Sage Intacct has brought a bit of technical magic to its Timesheet solution. Sage has launched the first artificial intelligence-powered application for Sage Intacct, Sage Intelligent Time. The application developed by Sage AI Labs (SAIL) aims to increase accuracy and decrease the time taken to fill in timesheets for employees. Once deployed, the solution can reduce revenue leakage and help to improve utilisation through increased accuracy and better efficiency. Sage believes (based on a $200 per hour billing rate) that the new solution could recover revenue of approximately $10,000* per year per billable employee, according to Sage. A similar HBR study noted that $50,000 could be recovered through better tracking of time.
Erik Zahnlecker, principal product manager for AI and Machine Learning at Sage AI Labs said: “Intelligent Time enables service businesses to leverage artificial intelligence to automate time entry, reduce revenue leakage, and improve employee utilization.”
Sage Intelligent Time
Sage Intelligent is not a new module but will become the default Timesheet solution within Sage Intacct. It is available now for a limited number of customers and should become available in the US later in the year. It is unclear when it will be rolled out to Australia, UK or South Africa. Enterprise Times has asked that question of Sage Intacct and will update as we hear.
Each user can configure the new solution to their individual requirements. They can select which applications the AI can have access to and learn from. These include calendar, email, Office applications such as Word, Powerpoint, Excel browser usage etc. The system then tracks usage by the minute. When a user wants to create a timesheet, they are presented with an AI-driven sidebar that includes their activities. They can then drag and drop these into the timesheet.
There are features that make this solution even more impressive. The first is that as users match tasks to projects, the system learns. It can then apply the project codes to the allocated timesheet entry for future entries. Secondly, for meetings assigned to specific projects, the first person to tag the project reduces the effort for others attending the meeting as the project is tagged against that meeting for all other attendees.
The solution is also available on the desktop and using the Sage Intacct mobile app, ensuring that consultants can complete timesheets, quickly and conveniently.
Zahlencker commented: “For service professionals who work on multiple projects, multi-task, and are always on the go, timesheets are a dreaded process often saved for Friday night or weekends. Reconstructing the week’s activities for time entry often results in untimely, inaccurate, and incomplete timesheets. We developed Sage Intelligent Time to enable services-based businesses to more accurately collect the critical information needed to manage profitability and close the books on time, while securing revenue often lost due to unlogged, billable activity.”
Early adopters or the solution are enthusiastic. Sheri Petras, CEO and partner at CFI Group, a leader in customer experience measurement and business insight services, noted: “We bill our projects on a fixed-fee basis, so accurate project cost data is critical for us to understand how we’re performing and how to price future work.
“Getting dependable project labor costs can be difficult when our team is working on 10-15 different projects in any given week, often spending time on unscheduled tasks. With Sage Intelligent Time, we are much more confident that we have the most accurate understanding of our project status and costs, so we can make financially sound decisions about current projects and better price future work.”
Enterprise Times – what does this mean
As the first example of SAIL, the Sage Intelligent Time is impressive. Many organisations launch AI applications onto the market as addon solutions, and they do not always impress. Sage has delivered an application that could make a real difference to professional services teams using Sage Intacct. It appears simple to use, is mobile-enabled and learns sensibly.
Privacy is also top of mind for Sage. Individual users can restrict the AI from understanding everything they do during configuration. The sharing of intelligence about appointments is especially useful. It is a clever way to reduce duplicated effort across an organisation. While the HBR article is theoretical, it will be interesting to see whether Sage can identify actual improvement in accuracy for utilisation and revenue mapping for organisations. Sage Intelligent Timesheets is undoubtedly bringing a bit of the magic of AI into the workplace.
SAIL has the mission of bringing AI applications to all Sage solutions. It is unclear whether Sage Intelligent Time will be added to other solutions, such as Sage X3. Another question is around the integration of PSA solutions to Sage Intacct. Most PSA solutions, such as Kimble, have their own timesheet system. This is also used for project costing and mapping against project tasks. How will organisations that use a PSA solution and Sage Intacct decide which is the system of record? Will the integration between the two systems allow bidirectional data flow between them?
- CORRECTION, the previously stated figure of $20,000 was incorrect, the article has been updated.
See answer responses from Sage below