All posts by BigTime

We’ve added several new article series to the Knowledge Base that discuss the four “field value” categories in BigTime. In each category, you can add values that populate in picklists throughout the BigTime environment.

These values, when selected, provide more detail about your staffers and projects. For example, your staffer Joe will select a “category” value, like consulting, when filling out his timesheet to describe the type of work he did. Then, run reports on the values you create. You can discover which department, sales or engineering, costs you the most money.

In this post, you’ll learn about the four “field value” categories and their values: how to use them and why they’re important. We’ll also direct you specific articles to explain each topic in detail.

Add Field Values

When you start out with BigTime, there are several categories you can add values to:

  • Basic Categories,
  • Field Values,
  • Status Codes, and
  • Cost Centers.

NOTE: Category names may vary, depending on your lexicon settings and/or industry.

Each category contains several smaller categories that you can add values to. For example, Field Values has five categories: Project Type, Contact Type, Team Role, Staff Department, and Credit Cards.

We’ll explain each major category below and will direct you specific KB articles that provide more detail.

Basic Categories is the most used category in BigTime. Add values to each of its three categories so staffers can: categorize time in timesheets; specify expenses in expense entries; and indicate payment details in client invoices.

Create and Edit Basic Categories

Field Values, a broad category that contains five smaller categories, are used to add more information about your contacts, team, and projects. You can also add company credit cards and grant staffers access to them, so they can create credit card expense entries.

Create and Edit Field Values

Status Codes, which contains three smaller categories, are used to apply detail about your projects, like its production and billing status. They also identify the status of a staffer, such as “on sabbatical” or “terminated.”

Status Codes in BigTime

Cost Centers refer to the department responsible for a cost. For example, if a sales representative purchases new sales-tracking software, the cost will be allocated to the sales department.

Add Cost Center Values

Keep up with our blog to stay up-to-date on new Knowledge Base articles!

Brian Saunders, CEO of BigTime Software, was quoted in a Workforce Magazine article about improving productivity in people-based firms.

The article focuses on the changing nature of professional work: away from “fee for time” and 9-to-5 hours and toward knowledge workers who may shift from “off” to “working” at any hour of the day or night and value-based billing.

Saunders’s answer to whether fee for time is a thing of the past? “It’s not about watching the clock,” he said, “but logging specific duties.” Since BigTime focuses exclusively on consulting firms—the billable hour (whether or not you charge for it) is a core metric for all of BigTime’s customers.

Workforce also referred to a study that BigTime published which challenged the notion that tracking every minute makes a firm more “productive.” “Actually,” he noted, “employees who log their time a few times each week” are just as billable as those who log every minute.

What makes a professional consultant more billable? It’s simple: notes. Our 2016 study found that adding a 140 character note—about the length of a Tweet—to timesheet entries produces a 4.95% higher billing realization rate compared to entries without them. In fact, quality timesheet notes are more than three times as effective at “increasing billing realization than daily time submission.”

You asked, and we delivered. This release includes a host of features and fixes that are bound to make your BigTime experience easier, better, and more customizable.

In this blog post, we’ll highlight the changes and additions you can expect:

  • Allocate hours by week in resource allocation,
  • Shift hour allocations in resource allocation,
  • Hide personal time and/or expense in “review and approvals,”
  • Hide the “remove/replace receipt” button for submitted expenses,
  • Approve service fee expenses automatically,
  • Enter a payment from the invoice dashboard,
  • Bulk post invoices to QuickBooks,
  • Import payments from QuickBooks to BigTime,
  • Show all unpaid invoices on invoice templates,
  • Choose from more options for review and approvals,
  • Show a project’s “Team Role” and/or “Team Lead” on invoice templates,
  • Include payment details on invoice type reports, and
  • Locate your invoices based on their status.

We’ll explain each one next.

Allocate hours by week in resource allocation

Choose to allocate hours by month or week in resource allocation.

Weekly allocations is the latest resource allocation feature. Some users prefer a more granular level of detail when planning for projects and making budget allocations, which is possible with this view.

Notice in the image below that we’ve allocated hours for our staffers each week during the month of February.

Shift allocations in resource allocation

Say you’ve allocated hours to your staffers for each week in February using the resource allocation editor. But now you need to shift those hours to March. Easily make this change—without re-entering the hours by clicking on the Shift button located on the bottom-right corner of the resource allocation editor.

Click Shift and arrows will populate in your editor window. Then, click the right-facing triangle to shift allocations to the right. Or click the left-facing triangle and shift allocations to the left, followed by Save.

Here’s an example: we clicked Shift and then clicked on the right-facing arrow to move our staffer’s hours from February 25 to March 11 (see image below). Then, we’ll click Save.

Say we decided to shift our staffer’s time from March 11 to March 4. So we clicked Shift and then clicked the left-facing arrow to shift the allocation to the left (see image below). Then, we’ll click Save.

Keep in mind, all staffer allocations for a task shift when you use this feature. For example, each staffers’ hours shift in “website updates: task 1” (see image above) when we shift allocations.

Hide personal time and/or expense in “Review and Approvals”

In our last product update, we added a User Rights setting to indicate if an approver can review a staffer’s personal time and expenses. (My Company…User Rights. Choose a security group…Approve Personal Time/Expenses)

However, turning “on” this user right made the main approval dashboard show more hours and expenses than actually needed to be reviewed—since personal entries were included. Now staffers’ personal hours are hidden from review and approvals.

Hide the “remove/replace receipt” button for submitted expenses

Traditionally, users could return to a submitted expense report and remove attached receipts. Now users can no longer remove a receipt after an expense report has been submitted, since we’ve removed this receipt option.

Note: The empty box outlined in blue was where the “remove/replace receipt” option was located.

Automatically approve service fee expenses

Service fees, a type of non-reimbursable expense without a corresponding payable, don’t go through the expense review and approval process. Since there’s currently no way to mark a service fee as “approved,” all submitted service fee expenses will be automatically marked with an “approved” status.

Enter a payment from the invoice dashboard

Users can now easily enter a payment from the Invoice Overview dashboard. This makes the invoicing process quicker and easier. Plus, it functions the same as entering the payment from within the invoice itself.

Bulk post invoices to QuickBooks

Posting invoices to QuickBooks just got a lot easier and quicker. Now you can post multiple invoices to QuickBooks at once. This beats opening up each invoice and posting it to QuickBooks using the cloud icon.

Import payments from QuickBooks to BigTime

Say an invoice has been posted into QuickBooks from BigTime, and a payment has been applied to that invoice in QuickBooks. In this situation, the payment will be applied to the corresponding invoice in BigTime.

Show all unpaid invoices on invoice templates

List all outstanding invoices for a specific client on your invoice template. By enabling this function, your invoice will look something like this:

Choose from more options for review and approvals

We’ve added two more review and approval options for. You can select an entire department (administrative, general, or management, for example) to complete all approvals or make a selection by project role (project manager or engineer, for example).

For example, if you select Executive department, then staffers in this particular department can complete the reviews and approvals for your firm.

Likewise, if you select a project role like Project Manager, then any staffer with this role can review time and expenses for that particular project.

Show a project’s “Team Role” and/or “Team Lead” on invoice templates

On your invoice templates, you can now include a staffer’s role on the team, such as “senior engineer” or “creative lead.” You can also indicate if she was a “team lead.”

Once you make your selections, your invoice will look something like this:

Include payment details on invoice type reports

Include payment details on invoice type reports. Within a report, you can customize a column to display certain fields, such as final payment, amount paid, and balance due.

Create the report with your selections to get the payment details you need.

Locate your invoices based on their status

Your Invoice Overview dashboard (Invoicing…Overview) is updated. Invoices with a status of “drafted” or “approved” are accessible in your Drafts. Those with a status of “sent,” “paid/closed,” “posted,” or “disputed” is accessible in the Finals tile. This tile will show all invoices within the current calendar month.

We’ll continue to keep you updated with new features and fixes. Keep an eye on our blog and our Knowledge Base!

As a consulting firm grows, it’s not enough to manage successful projects. To minimize bench time and grow profitably, firms need to dovetail successful projects together and keep an eye on projected costs/revenues so they can stay ahead of the staffing curve.

You can think of resource allocation as “budgeting 201.” So if your firm isn’t already tracking budgets and assignments, then resource allocation is probably beyond your requirements. But, if you’re on top of project budgets and already tracking teams and assignments, then resource allocation might be just what your firm needs to reach the next level of management proficiency.

What problem(s) does resource allocation solve?

As firms get bigger, project budgets and staffing requirements bump into each other. Even firms that staff 100% of a consultant’s time to a single project need to manage transitions from project to project (start times, kickoff schedules, the long “tail” that comes with larger projects, etc).

Those interactions between competing projects can lead to big profit drains, and it’s those interactions that resource allocation is meant to smooth out. With the right tool, your team can:

  1. Convert sales pipelines into predictable revenue,
  2. Gain visibility into how booked engagements will convert to revenue over time, and
  3. Smooth out the impact of competing projects on the firm’s revenues and gross margin.

Resource allocation lets your management team allocate staff to a given project—the time commitment can be spread out over a well-defined time period (weekly or monthly). Ultimately, this tool provides a “meta-project” lens for your team to line up staff capacity with projected hourly commitments into the future.

With resource allocation, you can:

  • Allocate staffer’s time to a project,
  • Plan for future work,
  • Determine optimal start/stop times for consulting assignments,
  • Organize project plans so that they are optimal for both customers and the firm,
  • Stay within budget, and
  • Minimize bench time.

What about revenue pipelines?

Because resource allocation allows you to spread the resources committed to a project’s budget out over time, your firm gets revenue allocation and pipeline management from it as well. If, for example, you know that a $100,000 project will be delivered over the course of four months, then you’ll be able to translate that larger contract into predictable revenue over time.

The longer you work with the tool, the better your team will get at creating a reliable revenue pipeline. And by adding prospective jobs and late-pipeline sales opportunities to the resource allocation pipeline, you’ll be able to see how future “potential” revenue will layer on top of your existing staffing commitments—eliminating the “hurry up and wait” dilemma so many teams face when the sales team is successful.

Who benefits from resource allocation?

While your project/engagement management team will benefit from this tool, the firm’s leadership will gain visibility into future revenues as well. You’ll be able to stay on top of staffing needs, predict and plan for downtime more efficiently and schedule new engagements more collaboratively.

Growing revenue in a consulting firm is about more than “selling more” engagements. Firms that can’t grow “smart” end up squandering the potential profits that new sales should be driving.

For firms that have reached critical mass, resource allocation provides a lens into your revenue stream that is required in order to maximize profitability. It’ll help your team stay organized and informed, putting detailed information at their fingertips so they can make informed decisions.

Other people benefit from resource allocation, too. Staffers are engaged because project managers can easily see who’s over and under capacity, and they can adjust hours accordingly. And clients stay informed. Project managers can assess the status of a project and share project statuses and/or advise clients if a project budget needs to be adjusted.

Ultimately, knowing where and how resources are being used can help your firm save time and money.

If resource allocation is right for me, how do I learn more?

To learn more about resource allocation and its capabilities, check out our Knowledge Base articles on the topic:

Resource Allocation in BigTime
Use Resource Allocation Data
Resource Allocation Reports

We also periodically offer webinars, during which a BigTime expert explains:

  • What resource allocation is and why it’s needed,
  • How to allocate hours to employees and projects, and
  • How to forecast staff availability.

To find out more, please email us at [email protected].

Resource allocation is available to Premier users. If you currently have a Premier account, then refer to this article for step-by-step instruction to access it in BigTime. Existing Pro users can get a free 14-day trial. You can also attend a free webinar and watch a BigTime expert navigate through the resource allocation tool.

To find out more about resource allocation, contact your sales representative or email us at [email protected].

You’ll benefit from our webinars, whether you’re a new BigTime customer or an existing one who needs a little help with a BigTime feature. Our webinars, which are free and take place weekly, are led by an expert from our Customer Success department.

Schedule your place in a live webinar session to learn about the following topics:

  • Project management,
  • Invoicing, or
  • Reporting.

Each webinar takes you through a specific BigTime function, showing you how to access and use it step-by-step. You’ll also learn about common mistakes and how to avoid them. Plus, ask questions as they come up and your webinar expert will answer them.

In this post, we’ll highlight the main topics our webinars cover, so you can decide if taking the time to watch a webinar is a worthy investment.

Project Management

This webinar focuses on BigTime’s workflow, and explains how to set up stages and workflow for tasks (units of work). That way, you can manage your staff’s workload.

NOTE: Instead of “tasks,” your firm may refer to these units of work as “budget items,” “phases,” “work items,” or “engagements.” It’s easy to update the lexicon settings in BigTime so that the verbiage is firm-relevant.

Invoicing

If you’re invoicing out of BigTime, the invoicing webinar is a must! You’ll find out how to use each of our calculators: manual, time and materials, and fixed fee. Each option offers a different way to calculate an invoice for your customers. You’ll also learn how to set up bill rates, print or email invoices to clients, and post invoices to QuickBooks, among other topics.

Reporting

Which staffers are under capacity and can take on more work? Which projects are over budget? Which office location is costing you the most money?

Get answers to these questions by using BigTime’s reports or creating your own custom reports. Our reporting webinar shows you how to put your BigTime data to good use by creating and using relevant reports.

If you can’t make it to a live session or prefer to go through BigTime functions at your own pace, watch previously recorded webinars. Alternatively, check out our Knowledge Base to read articles that address the intricacies of BigTime Software.

Most BigTime users rely on tasks, or units of work, to help stay within budget and meet project deadlines. Traditionally, you probably entered tasks on the Task Dashboard. But now there’s another way: use the Task Editor, located on the Project Dashboard.

This post provides an overview of creating tasks in both locations. At the end, we’ll provide answers to commonly asked questions.

NOTE: Instead of “tasks,” your firm may refer to these units of work as “budget items,” “phases,” “work items,” or “engagements.” It’s easy to update the lexicon settings in BigTime so that the verbiage is firm-relevant.

Create Tasks in the Task Editor

In July 2017, we launched the Task Editor: a new BigTime feature to enter tasks and task-related information all on the same window.

The Task Editor offers several benefits:

  • Enter task details and see details, like hours and budgets, all on the same screen. That means you no longer need to click on hyperlinks and navigate through pop up windows, as you do on the Task Dashboard.
  • Navigate easily through the Task Editor using hotkeys.
  • Add subtasks and allocate budgets, hours, due date, and assignments to them. Subtasks are helpful for those complex projects with multiple parts. In the image above, the task is in green font, and the subtasks are indented beneath.
  • Turn “autosave” on and let BigTime save the changes you make automatically.
     

Above all, you’ll find that the Task Editor is intuitive and easy to use.

Create Tasks on the Task Dashboard

If you’ve been using BigTime for awhile, you’ve probably entered your fair share of tasks on the Task Dashboard (Workflow…Task Dashboard). Here, you get some general information about tasks, like the status and due date. (You can customize your dashboard to include fields that are most relevant to your company.) Then, click on the task, hyperlinked in blue, to get more information, like budget and accounting details.

You’ll also see a task status summary at the top of your Task Dashboard, as shown in the image below.

You can update the summary by clicking on the red triangle and selecting one of three options:

  • Summary by status,
  • Summary by last modified date, or
  • Summary by due date.

This overview is helpful to keep up-to-date on tasks at a high level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to commonly asked questions.

I am an existing BigTime user and have entered many tasks on the Task Dashboard. Do I need to re-enter these tasks in the Task Editor?
No, you don’t need to re-enter tasks from the Task Dashboard to the Task Editor. Any tasks that you’ve added on the Task Dashboard are automatically added to the Task Editor.

Will my tasks appear in the Task Editor and on the Task Dashboard?
Yes, your tasks will appear in both locations.

Can I copy tasks and add recurring tasks in the Task Editor?
Yes, you can copy and add recurring tasks in the Task Editor. Plus, in both the Task Editor and Task Dashboard, you can assign new or existing tasks to one or more staffers. And you can assign multiple tasks to one or more staffers at once.

If you have additional questions, please reach out to us through email: [email protected]

You asked and we delivered. Use hotkeys for quick access and easy navigation within the task editor and resource allocation—our newest BigTime features.

In this post, we’ll share some common hotkeys you can use for each feature.

Task Editor

The task editor as a one-stop-shop for entering tasks and task-related information into BigTime. Here you can add tasks and subtasks. Then, create a budget, allocate hours, determine the due date and assign the task or subtask to a staffer.

Instead of clicking on each cell to add information, use these hotkeys:

Arrow keys (left, right, up, down) move your cursor across cells in all directions. Once you move to a new cell, the value in the new cell becomes highlighted so you can easily delete a value or enter a new one.

In the example below, we used the right arrow key to move from the budget to the hours column. Notice that “116” is highlighted, so we can now enter a new value.

Tab key moves your cursor across your screen horizontally.

Enter key moves your cursor vertically within a column.

ALT+Down arrow key opens a picklist—if you’re in a cell that uses a picklist, like “Type.” Then, you can use the arrow keys to move up and down the picklist.

Ctrl+End converts a task to a group. This means the task has a subtask beneath it.

Ctrl+Insert adds a new empty task below your cursor.

Resource Allocation

Companies use our resource allocation feature when they’re managing multiple projects and staffers. This tool helps you plan for future work, stay organized, and hit deadlines within budget.

When you start out using resource allocation, you’ll enter information about your staff and project into the resource allocation editor. Use hotkeys to expedite the process.

Use these hotkeys:

Arrow keys (left, right, up, down) move your cursor among the cells in the allocation editor. If you move to a cell with a number in it, the value will become highlighted in blue so you can easily delete or update it.

Enter key moves your cursor vertically within a column.

Tab moves your cursor across cells in the same row.

Alt + down arrow opens a picklist. Then, use the up and down arrow keys to move among the options within the list. You can also start typing to search for a staffer.

Esc closes a picklist that you’ve opened.

Ctrl+Insert adds a new empty task below your cursor.

We aim to make your BigTime setup seamless, and hotkeys are one way to make the process a little easier. Keep an eye on the BigTime blog for more news and updates.

The new year is upon us, which means you need to update the cost rates for your staffers. This blog post will explain why it’s important to update cost rates and how to do it.

Cost rates determine the profitability of your staffers and jobs, or projects, and they’re applied as soon as an entry is made to a timesheet. So make sure the cost rate field is accurate because this field can’t be applied retroactively to timestamps currently in the system.

Cost Rate Reminders

There are a few things to keep in mind as you make your updates. First, cost rates are specific to each staffer, so cost rates are updated on an individual basis.

Second, cost rates must be updated on the date you want the increase or decrease to take effect—before your staff starts entering time into the system. For most clients that date was January 1, 2018.

If you missed this date, then we can help. Please contact your BigTime representative or email us at [email protected]. However, it usually takes BigTime engineers up to ten business days to make the update, and your reporting will not be accurate on profitability until the adjustment is made.

How to Update Cost Rates

Follow the steps below to update cost rates.

  1. Select My Company Staff List from the navigation bar.

  2. Click on the name of a staffer whose cost rate you want to change.

  3. Type the appropriate cost rate in the text box under Budget/Management Settings.

  4. Click Save Changes to save your work.

Repeat the process for all staff members that this change applied to.

CHICAGO, January 16, 2018 – BigTime Software, Inc., a leading provider of pro-level time and billing tools for professional services firms, announced the launch of a new Premier product that gives enterprise managers a real-time view of reporting and data analytics to empower better business decisions. The product is SAAS based, scalable to hundreds of enterprise users and was developed with intelligence from a big data study the firm undertook last year which identified $35 billion in lost revenues annually from poor time management tracking.

“We accelerated the rollout of our Premier product based on the demand from beta customers who said the platform had an immediate impact on project visibility and profitability, particularly in managing multiple projects and large staffing teams across multiple time zones,” said Brian Saunders, CEO of Bigtime Software. “Customers view the Premier level offering as a powerful tool to manage their revenue pipeline whether they are billing hourly or fixed fee contracts.”

Within the Premier level, resource allocation offers advanced reporting and data analytics that can help project managers make key business decisions:

  • Access real-time project budget and staff allocation statuses without sifting through large amounts of information.
  • Pinpoint where staffers are spending their time to ensure team members are not over or underutilized.    
  • Inform clients of important project changes or updates in real-time.

“As firms get bigger – client and projects compete for resources. BigTime’s resource allocation product allows a growing consulting firm to manage that competition so it doesn’t negatively impact revenues,” said Saunders.

Premier is part of BigTime’s tiered product platform and includes the same capabilities as Express and Pro, such as time, budget and expense tracking, mobile access, workflow management, QuickBooks and Zapier integration, DCAA compatibility and more.

Visit BigTime.net to find out more information or request your premier level demo.

About BigTime Software

BigTime Software, Inc. is dedicated to developing practice management tools that help growing professional services firms track, manage and invoice their time. Its award-winning industry-specific solutions are designed to speak the language of more than a dozen business types, from accounting and architecture to IT services.

BigTime is a member of the Microsoft Partner Network and a Gold Certified Developer with Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks. The firm also serves the needs of OEM partners who license its technology as the critical component of their accounting and productivity suites. To see why thousands of customers rely on BigTime’s cloud-based tools to more easily manage their businesses and effectively plan for tomorrow, visit bigtime.net.

Media Relations Contact
Caitlin Markle
312-874-7603
[email protected]

CHICAGO – January 16, 2017 – BigTime Software, Inc., a leading provider of pro-level time and billing tools for professional services firms, has been named as a top ranked small business software company on G2 Crowd’s Best Software Companies 2018 list. The list recognizes the top business software companies according to customer feedback and is based on G2 Crowd’s verified user reviews from 2017. BigTime ranked no. 27 in the small business category.

“We are thrilled to be named among G2 Crowd’s Best Software Companies of 2018,” said Brian Saunders, CEO of BigTime Software. “BigTime succeeds when our customers succeed, which is why we value their opinions and use their feedback to continuously develop high-quality products that help maximize productivity and efficiency across their businesses and project teams.”  

On G2 Crowd, business software users write detailed reviews on their experiences with the software tools they use professionally. In order to qualify and be eligible for Best Software Companies 2018 | G2 Crowd, each company had to receive a minimum of 100 reviews across all of their products on G2 Crowd between January 7, 2017 and January 7, 2018.

“We are excited to release this year’s Best Software Companies list and recognize brands who are clearly providing a high-quality product for their customers,” said Tim Handorf, co-founder and CEO of G2 Crowd. “We built G2 Crowd to empower users with the ability to transparently help one another find the software solutions that best fit their needs. This list recognizes the voice of those users and they are telling us that these companies have designed great products that are meeting the needs of their customers.”

BigTime was recently recognized by CPA Practice Advisor as a top time management software for 2017. To find out what the hype is about and how BigTime can help your business management needs, email [email protected] or visit BigTime.net.

About BigTime Software, Inc.
BigTime Software, Inc. is dedicated to developing practice management tools that help growing professional services firms track, manage and invoice their time. Its award-winning industry-specific solutions are designed to speak the language of more than a dozen business types, from accounting and architecture to IT services.

BigTime is a member of the Microsoft Partner Network and a Gold Certified Developer with Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks. The firm also serves the needs of OEM partners who license its technology as the critical component of their accounting and productivity suites. To see why thousands of customers rely on BigTime’s cloud-based tools to more easily manage their businesses and effectively plan for tomorrow, visit bigtime.net.

About G2 Crowd, Inc.
G2 Crowd, the world’s leading business solution review platform, leverages more than 325,000 user reviews to drive better purchasing decisions. Business professionals, buyers, investors, and analysts use the site to compare and select the best software and services based on peer reviews and synthesized social data. Every month, more than one million people visit G2 Crowd’s site to gain unique insights. Co-founded by the founder and former executives of SaaS leaders like BigMachines (acquired by Oracle) and SteelBrick (acquired by Salesforce) and backed by more than $45 million in capital, G2 Crowd aims to bring authenticity and transparency to the business marketplace. For more information, go to G2Crowd.com.

Media Relations Contact
Caitlin Markle
312-874-7603
[email protected]