Actual vs Budget Reports

Once you’ve started using Tasks for your 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’s a good idea to assign the item of work as a task to your 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’d learnt after using Abtrac for that period of time that he was under-quoting and thus writing off to that extent on nearly every project.

We’d 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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Bulk Edit Timesheets

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

This timesheets 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 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available in performance reports for specific employees, in particular, to view timesheet data for employees who are no longer current.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 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 projects.

Generally your project 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.

This article refers to the process of creating and assigning tasks in AbtracOnLine follow this link for the Abtrac 5 version

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

About Tasks, Sub Tasks

Where to enter 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 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 Assesments

For project management and billing estimates

Managing Variations

And reporting on variations by using the Actual vs Budget by 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’ll be sent an email confirming your site is live, and letting you know your login details.

Once you’ve logged into Abtrac you’ll 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 projects in Abtrac through the tasks module.

Before creating purchase orders you’ll 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’re moving to a more automated licensing system, leaving you in control of your licensed employees and your monthly licence fees.

AdjustSubscriptions_2NZ

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

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Using Home page widgets

From Friday Aug 25th, 2017 there will be an update to Abtrac involving a noticeable change to the home page.

Your current home page will change from this

To this

We have introduced a small number of dashboard items as “widgets” which you can control for each user group in your office. This is in response to several requests for more dashboard-like features.

Read on for a discussion of each of the new Home page widgets, and details on how to control them from Administration > Employees > User groups and Privileges.

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Auto Generate Invoice – Fee total with narration

In AbtracOnLine you can create invoices automatically from your project task and timesheet data.

The Auto Generate by Fee total with narration option creates an invoice with a pre-filled narration paragraph and then inserts the total time fee onto a single line. You can choose to itemise disbursements, or exclude them from the automatically generated invoice.

Invoice by Fee total with narration invoices look like the examples below.

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Abtrac Notifications

From time to time we send important information regarding Abtrac to all users via internal notifications.

AbtracNotificationsWhen there is a new notification you will see a red alert next to your login name, which will remain until the message has been read (or the message has expired).

This is also where you will be alerted to any unsent mail or email issues when sending invoices via email from Abtrac.

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Transfer Projects

In Abtrac you can transfer a project from one client to another using the project transfer function.

This feature is most commonly used where:

  • a project has been assigned to an incorrect or duplicate client
  • or where a project managed via a referral/intermediary client can now be managed directly.

It is not possible to merge two projects/jobs belonging to the same client.

This article is for AbtracOnLine, follow this link for the Abtrac 5 version

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