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.
This feature enables you to forecast fees and resources (hours) for a period estimated in the Tasks/Stages/Phases screen. When you provide the estimated Start date and End date of a Task, Job Forecast will disperse the estimated fees and hours within the given period on a monthly basis. You can then edit them and forecast the resources in a way that suits your cash flow. You can even forecast the Subtask resources for each Task.
Getting started with your invoicing normally starts with a few reports to see who you’re invoicing and for how much. This can then be checked with project managers to confirm they are ready to invoice the clients and if they are happy with the amounts.
There are two basic reports that can get you going. Unbilled Work Quick Summary and Timesheet Entries.
Unbilled Work Quick Summary
Unbilled Work Quick Summary is found in the invoicing section and as the name suggests this will be a summarised report that you can run against one or all jobs to see quickly whats outstanding out of all your billable time.
Timesheet Entries (Billable WIP Only)
The Timesheet entries reports are found in the Timesheet Entries section and can be used for invoicing and also general reporting. The trick is to tick ‘Billable WIP’ (shown below) to only show information that hasn’t yet been billed.
The timesheet entries report shows information based on timesheets which may be easier for a project manager to confirm what’s billable, what to hold for the next billing cycle or what may need to be written off.
As mentioned this is the simplest way to get information to show what may be billed. Both of these reports have a number of grouping and filtering which can change the information shown, and there are also other reports that show the information in greater detail. If you would like to know more about reports used for invoicing please contact us.
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.
The following reports in Abtrac include an option for scaled cost rates:
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.
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.
From System Management in Abtrac your business details can include information for multiple branches/offices.
These Offices or Branches can also be applied to each employee, job or project and carried through to invoicing and analysis.
You can then run reports by office – comparing performance and profitability between branches and managing workflow.
It’s also useful when you have one tax entity but different physical addresses, and different invoicing and accounting requirements between locations.
There’s also an option to limit access for Abtrac users by office, enabling them to only view and edit offices to which they have been assigned.
When using multiple offices in Abtrac there are a few things to bear in mind. Continue reading →
You can export any data from Abtrac to Microsoft Excel for analysis via the reports screen.
In some instances, for commonly exported screens and reports the data is ‘pre-cleaned’ and will export in a similar format to the report preview.
In other instances the export may result in ‘messy’ data, where the formatting is not as expected. This export format depends on the report data, your version of Abtrac, and your version of Microsoft.
You may need to ‘clean up’ the exported file in order to remove blanks and groupings from the original report. Read on for tips on using excel to tidy your exported information, and how to export data from reports and other screens in both AbtracOnLine and Abtrac5.
The invoice listing report shows: invoice date, project code, name on invoice, the assigned time and cost, write on/off amount, billed total (ex tax), and incl tax amounts – for each invoice number.
The report is run between two dates and will sorted by either name on invoice or by project code. You can also choose whether the time and cost data displays as either charge or cost rates. It optionally filters invoices by office, client, project, and project owners.
The invoice listing report is one of the staple reports of Abtrac, used throughout billing and in month end reporting.
The Timesheet Entries report shows : timesheet comments, timesheet units and the total charge/cost extension for each timesheet line. It also provides detailed entries for employee and company disbursements.
There are quite a few variations on the ‘basic’ timesheet entries report with options for lots of different filters, groups and sub-groupings.
A new survey came out last month – the Trends & Challenges in Architecture and Engineering International Report 2014* and it had some most interesting (but perhaps not surprising) statistics.
Architecture and Engineering firms throughout Australia and New Zealand are missing out on invoicing up to 30 percent of billable hours. According to the survey, almost three quarters of businesses indicated they recovered only 61-80 % of billable hours.
Loss of billable hours is a common challenge for all time based billing professionals, regardless of whether you bill on the basis of time engaged or a fixed price contract. It’s a challenge that needs to be constantly managed.
Some management reports in Abtrac review data by invoice, others do it by individual invoice lines. In particular some Employee Profitability, Fees Earned, and Write Off reports go into this detail.
If you want to analyse write offs (ons) at the employee or invoice level then the method you use to write off time is important.
When choosing an existing invoice line to assign WIP you need to be aware that this write off time will affect these reports. And reports already circulated will then have different recovery numbers which will obviously confuse some people.