Trailblazer Update: Integrity

Michael Stewart, Director of Integrity Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors—one of our Trailblazer firms—sent me an update on his firm’s progress since trashing timesheet.

What’s great about this update, which Michael is so graciously allowing me to publish, is that it is a compilation of the firm’s team members’ attitudes to operating in an environment without timesheet. Regular readers of this site know we believe that one of the major impetuses for driving the change to Value Pricing and no timesheet is the competition for talent. Increasingly, knowledge workers understand the value they create for their firms is not predicated on the time they spend, let alone accounting for every six minutes of it on a daily basis.

This update from Michael is good timing, as I just responded to a letter to the editor from my November 2008 Journal of Accountancy article, The Firm of the Future. Here’s an excerpt from that letter:

My college production management professor back in 1983 stated, “Happy employees are not necessarily productive employees. Many employees are perfectly happy doing next to nothing.”

Most current management experts, outside CPA practice management experts, teach that you get what you track. If you want productivity, you have to track productivity.

Here’s part of my reply:

I was in college in 1983 as well, where I learned the same “happy employees are not necessarily productive employees” axiom. But the article wasn’t about happy employees, it was about effective knowledge workers, who are less effective when they are micromanaged, and demoralized when they must engage in a low-value activity such as tracking every six minutes of their day.

The letter further asserts “you get what you track. If you want productivity, you have to track productivity.” But this is nonsense. We don’t change our weight by weighing ourselves more frequently, or accurately. We must look at the root causes, and processes, which timesheet emphatically do not do.

We at VeraSage do not advocate trashing timesheet in order to make employees “happy,” but rather to remove an incredibly low-value activity from their routine. It’s all about increasing their effectiveness, though we will admit happiness seems to rise as well.

Which leads us to Michael’s update. To read it in its entirety, go here.


  1. Here is an update to Integrity from a new team member, Tara, who wrote the following about working in a timesheet vs. a no timesheet environment:

    Here are my thoughts đŸ™‚

    Timesheets were constantly sending me into a state of stress and worry as I could never remember what I had done every 6 minutes of the day just gone let alone 3 days ago.

    There were times where I had to put aside pressing matters as I was being chased for my timesheet from the previous day, and I really felt my time was not being used effectively and efficiently.

    Since joining Integrity I have noticed a major mind shift in how I approach a job and client. I am more inclined to spend the time needed on the job, build a relationship with the client, and looking at ways of adding value for the client rather than calculating at the beginning of everyday how much more time I have left before I hit my budget and rushing a job through. Once I had finished a job, and discovered the work in progress was larger than expected, I could spend a good couple of non-billable hours justifying my WIP on a bill by writing pages of paragraphs. With the fee already established, I no longer need to worry about this or how I am going to make up the non-billable time to reach my personal productivity target.

    With monthly goals set I still have a target to reach but my time is spent more efficiently by not wasting around 2 to 3 hours a week on timesheets and timesheet issues that arise.

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