Category Archives

Product Updates

  • Nov 20,2018

As you draft invoices this quarter, you’ll be impressed with our invoice redesign. It offers a clean, easy-to-use interface with new features, several of which you’ll use in conjunction with invoice review and approvals—a new BigTime feature that verifies that drafted invoices are complete and accurate.

Our invoice improvements are just part of the many features and fixes in our November 2018 release. We’ve also added new reports, created a new display for receiving expenses with receipts, and made several software updates.

Here’s what you can expect from this release:

  • Invoice Review and Approvals
  • Invoice Redesign
  • Pick Up Unbilled Time and Expenses on a Drafted Invoice
  • Utilization Dashboard Link Directs You to a Time Detail Window for a Staffer
  • New Display for Reviewing Expenses with Receipts
  • New Reports, Reporting Fields, and Other BigTime Enhancements

Read about these new features and fixes below.

Invoice Review and Approvals

Gone are the days of sending an invoice with a typo or mistake. BigTime’s invoice review and approvals catches invoices errors before your client does.

The idea is simple, but effective: have several reviewers, of your choosing, review a drafted invoice. Your designated team of reviewers accepts or rejects an invoice; rejected invoices are re-submitted, and the review process starts again. This optional feature ensures that invoices are complete and accurate.

NOTE: The number of approvers depends on your BigTime package. Firms with IQ Pro have up to two approvers. Firms with Premier have up to four.

Plus, you can choose to streamline the invoice review process with leapfrog. Say you have four invoice reviewers, and the secondary reviewer approves an invoice before the primary one. With leapfrog, the primary reviewer is skipped and the review is left to the tertiary and final approvers.

Invoice Redesign

Our invoice redesign not only looks sleek, but it’s also a practical tool to use with invoice review and approvals.

On a drafted invoice, you can:

  • Preview an invoice in your various invoice templates,
  • Take snapshots of invoices to capture what an invoice looks like in a particular template,
  • Start the invoice review and approval process,
  • Email an invoice to a client, and
  • See the status of an invoice: where it is in the review process.

Click here to read more about these features in detail.

Pick Up Unbilled Time and Expenses on a Drafted Invoice

Add time and/or expenses in WIP (work in progress) to a drafted invoice by clicking the “Pickup Unbilled Time & Expenses” hyperlink in a drafted invoice. Enter a date range to have BigTime to pick up time and expenses during a designated period of time. Or leave the date range blank to include all of the time and expenses in WIP.

This feature is designed to save you time. You no longer need to delete and recreate the invoice if a charge was not included on the original invoice or new charges have incurred since the invoice was drafted.

Get a detailed view of how staffers spend their time on a particular project with the “time detail” window on the Utilization Dashboard, a feature that’s available to Premier users. Hyperlinks for input and billable hours provide a time-detail window for a specific staffer and project.

Plus, you can customize this view by adding or removing columns using the “gear” icon.

New Display for Reviewing Expenses with Receipts

There’s a quick way to view receipts in expense review and approvals. Click into the details of the expense entry, and then click on the grey and white view option (highlighted in the red box below). This will change the display for the user reviewing the expenses.

Expenses with receipts will display to the right of the expense entry. This will expedite the approval process: reviewers no longer have to open each expense entry and click on the image to download and view.

New Reports, Reporting Fields, and Other BigTime Enhancements

We’ve made changes to several reports. We’ll highlight these changes below:

  • Activity reports are a new report type that allows users to report on “activities” created in BigTime.
  • Resource allocation reports contain new fields—input fees, remaining projections, and projection ratios—that you can add to when customizing an allocation report.
  • Invoice and project list-type reports have a field called “total credits” that shows the dollar amount for an invoice line item with a negative value. For invoice type reports, this field is specific to any invoice with a negative line item. For project-list reports, this field will give you the total dollar amount of negative line items on all invoices.
  • Add more people to the invoice emails you send from BigTime. There’s a “more” option when emailing an invoice out of BigTime. Click this option to select project contacts, team roles, or yourself to the Send To, CC, and/or BCC fields.
  • A firm can set which date is used when posting expense reports to QuickBooks. In the QuickBooks integration setting, either post the submission date of the expense report or the post date. This setting is located in QuickBooks tab: Integration Settings…Manage…Time/Expenses tab. The setting is labeled “Post Expenses using the Submission Date.”’
  • You have more options when showing time and expenses separately on invoices. In our last release, we included an option to show time and expenses separately on a printed invoice. To enhance this feature, we’ve included two more options: “Additional Settings” and “Sort By.” Now you can sort, summarize, and subtotal when showing time and expense details separately.
  • Bulk update invoice statuses to “Sent.” This option will allow you to add a “sent” date that’ll apply to your selected invoices.
  • QuickBooks payments show in the projects payment history screen. Open the project and navigate to the “Billing History” tab, and click “Payment History.” Any payments that were applied to your BigTime invoices will appear here.
  • Opt-in staffers to receive email notifications. In Notifications…Email Settings there’s a setting that automatically enables email notifications to new staffers.
  • Update rates on the “Time Detail” tab on an invoice. The current rate on that project will apply to the time on only that invoice.
  • Allow staffers to view the Utilization Dashboard. Access to the Utilization Dashboard will require two user rights to be enabled: “Access Task Budget Data” and “Reporting, All Access.” Turn on “View/Manage Any Staffer” for access to all staff.
  • Set a “bill rate lock date” (Invoicing…Configure..Defaults). Rates will be locked on any submitted time prior to the set lock date.
  • The “Update Rates” button is only available to users with these user rights settings enabled: “View/Manage Any Project” and “Create Invoices.” Financial administrators will always have the ability to Update Rates as long as Create Invoices is enabled.
  • Show AR on invoice templates. Include outstanding invoices on invoice templates without having to include line items. Find this setting below the “Include Line Items” setting.
  • Bulk update time. Make changes to several time entries at once on your Project Dashboard. Once there, click on the tab with three dots, select Time/Expense History from the picklist, and click on a hyperlinked dollar value under the Input hours column. Check the entries you want to update, click Bulk Actions, and select Update from the picklist. A new window will populate where you can update the time for the selected entries.
  • Deactivate a project. Premier users have the option to deactivate a project, which prevents entering and/or editing allocations for that project. Find this option on the “project” tab of your Project Dashboard, near the bottom left of the window. Click the white triangle next to Delete Project, and select “deactivate project” from the picklist. Deactivated projects can be reactivated by clicking on the same option.

We hope these enhancements make it easier to use essential features, like invoicing, and get the details you need to have a productive fourth quarter. Keep an eye on our blog for more BigTime news and updates!

  • Jul 06,2018

You’ve got a BigTime and Salesforce account, why not integrate them? Then, the two systems can communicate with each other and share relevant project and client details, like budgets, invoices, and team members. The benefits of this integration are many.

First, prevent double-data entry. Each time a Salesforce opportunity reaches a specified stage in your sales pipeline of your choosing, it’s automatically added in BigTime as a project. Then, you can include project details in BigTime and sync this information with Salesforce. As a result, you’ll save time—since you no longer need to enter the same information into two systems—and reduce human errors that inevitably occur when doing tasks, like data entry, repeatedly.

Another benefit is keeping your sales and project teams connected. Communicating across teams is part of managing a project effectively. Now your project and sales teams can easily stay informed, with access to relevant project details. Project managers can better allocate resources and plan for future work, since they can see project statuses. At the same time, sales teams can use Salesforce to see details, including tracked time and submitted expenses.

How the Integration Works

Integrate your BigTime and Salesforce accounts by downloading and installing the BigTime app in Salesforce. Then, connect BigTime and Salesforce, so the two systems communicate with each other.

Once the setup is complete, a Salesforce opportunity, once it reaches a certain stage in the sales pipeline that you determine, will be added as a project in BigTime. In BigTime, you’ll add project and staffer details, like budgets and staffers’ bill rates. Then, manually or automatically sync your BigTime data with Salesforce, in order to view project and client details within Salesforce.

Are you ready to get started? Reference these Knowledge Base articles to get up and running with the BigTIme/Salesforce integration:

The BigTime/Salesforce integration is one more reason why BigTime is your go-to project management system.

  • May 22,2018

Our latest fixes and features are bound to save you time. You’ll find needless steps removed and others automated in order to make your BigTime experience a great one.

Save some time and effort by using the “copy expenses” feature on the summary page of a submitted expense report. Turn on the automatic “save” feature in resource allocation so you don’t need to manually save changes. These are just a few ways you’ll benefit from our latest release cycle. Read on to learn more.

New BigTime fixes and features:

  • Customize headings on invoice templates
  • Autosave in the resource allocation editor
  • Roll up existing task reports to the group level
  • View inactive projects when running custom reports
  • Toggle between resource allocation line charts
  • Copy multiple expenses
  • Default subtotal setting when creating bulk invoices
  • Update historical cost rates

Next, we’ll provide more information about each of these points.

Customize Headings on Invoice Templates

Customize “invoice summary” and “invoice details” headings on your invoice templates. Make either change by editing a PDF invoice and finding step three. “Invoice summary” is under the header “Line Items” and “invoice details” is under “Time/Expenses.”

Autosave in Resource Allocation Editor

You no longer have to remember to click “save” when using resource allocation. Select the “autosave option,” located in the top-right corner of your resource allocation editor window.

Roll Up Existing Task Reports to the Group Level

If you’re using task groups and sub-tasks, there’s a new report to check out: the “task summary” report. It allows you to view your data for the overall task group.

In the image below, notice the separate budgets and input hours for individual tasks, subtotaled by task group.

View Inactive Projects When Running Custom Reports

Choose to include inactive projects in your custom reports. After you create your report, you’ll click on Edit Report Settings (top-left corner) and select “select a specific project.” Once you create the report, a new window will pop up where you can check the box next to “include inactive,” to include inactive projects to the picklist.

Toggle between Resource Allocation Line Charts

View your allocations in a weekly or monthly view. Or toggle back and forth between them.

Copy Multiple Expenses

Save yourself some effort and time and use the Copy Expenses feature on the summary page of a submitted expense report.

Click Copy Expenses and checkboxes will appear next to all of your expenses (on the left-side of your window). Then, select the expenses you want to copy. The expense date defaults to today’s date, which you can edit if needed.

Default Subtotal Setting when Creating Bulk Invoices

When you create bulk invoices, the “subtotal setting” (on the gray sidebar when you create a bulk invoice) defaults to the setting that was last used when you created an invoice for that project. It’s a way to use the bulk create feature more effectively if you’re subtotaling invoices in different ways.

For example, in the image below “by task” automatically populates in the field Summary/Subtotal Setting because we used this setting when we last invoiced ABC Studios.

Update Historical Cost Rates

Admins now can update cost rates for staffers and have this rate apply to their historical (submitted) time—based on a date range that they select.

For example, to update John’s cost rate to $100, we went to his Staff Dashboard (My Company…Staff List and selected our staffer, John). We entered his new rate, $55, into the Cost Rate field and will click the hyperlink Update Rates.

A new window pops up, and we’ll select a date range to apply this new rate to.

Once I click Update Rates, the rate I entered will apply to any hours, submitted and unsubmitted, that fall in that date range.

Other fixes and features:

  • Project managers can assign any staffer to a project team and allocate hours to them—no special management permissions are needed
  • Link multiple staffers to the same QuickBooks vendor
  • Input notes for a payment that you log into BigTime
  • For consistency, “Staff Group” and “Management Group” are now labeled “Department”
  • Time and expense reports include fields for invoice payment information
  • The billability dashboard on your home screen is updated with your firm’s billability percentage from a month, year, and quarterly perspective
  • View staffers’ timesheets and see their capacity
  • Import payments from QuickBooks, which will update your balance in BigTime. This option can be turned on or off within QuickBooks (QuickBooks…Integration Settings)

Plus, you can now integrate BigTime with your Salesforce account. This is an exciting new feature bound to improve efficiency and keep teams informed and connected.

We’ve been busy the last few months! You can look forward to even more fixes and features soon!

  • May 15,2018

You’ve got a BigTime and Salesforce account, why not integrate them? Then, the two systems can communicate with each other and share relevant project and client details, like budgets, invoices, and team members. The benefits of this integration are many.

First, prevent double-data entry. Each time a Salesforce opportunity reaches a specified stage in your sales pipeline of your choosing, it’s automatically added in BigTime as a project. Then, you can include project details in BigTime and sync this information with Salesforce. As a result, you’ll save time—since you no longer need to enter the same information into two systems—and reduce human errors that inevitably occur when doing tasks, like data entry, repeatedly.

 

Another benefit is keeping your sales and project teams connected. Communicating across teams is part of managing a project effectively. Now your project and sales teams can easily stay informed, with access to relevant project details. Project managers can better allocate resources and plan for future work, since they can see project statuses. At the same time, sales teams can use Salesforce to see details, including tracked time and submitted expenses.

How the Integration Works

Integrate your BigTime and Salesforce accounts by downloading and installing the BigTime app in Salesforce. Then, connect BigTime and Salesforce, so the two systems communicate with each other.

Once the setup is complete, a Salesforce opportunity, once it reaches a certain stage in the sales pipeline that you determine, will be added as a project in BigTime. In BigTime, you’ll add project and staffer details, like budgets and staffers’ bill rates. Then, manually or automatically sync your BigTime data with Salesforce, in order to view project and client details within Salesforce.

The BigTime/Salesforce integration is one more reason why BigTime is your go-to project management system.

  • May 01,2018

Have a BigTime expert show you how to access and use BigTime features when it’s convenient for you. If it sounds too good to be true, think again. We’ve put together short knowledge base (KB) video tutorials and recorded webinars to help you get up and running with BigTime faster.

Video Tutorials

Our video tutorials cover a range of topics, from creating an expense entry to posting invoices to QuickBooks, and they’re only a few minutes long.

Below are a few videos to get you started:

For more videos, go to the KB and type “video tutorial” in the search box and a list will populate.

time billing software knowledgebase

Webinars

Maybe you’re new to BigTime or need a refresher on how to use a feature. Either way, it’s also worth checking out our recorded webinars, where a BigTime expert gives detailed explanations on important software features.

Here’s what you’ll learn about in our three recorded webinars:

  • Project management: find out about BigTime’s workflow, so you can manage your staff’s workload.
  • Invoicing: discover how to use each of our invoicing calculators: manual, time and materials, and fixed fee. 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: put your data to good use by using our pre-built and custom reports.

We also post “how-to” videos on YouTube, so you’re bound to find what you need!

  • Mar 13,2018

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

“Greatness… is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline,” Jim Collins wrote in his book Good to Great regarding successful businesses. His words ring true today when considering why customers are upgrading their BigTime subscription to Premier—our most comprehensive subscription level.

Many customers starting out with BigTime tend to opt for Pro. It’s a popular option for those who need to track time and expenses, create invoices, manage workflow, and integrate with other applications like QuickBooks and Slack, among others. Yet a surprising number of BigTime users recognize the value of Premier. It offers the benefits of Pro plus several additional features that provide customers with the details they need to run a great company.

This blog post will highlight several benefits that are unique to Premier. That way you have the information you need to decide if this service is the right choice for your firm.

1. Resource Allocation

Access to resource allocation is a point of distinction with Premier. It takes the guesswork out of business planning. Resource allocation is a powerful tool customers use to anticipate monthly revenue, get detailed and summary reports, and plan for future work by month or week. Plus, you can gauge project and staff performance with real-time dashboard graphics and reports.

It takes a little time upfront to allocate hours and budgets for a project and some discipline to use resource allocation on a regular basis, but doing so pays dividends in return: productivity will soar. Now you can effectively manage multiple projects and staffers, stay on budget, and hit deadlines. In short, resource allocation makes knowing and managing the details easy.

2. Multi-Level Approvals

Multiple individuals can review time and expenses for your staff when you use multi-level approvals. Think of it as a thorough review process before time and expenses are billed to the client and/or posted to your accounting system. These extra reviews can catch small, but costly mistakes—like erroneous time entries.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to have use all levels of approval. In the image above, we only have two levels of approval.

3. An Integrated Solution

With Premier, you’ll find the integrated platform you’re looking for in order to increase productivity and identify growth opportunities. How?

Premier offers a four-part solution to make BigTime your one-stop-shop:

  • Manage new demand. Can you take on a new project? Is your client’s timeline achievable, given the other projects you’re managing? Is the budget realistic? Get the answers to these type of questions with resource allocation.
  • Schedule and plan. Manage a project using our task editor, where you can create and assign tasks and budgets. Then, use resource allocation to allocate hours to staffers, and keep them within their work capacity.
  • Track and bill. Since BigTime is a cloud-based service and accessible across devices (smartphones, tablets, and PCs), staffers can log time in their timesheets anytime, anywhere with an internet connection. We also offer a sophisticated invoicing system where users customize invoices to match the likes of their clients.
  • Collaborate and analyze. Create summary or detailed reports on any number of relevant aspects of your business, from task status to staff performance. Then, share these insights with teammates.

The resources that Premier offers can help you take your business to the next level. In fact, if you’re an existing Pro or Express user you can get a free 30-day trial to see if resource allocation fits your needs. To find out more, contact your sales representative or email us at [email protected].

  • Mar 06,2018

With multi-level approvals, up to three individuals can review time and expenses for your staff. This new feature provides a thorough review process before time and expenses are billed to the client and/or posted to your accounting system. These extra reviews can catch small, but costly mistakes—like erroneous time entries.

The following roles can do approvals:

  • Staff Managers,
  • Project Team Leads, and/or
  • Financial/Administrators.

Any combination of these roles can function as your “primary,” “secondary,” or “final” approval, as reflected in the image below.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to have use all three levels of approval. In the “timesheets” image above, we only have two levels of approval.

The Workflow

The workflow for multi-level approvals is streamlined. Each reviewer receives a notification when it’s their turn to examine a staffer’s submitted time and expenses.

Based on the image above, this is how the multi-level workflow works:

  • Staffer submits time and expenses.
  • Team lead (primary approval) reviews the submission and approves or rejects it. Once approved, the submission moves to the next stage in the review process.
  • Staff Manager (secondary approval) reviews the submission and approves or rejects it. Once approved, the submission moves to the final stage in the review process.
  • Financial/Admin (final approval) reviews the submission and approves or rejects it.

Only approved items will be available for the next approver to review. For example, approved items from the primary level will be available to review on the secondary level.

The multi-level approval feature is only available for Premier subscribers. To learn more about this feature or our three product levels, please contact your sales representative or email us at [email protected].

  • Feb 27,2018

Do you prefer allocating budgets by month or week? Now you can make that call with resource allocation, where you can choose between monthly or weekly allocations. Despite your selection, you can run reports at both the weekly and monthly level.

Which option is best? Ultimately the answer is firm-dependent, since there are benefits to both. Weekly allocations mean you’ll allocate budgets by week (see image below). This view provides a more granular look at your business and staffers, for both planning and reporting purposes. It’s ideal for tracking shorter projects, typically less than 12 weeks.

Monthly allocations, on the other hand, mean you’ll allocate budgets by month (see image below). It’s a good option for firms with bigger project teams, and longer durations.  Similarly, if you tend to manage your firm month-to-month (eg – assignments are monthly, project metrics are reported monthly, goals are monthly, etc), then the monthly option is more appropriate for your firm.  

You’ll select your allocation period the first time you edit allocations (see image below). Then, BigTime will use the format you select.

Weekly vs Monthly Reporting

You can run allocation reports at the weekly or monthly level—no matter which data entry format you choose. Each report has the option of being run either “weekly” or “monthly.”

When we roll weekly allocations up to calendar months, some weeks span multiple calendar months. BigTime determines which month a given week falls into based on the number of calendar days in each straddled month. See the weekly allocations for January 2018 below as an example.

The first week in that period actually begins on 12/31/17. In that week, six out of seven calendar days fall in January 2018—so that’s the month we’ll place those weekly allocations into for reporting purposes. In other words, we’ll shift a given week into the following calendar month if there are at least four calendar days in that subsequent month — regardless of the date the week “starts” in.

Setting your allocation period is just another option to customize your BigTime experience, so you can have the details you need when you need them.

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. To find learn more contact your sales representative or email us at [email protected].

  • Feb 20,2018

Save time and get the BigTime answers you need by using our Knowledge Base—or the KB, as we refer to it around here.

The KB is BigTime’s resource center. It consists of articles and user guides that explain how to use specific BigTime features and functions.

In this post, you’ll learn about the KB, including the topics we cover and how to access it. That way, you’ll have a reliable source to turn to the next time you need a refresher on using timers or a clear explanation on creating invoices.

What’s in the KB?

The KB gives you the information you need to get the most out of our product—whether you’re just starting out with BigTime and need help creating tasks, or you’re a seasoned BigTime user looking for nuanced articles on billable utilization rate. In either case, you’ll find clear, step-by-step instruction.

The KB is organized by several major topics, such as:

  • Managing your Account
  • Managing Projects
  • Users and Staff
  • Tracking Time
  • Tracking Expenses
  • Tracking Tasks and Budgets
  • Invoicing
  • Using Reports

There are many related articles under each subject, so you can delve into as much detail as you’d like!

How Do I Access the KB?

Access the KB from BigTime’s homepage. Follow these steps:

1. Type bigtime.net into your browser.

2. Click Learn…Knowledge Base, near the top of your screen. It’s a good idea to bookmark this page for easy access.

3. Click on the square that resembles your login window.

If you click “IQ Enterprise,” then you’ll be directed to the articles relevant to BigTime’s Enterprise environment.

If you click “IQ Pro/IQ Express,” you’ll then pick from two options:

  • Using BigTime primarily contains “how-to” articles and other tips and tricks you should be aware of. This is a great resource when you have a question about a specific feature.
  • BigTime Configuration contains articles to help you get up and running with BigTime. You’ll learn how to integrate BigTime with your calendar, for example, or integrate with QuickBooks.

If you’re looking for a specific article, type your search term into the box, next to the magnifying glass icon near the top of your window, and click on the icon. BigTime will generate a list of results to pick from.

When you have a BigTime question, the KB is a good place to start to get quick answers to your questions—to matter how big or small.

  • Feb 15,2018

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!