Category Archives

Product Updates

  • 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!

  • Feb 09,2018

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!

  • Feb 01,2018

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]

  • Jan 25,2018

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.

  • Jan 23,2018

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.

  • Jan 18,2018

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]