Auditing body for the IHK

Financial service provider - Experience report - Bielefeld / Germany

Auditing body for the IHK

Service companies such as the Audit Office for the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (RPS) charge their services transparently according to hourly rates. The prerequisite for this is the use of time recording software that is easy to use and reliable.

The Bielefeld company has been using ZEP Compact from provantis since 2007 and appreciates the high stability of the system: In three years, there has not been a single programme crash or data loss.

IHK annual auditors entrust their times to ZEP

Auditor and advisor on the road

They are constantly on the road, from Flensburg to Constance: the experts of the Audit Office for the Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Bielefeld audit the annual financial statements of 78 Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Germany. The 30 employees are also on duty for consulting assignments and special audits. Time recording is important in order to get an overview of all projects and to be able to bill the consultants' services transparently.

Unify data

Before 2007, the employees' times were still recorded in Excel spreadsheets. There was a form in which they entered meal receipts, car kilometre data and train tickets and assigned them to projects - an unnecessary effort. The data needed to be standardised and its collection professionalised. The solution: ZEP, the time recording and project management software from provantis. "ZEP is tailored exactly to our requirements, as it is web-based and all employees can access the system while on the road. In addition, the simplicity in handling - and the reasonable price - spoke in favour of ZEP".says Michael Schimke, auditor of the RPS.

ZEP Compact

The Bielefeld company uses ZEP Compact, a solution for effort recording and project-oriented order processing, including time sheets. In addition, the Bielefeld company uses modules for travel expense accounting as well as overtime, holiday and absence management. The "Document Generator" module extends the export options to include PDF, DOC (Word) or ODT (OpenOffice) files.

Smooth ZEP introduction

The transition to ZEP was easy: no special requirements were necessary to use the software. The introduction of the new system went smoothly: One employee had first familiarised himself with the programme as an internal expert. He then introduced ZEP to the entire team during a two-hour internal training session. The users quickly got used to the software. The practical benefits were convincing: the uniform and simple time and project recording as well as the quick entry of receipts. ZEP is rented by the accounting office, so the staff can access the software at any time via the internet. In addition to time recording, they use it most frequently for cost accounting as well as month-end and voucher evaluation.

Problem-free changeover

ZEP easily supports changed processes in the company in the background. For example, in 2009, when the billing method for auditing was changed from daily to hourly rates. Whereas in the past the length of a normal working day lasted between eight and 12 hours without differentiation, now the different use of time was recorded. "Another special feature: ZEP distinguishes between pure working time and travel time. We do not charge clients for the latter".says Mr Schimke. Internally, travel time is taken into account separately, the travel hours are divided into "non-remunerable travel time" and "remunerable travel time". Two hours of travel time per day, a maximum of four hours per week are to be borne by the employee and are not remunerated. The compensable travel time is kept in a separate overtime account and can be compensated as free time with a special reason for absence.

ZEP makes changes with

According to the company agreement, the "productive" overtime must be compensated first at the auditors' office, then the "compensable travel time". The issue of overtime is also important because the work of the annual auditors has seasonal focuses: In the first half of the year, a lot of overtime is usually due; in the second half of the year, this time is reduced. Reliable time recording is indispensable in this context.

The necessary individual adjustments to ZEP were made at the beginning of March, and the different hourly quotas were changed over retroactively to the beginning of February without any problems: The employees were briefed about the new travel time recording in a short instruction - that was enough. "The changes in ZEP took place in the background, the necessary adjustments by the programmers were not noticeable to the users - very pleasant"says Mr Schimke.

The reason for the provantis customer's satisfaction is not least the high reliability of the software: there has never been a programme crash or data loss. Another plus point for Mr Schimke is the accessibility and quality of the ZEP support team: "I'm sure the hotline is never overloaded because the software is so simple and stable"says Mr Schimke. "The provantis employees are always easily accessible and professionally competent in their advice."

Auditing body for the chambers of commerce and industry

Alfred Bozi Street 18
D-33602 Bielefeld