"Thought it was too good to be true for a while but it's actually really changed our business and our team has been very happy with the solution. I've had staff that were against this originally coming back and saying 'hey this is great, look at what I figured out how to do' and learning new things that I haven't learned how to do, so been very happy with the adaptation from the staff."-Reed Draper | Draper and Associates
Reed: My name is Reed Draper and I’m vice president of Gary Draper and Associates of Atlanta Incorporated. We are a construction, scheduling, and services firm. Our primary business is scheduling large complex construction projects.
BigTime: What challenges led you to look for a software like BigTime?
Reed: Our challenge was we were doing everything manually. So people would fill out their timesheets, email them back in, and then they’d have to get emailed out for review. Any changes would be put into our accounting system, then we would generate invoices manually, scan those, send them out for review, and have to do the manual fixes… so there would be a lot of area for errors. And then we would print those out, and send them out to our clients via mail, so it was a long process that took a lot of time, a lot of data entry type work. It wasn't really a cost thing as much as it was a time and process thing and having a lot of room for error in our old process.
BigTime: What are the key benefits of using BigTime for your firm?
Reed: When I started demoing BigTime and playing around with it, I really thought that it was flexible with different options for how the invoice looked, for how it presented the data to the clients, for the workflow, for how we approve timesheets, expenses, and invoices. Overall it's just a really good fit for what we wanted to do. Thought it was too good to be true for a while but it has actually really changed our business and our team has been very happy with the solution.
BigTime: What feature have you found most valuable?
Reed: I think the workflow and the approval flow for time, expenses and invoices has been really big for us because now it's electronic, so I can see everything, everybody gets notifications when they have to approve things. They click on a button and it goes to the next person, click another button and it comes back to accounting and then we email it out. So overall, we were taking 60 days from the end of a period to kind of go through that whole thing of getting time and expense in, entered, approved, and getting the invoices out – now, we’re down to about 20 days. We kind of shoot for 20 days to get an invoice out so it’s really helped in improving that timing.
The side benefit of that is that it looks better for customers if we’re not billing them 60 days after and they're trying to figure out what we did two months ago so it helps in that regard and it also helps in getting paid. I’ve noticed that it's really improved our cash flow and clients paying faster and not having the “invoice is lost in the mail” and things like those problems. The other benefit, I think, is that it gives me some insight and visibility to where we are financially because now I can look forward and see what's been entered into the system, what billing for the next month is going to look like, whereas it was kind of a guess before with our old system.
BigTime: What are your recommendations to others considering BigTime?
Reed: We went in knowing what we wanted to do and felt like what we were being sold was what we needed and it actually has ended up working out the way that we thought we hoped it would or it’s been better than what we expected.
Make sure it works for you and your people. It’s taken a little while to adapt with the staff since they’re used to doing things one way. It takes a little while to go through that implementation and my recommendation is to take it slow and one step at a time versus overwhelming them because the benefit really relies upon your people doing things the way you want them to do it and if you overwhelm them they’ll back away. But we've actually gotten really good buy-in. I've had staff that were against this originally coming back and saying 'hey this is great, look at what I figured out how to do' and learning new things that I haven't learned how to do, so I've been very happy with the adaptation from the staff.