With Forecast you can have one truth from Project to Accounting, aligning the work you do with the work you get paid for. You can manage your projects from proposal to invoicing with time tracking, expense reporting, and budgeting.
Below we have compiled 5 actionable tips to help you invoice the client straight from the project view.
- Schedule the right Project resources- find the right team member with the right role to work on a task.
- Ease Time registration - allow everyone to enter time per project or task, and enjoy easy billing and reporting on Time and Material contracts
- Streamline your expenses - manage new and recurring expenses, and approve them
- Powerful financial reporting: Explore your staff utilization & performance; Understand project progress and profitability; Learn about your team’s time and costs; Drill into time that is not invoiced, expenses and fixed amounts.
- Create professional invoices - get paid for the work you do with free-form line items(manual entries), seamless on-billing of timesheets & expenses as well as Fixed Price project..
Schedule Project resources
Delivering a profitable project starts with having the right team to finish the job. In Schedule you can find the right team member with the right role to work on a task, without having to overbook people.
Let’s say you need a developer to work on this new website you’re building for a client. After you have scoped the project into different phases(milestones) and defined the necessary tasks, you might have assigned a role to the task, but not a specific team member yet.
You can then go to Scheduling - People view and find the right person who has time available to work on the project or specific task.
Step 1: In Schedule - People view:
Expand Unassigned task, and you will see all unassigned tasks that you will need to find the right team member for. To go back to the example with the Developer. Let’s filter to see only tasks that require a developer.
Step 2: Apply a filter and filter by Role and select Developer.
You will be able to see that you have three tasks that need to be assigned.
You can see that Frank is 10h underbooked for next week, so you can assign the 9h task “Setup security and SSO” to him, and thus increase his utilization.
Ease Time registration
For long-term projects with dynamic requirements and flexibility to modify the scope, we advise using Time and material contract rather than Fixed price contract. With Time and material, you are billing clients for the amount of time spent on a specific project and hourly rates of labor. Which brings us to the next point and main advantage of Invoicing clients directly from the project management tool as Forecast where can allow everyone to enter time per project or task, and enjoy easy billing and reporting.
Before you invited or create a team member and assigned them to a task/project, which they should report time on, roles and rates should be set up. In this way, you will be able to monitor the project financials and integrate it into an accounting systemor
Step 1: From the admin panel, you can add roles and then assign a team member to the role.
When you click to add in the role, the column People with the role will reflect a zero (0), this means that there are no team members that have been assigned this role yet. You can add as many roles as you'd like.
Step 2: Add rate cards
Rate Cards allow you to assign and set standard billing rates based on the Roles you create such as a Developer for instance. The rate cards are what determine how a resource should bill a client. You might have seniority structure to your rates, e.g. Jr. Developer and Sr. Developer. You can create specific Rate Cards that can be associated to a specific Client, Region, and/or Project Type. Rate cards are used for assigning the correct rate for the budget of your projects. There are two ways of creating a rate card. The first is through Admin Panel, while the second is directly from within a project, which users with Managers permission and above can do.
Then add in the desired Rate per Role. You can choose to set a Default Rate or specific ones to accommodate different roles. You can also assign foreign currencies to your rate cards (we describe how to do this below).
When team members are assigned to a role, and when they register time that will be affected in the Budget of the Project. You can also adjust your team members salary over different periods to reflect promotions and salary increases.
Step 3: Track and report your billable and non-billable time.
Tracking and reporting time in Forecast is easy. You can enter your worked hours on the preloaded tasks in your time page or manually add them by clicking on the add time button. The AI also suggests tasks you may want to register for, or just use the built-in Timer to start tracking time automatically.
You can register time in Forecast directly on:
- Non-project time
Time can be recorded from:
- Any page by clicking on the Start Button - easily enable the Timer via your Profile
- The Workflow page
- Directly in the Time Page
- On the Task Modal
After selecting from the list of items, the selected task, project, or non-project item will be displayed at the bottom of the popup along with a time field, where you can input your hours.
Within the Log Time Entry popup, on the far left-hand side, you'll notice a field named Suggestions.
This Suggestion Tab houses all of your tasks, which are collected by the AI and are chosen based on your actions. The purpose of this Suggestion Tab is to make it even easier to add on a task that you might have otherwise forgotten you had.
Copy/Paste Time Entires Feature
From the Week view quickly add time from one day to the next without having to type your hours on each separate time field.
Step 1: From the Week View, Right Click over a date/day and select Copy time to another day.
View your Teams Time Entries
Click on the Dropdown icon next to Day, Week and Month selector, and pick a team member to view their time entries
Streamline your expenses
Expense items are linked to projects, not tasks, and thus will only show up on the project budget. Anybody with the Permission Level of Collaborator, or above, can add a new expense item. However, expense items must be approved by at least a Controller before it's added to the project budget.
Use cases could be for: a dinner you host with your client, some equipment you needed to rent, or something you purchase on behalf of your client or directly as part of the project.
Conveniently, you can attach files to Expense Items, and you can easily specify the Cost, Price, and Markup of the expense.
After being approved by a Controller, or higher, the expense item will be added to the project budget.
Reporting your Financial Situation:
The reporting section of Forecast also helps you get an overview and perspective on your budgets, and how each of your projects is progressing. In fact, you can customize your reports to your needs. You can create as many as you want for both internal and external use, and the categories span over projects, people, business, and the portfolio.
You can have regular reports and interactions between customer and team. And management will be able to see how much time the team spends on each feature and commit so that you can motivate it to work more efficiently on billable tasks and reduce the amount of administrative and non-project tasks.
With the Reports you can gain insights into:
- Your staff utilization & performance
- Project progress and profitability
- Team’s time and expenses
- Uninvoiced time, expenses and fixed amounts.
Example of a budget related report component:
Example of a utilization report
Example of team’s time registrations report component
Create professional invoices
Create invoices that encompass Deposits, Fixed Price, Time & Materials, or Manual entries.
This Invoicing feature is located within each project, so you can create invoices on specific projects, which you can then bill to your clients. The primary function of this is to help you keep track of what has been billed and what has not it. Essentially, its purpose is so that Project Managers and their Accounting departments can be 100% aligned.
You can integrate you 3rd party financial applications in Forecast, different accounting solutions such as QuickBooks, Xero (see all integrations here) and export Forecast invoices into your system.
Please Note: This guide is written for permission levels of Controller and Admin.
Creating an Invoice
Step 1: Access the Project
Step 2: From the sub-menu click on the three dots icon and select Invoicing.
Step 3: Click the Create New Invoice button on the top right-hand corner. Once clicked, a modal will pop up. Once clicked, a modal will popup.
Step 4: Select the type of invoice you would like to create. You can choose between:
- Deposit: ideal for upfront payments
- Fixed Price: ideal for retainer projects
- Time & Materials: only take into consideration time registrations
- Manual: add whatever invoice line items you wish to invoice
Once you've determined the type of invoice you want, proceed to fill out the pertinent information for the invoice. You can group by:
- Time registrations: Takes into account all time registrations. (ideal to illustrate to clients what your team worked on)
- Tasks: Aggregates all the work and simplifies the invoice.
- Person: Aggregates all of the tasks your team worked on.
- Role: Illustrates all of the billable hours, aggregated per role.
- Milestone: Aggregates all billable hours per milestones.
- Sprint:Aggregates all billable hours per Sprint
Step 5: Once you have reviewed and approved the invoice, change the status to: Approve, Sent, or Draft Keep in mind that an Invoice that is set to Approved or Sent can no longer be edited.
Step 6: Duplicate, delete, or export. Click on the three dot icon to either duplicate or delete the invoice. You can also click on the download icon and export the invoice as a csv. file which you can share with your accounting team.
Connecting your Projects with your accounting allows for intelligent management of your data. It lets you automate a lot of the work you'd previously have to do manually. It'll keep data up-to-date no matter the project, the time of the day, or whether somebody is on vacation. It happens automatically. It saves you time and effort, so you can focus on all the fun stuff rather than dealing with transferring numbers, making sure there are no typos in your invoices, making sure everything is aligned and reported the right way at the right time. This connection takes care of all such rather boring, but quite frankly important tasks.
We hope you enjoyed this guide and wish you happy managing in Forecast!