This article is an extract from the book 'Everything you need to know about Xero Practice Manager'
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Uranus has 27 moons, and there are just as many ways to bill an engagement using Xero or XPM. This topic is broken down into three sections:
- General guidelines for setting up engagements
- How to set up engagements with XPM
- How to set up engagements with Practice Ignition.
We will start by looking at some general guidelines that are relevant regardless of which system you use to create your engagement. We will then look a closer look at how to set up engagements specifically in XPM and finally, how you can improve your efficiencies by using Practice Ignition.
The last thing to touch on in this section is creating internal jobs. It is best to have two internal jobs that you roll over each year, one for internal time and the other for leave. The reason we roll these over each year is because they are jobs that get the most time sheet entries. If we don’t roll them over, it can make pages very difficult to load in XPM.
Let’s say each staff member, on average, enters five internal time entries per day. That is approximately 1,200 time sheet entries per staff member per year. Now multiply that by the number of staff you have. All those time entries sitting under one job will take its toll on the database, so the best way to de-risk this is to roll over your internal jobs each year.
Give your internal jobs a custom job number. The benefit of doing this is they stand out in your job list. You do this by going to ‘Settings > Practice Settings > Edit Number Sequences’ then select the 'Allocate Manually' checkbox under 'Job'. Now when you go to set up your annual job, you’ll notice the job number box has a compulsory field to populate.
Use capital letters for the job number then put a year, ie. ADMIN-21 for internal tasks in the 2021 year, and LEAVE-21 for the leave tasks.
Once you have created your internal jobs with their unique job numbers, you want to go back into ‘Edit Number Sequences’ and uncheck this box. This is to ensure any new client jobs will roll over with the standard number sequencing.
After you have set up your internal jobs, it is time to add tasks to the jobs. You want to include all your internal tasks under the ADMIN job, for example:
- Admin – Office Administration
- Admin – Internal Meetings
- Admin – Sales & Marketing
- Admin – Accounting & Finance
- Admin – HR/Recruitment.
You want to include all your leave tasks under the LEAVE job, for example:
- Leave – Annual
- Leave – Statutory
- Leave – Sick
- Leave – Parental
- Leave – Bereavement.
Note that we are repeating the same task for each job, and using task labels to separate them into the different tasks.
It is super important to ensure all these tasks are flagged as non-billable in the jobs by clicking into the task and unchecking the ‘Billable’ box. If you forget to do this, all the time loaded against these tasks will be considered billable so you will be accumulating WIP on your internal jobs. It will also mess with your productivity metrics because the time will be treated as productive.
Once you have set up these internal jobs, you can save them as a job template to make it easier to create them for the next year. You do this from inside the job by going to ‘Options > Save Job as Template’.
One last point on internal jobs is to avoid having a task called ‘General’ or ‘General Time’. This ends up being a dumping ground for time, making it very difficult to analyse non-productive time.
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