Intuit Recognizes CreativeWorx TimeTracker as having Best Functional Integration with QuickBooks

CreativeWorx & Quickbooks

This past weekend, CreativeWorx was recognized by Intuit with a Special Achievement award at the Startup Weekend competition in New York City.

“CreativeWorx achieved an amazing feat of completing a production quality integration with Quickbooks Online in just 2 days,” commented Tony Chang, Product Manager, Intuit Platform Services. “Their time tracking solution is very innovative and I look forward to seeing this in the hands of our customers soon.” Continue reading Intuit Recognizes CreativeWorx TimeTracker as having Best Functional Integration with QuickBooks

6 Ways To Be More Productive At Work – Forbes.com

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We’d all like to be more productive at work, but like anything worthwhile, improving your productivity takes effort and requires constant tweaking of your approach. Forbes.com suggests ways to hone your productivity – here are some points from the Forbes article that struck home for us: Continue reading 6 Ways To Be More Productive At Work – Forbes.com

7 Reasons Why Your Time Estimates Are Wrong

Wrong-landscape

Estimating time/effort is a difficult, error prone, yet essential part of working on any project. Whether you are a graphic designer, video editor, software developer or any other kind of creative worker, chances are you routinely underestimate the amount of time it takes to do something. You are not alone… incorrect estimates are endemic in the creative world, resulting in deadline and cost overruns, and the mistrust of your boss and colleagues. Here are some reasons why you (and everyone else) sucks at estimating time: Continue reading 7 Reasons Why Your Time Estimates Are Wrong

10 Ways To Make Your Creative Professionals Hate You

10 Ways To Make Your Creative Professionals Hate You

Creative professionals are a unique breed. Whether they are graphic designers, video editors, musicians or writers, creative pros see the world through the lens of style, beauty, and effectiveness. Their brains are wired to pay attention to details that we mere mortals disregard. They have spent a large portion of their life dedicated to making things look, sound, and feel great. While we may believe in our own sense of taste and style, creative pros have made it their sole focus. To get the best out of them, you need to acknowledge that you can’t match their creativity and aesthetic sense. To get the worst out of them, just follow these simple steps:

Continue reading 10 Ways To Make Your Creative Professionals Hate You

Timesheets Don’t Suck. Yours Do

(This blog post was originally posted on Medium.com in response to Rick Webb‘s blog post. Rick is the co-Founder of ad agency The Barbarian Group) Rick — This is a very enjoyable read, and I look forward to buying your book. With all due respect though, you make several bold, yet incorrect, statements that are based on your experiences from twenty years ago!

 Technology has come a long way, and the bottom line for anyone complaining about timesheets is simple:

Timesheets don’t suck.
Yours do

Technology has made the professional world more efficient and more competitive. People tasked with running businesses need operational metrics to run those businesses effectively. Presuming that executives care about shareholder value and helping grow their companies, it’s inadequate to limit profitability reporting to the client-level. Companies need to know their strengths and weaknesses to make the strategic decisions that will improve their faults. Companies will succeed by responding to their own performance analytics. They can’t fix what they don’t measure.

As margins shrink and procurement departments demand best practices, it is incumbent on the agencies to adopt tools and technologies that can improve their performance. Those who resist change will continue to see the erosion of margins, productivity and ultimately client satisfaction. In multiple blogs and speaking events, ad industry veteran Michael Farmer continues to describe how the industry is spiraling downward by not respecting important business metrics.

Manual timesheets are the problem

Anyone who has ever had to report their time will acknowledge the impossibility of being productive while also capturing their activity with accurate billing codes. The work day simply has too many interruptions to do this manually. Asking busy professionals to remember to hit start and stop buttons is ludicrous and ineffective.

As Rick writes in his upcoming book Agency: Starting a Creative Firm in the Age of Digital Marketing, billable employees learned to avoid submitting timesheets for 2–3 months. That irresponsible behavior only exacerbates the problem by undermining the accuracy of the timesheet data and therefore impeding the ability of executives to make informed strategic decisions. It also provides a false justification that timesheets are ineffective.

People are working long hours, multitasking and getting interrupted. No manual process will ever be effective, and Rick’s suggestion that “At the end of the project, the producer fills out a simple one-page form” is fantasy. That suggestion only masks the problem and provides incorrect data that continues to undermine resource planning and allocations, budgeting, and ultimately profitability.

Numerous studies have highlighted that timesheet accuracy diminishes significantly when employees don’t capture their time immediately. So there’s a dilemma: Be productive or be accurate.

Technology has provided a solution

TimeTracker is gorgeous!The good news is that the problems of late and inaccurate timesheets have been solved. TimeTracker by CreativeWorx (www.creativeworx.com) is a plug-in solution that automatically captures work activity, intelligently assigns proper billing codes, and generates real-time timesheets for easy clean-up and submission to virtually any financial workflow. With a global footprint, TimeTracker is answering the global problem that Rick highlights.

Executives must implement the solution

So the truth is out: manual timesheets are ineffective and impossible to do; accurate timesheet data is critical for agency survival; and a true solution exists. Executives can no longer demand that employees do the impossible without giving them the tools to get their job done.

To suggest that “[timesheets] are an outright lie” and that electronic capture tools cannot work indicates a contempt for the process without research of the existing technology. For example, CreativeWorx TimeTracker has empowered many agencies and creative professionals around the globe to understand their company’s metrics and improve their productivity, profitability and employee job satisfaction.

Timesheets can build a better culture

For timesheets to be effective, they must respect personal privacy first and foremost. This process must be 100% about informing peers to help them get their work done. It must not even hint of being a surveillance tool. If you cannot achieve personal privacy, stop and start again.

The process must be dead-simple…preferably automatic…and highly accurate. An effective timesheet process must allow the billable employee to adjust the timesheet before submitting it. There are simply too many scenarios where the data needs to be altered, not the least of which is the recording of personal activity, such as when employees work at home in between personal activities.

Once a tool empowers more fluid communication between departments…with less effort and tension, benefits become obvious and pervasive. Timesheets don’t kill creativity. Bad processes kill creativity. When the process gets out of the way, people perform better and the company grows.

Efficiency and productivity yield better informed client teams and enable billable employees to focus on their work (instead of timesheet admin). That’s a win-win-win that pleases employees, executives and most importantly clients.

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Mark Hirsch is the CEO and Founder of CreativeWorx, a cloud-based productivity platform focused on the professional services industry. The initial product, Time Tracker, automates the time and activity reporting process by integrating with the world’s most popular software and tools (including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, calendars, phones, and more).

In addition to freeing up employee and management time, the result is highly accurate, data-driven insights that help individuals and organizations capture more revenue, reduce costs, streamline processes and have better visibility into their operations. Real-time data for On Demand business.

M&C Saatchi Deploys TimeTracker to Improve Profitability and Client Transparency

M&C Saatchi(New York, NY) M&C Saatchi implements CreativeWorx’s automatic time capture platform to improve financial performance, employee job satisfaction and client reporting. By solving the timesheet problems that still plague other advertising agencies, M&C Saatchi is streamlining their operations so they can focus on client work.

Living their fundamental philosophy “Brutal Simplicity of Thought”, M&C Saatchi has integrated CreativeWorx TimeTracker to simplify employee timesheet preparation and submission. TimeTracker turns a painful and time-consuming process into a quick, easy process…with higher compliance and data accuracy.

“We recognize that completing timesheets accurately is a frustrating and time-consuming process,” said Rich Pacheco, Director of Finance & Operations, M&C Saatchi NY. “CreativeWorx TimeTracker solves this problem with elegant simplicity. Their automated solution provides more accurate billing data, improves resource planning, and gives our employees more time for client work.”

TimeTracker relieves billable employees from estimating their work effort by automatically capturing how they spend their time and intelligently assigning the correct billing codes. The system privately captures employees’ activity in desktop applications, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite, plus browsers, calendars, phones and more. Employees no longer have to guess how they spent their time.

TimeTracker is effectively a plug-in for existing timesheet workflows and financial systems, making adoption easy. Though it can work standalone, TimeTracker was designed to integrate with systems including NetSuite, Advantage, MediaOcean, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Deltek/Maconomy and more.

“TimeTracker lets advertising agencies be more competitive with less effort,” said Mark Hirsch, CEO of CreativeWorx. “The automation is magical and makes the process almost trivial. Executives can finally have accurate & timely financial metrics…all while fully respecting employees’ privacy.”

Used in over 100 countries, TimeTracker has solved one of the biggest pain points for professional services organizations, including ad agencies, legal firms, government agencies, consulting firms and individual freelance contractors. Better data improves a company’s existing processes for Resource Planning, Forecasting, Client Reporting, and ensuring that ongoing projects stay on-course. In this data-driven world, companies need smarter systems to compete more effectively. TimeTracker delivers.

About M&C Saatchi
M&C Saatchi Group consists of specialist agencies in advertising, customer communications, mobile, PR, research & insight, social marketing and sponsorship. For more information on M&C Saatchi, please visit http://www.mcsaatchi.com/

About CreativeWorx
CreativeWorx is a software company whose unique data-mining platform automatically helps companies improve productivity and helps people get more from their lives. Focusing initially on the professional services industries, notably advertising agencies, CreativeWorx has solved the challenges of timesheet compliance and accuracy. CreativeWorx is based in New York, NY and is privately funded. For more information on CreativeWorx, please visit http://www.creativeworx.com or follow us at @CreativeWorxCo

KBS first major agency to fully deploy CreativeWorx TimeTracker

KBS Deploys TimeTracker to Improve Timesheets, Profitability and Client Transparency

kbs+(Dec 8, 2014) Today, CreativeWorx announced the deployment of an innovative time capture platform to improve financial performance, employee job satisfaction and client reporting for award-winning advertising agency KBS. KBS has integrated CreativeWorx TimeTracker with its existing MediaOcean system to simplify employee timesheet preparation and submission.

TimeTracker turns a painful and time-consuming process into a quick, easy process…with higher compliance and data accuracy.

“Since KBS began using TimeTracker, we’ve seen a significant decline in the amount of time our employees are spending on timesheet administration along with improved accuracy,” said Chris Mozolewski, CFO, KBS. “The technology is truly a benefit to our agency and the industry at large.”

TimeTracker is an activity-tracking platform that significantly improves the performance of a company’s existing timesheet and financial workflow. TimeTracker is designed as a plug-in to integrate with other systems including NetSuite, Advantage, MediaOcean, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Deltek/Maconomy and more.

“TimeTracker is unique in three ways,” said Mark Hirsch, CEO of CreativeWorx. “First, it automatically captures how people spend their time and intelligently assigns the correct billing codes. Second, it enhances existing timesheet and financial systems. Third, and perhaps most important, TimeTracker fully respects employees’ privacy while automatically preparing a timesheet draft for them.”

Used in over 100 countries, TimeTracker has solved one of the biggest pain points for professional services organizations, including ad agencies, legal firms, government agencies, consulting firms and individual freelance contractors.

Accurate and timely timesheet submission lets executives finally run their companies competitively by leveraging near real-time analytics. Better data improves a company’s existing processes for Resource Planning, Forecasting, Client Reporting, and ensuring that ongoing projects stay on-course. TimeTracker helps companies compete more effectively in this data-driven world.

About KBS (kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners)
KBS (kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners) is the brand agency for an inventive world. We are an integrated creative, advertising and marketing agency committed to inventing the highest value ideas for our clients and for ourselves. Our team of passionate inventors and creative entrepreneurs is dedicated to doing things that matter and making things that matter. Today KBS serves a diverse roster of clients that includes American Express, BMW, Harman, HomeGoods, Simmons Bedding Company, William Grant & Sons, Boar’s Head and Vanguard. For more information on KBS a member of the MDC Partners Network, please visit http://www.kbsp.com

About CreativeWorx
CreativeWorx is a software company whose unique data-mining platform automatically helps companies improve productivity and helps people get more from their lives. Focusing initially on the professional services industries, notably advertising agencies, CreativeWorx has solved the challenges of timesheet compliance and accuracy. CreativeWorx is based in New York, NY and is privately funded. For more information on CreativeWorx, please visit http://www.creativeworx.com or follow us at @CreativeWorxCo

5 Ways To Improve Your Client Proposals

Creating client proposals to win new business can feel like a major drag and just another distraction from your main objective: delivering exceptional value for your clients. Even worse is investing extraordinary time and resources to create a presentation showcasing your services, agency team, experiences and proposed plans…only to have the prospective client disregard it because the proposal doesn’t speak directly to them or align with their expectations.

To help you create an effective proposal that highlights your agency’s strength and conveys an aligned message with the brand you’re pitching, we featured a few tips below on how to create proposals that win the right kind of business.

 
Align Your Proposal With Your Prospective Clients’ Goals & Brand

Brands see pitches from freelancers and agencies on a daily basis, and in many cases they are generic templates with a few tweaks here and there. In such a competitive industry, it is essential that take time to personalize your pitch to align with your prospective clients’ overall brand and strategy?

To truly partner with a brand, show why your team is the right team for them to choose. A more personalized connection between your business and your prospective clients’ business is extremely powerful.

Here are simple steps to do this:

  • Reference a recent campaign they did, and how you could build off of it
  • Show that you understand the company history
  • Display how your work culture and goals mesh with theirs
  • Cite specific reasons why your agency can help them with their problem, rather than just showing them what you have and can create

 
Focus First on Building A Relationship

Ultimately, business decisions come down to two things: do they want to work with a particular agency, and can they deliver?

While it’s tempting, and rational, to begin proposals with objective data, case studies and awards won, it’s actually more effective to connect on a human-level. Establish a rapport first, and then back up your people-skills with a plan and track record that will support your pitch and show you can in fact deliver exceptional results.

Your goal is for the prospective client to understand the vision and feel comfortable working with you. If you engaged immediately with data, you’ll likely bypass the opportunity to build genuine engagement and the prospective client will view you as a commodity, rather than a partner.

 
Focus On the Problem You’re Solving

Far too often agencies lose their focus, and unintentionally become overwhelming, making their pitch extremely difficult to understand. In your initial pitch, your goal should be to focus on the most difficult problem at hand that you and your team can solve, and clearly show how you can achieve this.

As time progresses and the relationship is strengthened, then you can explore other areas to work with your client, but pitching everything upfront will only dilute your pitch.

It’s also worth noting that while referencing awards and accolades can help in terms of social proof, it does not replace a fixation on the clients’ problem. It’s essential that you highlight your firm’s competitive advantage, and how that will help you and your agency address your client’s primary issue. The client simply wants their problem solved in an easy-to-understand process.

 
Work Together During the Proposal Process

The best way to ensure you’re tailoring your proposal to a business that you’ve identified to be a great match is to ask them for input on your proposal. Rather than basing your entire proposal on the basic information provided to all competing agencies, work directly with the prospective client to show them your collaboration skills while test-driving the relationship.

The best results come when you treat your clients as partners. By working together on a small sample project before agreeing to a long term engagement, both parties will understand each other much better. You will also get a better sense if this particular engagement is poised for success, before investing a significant amount of resources into it.

(If their process forbids collaboration, you can engage with vendors and third-party influencers who already work with them. There’s a lot be learned from third-parties, and this can be very easy to accomplish. LinkedIn and other social media tools make it easy to find common links…so reach out and build your network at the same time.)

 
Incorporate Your Skills & Creativity into the Proposal

Don’t be fooled thinking your proposal needs to look or feel a certain way. Think outside of the box. As an agency trying to showcase your work through past experiences and vision, nothing can match actually doing some upfront work to prove your worth and standout from a flood of proposals that may all essentially look the same.

For instance, if you’re a package design agency, create a thoughtful, physical package to ship along with your proposal, even if your proposal is all done online. If you’re a web dev shop, why not turn your proposal into a mini-site? Creative agencies could build a scaled down version of their campaign vision and blend in the proposal that way.

These companies you’re pitching don’t want to be sold to, they want to be blown away by your creativity and ability to execute, so do just that. You’re only limited by your creativity, and quite frankly, that’s what you’re selling. So, the more creative and effective you are in the overall experience of your pitch, the greater the chance is that you’ll win more business and cut through the noise.

 
Takeaway

Client proposals aren’t necessarily your first point of contact with interested companies (as they’ve likely already seen some of your work, your site and potentially had prior engagements with you), but it is your first point of direct contact with them to solve a specific problem. This is why it is crucial that you take the extra time to develop an experience that will capture their attention. Case studies and jargon can only go so far, but where others don’t want to go or cannot go due to their lack of creative resources, is exactly why you have an opportunity to win business by investing upfront and creating a personal connection before the engagement is even discusses. So, go out there and outdo the competition not just in the marketplace through your work, but also in the boardroom as you pitch potential clients. If done correctly, you’ll see a major impact on your agency’s growth.