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Posts by Matthew Lettini:

Harvest Can Now Help Your Team Remember Their Timesheets

Harvest works best when your team tracks their time consistently each week. When timesheets are filled out and reviewed in a timely manner, you can have confidence that your reports are accurate and that you’re invoicing the right amounts.

However, Harvest also strives to be a tool your team can get in and out of quickly. For some people, this can make it easy to forget about timesheets when they are busy doing meaningful work. And when someone is late entering their time for a week, you or their manager have to shoulder the responsibility of reminding them after-the-fact. This can make for an awkward conversation, especially if it needs to happen frequently and with the same team members.

We’ve heard of many interesting ways business owners and managers try to help their team remember to enter their time, so we’re excited to introduce a simple option right within Harvest: Timesheet Reminders.

With Timesheet Reminders, Harvest can take on the responsibility of reminding your team each week to fill in their timesheets, while you stay focused on more important work.

What are Timesheet Reminders?

You tell Harvest when you expect timesheets due every week (your Timesheet Deadline), and when Timesheet Reminders are enabled, Harvest will automatically send email reminders to everyone around that time. It’ll send an initial reminder about the deadline a few hours before, and if they miss it, send a second reminder a day later.

Timesheet Reminders in Harvest are also smart enough to only be sent to people that need it. If someone has already submitted or tracked their time for the week, they won’t get reminders that week. And if anyone on your team doesn’t ever need to track time, simply set their capacity to 0 and they won’t receive the reminders.

How to enable Timesheet Reminders in Harvest

You can enable them by heading to Settings > Edit Preferences and clicking the “Remind my team to enter time at the end of each week” checkbox next to Timesheet Reminders.

All of the functionality is customizable. You can choose any day and time of the week for your deadline, how many hours before and after the deadline you want the reminders to be sent, and if you want to remind your team to submit their timesheets for approval or just track time.

Harvest supports a few other methods of reminding your team to track or submit time. You can read about those in our Help Center.

Helping your team track time

Harvest is committed to being the best time tracking product for your business, and that means helping your team track time. We’re excited for this new feature to help us continue reaching for that goal and helping you feel confident in your reports and invoices.

We’ve learned that teams track time better when they use the tools we offer with Harvest. If you find your team is having trouble remembering to track, then in addition to trying Timesheet Reminders we’d also suggest looking into our desktop and mobile apps, browser extensions, calendar integrations, and other integrations that help your team track time in the software they use throughout the day.

Two New Changes To Help You Automatically Send Monthly Recurring Invoices

Recurring invoices in Harvest are a powerful tool for getting paid on a regular basis. Having Harvest automatically generate your invoices saves you a lot of time—especially if you invoice on a monthly basis. But having Harvest both generate and send your invoices every month, well that really allows you to stay focused on the work that matters.

We’ve made a few quality-of-life improvements to recurring invoices recently, so you can feel more confident in Harvest sending them automatically to your client.

New Month and Year Variables

Many of our customers use recurring invoices when they invoice on a regular, monthly basis. These customers often need to include the month name right on each month’s invoice.

Harvest didn’t support this, so these customers would set up their recurring invoices to create a draft every month, then they’d have to add the month name to the invoice themselves, and manually send it to their clients afterwards. When you have a lot of clients to invoice every month, this turns out to be a very tedious step.

Well say goodbye to that extra step every month! Harvest now supports month and year variables you can add to your recurring invoices.

Simply add %invoice_issue_month%, %invoice_issue_month_name%, or %invoice_issue_year% to either the recurring invoice subject, an item description, or the message you send to your clients, and Harvest will replace those variables with the correct issue month or year when the invoice is generated.

Automatic Thank-you Messages

Another extra invoicing step for our customers involved sending thank-you messages after their clients paid online.

When linking to a payment gateway so your clients can pay online, you’ll be getting paid 50% faster, but those payments might come in at all times of the week. If your client pays an invoice over a weekend and you want to send a thank-you, you’d either need to log in to Harvest on a day off, or wait a few days to thank your client.

Here again, we’ve removed this step. Now you can configure your Harvest account to automatically send a thank-you message after an online payment.

You can set this up for all invoices from Invoices > Configure > Messages, but you can also customize this setting for each recurring invoice.

Set It and Forget It

With the above changes, Harvest now has all the pieces for you to truly “set it and forget it” when it comes to getting paid. Just follow these steps:

  • Connect your account to an online payment gateway, like Stripe
  • Set up a recurring invoice for your client on a monthly basis, with the subject “Invoice for %invoice_issue_month_name% %invoice_issue_year%”
  • Set the invoice to automatically send to your client
  • Turn on automatic reminders
  • Turn on automatic thank-you messages

And that’s it! Harvest will automatically invoice your client every month with the correct month name, remind them if they’ve been late, allow them to pay online and set up a recurring payment, and automatically send them a thank-you after they’ve paid.

Let Harvest do all the heavy lifting, which means a steadier income for you, a smoother relationship with your client, and less busy work for everyone.

First Projects, Now Tasks! Another Fast Way to Edit Lots of Time at Once

Last year we added the ability to quickly move lots of time from one project to another. Today, we round out this bulk action by adding the ability to quickly move lots of time from one task to another, making it even easier to keep your team’s time accurate.

Here’s a common scenario. It’s Friday night, and you’ve got just one more to-do before the weekend: check on your team’s time. Everything looks good until you realize, uh oh, your team’s been tracking time to the wrong task all week!

Maybe they’re still getting used to a task restructure. Or perhaps a project had the wrong task added to it. Or maybe the client changed the scope of work and that update wasn’t implemented yet on the project.

Whatever the cause, it used to mean that you had to edit every single time entry. One. By. One…

How to Quickly Move Time between Tasks

Now, you no longer have to spend your time editing time. Our latest feature helps move a lot of entries between tasks with just a few clicks.

If you’re an Administrator, run a Detailed Time Report for the time entries you’d like to edit, then use the Bulk Actions menu to choose to Move hours to another task. With a quick confirmation, you can move thousands of entries to a different task, saving time, and keeping your account accurate and up to date.

A Few Details about Moving Time

Here’s a quick rundown of some special cases that you might run into when moving time to a new task:

  • If the task you’re moving time to isn’t on the project(s) of your selected time entries, we’ll assign that task to the project(s) for you.
  • If hours are approved, you can still move them.
  • If hours are invoiced, you won’t be able to move them. That could cause your invoices to get out of step with your projects.

The next time you discover a time tracking error, we hope our bulk move actions—both moving time between projects and moving time between tasks—help you save even more time to better spend elsewhere. Happy tracking!

Update: Accept ACH Payments and Disable CC Payments

Last quarter we announced support for ACH payments via Stripe for US customers. The response to this has been tremendous. With clients paying invoices via bank transfer (ACH), our customers are saving money on transaction fees, and getting paid faster!

But while we added the ability to turn on ACH payments (in the US), credit card payments could still be accepted as well. This meant that even if you enabled ACH payments, there was still the possibility that your clients could choose to pay via credit card. And you would foot the bill on those higher fees.

So we’ve made a small but meaningful update: US customers can now disable credit card payments via Stripe. This means you can now set up your Harvest account to only accept ACH payments on your invoices.

Just head to Invoices > Configure > Online Payment, and if you’ve linked your account to Stripe, you’ll see flexible options for both credit card and bank transfer (ACH) payments.

Note that if you have any clients with a recurring credit card payment, disabling the credit card payment method in Stripe will not cancel those recurring payments. You’ll need to manually turn those off if you no longer wish to receive them.

Why use ACH?

If you missed our original announcement about ACH support, here’s some more specific details on this payment option:

  • Credit card transactions typically incur a 2.9% cost in fees. This means on a $10,000 invoice, you pay $290 in fees. To prevent those fees, you might ask a client to send the money via check, but the downside is you might be left waiting days or weeks to get paid.
  • With bank transfer (ACH) payments, you can get paid fast without incurring those huge fees! Stripe charges only a 0.8% fee for ACH transactions, and fees are capped at $5 per transaction. With that same $10,000 invoice, you pay only $5 in fees—saving you $285!
  • While credit card payments post quickly, it can take up to 3-5 business days for ACH payments to be approved. When a client pays an invoice via bank transfer (ACH), you’ll be notified instantly by email, and the invoice will be marked as pending until it’s approved. We’ll notify you again when it’s approved and the invoice is marked as paid.

With fast payments and lower fees, ACH will save you both time and money.

Push Projects from Harvest to Forecast, or from Forecast to Harvest!

Linking projects between Harvest and Forecast offers a wide range of useful benefits. It opens up the possibility to see where your projects are headed, allows you to plan your team against the remaining budget, and offers a view of estimates vs. actuals.

However, getting new projects from one app into the other has always required a cumbersome process:

  • First, the project has to be created in Harvest.
  • Then you’d need to make your way over to Forecast.
  • Then you’d need to locate the “Import from Harvest” option for projects.
  • Then finally, you’d be able to import the project into Forecast.

Phew, that’s a lot of steps! I’m exhausted just typing that out…

We want to make this workflow faster and simpler. Today, we’re excited to announce two new ways of getting projects created and linked between Harvest and Forecast.

Part 1: Harvest to Forecast

The first part of our workflow improvements allows you to push projects directly from Harvest to Forecast, without having to go to Forecast and import.

Create this project in Forecast

If you’re a View-Edit user in Forecast, you will see a new option when creating or editing a Harvest project: “Create this project in Forecast so you can plan your team’s time”.

Saving the project with this option selected will automatically create the project in Forecast. You can push projects to Forecast the first time you create a project, or anytime later when you’re ready to start scheduling it.

After pushing, we’ll also offer a quick link to jump over to the Forecast schedule if you want to start planning your team right away.

Part 2: Forecast to Harvest (New!)

The second part of our workflow improvements offers the brand new ability to create and plan your projects in Forecast before pushing them to Harvest.

Create Project in Harvest

In Forecast, you will now see a new option under a project’s Action menu to “Create this project in Harvest”. Select this action, confirm, and Forecast will do just that.

There’s one extra feature we’ve included here: When pushing a project from Forecast, if the project has people scheduled to it, we’ll automatically assign those people to the created project in Harvest!

Again, after pushing, we’ll offer a quick link to jump over to Harvest so you can update any further project details (e.g., budgets, rates, task assignments, etc).

Note: The new “Create Project in Harvest” action won’t appear if the project is already linked to Harvest. Also, only scheduled people imported from Harvest will be automatically assigned in Harvest when a project is pushed.

All New H+F Project Workflows

Getting projects created and linked in both Harvest and Forecast shouldn’t be a hassle. Now, it’s as easy as an extra click, giving you time back to the work that matters.

Whichever direction works best for you and your team—pushing a project from Harvest to Forecast, or from Forecast to Harvest—we’ve got you covered.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team. Happy scheduling!

Weekend Scheduling Is Now Available in Forecast

Harvest Forecast was introduced in the summer of 2014, bringing a simple and intuitive experience to planning your team across projects. From the beginning, scheduling in Forecast has focused solely on weekdays, Monday–Friday.

Over the past 3 years, scheduling on Saturday and/or Sunday became our number one most requested feature. Whether it’s contract work, hosting an event, shooting a commercial, or simply needing to meet a Monday deadline, there’s a myriad of reasons why many of our customers need to schedule on the weekend.

Today, we’re excited to share that scheduling on Saturday and Sunday is now available for all accounts.

Weekends for New Accounts

All new Forecast accounts automatically include Saturdays and Sundays on the schedule.

For anyone that wanted to use Forecast but needed to schedule on the weekend, you can sign up for Forecast today!

If it’s been a few years since you last tried Forecast, catch up on other new features you might have missed.

Weekends for Existing Accounts

If you’re a customer today, or you plan to revisit an old trial, you can add weekends to your account right within Forecast.

If you missed our in-app announcement, simply head to your Settings page. You will see a new section to “Add Weekend Scheduling to Your Account”, which will take you to a new page to do exactly that!

Planning your team’s time is as seamless as ever—you’ll find all the same functionality with just a couple extra days per week.

An important note: Adding weekends to your account is permanent, and there is no undo. Make sure everyone on your team is on board with this change before proceeding!

Assigning on Saturday or Sunday

Saturday and Sunday will automatically default to non-work days for all team members. Since assignments scheduled across non-work days automatically exclude those days from hours calculations (per our recent change), this will allow you to continue to create weeks-long assignments without needing to edit out the weekend time.

However, if you want to explicitly schedule on the weekend, simply click directly on the Saturday or Sunday you need!

We’re excited to start the year closing out one of our most requested features. We have a lot of ideas for 2018 too, stay tuned!

If you have any questions about adding weekends to your account, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Happy scheduling!

Smoother Scheduling for Part-Time Employees in Forecast

Earlier this year, we added the ability to choose which days of the week people work in Forecast. This allows for more accurate scheduling and reporting of part-time employees and freelancers.

However, non-work days (days on which someone is not available for scheduling) can create an issue when assigning large blocks of time. The flexibility of dragging an assignment out for multiple days/weeks/months has always been one of Forecast’s most useful features, but assigning over non-work days would create overbookings that needed to be fixed.

We wanted to improve this small issue. Starting today, Forecast will now automatically schedule around non-work days, so you don’t have to fix those overbookings.

Smarter Non-Work Day Scheduling

When dragging an assignment across a non-work day, Forecast previously would count the number of hours on that day. With this change, Forecast will now automatically not count the assignment’s hours on those non-work days.

Visually, the assignment looks like it’s “behind” the non-work day indication (the diagonal gray bars). The heat map on the Team Schedule will take this into account and not count those hours for that day or week. Simple.

But what if you need to schedule on that non-work day? No problem!

If you need to schedule on a day someone normally does not work, you can do so by explicitly creating an assignment on that day. Forecast will ask if this is what you’d like to do, and create an assignment that does count on non-work days.

This new functionality is seamless, simple, and further promotes Forecast’s goal to create a frictionless scheduling experience.

Coming Soon: Scheduling on Saturday and Sunday

We haven’t been entirely forthcoming with you. Dragging assignments across multiple weeks for part-time employees is indeed an issue, but only a few customers actually have this problem today. This change will most likely not immediately affect you and your team.

However, today we’re also announcing that Weekends are coming to Forecast! We’re excited to finally offer planning on Saturdays and Sundays.

When we launch Weekends, all new Forecast accounts will automatically start with a 7-day schedule. All existing accounts will remain 5-days at first, but we’ll be offering an option to update to a 7-day schedule soon after (more details on how and when that happens will be announced soon).

A 7-day Forecast schedule will mean that everyone on the account will have at least two non-work days (typically Saturday and Sunday). We wanted to make sure that the flexibility to drag assignments out for multiple weeks remained intact once we added Weekends, and that’s a bigger reason why we made the change outlined above.

Wrapping Up

Assignments in Forecast now schedule around non-work days. Today, most Forecast customers will not notice any change. When Weekends are added to Forecast, this change will make a huge difference in providing a flexible and seamless scheduling experience.

When can you expect the ability to plan on Weekends to land in Forecast? All I can say today is “soon”. We’re actively working on this feature, and simply need to get this new assignment functionality out the door first. When Weekends are ready, we’ll be announcing that both inside of Forecast and right here on our blog. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions about this change to assignments, or Weekends coming to Forecast, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Introducing Placeholders in Forecast: A Handy Tool for Uncertain Times

Figuring out who will work on what project is the tough recurring question all managers face. Today, scheduling time to a project in Forecast requires that you also assign that time to a person on your team. For the most part, this is naturally how scheduling works (“So-and-so is planned to work X hours next week on Project Y”).

However, this requirement can sometimes become a hassle. What if you have hours to assign to an upcoming project, but you’re not yet sure who’ll be working on it? What if everyone on your team is already at full capacity that week? What if you planned to hire someone to work those hours, but you haven’t hired them yet?

These are common real-life scenarios we’ve heard from our customers. As a workaround, our customers have been adding “dummy users” to their team in Forecast. Then they assign those dummy users to projects.

The main problem with this: Forecast charges for each person on your team! We don’t believe we should be charging you extra for a workaround.

Introducing Placeholders

Today, we’re excited to introduce Placeholders to Forecast.

Continue reading…

Team Tags Are Now Roles in Forecast

Team Tags in Forecast have always been a powerful way to organize your team when scheduling. If you want to see which of your developers has availability next month for a new project, you can simply filter your Team Schedule to just people tagged “Developer”.

Today, we’re shipping a small change that renames Team Tags to Roles. Roles work exactly like Team Tags did yesterday, so you might not even notice!

However, we did take this opportunity to also include a Roles manage page (which you can access from the navigation menu in the top left of Forecast). This page simply lists all roles you’ve created, and allows you to add, remove, or rename any role. You can also add or remove people from any role right from here.

Lastly, if you sync your Forecast account with a Harvest account, we have some news for you: we’re actively working to bring roles to Harvest! Stay tuned for more information on that soon.

If you haven’t used team tags before, we encourage you to try assigning roles to your team and filtering your Team Schedule! It’s a handy way to make scheduling more manageable. As always, if you have any questions, please drop us a line.

Export Scheduled Hours by Month in Forecast

Forecast exports are a great way to take your scheduled hours on-the-go or to calculate various future business metrics. However, while the Forecast schedule view focuses on days and weeks, business metrics are often looked at from a higher level.

Today, we’re excited to introduce a new Monthly format for Forecast exports. The exports are mostly the same, but now hours can be rolled up by month instead of just by week. You can find this option under the new “Time Format” section on the Export form:

We’ve also recently updated the “Timeframe” section, adding quick selection for the most used timeframes. This should greatly speed up your exporting, but you can still select a custom timeframe if you need to. As a bonus, we’ll also remember the options you use the next time you export.

As always, if you have any questions, please drop us a line. Happy scheduling!