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  All about Abtrac Projects

Much more than just a number to assign your time...

Part One: Project Tasks

The projects (jobs) screen in Abtrac has 15 sub-menu features, and is packed full of tools to help with your practice management. If you normally just add a new project number and description – you’re missing out.
Try making a change to your project management for 2012.
Spend a few extra minutes completing details in the projects screen and you’ll receive more in-depth management reporting, greater marketing capabilities, and find monthly invoicing quicker.

We develop Abtrac’s practice management capabilities all the time, but here is what’s in the Projects toolbox at the moment…

   Project Details, Billing Details, Associated Entities, User Defined Fields (and additional Site Fields), Diary Notes, Work Items, Feedback forms, Fee Proposals (Letter Merges), Document Management, Project Specific Rates, Tasks (and Sub-Tasks), Forecasting, Project Analysis...

There are pages that cover all these features in the Abtrac manual, and over the next few months we’ll cover more of these in depth in your monthly newsletters. So today we’ll just highlight one of our favourites: Project Tasks.

A Project Task is the bit of the project you are working on – and can budget against.
Generally your project tasks will match those items detailed on your original fee proposal letter. (In your office they might be called Stages)

To enter Tasks for a particular project, from Clients, Projects, Contacts > Projects Menu > choose the Tasks tab.
Enter the task description for each budgeted item (If you use the same tasks often you can set up default tasks from System Management).
Enter the estimated fee value, if required you can also additionally enter estimated completion hours. Abtrac will optionally copy these fees back to the Project billing details screen.
If many people at different rates will be working on each task then either let Abtrac calculate the average rate, or right click and detail Sub Tasks by budgeting hours for each person assigned to this task.

 So what is the difference between Tasks and Activities?

Tasks differ from Activities in that the task is generally a specific area of work with a specific value, whereas the activity is what you are doing and can be the same for many projects.

In an Architectural Practice your Tasks compared to your Activities might look something like this: (click on the image for a larger version)

OK, I’ve created tasks and entered my budgets into Abtrac. How does that help me?

First from the Project details screen, make sure Tasks are required for timesheet entries for this project.
With time assigned to tasks, try generating invoices automatically with itemised tasks.
Or start looking at reports with task details – Timesheet Entries, Forecast Fees, and Actual vs Budgets are good ones to start with.

By breaking projects down into stages of work it can help highlight instantly at which point a project starts to get out of control. And particularly when those tasks are often the same for other projects, it can help prevent the same scope creep on your next project.
If you'd like to talk about making better use of Abtrac's practice management features then please give us a call 0800 422 8722

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