performing arts could be created. And shouldn’t our local film industry explore streaming as a way to reach a wider audience, especially as sitting cooped up in a movie house may be less appealing to many for a while?

Exercising and socialising grow in importance.There is a certain amount one can do by participating in online exercise classes and having virtual dinner parties, but our appreciation of the real thing grows by the day.

Despite its many negatives, the COVID-19 crisis has delivered one clear benefit: a renewed sense that ultimately we all have more in common than we thought. In a country with our history, the sense of unity is inspiring. Let’s hope that we can keep that spirit alive even though we still have so many difficult challenges to solve as a nation. If there is one thing we have realised during this time, it is that, as human beings, we are social creatures desiring community and relationship.

Christiaan Brink, Product Executive, Caseware Africa, a division of Adapt IT.

Christiaan holds a degree in Computer Engineering and has extensive product development experience and a passion for technology.  He spent 12 years based in the UK creating software solutions for the investment data industry across EMEA.  Christiaan joined the Adapt IT group in 2019 where he currently leads the product group for the Caseware Africa division.

How Caseware Protects your Data in the Cloud

Caseware Africa is providing best-in-class protection for clients’ data, beginning with our Web hosting partner. We use seven criteria to ensure data security.

The arguments for using cloud tend to hinge on cost, convenience, productivity, scalability and, above all, availability. Many organisations, though, continue to worry that cloud-based solutions are inherently less secure than on-premise ones. Data security is a legitimate concern given the growing prevalence of cyber-attacks but in fact teaming with a cloud service provider can actually enhance security because one is teaming with an expert. In addition, when you choose to partner with Caseware Cloud, you get not only the benefit of our comprehensive security measures, but those of our hosting partner, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Their security expertise plays a key role in strengthening our security.

At Caseware, we take security very seriously. We use seven basic criteria to assess the strength of any cloud-based platform, and our security requirements are constantly monitored, assessed and updated. They are:

Physical security

Our physical infrastructure is hosted by AWS so it provides physical security at its facilities in Ireland, which are most suited for African clients. AWS has met several demanding security certifications, the details of which can be found at http://aws.amazon.com/security/. In line with the Protection of Personal Information Act, the personal information stored in Ireland is protected by an act similar to PoPI.

Application security

This covers all components of the application, including code, databases, configurations, third-party libraries and so on. Our engineers built Caseware Cloud with security in mind from the beginning, and we are constantly stress-testing it. We also gain strength from AWS’s security policies and accreditations. We are certified for two leading security standards, ISO 27001 and SOC 2.

Network security

This covers the rules and controls that restrict or limit inbound or outbound traffic, as well as internal traffic. We monitor Caseware continuously for threats, and have firewalls in place. We also perform regular penetration testing in conjunction with Amazon.

Data security and privacy

Encryption protects all traffic to Caseware, while advanced proxy services provide high availability and high-speed operation, monitor for security threats, and protect against malicious traffic. The encryption used when data is in transit is of equivalent strength to that used in online banking; at rest, it is encrypted at the server level using the industry standard AES-256 algorithm. AWS’s security policies and their accreditations also constitute a key component of the security protecting client data. The data is always owned by the client, and cannot be seen either by Caseware Africa or AWS.

Access controls

Access to the system is only via password authentication, and once in the system, users must be assigned security roles that govern what information they may or may not access. Caseware Cloud uses two-factor authentication, using a one-time password to a mobile device, as used in online banking. The security policies relating to passwords and roles are managed by the client.


A key element of ensuring that all services are available and performing optimally is that there are redundancies in place to obviate a single point of failure. Caseware engineers have ensured the system has redundant components, is continuously monitored and undergoes regular integrity checks and other measures.

Business partnership and trust

Perhaps the most important consideration is the track record of any potential cloud provider—and will it likely continue into the future. A cloud partner must be a close business partner. Caseware was founded almost 30 years ago, and is well-established in Africa, with a strong local partner in Adapt IT. AWS, it hardly needs to be said, is one of the leading global companies with enormous resources and, most important of all, a stellar reputation for customer service.

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