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I work as a non billable member in my company. But I complete my tasks assigned to me on time for my project. Is there a chance that in future my company will fire me just because I am non billable?

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    Is your job by definition non-billable? Or are you assigned some internal tasks to keep you busy?
    – Laurent S.
    Apr 1, 2021 at 16:18
  • Did someone tell you that being designated non-billable would somehow lead to your termination? Where did you get this idea from?
    – esqew
    Apr 2, 2021 at 18:38
  • @esqew it seems fair to assume that being non-billable (different from non-valuable, but still) could drive you to be in the first to go out if money comes short...
    – Laurent S.
    Apr 2, 2021 at 20:39

4 Answers 4

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No.

It's simply a cost code and I wouldn't worry about that, this usually means that the work you do isn't billed to the end customer but is internal only. Individual projects within the company might well have their own cost codes so that they can track use of resources against projects.

Ask your manager or team lead for clarification on what this means for your company and role.

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  • You might also hear "direct" and "indirect" which mean the same thing.
    – pboss3010
    Apr 2, 2021 at 18:19
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In some other answers I talked about the existence of so-called "bullshit jobs". However I still think that in a lot/the majority of the cases all people who work at a company contribute something essential to it. Nobody is employed just because they are such a nice guy/gal. If the cleaners wouldn't clean the office of your company it would soon become such a mess that people cannot work there anymore. Whatever tasks you are working on are probably needed for the "billable" persons to do their work or is in some other way essential for the company. So the distinction between "billable employees" vs "non-billable employees" and "profit centers" vs "cost centers" is actually hogwash. In most cases all employees do important work that makes it possible for the company to earn money. Personally I think that categorizing some employees as "non-billable" or working in "cost centers" is disrespectful to them.

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  • I must say I subscribe to this idea of bullshit jobs. But non-bullshit jobs may not be essential to any company as such. And non-billable doesn't mean bullshit or non-bullshit job. I don't see how being in a "cost center" is disrespectful. Everybody should be reasonable enough to admit that some costs are necessary and/or happily paid because of the service they provide, still they are costs. That's a fact, not a sign of (dis)respect...
    – Laurent S.
    Apr 2, 2021 at 20:49
  • I think it's disrespectful because the distinction is made between employees working in "profit centers" vs employees working in "cost centers". All employees have costs associated with them in the form of their salaries. But as I explained in my answer all employees contribute something useful to the company as well. Apr 3, 2021 at 2:34
  • @thieupepijn: billable means that the employees hours are directly passed along to clients, non-billable means they aren’t. It’s an important factor in project planning. It doesn’t of itslf mean that the employee is less or more valued. Depending upon the project and the employee it can easily go either way.
    – jmoreno
    Apr 4, 2021 at 12:06
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Yes.

I mean, they’re not going to just up and fire you for spite for being non billable (unless you work for a purely consulting company in which case they may). But in any organization, when hard times come, the first cuts are always in cost centers, not profit centers. So on the whole, working as a source of cost carries less job security than if you were directly contributing to revenue.

That doesn't mean you're sure to get fired for being in a cost center, but if you are comparing the two in terms of job stability, profit always comes first.

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    not sure why this is down voted
    – Pete W
    Apr 1, 2021 at 23:35
  • I don't know either. I will do a drive-by up-vote.
    – Simon B
    Apr 2, 2021 at 13:15
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    When you're a contractor, and your job title changes to "contingent worker" after your initial contract period is up, that's when you know you're in trouble!
    – employee-X
    Apr 2, 2021 at 21:55
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The answer is yes, no, and maybe.

Within some companies tasks can be classified as billable or non-billable. Some employees are almost always billable, or almost always non-billable. Many are a mix.

You see this type of designation when the bulk of the income from the company is through tasks/contracts with a customer. You see this with government contractors. But it can also be done with other types of business. An auto repair shop can only use the time of the mechanics to bring in income. A law office only generates income from the work of lawyers and other similar employees.

In these types of companies everything else needs the billable hours to be maximized to be able to pay their salaries and benefits. This non-billable work is still vital. This non-billable work is still valuable. These jobs can include accountants, sales people, security, warehouse, and management. Of course management has to watch all expenses to be able to pay all the employees, and all the expenses from the billable hours.

Companies that have large percentage non-billable employees can struggle. Each billable employee needs to be 100% billable, or they need to charge a very high rate to fund the rest of the operation. If they need too high of a rate they can lose the ability to when new contracts.

Some tasks being done by highly skilled employees can be non-billable. Some companies have internal teams doing research and development to create new products. These new products can later generate new business, or can be used to allow company employees to be more efficient and therefore generate more income per hour.

Yes it is true that non-billble employees are generally the first things that can be cut if money is tight. But billable employees are also vulnerable to job cuts. If they spend too much time in an overhead state while waiting to be put on a contract, they may find their only option is a change of position or unemployment.

Some employees are mixed. In companies I have work for the first level of management is expected to be moistly billable. The rest of their hours are doing management and business development tasks that the customer won't pay for. As their empire grows their expected billable percentage is reduced. Once they start having mangers working for them they rarely have billable hours. Of course if their empire suffers enough losses in business they may find themselves back to doing billable work.

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