Softworks Blog

Numbers may be everything but information is key for accountants today

Posted by Oliver Mitchell on Tue, Jan 10, 2017

Accountants deal with numbers all day, every day. It’s a fact of life as an accountant, whether it’s a book-keeper for a sole trader or a CFO for a large PLC, numbers are everything in this role.

We analyse the numbers, we test the numbers, we double check the numbers, we maintain them and finally we report them.

In all of that work and apart from the reporting techniques and parameters, we don’t try to affect them. They are the reality, they are the real financial snapshot of where a business is at in any given moment.

The modern day accountant is not just a number cruncher any longer. Of course that’s still the primary role, but it’s no secret that now more than ever companies are tapping into the other attributes that accountants typically have to help them in other areas of their business. An understanding of the intricate relationships between their activities and each financial aspect of them enables an accountant to have a very broad perception of a company.

Financial information.jpg

There is a saying that ‘Money is everything’, and who understands money better than an accountant? After all, that’s what a majority of their day is spent working with. But maybe the word ‘everything’ in that saying is more about the ability to have an influence on everything within the business as a whole.

Numbers don’t grow by themselves. It takes a team of people to make a business tick; Sales, Marketing, Production to name but a few and within each of these areas’ accountants can add something of value. It might not be a game changer, it might not result in doubling of profits, but then that’s not an accountant’s function. We’re not the specialist in every field, usually just in one, but, within that field of expertise there is a chance to be unique from any other function and make contributions to every facet of a company. A review of a sales structure, a tweak of payments terms, efficiency exercise on costs, it all adds up.

Softworks solutions can operate as another tool in the armoury of an accountant. Yes it provides timesheets, rostering solutions and absence requests but it also provides information on specific activities within every aspect of a business in the form of time expended and its related cost and who better to analyse these numbers and identify ways to make improvements than an accountant.

Topics: Accountants, Performance, Timesheets

The True Cost of Employee Time and Attendance

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Nov 19, 2013

By Oliver Mitchell, ACA

‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat’ and there are many ways to record and track the cost of time. Whether it’s sitting in traffic, standing in a queue, waiting for a computer to load or simply sitting idly watching TV, almost every minute of your day has a cost that can be applied to it. It is all well and good accepting these unseen costs in your everyday tasks, it’s a given really, just part of your daily routine and most of us don’t give it a second thought. However, when it comes to the workplace, where employee’s get paid to be, it really should be a different story.

Of course, some employer’s don’t pay too much attention to the cost of time. Employees are hired for a specific role and work the hours agreed in their contract - for example 9 to 5. However so much has changed in how and when we want to work, more and more organisations are realising the benefits of measuring tasks completed rather than hours worked.  Employers record how employees spend their time throughout the day, recording individual tasks over set time intervals. These types of companies have a very good handle on the true cost of time and have excellent visibility of where efficiencies can be harnessed and real savings achieved on an on-going basis.


Profit and loss

Over the years, there have been countless studies conducted to try to apportion a cost to any particular activity in the workplace, and there have been multiple methodologies devised to track and record the cost of an activity. Suffice to say, that a great starting point for any company that really wants to get valuable information and reports in relation to their true cost of time, is to start tracking their employee’s time and activities. It doesn’t have to be an onerous or cumbersome task, nor does it have to be seen as an authoritarian approach, the introduction of timesheets and time recording has come on leaps and bounds since the early days of time tracking. The clock on the wall approach whilst still in place has evolved into detailed reporting and analysis, web clocking, absence management, flexi-time and even allowing employees to manage their day through self-service time and attendance management while at the same time promoting and supporting a work life balance. In a lot of cases it can often be seen as a plus point in today’s workplace and if implemented and communicated sufficiently, time and attendance systems can be of a huge benefit not only to the company but also to the individual employee who has more control over their working hours.

Not only will a modern Time & Attendance system provide managers with a real time view of their designated workforce, team calendars, rosters and much more. It will also allow for detailed and specific reporting over a huge variety of information at various levels from employee all the way to the MD and has been proven to drive efficiencies and save payroll costs by up to 5% of an organisations total labour cost. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s certainly more than one way to evaluate and assess the true cost of time, but for any company the best starting point should be gaining a true understanding of how their workforce – their biggest cost and biggest asset spends their time.

Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Work-Life Balance, Accountants, Performance, Business Processes

It’s just simple maths…don’t ignore it

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Jan 22, 2013


By Oliver Mitchell, ACA

It baffles me that despite all the talk across the globe in recent years of spending cuts, budget constraints, slimming margins and so on, that companies still neglect to consider the effect of properly managing their workforce. To those that have recognised this and are actively engaging in the effective management of their workforce, this blog may not be for you as you’ll have already seen the improvements in workflow processes, employee attendance and often staff morale amongst other things… although by reading on, you may just learn something new or simply reaffirm your decision to implement workforce management tools.

However, for those of you on the fence:

Here’s the simple part! By implementing effective workforce management software, you can determinably set about saving your business money, whether it’s by intelligent management of staffing requirement rosters or real-time monitoring of employee absenteeism and sick leave there is no denying that workforce management software can streamline processes and save time and money. For example, a simple 1% reduction in absenteeism levels in a company with 1,000 employees would purport to save in the region of €350,000 per year. Similarly, reducing overpayment errors by 15 minutes per employee would save approximately €1,000,000 a year. It’s worth pointing out that an effective and top end workforce management solution would only cost a fraction of this, resulting in real, measurable savings that can contribute straight to your bottom line margins.

Workforce Management Solutions

There are a number of other interesting workings and calculations that you can explore by downloading our free white paper ‘How efficiencies & consolidation could shave up to 5% off your payroll’ here

Of course, without the right tools in place, it’s impossible to accurately determine the level of payroll errors and over-staffing within your workplace. By selecting the right workforce management software, you can collate and strategically analyse all the relevant data to enable better decision making and ultimately, operate a more effective and efficient workforce.

Don’t sit on the fence any longer, get in touch with Softworks today to find out more

Thanks for reading!

Further blogs from Oliver Mitchell

Topics: Time & Attendance, Payroll, Payroll, Workforce Solutions, Labour Scheduling, Softworks, Accountants, Performance

Free Guide:Why Finance Directors are getting involved in Workforce Management

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Apr 24, 2012

The area of Time & Attendance, Labour Scheduling and Absence Management (Workforce Management - WFM) has undergone significant change in recent years. Some of this change has come about due to advances in technology, and some due to the way modern businesses operate, compete and utilise labour resources. This free guide explains the changing role of the CFO/ Finance Director and how Workforce Management Solutions can assist them as efficiency driver, strategic partner, forecaster and corporate governance expert.

In this paperFinance Directors in WFM

  • We demonstrate how the active involvement of the CFO/FD in Workforce Management projects can provide a framework, to ensure that the objectives of both the Finance department and the organisation are achieved.
  • We investigate how modern Workforce Management solutions, are driving business performance and profitability, by striking a balance, between the needs of the business and the needs of the employee.
  • We reveal why today’s CFO’s/FDs have recognised both the importance and the benefits of taking an active role in Workforce Management Projects.


Topics: Workforce Solutions, Labour Scheduling, Absenteeism, Accountants

Finance and its role in Workforce Management

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Thu, Feb 16, 2012


Oliver Mitchell

Almost every financial controller or head of finance will tell you that their role is so much more than just managing the profit & loss and balance sheet of their business.

Quite often, they are involved in business strategy, IT development, company secretarial, and in a lot of cases, the management/overseeing of Human Resources amongst other things.

 Human Resource management is an essential element of the smooth running of any business. In particular, the areas of workforce planning, modeling and scheduling. Whether you are a manufacturing company or a hospital, ensuring that you have the right people, in the right place, at the right time, at the right cost, is crucial to the core process of your business. For example,  it’s imperative that a hospital or health care organisation have the correct level of staff in place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  For some organisations it really is a matter of life and death.

 From a finance point of view, it can prove to be very costly if certain roles are over-staffed.  Manual workforce planning, modeling and scheduling can be extremely time consuming, error prone and tedious. The over-staffing of a certain role has its obvious financial impact, in terms of the additional labour costs, while under-staffing will affect service levels, have a detrimental effect on morale and contribute to staff turnover.

 Although not always measured, there is a cost involved in preparing a staff roster, particularly when there are so many factors to consider when scheduling staff - from annual leave entitlements, working time directive rules, to preferred working hours. There is an even higher cost involved if you get it wrong.

 There are proven, long-term, measurable and on-going benefits to implementing an automated labour scheduling solution. Not only does the system remove the headache associated with staff scheduling, and the costs involved, it also gives managers and supervisors a real-time overview of a day or a week at a glance. An automated solution will eliminate the human error risk of not having the adequate resources in place all the time. Furthermore it allows for a budget v actual measurement of the labour schedule costs to assist with financial planning and forecasting models which is an extremely useful tool for every business.

The role of the head of finance for most businesses is much wider than that of the typical day to day finance elements. Ensuring that you get the most from your workforce is an integral part of the efficient management of a business. Find out more about automated workforce planning, modeling and scheduling solutions and how they can help you streamline your workforce requirements and save your business money.


Topics: Workforce Solutions, Labour Scheduling, Accountants