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Date Posted: 1/15/2010

How Staffing Firms Can Improve Profitability on Demand

By Bill Balcezak, General Manager-Time Division, Journyx

Despite the rumors - and even proof, in some corners of the world - that the economy is getting better, times are still hard for businesses everywhere. To make it through to the other side of the recession, every company must do what it can to improve process efficiencies and realize cost savings wherever possible. Firms that provide and manage contingent workforce solutions face these challenges just as much as, if not more than, companies in other industries.

One immediately beneficial step that organizations in the Staffing Industry can take is to automate the collection of time and expense data and then integrate that data into their billing, payroll, and cost accounting processes. By automating this information, these companies can eliminate the errors associated with manual entry as well as streamlining their handling of billing, both of which lead to increased profitability.

By using web-based applications for time and expense tracking and management, staffing firms can make great strides in addressing these critical business issues. Web-based solutions are ideal for employers whose workforce is distributed, by geography, time zone, client type and even the nature of work performed. Equipped with nothing more than a web browser and an internet connection, employees can log their time and expense data in a centralized application, allowing their managers - and payroll and HR - easy access to real-time reports on their activities. As resources in the field log their time and expenses, the data can be accessed, reported on, and analyzed by the decision makers.

Along with eliminating the delay in reporting, web-based time and expense tracking applications also remove the need for the redundancy and errors that come with duplicate entry by staff at the home office. The American Payroll Association found that labor costs can be reduced up to 3% simply by automating the collection of time data, in no small part due to error reduction and the elimination of multiple entry steps for time data.

Additionally, these kinds of applications can handle complex approval processes, allowing staffing firms to put approval authority over contractor hours directly in the hands of their clients. By providing discrete controls over data accessibility, web-based time and expense applications give contingent workforce companies the ability to create an infrastructure that can allow multiple clients access to and approval authority for only those contractors assigned to them. This approach maximizes client engagement and connectivity while ensuring the accuracy and privacy of data unique to both contractor and client.

When web based time and expense applications are delivered "on demand" as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) hosted solutions, they provide staffing firms with an additional avenue for savings. These kinds of "on demand" applications can be priced based on usage rather than simply as a piece of software that is licensed for a strict number of users. This pricing model allows maximum budget flexibility when accounting for the costs of these solutions.

With this kind of pricing, firms pay only for the number of users who are actually using the time-tracking product within a certain time period, with "by week" as the most common measure. Thus, if a staffing organization encounters a slow period, they are not required to pay for a larger number of seats than they need. Conversely, under this model, firms can easily expand their usage of the time-tracking application in busier times without having to increase the number of seats associated with their installation of the application, and thereby increase the ongoing costs of application ownership on a permanent basis.

In addition to the cost savings found with "on demand" pricing, staffing firms realize a productivity gain as well. With this approach to pricing, there is no hard cap on usage or else there's a very high ceiling which is unlikely to be encountered in all but the most extreme circumstances. This means that the staffing firm can add as many users to their installation as they need, when they need, with no hassles. There's no requirement to contact a sales rep. There's no waiting on a purchase order to be issued. There's no technical support that must be waited on or hoops to jump through. And there are no additional processing fees or other financial considerations, either. There is simply the addition of users to the time tracking application "on demand."

Web-based time and expense tracking applications solve many of the problems inherent in dealing with a distributed workforce by allowing workers the ability to enter their data painlessly via a web browser. This data is then available, in real time, for decision makers and front line managers to access and analyze. Clients are more directly engaged and enabled to approve the hours of the contractors working for them with a click of a button.

Further, by separating the pricing model from the delivery model, forward-thinking software vendors are offering their customers the benefits of a web-based Software-as-a-Service timesheet data collection tool with the economic advantage of paying only for their active weekly usage. This "on demand" approach provides truly significant cost savings - and reductions in administrative hassles - for companies in the staffing industry, whose workforce size is seldom cast in amber.


Author Contact:
Bill Balcezak

About Author
Bill Balcezak is the general manager of the Time Division for Journyx ( Journyx offers customers two solutions to reach the highest levels of profitability: Journyx Timesheet – a timesheet and expense management solution for the entire enterprise – and Journyx ProjectXecute – a solution that unites project and process planning with resource management. Journyx has thousands of customers worldwide and is the first and only company to establish Per Person/Per Project Profitability (P5), a proprietary process that enables customers to gather and analyze information to discover profit opportunities. Bill is a seasoned professional with a broad, international and multi-disciplined background in consulting and high technology companies. He has 25+ years of experience in successfully managing heavily integrated, large-scale, critical software deployments for industry leading clients. To reach Bill, email him at


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