Category Archives

Product Updates

  • 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]

  • Jan 16,2018

Tax season is creeping up once again. If you’re a BigTime user with a Lacerte integration, it’s time to update to Lacerte Tax 2017. Lacerte offers a step-by-step instruction If you haven’t gotten started yet. If you have, let’s dive in!

We’ll explain how to download the latest BigTime TaxLink update and why. Read on to learn more.

How to update BigTime for Lacerte Tax 2017

If you have a previous version of TaxLink installed for Lacerte, follow the steps below to get the latest version of TaxLink.  

  1. Click to My Company…Integrations, from the navigation bar in BigTime. Then select the Lacerte tile.
     
  2. Click Download TaxLink. This will launch a TaxLinkSetup.msi file. It might appear at the bottom of your browser or your Downloads folder on your machine. Locate it, and click Run to complete the installation. This will overwrite your current version of TaxLink.
     
  3. When TaxLink starts, it will prompt you to configure the new Lacerte Tax tax year automatically.
  4. When you’re done making changes in Lacerte Tax 2016, update the tax year to 2017 in your BigTime Lacerte Integration settings. In BigTime, go to Workflow … Engagement Dashboard… click the gear icon next to the words TaxLink: Active.
     
  5. Then select the current/active tax year from the picklist, then hit save.
     

You’re ready to go! All your 2017 tax data will flow into bigtime, just as 2016 did last year.

Why Update?

It’s not surprising that systems work better when they’re updated. You update your smartphone to keep it running properly, and you should do the same with Lacerte. Doing so can help prevent slowdowns and can improve productivity during the busy tax season ahead.

In this article, Lacerte offers specific system recommendations for the best results.

Stay Up-to-Date

For future updates, use Lacerte’s Update Scheduler to download Lacerte Tax 2017 updates automatically. Schedule a time and date for it to scan for updates, or enable the Update Scheduler to continuously run and periodically check for them. Either way, once downloaded, you’ll be notified to install the updates when you open Lacerte next.

Alternatively, you can use Lacerte’s Update Notification setting (Options…Setup tab). It notifies you of Lacerte Tax 2017 updates, but they won’t be automatically downloaded. You, the user, initiate the download.

BigTime and Lacerte Integration

If you haven’t integrated BigTime with Lacerte, what are you waiting for?!

Easily integrate Lacerte Tax 2017 and BigTime with our synchronization application called TaxLink. We’ll sync your tax data automatically. Now you can assign and track staff assignments, manage and edit return statuses, and group and filter engagements from a single dashboard in BigTime.

Below are several articles that can help you get started:

  • Lacerte Integration 101. Get detailed information on how the BigTime and Lacerte integration works. You’ll also learn how to view Lacerte data in BigTime.
  • Install Taxlink. Get step-by-step instruction for downloading and installing Taxlink.
  • Manage Lacerte Integration Settings. After integrating with Lacerte and installing TaxLink, you’re ready to manage your settings.

If you have questions, please contact your sales representative or email us at [email protected].

  • Dec 29,2017

The standard mileage rates for cars, vans, pickups, or panel trucks will change on January 1, 2018, according to an IRS release. The rate will be $0.545 for every mile of business travel. This means you need to update your unit of measure in BigTime.

Follow the steps below to make this change.

Select My CompanyField Values from the navigation bar.

This will direct you to your Basic Categories window. Once here, you’ll select the sub-category Expense Codes.

Scroll down on the left-side of your window and select Travel: Mileage (or a similarly titled travel expense value).

Then, scroll down on the right-side of your window, so you can update your cost and sale rates. Remember to click “Save” to save your work!

To learn more about expense codes and units of measure, check out our Knowledge Base article on the topic.

  • Dec 06,2017

Plan for your businesses’ needs and get more tailored information at your fingertips with BigTime’s new features and fixes. This product release is bound to improve your BigTime experience.

Revenue Projections

Take the guesswork out of business planning by making revenue projections, an option in the resource allocation feature. Forecast revenue by project or across staffers, and find out which months you’ll be cashflow positive. Or learn which staffers are bringing in the most revenue during the next three months.  

There are two ways to forecast revenue:

  • Hourly (Rate*Budget): revenue projections based on your staffer’s hourly billing rate.
  • Fixed Fee (% of Overall Budget): revenue projections based on the fixed amount that’ll be billed to the client for the work you do or services you provide.

After you make your selection, you can run a report to get revenue projections. Use this information to get an aerial view of your business. For example, you can see who’s bringing in the most revenue. Or find out which months you’ll have a surplus of cash.

Firms with the Premier subscription can access resource allocation. If you’re an existing Pro user you can get a free 14-day trial to see if resource allocation fits your business needs. To find out more, contact your sales representative or email us at [email protected].

Invoice Update

You now have the option to exclude unapproved time and expenses from your invoices. This customization option allows your invoices to include the information that’s important to you and relevant to your client.

Task Editor

We’ve made the Task Editor even easier to use: you no longer need to hit “save” when you make an edit to the Task Editor. Turn on the “autosave” feature and BigTime will save your changes automatically.

Fixes

We’ve made several smaller fixes to improve your BigTime experience. Here are a few of them:

  • Improved load times on the Task and Project Dashboards for customers with greater than 10,000 items on either list.
  • Clear out the fields "sales tax rate" and "notes" on existing invoice line items.
  • Invoices now always list fees first and then expenses.
  • View report-level receipts on a staffer’s expense history window.
  • Specify bi-weekly start dates on the timesheet settings window.
  • Improvements to timers, including an edit feature that allows staffers to pause a timer, make edits to it, and restart it again.
  • Submit time using the iPhone app without selecting a task.

We’ve added several fields to the report engine for task-based and project-based reports, and expanded the drill-down options. You’ll also find that percent values and currency values are formatted correctly on all reports.

  • Sep 28,2017

We’re excited to share the changes you’ll find on our Knowledge Base (KB). You can expect:

  • New articles on existing and recently added features.
  • Video tutorials.
  • Updates to existing articles.

Now you’ll have the resources you need when you’re burning the midnight oil and have a BigTime product or feature question.

New KB Articles

There are several new article series that you’ll find helpful, including:

We’ve also written articles on our new and updated features: task editor, resource allocation, and timers.

Video Tutorials

Are you a visual learner? Then, you’ll love our new video tutorials.

We’re creating short video tutorials that explain BigTime functions and features. These videos are ideal for people who prefer watching how to use a feature, instead of reading an article about it.

Below are a few recent video tutorials that we’ve added to the KB:
Editing Picklists in BigTime Video Tutorial
Customizing Expense Entries Video Tutorial
Your Company’s Lexicon and Settings Video Tutorial

These tutorials are short and to the point. That way, you have the information you need to get up and running with BigTime quickly.
NOTE: Search “video tutorial” on the KB homepage, and you’ll see all of the videos we’ve created.

Updates to Existing Articles

As with anything in life, sometimes things become out of date. For this reason, we’re proactively updating existing KB articles, so you have the most relevant and accurate information at your fingertips.

Recently updated articles include:
Calendar Integration with BigTime
Setting Up Service Fees
Assign Staffers to Security Groups
Security: Create Staff Departments with Managerial Rights

The KB is one way we’re trying to make your BigTime experience a great one. Keep an eye on our blog for more KB updates.