Time sheets, project cost, payroll, orders and change orders are easy to set up and manage for small businesses looking to get a quick start organizing data. For example, an engineering services organization of 50 employees can easily be up and running with only a few hours setup.
- Add time entry codes used for service personnel time entries by your payroll and/or accounting system.
- Add customer organization names for your first customer(s)
- Add team member user access for each resource required on your first project(s).
- Optionally set up resource billable rates or rate cards to track billable time in real time.
- Add the customer order.
- Add a project with the tasks required by the team to complete the customer’s order.
- Get to work! Team members can update their task progress and the time entries on their mobile phones or dashboard.
This simple startup will provide data used by payroll and accounting for your resources’ work. Optionally, you can get real-time cost comparisons between the order and the time used to fulfill the order.
Video links are provided in these steps and sometimes contain more detail than required to get started quickly. Feel free to take additional steps during your setup as desired while maintaining focus on what it takes to get implemented quickly.
Gather Information for Setup
Review the above steps and gather information needed for the initial setup. The primary data you will need is as follows:
- Time entry codes for payroll and accounting. Time entry codes are not required so skip this step if you simply enter hours without codes.
- Billable rates for customers. These rates could be managed a few ways, all of which can be applied as needed on a project-by-project basis.
- The skills used for the work, such as architect or engineer.
- The individual performing the work.
- The individual work or task assignment (least common).
- Resource (user) information.
- Email address
Company (customer) Names
Add each customer with the following settings. Leave all other settings disabled. Yes, this includes leaving “Time & Exp. Entry Enabled” as disabled. Project time will track to the customer without this setting.
- Project Assignment
Add your own company if it was not already added during your initial setup. In addition to the above settings, edit your company by clicking the company name hyperlink and then click the edit in the upper-right to expose these additional settings we want for your company.
- Indicates the company is internal…
- Enable company members to automatically communicate…
Add Resources (Users)
User administration can include a lot of information about each user. Let’s focus on those few required fields which are most important to help make your resources productive. There are several tabs on the user form with this detailed information, most of which we’ll skip and leave with the default settings.
- General Tab
- First and Last Name
- Company (your organization as added above)
- Email Address
- Username (pre-populates with email address which can be optionally changed)
- Resource Info
- Default Bill Rate for hourly billable rate (optional)
- Enable Time Entry
- Enable Expense Entry is default on, but should be removed for simplicity
Time Entry Codes
Time entry technically requires a time entry code, but no worried if you don’t use time entry codes. Place a single time entry code, such as “Work” in as your only option and it will auto-populate every entry with no interaction from the resource.
- In the time entry code setup, give each code the following values.
- Enable billable (use Yes for all unless some are NEVER billable)
- There is a Custom Code option for each time code that may be used for data mapping with accounting and payroll codes if they are not an exact match to those which the user is accustomed to in the time entry interface. This is usually not required because most accounting and payroll systems allow mapping to be customized during import.
Rates calculation are very flexible for various projects, such as time and materials versus fixed bid. We’re not going to get complicated with this quick startup to cover every possibility because you can build more structure later. Let’s cover the basics.
- Rates by user is most easily maintained at the user profile. We will cover this setting when we add your users. Skip the remaining steps in Billable Rates if you choose this option.
- Rates by skill set are added to a rate card, known in PI as a Contract. To add contracts, you will first need to prepare the following information in your configuration. You can use an unlimited number of contracts for varying rate cards. Let’s just add the standard rates for now or choose the rates for your first project.
- Resource Types (skill sets)
- Rates associated with each resource type
- Let’s add your first contract to your company.
- Click on your company as you did earlier to set additional settings.
- Click on “Add a new contract to this company.”
- Default Bill Rate optionally if applicable
- Save and view the contract to continue setting up rates.
- Use only Resource Types and only Billable Rate to complete the billable rates by resource type. This contract is now ready to be applied for rate calculations selectively on any project. You can add and use an unlimited number of contracts.
Customer Orders and Proposals
A customer order is known as a proposal in PI and they’re really the same thing. A proposal is used to propose to a customer, track the customer order for billing and to add a change order to an existing project. The number of proposals you can add to a project is unlimited to allow tracking as many change orders as necessary throughout the course of the project. You can skip this step or add the proposal after adding the project if you prefer. You will find that it will differ based on whether you propose pricing and delivery to your customer based on adding work to a project to determine what the order should communicate or vice-versa.
- Add the proposal as an add-in. It’s a free, optional feature.
- Navigate to the folder for your first order and add a proposal.
- Company (customer)
- Enter the services for the order just as you currently line item the details on your customers’ orders. Do not be concerned if this order is communicated far differently from the way you manage the work items in the project. Order line items and project tasks do not have to match and often don’t. Use the Add Time button to add each line item.
- Line # to control the display order (alphanumeric by name otherwise)
- Total will calculate or can be manually filled in without using Hours and Rate
- Description of the deliverable
- Your proposal is now ready for a project.
Add a Project
Form the view of the proposal, click Create Project to fill in the project form. Include the following.
- Status, as Active
- Sch Start Date which defaults to today
- Companies for the customer which will auto-populate from the proposal
- Company Contracts within which you will select your contract for the correct rates
Add Tasks to the Project
Task are work items that your resources see for updating the time they spent and the completion of the tasks from their device (phone) or the PI dashboard.
- Add each task
- Name, which is the task name and not the resource assignment
- Duration which is the estimated working days for the task. Skip this if you just want to add start and end dates instead.
- Start Date and End Date if you want these dates to calculate the duration.
- Resource assignments.
- Resource Type if using Resource Type to determine billable rates.
- Predecessors if you choose to calculate schedule dates using duration and dependency relationships as opposed to entering start and end dates.
- Review your project to make certain the dates, optionally budget, is aligned.
- Resources will now see tasks they should be working on now and soon (within a week) on their phones and dashboards.
Get to Work
Resources will find updating tasks and entering time to be self-explanatory if the names and dates of those tasks are accurate and up-to-date. Reschedule tasks with new dates as necessary to make sure the resources have reasonable tasks on their displays. Resources will perform the following.
- Add time entry for tasks.
- Update tasks with progress, such as Started or Done.
- Provide Comments on tasks to alert the project manager of updates or problems.
But what about all of these other things I need?
You're getting started with the right platform. Not only do you have access to many other features and functions you undoubtedly noticed during this initial setup, the PI platform allows full integration with many other systems and processes. PI is designed to be at the at the center of work in your company.