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  • 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!

  • Nov 12,2018

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” said Peter Drucker, the late management guru and writer. This quote underscores why utilization rates matter: it’s a way to measure performance in order to get the most from your employees.

Utilization rate refers to time spent doing billable work. Fred, for example, has a utilization rate of 75%. This means he spends most of his time doing tasks he’ll bill to a client. By contrast, Max has a utilization rate of 30% because he spends most of his day on non-billable work: attending internal meetings and doing administrative tasks. Usually, the higher the utilization rate, the better.

This post explains four reasons why utilization matters to your firm.

1. Work on the right tasks

Utilization can tell you where employees spend their time. Do they spend time on non-billable work, like administrative tasks, or are they logging billable hours?

People typically don’t know how they spend their time each day. Max may not realize how much time he spends on tasks that an administrator can handle. That said, an employee’s utilization rate can be enlightening to both employees and managers, and keep everyone “in the know.”

2. Know the details

A high utilization rate doesn’t always tell the entire story. Fred has an overall utilization of 75%, but he’s logging most of his time to a low-paying client with ever-changing demands. Since he’s one of your top performers, you want him working on projects for your higher-paying clients.

Some software packages show you the utilization rate by project. This gives you the detail you need to make informed decisions.

3. Increase employee productivity

Many companies use utilization as a metric: if Max improves his utilization rate from 40% to 60%, he gets a bonus at the end of the quarter.

Max may work a bit smarter—spending time on billable projects and reducing time spent non-billable ones—since he knows that his utilization rate is being tracked.

At the same time, managers need to be realistic about utilization rates. A rate of 100% is unlikely, since there’s almost always some non-billable work employees do. Max will have to attend a status meeting or fill out some administrative form at some point during the quarter, neither is billable.

4. Improve project planning

Better your project planning with utilization rates. Say you have five employees working on a website design project, but they each have a utilization of about 50%. What’s going on?

Low utilization rates can alert you to the situation so you can inquire further. Maybe your demands are too high and have spread your employees too thin working on multiple projects along with several internal tasks.

Drucker’s quote resonates today because we live in the world of big data, where just about everything can be measured including utilization. It’s one way to help get the most from your employees and boost your company’s bottom line.

  • Nov 08,2018

Are your staffers being used to their capacity? Are they logging billable hours? What’s their billable productivity rate? These are important questions that project managers had trouble answering—until now.

Know where your staffers stand with BigTime’s Utilization Dashboard.* It takes the guesswork out of staffer productivity and performance. This customizable Dashboard shows staffer utilization based on allocated hours, inputted hours, and billable hours for specific projects. Plus, you can see these details based on department and/or various cost centers.

This post explains how to find the Dashboard and highlights several features on it, so you can get the most from your staff.

Access and Customize Your Dashboard

Customize your Dashboard by using the filters on the gray sidebar. You’ve got many filters to choose from, and you can use them in any combination. Let’s explore your options, starting at the top with “Date Range.”

Date Range

Enter the time period that you want to get utilization details for, such as the past quarter or year. The date range filter can select full months. In the image above, we selected two month time period, April and May. (Even though the date range says April 1 to May 1, BigTime is pulling data for all of April and all of May.)

Click on the textbox under “Date Range” to enter your desired date range. Two calendars will populate, and you’ll select a month and year. Then, click “Apply” to apply your changes.

Project and Staff Cost Centers

Add filters to project or staff cost centers. The cost center sections allow you to add filters for staff role, service offering, or N/A. Staffer department is another filter option for staff cost centers.

Cost centers are extra, customizable fields that firms use as they like. Some firms use them to refer to the department responsible for a cost. If an engineer purchases a new computer, the cost will be allocated to the engineering department. Make cost centers useful to your firm by changing the name of a cost center (My Company…My Company…Lexicon).

To add one or more field to each filter, click on the white triangle under the desired header and check the box(es) next to the field(s) you want to add.

Notice the three boxes at the bottom of the sidebar. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Show Non-Billable Projects means you want to see projects used to track non-billable hours, like vacation time.
  • Select Projects and Select Staffers allow you to select the specific projects and staffers, respectively, including inactive ones. Check the box next to one or both options and a picklist will populate, so you can make your selection(s).

Filter changes made in this gray sidebar will impact the data that populates to the Dashboard itself, which we’ll explore next.

Use Your Utilization Dashboard

The Dashboard gives you more detail than you can imagine! We’ll walk through a simple example to highlight some of the details you can glean.

Notice we’ve set the date range filter (on the gray sidebar) from April 1 to May 1, so our Dashboard will populate with details during that time period.

We’re viewing the Dashboard from the “Staff Role” view. (See the top-right button. We’ll explain how to change the view later in the article.) Staffers who’ve logged time during the selected date range are hyperlinked, as you can see in the image above.

When we click on Ben’s hyperlinked name, we can see all of the projects he’s logged hours to (they’re listed below his name), along with many more details that we’ll explain next.

Here are some key points to keep in mind, moving left to right across the tabs in the image above:

  • Capacity: Ben’s work capacity is 352 hours. So there were 352 hours available for him to work during our selected date range. This number is based on the capacity you set for the staffer on their Staffer Dashboard.
  • Allocated/Budgeted: We allocated 312 hours to Ben over six projects. BigTime automatically calculates his utilization rate (312 / 352), which is 89%. Notice that BigTime calculates the utilization for each project, too. Get a detailed view of allocated hours by clicking on a hyperlinked number under the “Hours” column. A new window will open to the resource allocation editor if you need to make changes.
  • Input Hours: The number of hours Ben has logged during the selected date range is reflected in the 209 number. See a breakdown of Ben’s inputted hours and his input utilization rate for each project under the “Hours” and “UTIL” columns, respectively.
  • Billable Hours: The number of billable hours Ben has logged is reflected in the number 209. See a breakdown of Ben’s billable hours and his billable utilization rate for each project under the “Hours” and “UTIL” columns, respectively.

The bottom of the Utilization Dashboard reveals the grand totals for each of the columns explained above.
Change Dashboard Views
Let’s move to the top of your Dashboard and explore some more customizable features.

Change Dashboard Views

Let’s move to the top of your Dashboard and explore some more customizable features.

Modify how your Dashboard looks and organize the data with one of these filters:

  • None: You don’t want to organize your Dashboard in a specific way. Instead, your staffers will be listed in alphabetical order.
  • Department: The department, such as engineering, a staffer is assigned to.
  • Staff Role: The role (function) of your staffer, like a designer.
  • Service Offering: A broad categorization of your staffers, like engineering or sales.
  • N/A: Some firms use the N/A field for their different company locations, like Boston and New York.

Note that the bottom three options are cost centers and can be changed based on your firm’s needs.

Graphs on the Utilization Dashboard

Click the red triangle under the donut graph to change your view: allocated utilization, input utilization, or billable utilization. Easily toggle among the three options.

Keep in mind that our date range is for this Dashboard is April 1 to May 1. We checked the box under “4/1/2018” to get details from the start of our date range. When we made this change, the donut graph also updated as did the numbers on the Dashboard itself. Hover over the bar graph for more detail on allocated, inputted, and billable hours.

To reset your chart, click Reset Chart at the top of your window and everything will be restored.

There’s nothing worse when staffer talent goes wasted or you over-allocate hours to certain staffers, unintentionally overworking them. These situations can be avoided with the Utilization Dashboard. It’s the latest way to get the most from your staffers and your BigTime experience.

*The Utilization Dashboard is available to Premier users. Are you interested in an upgrade?
Learn more about Premier or email us at: [email protected].

  • Nov 05,2018

You’ve long been able to customize bill rates. Now you can customize cost rates, which work in a similar way. Custom cost rates are the “exception” to the cost rate “rule.”

Each staffer has a cost rate on their Staff Dashboard. Our staffer, Jason, has a cost rate of $75, which is applied despite the task or project he logs time to. Think of this rate as Jason’s standard cost rate, or the “rule.”

However, Jason, like many other staffers, has different cost rates depending on the project and task he’s working on. Custom cost rates account for these variances. They’re the “exception” to the “rule.”

Let’s look at Jason’s custom cost rates for his project, Smith Consultants LLC. His cost rate is $80 when logs time to the “update homepage” task and $70 for the “write report” task. BigTime automatically applies the appropriate custom rate each time Jason logs time—and overrides the one set up on the Staff Dashboard.

This post highlights some of the ways to use this feature. As you can see in the image below, many combinations are possible!

Create custom cost rates as detailed as you’d like. Look at the top line in the image above: we didn’t select a staff member or category. This means anyone who logs time to the “website design” task for this project has a custom cost rate of $100, effective on July 6. By contrast, we selected and inputted specific details in each field for our staffer John Johns. His cost rate is $80 each time he logs time to the “complete audit” task, effective August 13. The point is: there’s flexibility for the rates you create.

There are two important points to keep in mind when creating custom cost rates. First, you need to select an “Effective Date.” This date tells BigTime when the custom cost rate takes effect. This field automatically defaults to today’s date, so be sure to update it if you don’t want the new rate to take effect today!

Second, enter a “Prior Rate,” which is the original cost rate for the staffer. Any time logged before the effective date will apply the “prior rate.” If you leave this field empty, then BigTime will apply $0 to time logged prior to your effective date.

Explore custom cost rates on the “Rates” tab on the Project Dashboard.

  • Nov 01,2018

It’s a common scenario. Staffers’ billable and non-billable hours bottleneck in the approval process, since it takes time to sift through both billable and nonbillable hours for each staffer.

BigTime’s billable/non-billable approval feature streamlines this process. Now you can divide up time approvals for billable and non-billable time for each staffer.

Here’s how it works. Your staffer Ruth logs billable hours to a project for Putman Associates. These hours are filtered to the lead, Henry, who sees these hours and can approve or reject them (see image below). If there’s not a team lead identified for the project, then the admin can approve or reject the hours.

However, when Ruth logs non-billable time, like vacation time, these hours are filtered to her manager, Sue, who sees all submitted time, including billable hours. However, she’s only able to approve non-billable hours.

Based on the image above, Sue sees the billable hours logged to the project (in gray), but can’t do anything to these hours. However, she can approve or reject the non-billable hours that have been submitted.

There are few things you need to have in place before you can use this feature. First, identify a team lead. When you add staffers to a project, indicate that one staffer is a team lead by checking the box under “Team Lead.”

Second, create an internal project and indicate that it’s a non-billable project (on your Project Dashboard, check the box next to “Hours/Expenses billed to this project should be considered non-billable”). Firms often make an internal project for vacation time or company training.

Third, identify a manager for the project, and grant them managerial rights over a specific department. Use the Staff Dashboard to make these changes. In the image below, our staffer has managerial rights over the Engineering department.

Keep in mind that you can update managerial control by adjusting rights in your security groups.

The net result of Billable and Non-Billable approval is this: you save time and avoid bottlenecks.

  • Oct 04,2018

You’ll find several BigTime features working better and faster. That’s the result of our recent release. We’ve made a lot of technical changes to enhance your workflow and to provide stronger security.
Read on to find out how we’ve improved your BigTime experience.

October 2018 Fixes

We made these changes to better BigTime’s usability:

  • Imported class data from QuickBooks Desktop updates automatically
  • Improved the speed on your Invoicing Dashboard, including A/R Aging
  • Fixed the Sync Agent to include QuickBooks updates, even when the “last modified” date is empty
  • Enhanced the invoicing creation process, so all work in progress appears on the invoice you create
  • View invoice PDFs in Salesforce or BigTime
  • See the custom fields you create for a project on the Project Dashboard—whether or not the field contains a space or underscore
  • Export invoices from BigTime to QuickBooks without issue

Next we’ll explain some additional updates you can expect with this release.

Better “strong password” policy

Some firms require users to have a “strong password,” which is a password that has a minimum length and complexity requirements. We’ve updated this policy so users cannot re-use a password and passwords must have a minimum of eight characters.

Add task custom fields to time and expense report types

The custom fields you create on your tasks are included in your time and expense reports.

Add a custom field to your task, as seen in the image above. Then, go to your Report Center (Reports…Report Center) and create a time or expense report. The custom fields from the task will be included in the report.

Rate updates run in the background

BigTime updates billing rates for a staffer or project automatically. However, if you want to make a change immediately, you can still click “update rates” to manually update billing rates.

Enhanced security

We go to great lengths to protect your data. That’s why we conduct a BigTime Annual Security Review each year. After this year’s review, we’ve taken several more steps to ensure BigTime is secure for you. These security updates include:

  • Adding more cross-site scripting and injection protections to keep your data safe from phishing attacks.
  • Adding more protections against elevation-of-privilege attacks from existing users within your firm. (Please note that this may require some users to request additional security rights for actions in the system they were previously able to execute with limited user rights.)
  • Enhancing file-type detectors, which help us to prevent non-image and non-PDF files from being uploaded as expense receipts or logo files.

Plus, our servers only support TLS (transport layer security) 1.2 over HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure), and the JavaScript libraries we use at BigTime have been updated.

Keep an eye on our blog for more BigTime news and updates.

  • Oct 01,2018

Most professional service companies want to improve billable utilization rate, or the amount of time staffers spend doing billable work. But how? This post gives you four ways to take action today.

1. Track time

Daily time tracking is one of the best ways to find out where staffers spend their time. Some project managers encourage staffers to track project time at the end of the day. Others prefer staffers to track time throughout their day, as they move from project to project. Either way, make tracking time a daily habit.

Convenience equals compliance. To get staffers to track time daily, choose software that makes the time tracking process seamless and convenient. That way, staffers can log their hours when working in the office, at home, or around the world. Look for time tracking software with a mobile app and the option to log time even when offline.

2. Add timesheet notes

Are your staffers adding notes to their timesheets? They should. This is one more way to understand how staffers spend their time. It’s helpful that staffer Joe works six hours on a project for Putnam and Associates, but what does he do during these six hours? Is he doing tasks that an administrative staff member can handle, like making copies and organizing meetings, or is he designing a webpage? Timesheet notes can reveal these details.

Plus, there’s another benefit. According to our 2016 study, timesheet entries with notes of 140 characters yield a 4.95% higher billing realization rate compared to those without notes. This means the small to mid-size US professional services market could increase billings by $35 billion just by adding on timesheet notes the length of a tweet.

3. Monitor data

Once your staffers log time regularly, monitor it constantly. Run reports and monitor real-time dashboards to see where time is spent and who’s working on what. How much time is spent on non-billable work, like internal meetings? Use these resources to spot trends and find irregularities.

4. Use resource allocation

Put the data you’re tracking to good use with resource allocation: a tool companies use to help manage their resources, like staffers and budgets. You decide where staffers spend their time by allocating hours to each staffer. Then, review actual hours to see if your staffers are working the hours you’ve allocated to them. Resource allocation is a powerful tool that helps you stay on the pulse of project and staff details.

Some software packages track utilization automatically with real-time utilization dashboards, where you can see a staffer’s overall utilization can their utilization rate per project. Utilization dashboards along with the resources mentioned in this post can help you increase billable utilization in order to help boost your bottom line and get the most from your staffers.

  • Sep 04,2018

Are your staffers being used to their capacity? Are they logging billable hours? What’s their billable productivity rate? These are important questions that project managers had trouble answering—until now.

Know where your staffers stand with BigTime’s Utilization Dashboard.* It takes the guesswork out of staffer productivity and performance. This customizable Dashboard shows staffer utilization based on allocated hours, inputted hours, and billable hours for specific projects. Plus, you can see these details based on department and/or various cost centers.

This post explains how to find the Dashboard and highlights several features on it, so you can get the most from your staff.

Access and Customize Your Dashboard

Click Reports….Utilization Dashboard to access the Dashboard.

Customize your Dashboard by using the filters on the gray sidebar. You’ve got many filters to choose from, and you can use them in any combination. Let’s explore your options, starting at the top with “Date Range.”

Date Range

Enter the time period that you want to get utilization details for, such as the past quarter or year. The date range filter can select full months. In the image above, we selected two month time period, April and May. (Even though the date range says April 1 to May 1, BigTime is pulling data for all of April and all of May.)

Click on the textbox under “Date Range” to enter your desired date range. Two calendars will populate, and you’ll select a month and year. Then, click “Apply” to apply your changes.

Project and Staff Cost Centers

Add filters to project or staff cost centers. The cost center sections allow you to add filters for staff role, service offering, or N/A. Staffer department is another filter option for staff cost centers.

Cost centers are extra, customizable fields that firms use as they like. Some firms use them to refer to the department responsible for a cost. If an engineer purchases a new computer, the cost will be allocated to the engineering department. Make cost centers useful to your firm by changing the name of a cost center (My Company…My Company…Lexicon).

To add one or more field to each filter, click on the white triangle under the desired header and check the box(es) next to the field(s) you want to add.

Notice the three boxes at the bottom of the sidebar. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Show Non-Billable Projects means you want to see projects used to track non-billable hours, like vacation time.
  • Select Projects and Select Staffers allow you to select the specific projects and staffers, respectively, including inactive ones. Check the box next to one or both options and a picklist will populate, so you can make your selection(s).

Filter changes made in this gray sidebar will impact the data that populates to the Dashboard itself, which we’ll explore next.

Use Your Utilization Dashboard

The Dashboard gives you more detail than you can imagine! We’ll walk through a simple example to highlight some of the details you can glean.

Notice we’ve set the date range filter (on the gray sidebar) from April 1 to May 1, so our Dashboard will populate with details during that time period.

We’re viewing the Dashboard from the “Staff Role” view. (See the top-right button. We’ll explain how to change the view later in the article.) Staffers who’ve logged time during the selected date range are hyperlinked, as you can see in the image above.

When we click on Ben’s hyperlinked name, we can see all of the projects he’s logged hours to (they’re listed below his name), along with many more details that we’ll explain next.

Here are some key points to keep in mind, moving left to right across the tabs in the image above:

  • Capacity: Ben’s work capacity is 352 hours. So there were 352 hours available for him to work during our selected date range. This number is based on the capacity you set for the staffer on their Staffer Dashboard.
  • Allocated/Budgeted: We allocated 312 hours to Ben over six projects. BigTime automatically calculates his utilization rate (312 / 352), which is 89%. Notice that BigTime calculates the utilization for each project, too. Get a detailed view of allocated hours by clicking on a hyperlinked number under the “Hours” column. A new window will open to the resource allocation editor if you need to make changes.
  • Input Hours: The number of hours Ben has logged during the selected date range is reflected in the 209 number. See a breakdown of Ben’s inputted hours and his input utilization rate for each project under the “Hours” and “UTIL” columns, respectively.
  • Billable Hours: The number of billable hours Ben has logged is reflected in the number 209. See a breakdown of Ben’s billable hours and his billable utilization rate for each project under the “Hours” and “UTIL” columns, respectively.
  • The bottom of the Utilization Dashboard reveals the grand totals for each of the columns explained above.

    Change Dashboard Views

    Let’s move to the top of your Dashboard and explore some more customizable features.

    Modify how your Dashboard looks and organize the data with one of these filters:

    • None: You don’t want to organize your Dashboard in a specific way. Instead, your staffers will be listed in alphabetical order.
    • Department: The department, such as engineering, a staffer is assigned to.
    • Staff Role: The role (function) of your staffer, like a designer.
    • Service Offering: A broad categorization of your staffers, like engineering or sales.
    • N/A: Some firms use the N/A field for their different company locations, like Boston and New York.

    Note that the bottom three options are cost centers and can be changed based on your firm’s needs.

    Graphs on the Utilization Dashboard

    Visualize your data with the donut and bar graphs at the top of the Dashboard. You can customize your data here, too.

    Click the red triangle under the donut graph to change your view: allocated utilization, input utilization, or billable utilization. Easily toggle among the three options.

    Keep in mind that our date range is for this Dashboard is April 1 to May 1. We checked the box under “4/1/2018” to get details from the start of our date range. When we made this change, the donut graph also updated as did the numbers on the Dashboard itself. Hover over the bar graph for more detail on allocated, inputted, and billable hours.

    To reset your chart, click Reset Chart at the top of your window and everything will be restored.

    There’s nothing worse when staffer talent goes wasted or you over-allocate hours to certain staffers, unintentionally overworking them. These situations can be avoided with the Utilization Dashboard. It’s the latest way to get the most from your staffers and your BigTime experience.

    *The Utilization Dashboard is available to Premier users. Are you interested in an upgrade? Learn more about Premier or email us at: [email protected].

  • Sep 04,2018

You’ve long been able to customize bill rates. Now you can customize cost rates, which work in a similar way. Custom cost rates are the “exception” to the cost rate “rule.”

Each staffer has a cost rate on their Staff Dashboard. Our staffer, Jason, has a cost rate of $75, which is applied despite the task or project he logs time to. Think of this rate as Jason’s standard cost rate, or the “rule.”

However, Jason, like many other staffers, has different cost rates depending on the project and task he’s working on. Custom cost rates account for these variances. They’re the “exception” to the “rule.”

Let’s look at Jason’s custom cost rates for his project, Smith Consultants LLC. His cost rate is $80 when logs time to the “update homepage” task and $70 for the “write report” task. BigTime automatically applies the appropriate custom rate each time Jason logs time—and overrides the one set up on the Staff Dashboard.

This post highlights some of the ways to use this feature. As you can see in the image below, many combinations are possible!

Create custom cost rates as detailed as you’d like. Look at the top line in the image above: we didn’t select a staff member or category. This means anyone who logs time to the “website design” task for this project has a custom cost rate of $100, effective on July 6. By contrast, we selected and inputted specific details in each field for our staffer John Johns. His cost rate is $80 each time he logs time to the “complete audit” task, effective August 13. The point is: there’s flexibility for the rates you create.

There are two important points to keep in mind when creating custom cost rates. First, you need to select an “Effective Date.” This date tells BigTime when the custom cost rate takes effect. This field automatically defaults to today’s date, so be sure to update it if you don’t want the new rate to take effect today!

Second, enter a “Prior Rate,” which is the original cost rate for the staffer. Any time logged before the effective date will apply the “prior rate.” If you leave this field empty, then BigTime will apply $0 to time logged prior to your effective date.

Explore custom cost rates on the “Rates” tab on the Project Dashboard.

  • Aug 31,2018

It’s a common scenario. Staffers’ billable and non-billable hours bottleneck in the approval process, since it takes time to sift through both billable and nonbillable hours for each staffer.

BigTime’s billable/non-billable approval feature streamlines this process. Now you can divide up time approvals for billable and non-billable time for each staffer.

Here’s how it works. Your staffer Ruth logs billable hours to a project for Putman Associates. These hours are filtered to the lead, Henry, who sees these hours and can approve or reject them (see image below). If there’s not a team lead identified for the project, then the admin can approve or reject the hours.

However, when Ruth logs non-billable time, like vacation time, these hours are filtered to her manager, Sue, who sees all submitted time, including billable hours. However, she’s only able to approve non-billable hours.

Based on the image above, Sue sees the billable hours logged to the project (in gray), but can’t do anything to these hours. However, she can approve or reject the non-billable hours that have been submitted.

There are few things you need to have in place before you can use this feature. First, identify a team lead. When you add staffers to a project, indicate that one staffer is a team lead by checking the box under “Team Lead.”

Second, create an internal project and indicate that it’s a non-billable project (on your Project Dashboard, check the box next to “Hours/Expenses billed to this project should be considered non-billable”). Firms often make an internal project for vacation time or company training.

Third, identify a manager for the project, and grant them managerial rights over a specific department. Use the Staff Dashboard to make these changes. In the image below, our staffer has managerial rights over the Engineering department.

Keep in mind that you can update managerial control by adjusting rights in your security groups.

The net result of Billable and Non-Billable approval is this: you save time and avoid bottlenecks.