Going With The Flowchart
Tracking labor, inventory and supplies on a government project can get pretty complicated. AT&T Technical Services Company uses an enterprise solution to exchange billing information between it and its parent company.
AT&T-TSCO was created to provide high-quality, cost-effective telecommunications and data-center outsourcing for such customers as the federal government. And, working with the government can be complicated. "Government contract accounting is much more detailed and rigorous than commercial accounting practices," comments Zillian. For example, one such AT&T-TSCO project has more than 1,200 charge codes. "We provide operations and maintenance services to our customers. These customers want to know how we are spending their money," says Zillian. "They want to know what types of equipment are being serviced and the amount of time and materials needed to service a particular building, floor, or office." AT&T-TSCO is a business unit of AT&T that generates over $90 million in gross sales. It is supported by a handful of corporate staff and has an employee base of more than 400 people.
Ensure Business-Process Integrity
In an effort to streamline business processes, AT&T-TSCO implemented Deltek Systems' Costpoint about three years ago. The business unit then supplemented that original implementation with Deltek's Costpoint Human Resources Module last year. To better understand process flow within the company, Zillian created the mural-sized flowchart. "The best time to do a chart like this is in the beginning stages when you are implementing your system. It includes every process, every human interaction—where the information originates and where it goes. We update this flowchart once a month, and members of my team have their pieces of the flowchart hanging in their cubes or offices," explains Zillian.
Zillian made plans for disaster recovery, manual processing, system processing and team member responsibilities. "To ensure system integrity, only one person on my team modifies the Costpoint infrastructure. He controls and sets up all new accounts. This guarantees that all steps are followed, every single time," said Zillian. "Anytime anyone works within the system, he or she must follow the process diagrams in sequential order. Anyone needing to change or update a portion of the process is also responsible for coordinating the change. That person must communicate changes to all owners of affected portions of the process to mitigate potential negative impacts to the system."
Tracking labor for a project is an example of a business process. In this case, AT&T-TSCO's Costpoint system accumulates labor data at the lowest possible level and feeds that data directly into AT&T's corporate system. "The corporate system sees a really fast typist, but in reality it's our accounting system ‘talking' to their payroll system. The automation of payroll saves our group a five-person headcount," Zillian stated.
When the corporate payroll system is run prior to uploading the payroll into Costpoint, the Costpoint interface catches potential errors before they become issues. The Costpoint Timesheet Preprocessor identifies these discrepancies and allows for manual corrections. "We have no payroll reconciliation errors," says Zillian. "The process is automated. If there were any errors to begin with, an error report is generated. And, the errors are corrected by our staff prior to import into our system. It takes our payroll manager approximately two hours every two weeks to process our entire payroll."