Search and Track Projects with Google Maps

The Google Maps integration is new feature to link and track your jobs spatially.

It lets you pinpoint the longitude & latitude of a project, you can save these locations to your Abtrac datafile and then search for other pinned jobs within a radius of the selected project.

The Google Maps interface is an add-on module to your subscription, subject to a monthly fee. Basic Google Maps is free for all Abtrac users. More details on how to use both these features and subscribe to interactive maps are included below.

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Managing Project Numbers

Project Numbers in Abtrac can be as complex or as simple as your company requires.

Project Numbers are managed in two locations from the Administration Settings screens.

From Administration >> Settings >> Invoice Settings you can determine the next Project Number.

You’ll need to scroll down past the Invoice Setttings and Templates in order to maximise the ‘Client, Project, Proposal, Purchase Order Numbering’ Tab.

Project Numbers can also have a prefix, suffix, and separator.

These options and the name you use for a Project (Job, etc) are managed from Administration >> Settings >> System Settings.

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Adding a percentage to disbursements

One of the ways to apply a margin to disbursements in Abtrac is to apply the mark up percentage based on disbursement types.

Under Administration >> Maintenance >> Disbursement, you can add an ‘adjustment’ to a disbursement type.

For this mark up to take effect you also need to confirm Disbursement Margin rules from Administration >> Settings >> System Settings >> Timesheets & Disbursements.

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Managing Access to Abtrac by Employee Office

It is possible to limit access for Abtrac users by office, enabling them to only view and edit offices to which they have been assigned.

This is useful to help employees find information related to their particular office, or even if you have multiple companies within the one Abtrac data file, it helps keep your companies separated.

We recommend that if you are interested in using this feature, you satisfy yourself that all relevant data in Abtrac has an office assigned.

If you have been using multiple offices for some time this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you are new to multiple offices or otherwise wary of data inaccuracies, then the Abtrac support team are available for consulting to ensure accuracy and a smooth transition.

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Actual vs Budget Reports

Once you have started using Tasks for your jobs/projects and timesheets, you can learn from them over time.

Tasks (also known as Stages, Phases or Matters) can be used to see how good staff are in getting through work allotted to them, as well as how good you are in your estimates.

You can analyse data entered against tasks either as hours worked or a budget amount.

Even if you don’t have a budget or estimate for a task (be it a variation, or something that you are charging at an hourly rate) it is a good idea to assign the item of work as a task to your job/project. You can leave the hours and fee value equal to zero.

Later on you can look at the actual time and cost assigned to the task and get a better idea of budgeting for the next job of the same type. Or you can use the tasks to simply know approximately how much time these variations to jobs typically take (and how they can affect staffing and scheduling of other jobs).

After using Abtrac for about 18 months, one of our clients, told us “I work out the budget very scientifically and then I add on 30%”.

He had learnt after using Abtrac for that period of time that he was under-quoting and thus writing off to that extent on nearly every job/project.

We would recommend reading this article about Actual vs Budget reports in conjunction with our Creating and Managing Tasks article, and also this one here which includes a glossary of the data within the Actual vs Budget reports.

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Non-Chargeable work – tracking administration and leave as jobs (projects)

When you set up Abtrac, we recommend you create a non-billable client for your own company.
For this client, enter all the administrative and leave jobs(projects) that your staff may use, and any jobs that you would like to track time against.

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Scaled Cost Rates

If you are using AbtracOnLine reports for KPI’s it’s possible to balance the reporting of employees working overtime by looking at scaled cost rates.

Scaled cost rates spread an employee cost across their actual hours worked, as opposed to cost rates which work with the required hours for the period.

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The following reports in Abtrac include an option for scaled cost rates:

  • Invoice Listing
  • Invoices vs Time and Disbursements by Project
  • Fees & Cost by Employee, Client & Project

Scaled Cost Rates are a modified version of the cost rate. They effectively scale back the cost rate across an excessive number of hours to those specified in an employees required units per timesheet.

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Bulk Edit Timesheets

This screen is useful when you need to update timesheet details in bulk, it eliminates the need to open and edit the individual users’ timesheets.

This timesheet maintenance screen is most typically used in the following situations:

  • Updating Employee rates
  • Editing Stage/Task or Activities that have been incorrectly assigned
  • Changing the job code an employee is assigning time to
  • To check if/when timesheets have been billed and
  • To check which invoice the WIP has been assigned to
  • To obtain data not available in performance reports for specific employees, in particular, to view timesheet data for employees who are no longer current.

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Creating and Managing Tasks

A Job/Project Task is the bit of the job you are working on – and can budget against. (Sometimes they are called Stages or Phases)

Tasks are the most efficient and effective way to measure and manage your jobs.

Generally, your job tasks will match those items detailed on your original fee proposal letter.

If you’re not sure whether you should be using tasks or activities, then this article is a good place to start.

There are quite a few key details to get your tasks set up and working the way you need them.
If you are new to tasks and budgeting in Abtrac, then it’s a good idea to read through this article from start to finish, but we have also summarised the key components below for quick reference:

About Tasks, Sub Tasks

Where to enter job/project budgets, as fee estimates, percentages or building the scope with detailed estimates by employee

Template Tasks

How to set up templates and clone frequently used tasks when creating new jobs/projects

Configuring the layout of the Tasks screen

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Making Tasks Mandatory in Timesheets

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Renaming Tasks to Stages – Phases – or something else

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Task Threshold Warnings

Scope Creep Notifications. How to enable a warning on timesheets when task budgets are exceeded

Entering Progress Assessments

For job/project management and billing estimates

Managing Variations

And reporting on variations by using the Actual vs Budget by Job/Project, Task and Additional Values report

Click on the links above, or read on for details

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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.

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Activating your Abtrac Subscription

When you Go Live with AbtracOnLine, you will be sent an email confirming your site is live, and letting you know your login details.

Once you have logged into Abtrac, you will need to go to the subscriptions page and enter your payment details to activate your site.

Part of this activation includes a digital confirmation that you have read and accepted our terms and conditions of use.

Once we receive your credit card details, your monthly subscription will then be activated and will continue for as long as appropriate and timely payments are being made. Read on for instructions on how to activate your site.

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Creating a Purchase Order

A purchase order can only be created for an entity we call a Sub-Consultant.

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

Before creating purchase orders, you will need to have created Sub consultants within Abtrac. For more information on Sub consultants and sub consultant invoices, please refer to this knowledgebase article.

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Managing changes to your subscription

From September 1st 2017 we are changing the way we manage adjustments to your Abtrac subscription.

We are moving to a more automated licensing system, leaving you in control of your licensed employees and your monthly licence fees.

When you make a change to your employees (or add-on modules) you will now be asked to confirm this change – and acknowledge any resultant change to your subscription fees. Read on for more details on what is involved in the new system, and how it may affect your current AbtracOnLine subscription.

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