Monday, 15 December 2014

How to start with TIME TRACKING while BILLING by the hour




When you work for your clients on a daily basis, either directly by the hour or indirectly by the fixed price for a project (which more or less reflects your time anyway), tracking your time is basically a must. Typical users from this category are consultancy companies, graphic design and architecture studios as well as most of the freelancers.

If you find yourselves in the description above, primaERP TIME TRACKING is a tool built for you. We have collected the best practices from our users and our own experiences, and put it into this article. We hope it will help you avoid the most common mistakes and learn as much as possible from primaERP and from your time.

Step 1: Organizing your primaERP account

If you´ve billed your clients by using rough estimates or you´ve done some tracking in Excel or some pencil & paper system in the past, this step is the most important one. Every minute that you´re going to invest in figuring out the correct way to set up your account, will pay off in multiple ways in the future.

A) Clients


Clients are at the top level of your hierarchy - they´re the ones you bill your work to and with whom you negotiate tasks, prices and so on. You can have a lot of them or just a few - in both cases, start with adding them to your account in the Manage -> Clients section. Besides the name, you can also set a code to quickly search the list (especially helpful, if you have a lot of them) as well as add contact persons in the client details if you want (not obligatory). 
       
Create Client
If you bill your clients only by the hour, without needing a detailed overview of your work (projects, tasks and/or activities), you can already invite people to the account (see section D) and start tracking your time right now.

B) Projects and tasks  


You usually need primaERP projects when you work for your clients on multiple, bigger orders and you want to bill each one separately.  

In case of more complex projects, you can divide your projects into even smaller parts, which are the tasks in primaERP. These are always connected to the specific Project. You can set the project and tasks up in the Manage -> Projects menu.
Create project
You may learn that you need projects and/or tasks only for some clients, but not for all of them. That is completely fine; you can combine all these different ways to track and bill your time for each respective client.

C) Activities


Activities come in handy in case you provide your clients a variety of services, which you bill with different hourly rates, such as a standard and a non- business rate. Unlike projects and tasks, activities do not depend on your customers, but rather reflect the type of service your company provides. To make working with the activities fast and simple, we recommend to keep them quite general, so that you don’t have more than 20-25 in your account.
Create activity

D) Users and Project Members


Now you have your account all set up. The next step is to invite your coworkers or friends to the app, by clicking on the settings icon on the top right and then Users.

If you work with projects and you want your co-workers to also track their time on these projects, you need to add them as members. You can do so by clicking on Manage, then Projects and then the Members tab.

Closure:

You are all done! Congratulations! You have properly set up your time tracking account, which reflects your everyday activities and allows you to track your time accurately, but still as simply as possible.

Summary:

1) Create your clients in primaERP.

2) If you work on multiple things for one client, create individual projects for those. If they are complex, you can split them into tasks.

3) If you have different rates for your services, assign activities to them.

4) Invite your co-workers to primaERP in the Settings -> Users menu.

5) Start tracking your time with the stopwatch.

6) Don´t be afraid to start in a simple way - you can always make things more detailed later.

Coming next: Pricing - how to set your hourly rates properly, without complicating your time tracking.

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