Managing Sub-consultants

You can use sub-consultants in Abtrac if you outsource work to third parties, and need to manage them over the duration of one or more projects.

They may submit invoices for you to authorise and pass on directly to your client for payment. Alternately they may submit invoices to you which you pay and then you invoice your client as if the sub-consultant is part of your team. At that stage you may also apply a margin to the sub-consultant invoice.

The essential feature is they are submitting their claims as a series of creditor invoices as they work through their contract requirements on projects for your clients. You need to know what they have already invoiced, what is this particular invoice for, and how does it fit within the contract agreements you have with them.

How do I decide whether to enter Sub-consultant details in Abtrac, or whether to enter the costs as regular time or disbursements?

If you regularly outsource work to third parties – and they work on a number of projects with you, you may find it worthwhile to enter the costs as a Sub-consultant, managing and tracking the process with Sub-consultant reporting.

But if you outsource part of a job to a third party and they invoice you once or twice for their time and costs on a job we advise simply entering them as Disbursements on an as required basis.

If you outsource work to a third party and they invoice you on the basis of time engaged (essentially being engaged as a quasi-employee) then we advise as above to enter their invoices a disbursements. Or indeed they could be set up as employees and enter their time directly into Abtrac with appropriate permissions – so they can only see jobs in Abtrac which they’re allowed to see.

There’s a process to follow when managing sub-consultants in Abtrac:

Setting Up a Sub-consultant

Sub-consultants are entered into Abtrac in the same way as a client is entered, with one distinguishing feature. You need to tick ‘Is a sub-consultant’.

After saving the record you can then click on this button to record the type of work the sub-consultant does.

In doing so you can subsequently query all sub-consultants who do the same type of work.

When clicking on the button, a new page opens. To start with, there are no records in the grid. Before adding a record you will want to add Sub-consultant Work Types by clicking on the first of the buttons highlighted below.

This opens a pop up page into which you can add a list of generic sub-consultant work types.

After closing this pop up we can now add the sub-consultant and the type of work they do. Here, we’ve added Acoustic Services Pty Ltd with a work type of Acoustic Engineering.

The sub-consultant grid above auto-filters based on the sub-consultant you were on in the ‘Clients and Contacts’ page. Removing the filter from the column head enables you to view all current sub-consultants. Had we also added a sub-consultant rating we could have then filtered by that to find the best acoustic engineering sub-consultants.

In all other ways in the Clients and Contacts pages, sub-consultants behave like clients i.e. you can add addresses, people, jobs even if you do work for them in addition to them doing work for you.

Assigning the Sub-consultant to a Project

Sub-consultants and contractors are managed and linked to projects in Abtrac through the tasks module.

In this example we’ve moved to another job. The client is Dressings Howe Pty Ltd, the job is an audit of some sort. The page below shows the tasks (aka Stages or Phases) for this job.

We want to let a contract to Acoustic Services Pty Ltd for the acoustic engineering component of the job for Dressings Howe. To do this click on the Manage Sub-consultants button as indicated.

Here we’ve added the sub-consultant. This sub-consultant record has a tick in the box indicating we will invoice the client and therefore we will pay the sub-consultant directly as opposed to forwarding the sub-consultant invoice onto the client for payment. The agreement is the sub-consultant will invoice us $6,500. Independently, we will invoice the client $8,000.

From this popup page you can also raise a purchase order for this sub-consultant.

For more information on purchase orders click here.

Managing Sub-consultant Invoices

As the project progresses, the sub-consultant will present invoices for payment as a creditor.

From the menu, choose Time & Disbursements >> Sub-consultant Invoices.

  • Verify the sub-consultant name, enter the date on their creditor invoice and their invoice reference.
  • Enter either the gross or net amount and whether sales tax applies. A comment is optional.
  • Then save the record.

The page below presents the details you have entered. It also shows the Jobs This Sub-consultant is Working On with metrics showing what has been claimed already for each of the jobs versus the agreed fee.

Clicking on the little down arrow to the left of the job to which the sub-consultant invoice applies will post an entry into the Invoice Line Details grid.

You can adjust the ‘Amount Excl GST’ if for example the one invoice is a claim for more than one job or task. In which case you would append a second line to the Invoice Line Details grid by repeating the above.

Approving and Posting the Sub-consultant Invoice Line as a Disbursement against the Job

From Sub-Consultant Invoices > Processing Invoices Received: click above as indicated. The page below opens in which you can approve the claim, and also post it as a job cost through into a Disbursement sheet.

The cycle is complete. The job cost now appears as if it had been entered manually as an office disbursement.

Sub-consultant Reporting

There are three reports in the main reports page specifically to report in sub-consultants.

These are below the Timesheet Entries and above the Invoicing sections in the report list.

As with all other reports, these can be exported to Excel or as CSV if required, from the preview page for the specific report.

Abtrac KB# 2090