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Butt-saving Reports

Whether it’s jobs, clients, or billings, you’re responsible for making sure that work gets done right. Here are six reports to help save your butt when the pressure to perform is on.

Need to make sure that all of your staffers stay on task? Use the Work to Do report to see unfinished tasks for each staffer, including estimated hours, allocated hours remaining, and more. (Whip not included.)

Worried about keeping your job on-budget? Check out the Job Progress report to see the estimated billable amount and hours, actual hours, costs, billings, and unbilled amounts. From here you can rein in run-away costs (or plump up details with some extra cash).

If you’re responsible for the shop’s media, you’ll love the Space Closing report. Print it by date range for space closings, then see the publication/station, client code, ad size, materials due date, and more. You’ll never miss a placement again!

Want to know which staffers are performing the best? Then rely on the Department Productivity report to keep an eye on staffers’ total and billable hours—and peer comparisons. Time for annual reviews? You can also print this report with year-to-date totals.
n Keep cash flowing! Use the Billing Hot Sheet to see unbilled jobs by client, including each job’s estimate (plus change orders), billed, and remaining unbilled amounts. Get those bills out—and the cash coming in!

Want to know the history of a job? Then print the Job Diary report. You can print all of the entries in order or sort by who or what. However you print it, you've got a thorough history of the job—and a life-saver if the client wants to know what happened.

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Know your top performers

Knowing who is doing what, when, and for how long is tantamount in figuring out the best way to make money. With staff time analysis reports, you can see if you’ve got the right people doing the right work. You wouldn’t want to put a high-cost staffer on a low-profit task; the math just doesn’t work out. Likewise, performance reports will help you see who’s getting work done on time. When it comes time for promotions and raises, check Clients & Profits to see who’s a superstar—or a super dud.
Clients & Profits can quantify raises and bonuses based on performance. When faced with determining annual bonuses, Ann Adams, controller at J. Stokes & Associates prints the Time Summary by Staff report for the entire year. “Based on this report, I compared hours worked to the required hours by staff and was able to quickly determine what percentage of overtime people work,” Ann says. “It sure supported the bonus calculations with hard facts.”
With the analyses in Clients & Profits, you can make sure you have the right people in the right teams. You might find that your new creative director routinely passes off hard tasks and hoards easy ones, or spends an inordinate amount of time getting those gnarly jobs done. Maybe it’s time to intervene as a concerned manager—or reassign him to a position more suitable for his bottom-line skills.
With Clients & Profits, you can easily find out what percent of staff hours are billable. “One of the reports that I do regularly now is Staff Utilization to see how much time people are working,” says Joe Notovitz, president of Notovitz Communications. “When I first ran it, I was surprised to see how low it was for a few people, then made appropriate changes to bring those higher.”

Time accountability

Unless you’ve been on the moon for the past 18 months, you’ve heard about the federal fraud charges brought against a top international agency for fudging time sheets. The offending account execs allegedly padded agency hours and moved costs between clients to boost job revenue and make their numbers. Although this fairly common practice is generally innocent, now that clients are aware of it, they are clamoring for time accountability—and agencies are revising the way they account for hours worked. But if you’re using Clients & Profits for timekeeping, rest easy.


When staffers add their time in Clients & Profits, have them add notes explaining what they did. Require that time be added daily and enforce the rule with C&P’s TimeCop, a nifty little watchdog that counts the hours that staffers add then hounds them when they leave their timecard incomplete.
The best way to ensure that time accounted for matches the work done is to print reports based on historic data. For example, if you’ve done 20 similar jobs, print job summary reports and compare the old with the new. If something is out of whack, start asking why.
After a job is done, marry time cards with change orders, the job diary, and task notes to build a strong case for invoice items. If you’ve set up the right access privileges and markups, puffing up and moving costs is nearly impossible. (How’s that for CYA?)

And the best client is…

The general consensus is that the incumbent agency has only a one in 10 chance of hanging on to clients who put their accounts up for review. Everyone has some great clients worth hanging on to—and some that suck the life out of the agency. The best and worst are easy to spot, but what about the rest of them? Use Clients & Profits reports to find out which are which.
Elisabeth Wall, president of EB Wall & Associates, took a look at client profitability and was surprised to see that a few clients with big billings were far less profitable than she thought. It turns out that the clients were monopolizing the staff's time with less profitable and unbillable tasks. After the analysis, the clients were resigned. “They just weren’t the right fit for our organization,” she says, "and without them we’re much more profitable.”

Here today, here tomorrow

It doesn’t take a soothsayer to know if your shop will be around next year. It only takes a few reports from Clients & Profits. The reports mentioned here will give you a great foundation to start your agency trend analyses. If you need others, there’s a good chance you’ll find one already built into C&P (see the Report-o-matic for examples). Once you’ve identified those dozen or so key reports that are the most meaningful to you, set up reminders to print them monthly, quarterly, or annually. Over time, the on-going analyses will become more meaningful—and accurate—giving you a clear picture of where your shop is going.

Judith Hector is the marketing director for Clients & Profits. She coedits the quarterly newsletters.

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