Sometimes you have leftover time for a job/project that you just can’t invoice. The best way to clear that time is to write it off.
You can do this in two ways:
The Abtrac document manager is where Abtrac can keep a reference to the documents associated with any Job/Project and where these documents are stored on your local machine/server.
The installation of this will allow you to easily manage and access these documents from within Abtrac and the Job/Project itself.
Work Items are a list of things to do on a job. They are lower than tasks, (aka stages or phases). They are small steps of work that can be ‘ticked off’ as they are completed. If you already have a QA Check List of some sort for each project, then Abtrac Work Items are quite possibly the exact same concept. Examples of a work item might be a day-long site visit, or a 4 hour piece of work in the office to write a report. Each of these and more may be all under a task (aka stage or phase) of “Feasibility Planning”.
Most offices start the week and look ahead several weeks sketching out work to be done and spreading it around the office for people to do. Using Abtrac work items the benefit is everyone knows what is being done and how long it is expected to take.
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.
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.
Progress Claim Numbers can be automatically generated for each project and invoice in Abtrac.
In Abtrac you can transfer a project from one client to another using the project transfer function.
This feature is most commonly used where:
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
Employee Charge Rates in AbtracOnLine can be as simple or as flexible as required.
This article explains how to set up default charge rates, multiple rates for employees and how to hide rate details from timesheet users.
Employee Charge Rates in Abtrac can be as simple or as flexible as required.
It’s possible to enter unique charge rates for specific clients, jobs, projects, tasks, stages or activities. These unique rates will override the default charge rate for the specified employees (or in the case of activities the rates will apply for all employees)
Here’s how to ensure you have the right charge rates in the right location for your billing requirements.
There’s a bit of a hierarchy as to which rate is applied when, read on for details.
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.
Before you start using Actual vs Budget reports it’s useful to understand where the data they display comes from. We’ve included a definition for the relevant columns, (including an example calculation where applicable) in this article, to be read side by side with Creating and managing tasks, and Actual vs Budget Reports.
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:
Where to enter project budgets, as fee estimates, percentages or building the scope with detailed estimates by employee
How to set up templates and clone frequently used tasks when creating new projects
Scope Creep Notifications. How to enable a warning on timesheets when task budgets are exceeded
For project management and billing estimates
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
One Frequently asked question from new Abtrac users is whether to use Tasks or Activities in their timesheets.
Here’s the difference between the two: Tasks are Quantitative, Activities are not.
Tasks are also sometimes called Stages or Phases.
They should be exactly the same as budget items on the fee agreement you document to the client.
You give each task an estimate of both time and fees, and then analyse them later using reports such as Actual vs Budget by Task, or Invoice Preparation Information Report. These reports compare your proposed amounts, time spent, and amount invoiced.
You can learn from them over time to see how good staff are in getting through work allotted to them as well as how good you are in your estimates. If necessary you can modify your thinking and estimating to more correctly budget the next job based on what you’ve learnt from previous jobs.
Examples of Tasks (depending on your line of work): Concept Design, Feasibility Study, Developed Design, Media Monitoring
If Tasks are the bits of the job you’re working on, Activities are what you’re doing on each bit.
Really activities are to save you typing the same comments over and over again.
There are limited reports based on activities other than those used when reviewing timesheet entries and preparing descriptions for invoice lines.
Activities are generic across all jobs whereas tasks and the values associated with them are very much specific to a particular job, especially when there are variations and extras on a job by job basis.
Examples of Activities (again depending on your line of work): Office Work, Travel, Research, Meetings, Site Visit
In AbtracOnLine from Reports > in the Clients and Jobs section > Abtrac will provide a list of Possible Jobs to make Non-Current.
This extra data check ensures you are only making non-current jobs that are definitely no longer in use.
Abtrac addresses can be as simple or as flexible as required. Here’s how to ensure you have the right address details in the right location for your billing requirements.
Addresses can be stored at the Client, Project and Invoice level. There’s a bit of a hierarchy as to which address is shown on your invoice, it works out like this: