Help me understand: rounding
April 30, 2012 7:04 AM   Subscribe

What logic is Harvest using to round up the hours I've spent on a project? And what should my general practice be regarding rounding?

I'm relatively new to contract work, and this is probably an utter no-brainer, but. I've been using Harvest to track time spent on a client project, and it rounds the time spent up to, in theory, the nearest 15 minutes. But when I view the detailed time breakdown of a project, for one example project, it shows I've logged 13.78 hours, but rounds it up to 15.75. I can't seem to figure out how it's finding 2 extra hours. It's screwing up my billing projections, and it also means I can't send an invoice through Harvest without manually changing figures.

And as a general question of etiquette, should I be rounding up? How much? And, if I do, should I tell my client? As far as I can tell, the only benefit of doing so is nice round numbers.
posted by nostrich to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
it shows I've logged 13.78 hours, but rounds it up to 15.75.

How many separate chunks of time comprise the 13.78 hours? Could it be that the program is rounding up each individual chunk of time, and then adding up all those rounded chunks? Assuming that this is what's going on, does the nature of the work demand that it be done in many small bits (e.g. the client frequently calls and asks that small tasks be done immediately), or are you just starting and stopping the work frequently for your own reasons?
posted by jon1270 at 7:12 AM on April 30, 2012

jon1270, I realised right after submitting this that that's probably the case. Unavoidable with the way I work, so I've just turned it off altogether.
posted by nostrich at 7:23 AM on April 30, 2012

So with most time tracking (attorneys) time gets rounded up to the nearest increment so 16 minutes of work is 30 minutes of billable time.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:02 AM on April 30, 2012

Oh and that goes for each chunk of logged billable hours.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:03 AM on April 30, 2012

You can set the increment Harvest rounds to in its settings
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 8:23 AM on April 30, 2012

If you decide to go with rounding, you definitely should tell your clients. Law firms do this, often with language to the effect of "we bill our time in increments, the smallest of which is a tenth of an hour." Put this language in your contract or engagement letter. It is not unethical to round your time as long as you disclose that you do so.

The smallest billing increment I've seen (as a paralegal) is a tenth of an hour, or .1 hours, or 6 minutes. So yeah, if you work on something for 7 minutes, you bill for .2 hours, but that's lots better in situations like the one illustrated earlier in this thread, where 16 minutes of work would be billed as .3 hours rather than .5. Smaller increments are fairer to the client, I think.
posted by Boogiechild at 8:36 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can set the increment Harvest rounds to in its settings

You can set to exact counting or increments of 6, 15, or 30 minutes.

Harvest Settings Help Page
posted by lampshade at 8:36 AM on April 30, 2012

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