Fixed Fee (flat fee) invoice items - project association and reporting

Steve Sexton's Avatar

Steve Sexton

03 Feb, 2013 03:35 PM

Hi,

I am just starting to use Cashboard and it isn't clear to me how flat fee invoice items are associate and reported in the Project Cost vs Profit reporting. More specifically it is common to have a fixed fee billing item at the start of an engagement which does not have time associated with it - in these situations it seems like it may require for time to be captured for the reporting to show the Invoice dollar amount.

The other potential reason for the invoice amount to not show on the Project Cost vs Profit report is because it has not yet been paid by the customer. In that case I would think we would have visibility to both paid invoices and unpaid.

A related question is that it does not appear that you specifically associate any fixed (flat) fee invoice items with project tasks. If there is this capability within Cashboard could you point me to how you use it.

Please let me know if any further clarification is required.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Seth B on 03 Feb, 2013 03:53 PM

    Seth B's Avatar

    Hi Steve, your assumptions are a bit off here. Hopefully I can clear up any confusion.

    I am just starting to use Cashboard and it isn't clear to me how flat fee invoice items are associate and reported in the Project Cost vs Profit reporting. More specifically it is common to have a fixed fee billing item at the start of an engagement which does not have time associated with it - in these situations it seems like it may require for time to be captured for the reporting to show the Invoice dollar amount.

    Flat fee items are treated no differently than ones based on time. In fact, we take into account items that even have both.

    For the report to be truly useful, you need to first generate an Estimate, which should contain your estimated costs for each task.

    You then should convert that Estimate into a Project, by navigating to the Estimate, using the menu @ the top, under the estimate's name and selecting "Create Project From Estimate" (going from memory here...so the label might be worded a bit differently)

    When you then convert that Estimate into a Project and Invoice for it, you'll see those items represented in your "Actual" column on that report.

    You don't actually have to track time against a Project for that report to be useful.

    The other potential reason for the invoice amount to not show on the Project Cost vs Profit report is because it has not yet been paid by the customer. In that case I would think we would have visibility to both paid invoices and unpaid.

    This assumption is incorrect. Any Invoices generated from a project that contain time, expenses, or flat fee tasks from that project will be reflected on the P/C report.

    This does not include Invoices generated directly from an Estimate - so please keep that in mind. You actually have to create an Invoice from the Project for it to be included on the report.

    A related question is that it does not appear that you specifically associate any fixed (flat) fee invoice items with project tasks. If there is this capability within Cashboard could you point me to how you use it.

    This shouldn't be the case. If you've got your Project set up to bill by "Task Rate", have a flat fee set on it, then Invoice for it the two should be connected and the Invoice should know it's been generated from a Project.

    If you mean something else, please let me know.

  2. 2 Posted by Steve Sexton on 04 Feb, 2013 01:59 PM

    Steve Sexton's Avatar

    Believe I have got it now. The missing piece I had was having the flat
    fee on the task within the project and then directly creating the invoice
    from the project.

    It was a bit of trial and error but I think I am in good shape now.

    Just a couple other related reporting questions:

     1. it appears that only labor that is process through the payroll
    reporting is posted to the Project Cost vs Profit report. Is there any
    way to see the labor cost associated with a project that has not been
    processed through the payroll reporting?

    2. I don't see a utilization report (i.e., percentage based upon some
    standard total hours like 2080) of any sort - figure I will just need to
    export it and use Excel to calc billable and total resource utilization -
    just wanted to see if there is some basis of a utilization report and I am
    just not seeing it.

    Thanks again.

    Best Regards,

    Steven Sexton
    Partner
    p: 508.344.2050
    email: [email blocked]
    www.servelocity.us.com

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Seth B on 04 Feb, 2013 02:10 PM

    Seth B's Avatar
    1. it appears that only labor that is process through the payroll reporting is posted to the Project Cost vs Profit report. Is there any
      way to see the labor cost associated with a project that has not been
      processed through the payroll reporting?

    No. The payroll tool is simply there to turn billable hours into expenses - which is then used in the P/C report.

    Are you expecting to be able to track this any other way? I'm always interested to learn of other workflows or methods people are used to.

    1. I don't see a utilization report (i.e., percentage based upon some standard total hours like 2080) of any sort - figure I will just need to
      export it and use Excel to calc billable and total resource utilization -
      just wanted to see if there is some basis of a utilization report and I am
      just not seeing it.

    Use the "advanced search" section of the Reports tab to search Timesheets. From here you can list all entries across all projects, employees, and date ranges.

    Were you looking to see this another way? If you're used to a specific visualization I'd be glad to take a look at it.

  4. 4 Posted by Steve Sexton on 04 Feb, 2013 09:47 PM

    Steve Sexton's Avatar

    Hi Seth,

    Quick question - I seem to have gotten the invoice amounts straightened
    out, but the hours captured in the estimate do not seem to be carrying
    through to either the Cost vs Profit report or the Project Detail Report
    summary. The estimated hours do appear in the task detail of the Project
    Detail Summary. I am not sure if there is an internal batch job the
    summarizes these or if I may have made an error.

    As for your other question on view, I do have I have a few thoughts
    related to the cost vs profit report. These may be a little more granular
    than what a SMB would need but as we consult to large high tech services
    organizations it aligns to how we think about the ability to manage margin
    drivers in the business.

    For expenses, I would typically want to see a breakout between labor
    expense and travel/materials expenses. In those cases where expenses are
    non-billable they can be significant to margin leakage if not managed
    tightly.

    Specific to the labor expenses, a breakout of what is approved actual
    (essentially what has been processed with the Payroll tool) and that which
    is pending based upon time submitted but not processed through payroll.
    This way we have a view to total cost incurred even though we may not have
    had a chance to process payroll (basically apply the labor cost to the
    project).

    The other more advanced feature would be for the PM to update the current
    forecast of the project, a separate field from the original estimate, to
    give us a lifecycle picture of the original estimate, actuals to date, and
    forecasted project profit. I anticipate that your current intent is to
    have the user update the estimate as the project progresses and that would
    carry to the Estimate reporting in the Cost vs Profit report. Let me know
    if I am wrong here in my assumption.

    I can clarify further if needed.

    Best Regards,

    Steven Sexton
    Partner
    p: 508.344.2050
    email: [email blocked]
    www.servelocity.us.com

  5. 5 Posted by Steve Sexton on 04 Feb, 2013 09:52 PM

    Steve Sexton's Avatar

    Hi Seth,

    Another couple questions on expenses:

      * Based upon the Advanced reporting criteria, it does not look like I can't select a view where I don't want to see a particular value for any of the fields. In this case, my hope was that I could select all expenses except for those with the category of Payroll so I would have a view a material/travel expenses that I could use for export to reimburse employees.
      * On the export itself, it looks like the standard expense export does not provide me the Bill To field thus I don't have direct visibility to highlight which expenses are incurred by the company vs the individual that is to be reimbursed. Hopefully this makes sense.

    Thanks again for the help.

    Best Regards,

    Steven Sexton
    Partner
    p: 508.344.2050
    email: [email blocked]
    www.servelocity.us.com
    [cid:36A821D3-79D6-4D85-AFFE-E7E7D0E19017]

  6. Support Staff 6 Posted by Seth B on 04 Feb, 2013 10:21 PM

    Seth B's Avatar

    Thanks for your feedback. I'll try to touch on the most important points.

    Quick question - I seem to have gotten the invoice amounts straightened out, but the hours captured in the estimate do not seem to be carrying
    through to either the Cost vs Profit report or the Project Detail Report
    summary. The estimated hours do appear in the task detail of the Project
    Detail Summary.

    You'll need to link me to a specific project in question so I can look at this. The explanation doesn't really tell me enough.

    Based upon the Advanced reporting criteria, it does not look like I can't select a view where I don't want to see a particular value for any of the fields. In this case, my hope was that I could select all expenses except for those with the category of Payroll so I would have a view a material/travel expenses that I could use for export to reimburse employees.

    If you need that level of detail you'll need to run the search, then export to Excel or Google Numbers to do more advanced metrics. Hiding at a specific field level, or excluding certain categories is beyond the scope of Cashboard at this point.

    On the export itself, it looks like the standard expense export does not provide me the Bill To field thus I don't have direct visibility to highlight which expenses are incurred by the company vs the individual that is to be reimbursed.

    I think you mean the Paid To field - which was missing from the CSV export. I just added it and I'm pushing that change live to the server now.

  7. Support Staff 7 Posted by Seth B on 04 Feb, 2013 11:13 PM

    Seth B's Avatar

    The issue here is that our P/C report assumes that you're either only estimating time on the estimate document itself, or the project. If your project has an estimate, it takes hours from there.

    The items on your estimate are "custom" items, which is the wrong way to be doing things for how you wish to operate.

    In the future do the following

    • Create an Estimate
    • Add Task items to the Estimate
    • These items on the estimate should both have time and cost estimated
    • Convert your Estimate into a Project
    • Work, invoice, etc.

    This way the report will behave as expected.

    Hope that helps.

  8. Seth B closed this discussion on 04 Feb, 2013 11:13 PM.

  9. Steve Sexton re-opened this discussion on 05 Feb, 2013 10:18 AM

  10. 8 Posted by Steve Sexton on 05 Feb, 2013 10:18 AM

    Steve Sexton's Avatar

    Hi again – I also forgot to ask if there is a possibility to have a flag (checkbox similar to if something is billable) so that the admin could denote which expenses have been reimbursed. It would provide the admin and employee an easy means to track reimbursed vs non-reimbursed.

    Best Regards,

    Steven Sexton
    Partner
    p: 508.344.2050
    email: [email blocked]
    www.servelocity.us.com
    [cid:CD8120DA-38ED-4179-B580-CA452FDC349A]

    From: Steven Sexton <[email blocked]<mailto:[email blocked]>>
    Date: Monday, February 4, 2013 4:52 PM
    To: Seth Banks <[email blocked]<mailto:[email blocked]>>
    Subject: Questions on expenses viewing and export

    Hi Seth,

    Another couple questions on expenses:

      * Based upon the Advanced reporting criteria, it does not look like I can't select a view where I don't want to see a particular value for any of the fields. In this case, my hope was that I could select all expenses except for those with the category of Payroll so I would have a view a material/travel expenses that I could use for export to reimburse employees.
      * On the export itself, it looks like the standard expense export does not provide me the Bill To field thus I don't have direct visibility to highlight which expenses are incurred by the company vs the individual that is to be reimbursed. Hopefully this makes sense.

    Thanks again for the help.

    Best Regards,

    Steven Sexton
    Partner
    p: 508.344.2050
    email: [email blocked]<mailto:[email blocked]>
    www.servelocity.us.com
    [cid:36A821D3-79D6-4D85-AFFE-E7E7D0E19017]

  11. Support Staff 9 Posted by Seth B on 05 Feb, 2013 12:55 PM

    Seth B's Avatar

    Nothing like that exists currently. You can use the description / notes field I'm the interim.

    --
    Seth
    Sent with Sparrow (http://www.sparrowmailapp.com/?sig)

  12. Seth B closed this discussion on 06 Feb, 2013 02:26 PM.

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