Cloning Tasks/Stages/Phases

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.

What if I use the same tasks all the time?

When you set up Abtrac we recommend you create a non-billable contact for your own company, and within that contact you can setup some template jobs and assign the tasks which are structured with the details of the most common types of jobs you undertake.

Once you have template job and tasks created, each time you create a new client job you can choose to Copy Tasks from the template job to the new job.

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Cloning Jobs/Projects

If you find that you work on the same types of jobs/projects and some of the information is the replicated from one job to another, then you can use the Clone Job/Project feature in AbtracOnline. This will simply duplicate the job and selected details and save the job to the existing jobs client.

You can setup template jobs/projects for the different types of work you do and then clone these jobs when you have a real job of the same type.

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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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Abtrac Job/Project Templates

Abtrac Job/Project Templates allow you to create templates that contain information from Abtrac such as client, job/project and task details that can be intertwined with other information, such as your proposals or mail merge type documents.

How it works is you create the different report types that you use i.e. proposal, letter of engagement etc., and within those reports, you add different sections with the required information.

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Assigning time from multiple jobs to one invoice

It is possible to assign multiple jobs/project to an invoice where a client has multiple jobs/project belonging to them.

You use this feature to write off time or to create a single invoice with multiple jobs.

  • Create a new invoice or load an invoice for a client that has multiple jobs/project
  • One job will be selected to start with. This will be the ‘master job’ for the invoice
  • You can select a subsequent job to assign to the invoice, using the combo box (shown below)
  • With that new job selected create a new invoice line and assign any time to the new invoice line
    • The line could be totally blank i.e. no narration and no amount assigned
    • Or the line can have amounts and narrations as per a standard invoice

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Importing Disbursements

Importing Creditor/Supplier Invoices, Bills etc. into AbtracOnline

AbtracOnline allows you to import disbursements via two methods.

 

If you are using MYOB Account Right or Xero the available API connections to these systems will allow you to import your disbursements with the click of a button.

If you don’t use MYOB or Xero, or if you want to import things such as PaperCut files, Linz Fees, Uber Receipts etc., then you can import your disbursements through a file-based import.

Either way,  with our import disbursement functionality you don’t have to spend hours re-keying information that you probably have available from other systems.

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Job/Project Forecast

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.

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Splitting Invoices

Sometimes a job/project needs to be split and invoiced to multiple parties with the invoices containing the same invoice line details.

Within Abtrac you’ll create the first invoice with the total amount and then split that invoice and amount between multiple parties.

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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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