This article is an extract from the book 'Everything you need to know about Xero Practice Manager'
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It is important we capture the necessary information on jobs when they are set up so we can get accurate reporting on them. Accurate reporting allows us to easily identify which jobs are at risk of going over budget, and which jobs might miss their deadlines. By understanding which of our jobs are at risk, we can take the necessary action to minimise the extent of the write-offs and therefore improve the performance of our practice.
Before our staff start working on a job, it is important they run a few checks to ensure the job is set up in a way that allows us to report on how it is progressing. It should not take any more than one minute to run these checks and will massively improve the level of reporting you will get while the job is in progress, and once the job is completed. Here are the three checks that must be done:
- Ensure job budget is entered
- Ensure estimated times are entered against tasks
- Ensure job manager is entered
The first thing to check on a job is that the job has a budget. This can be entered very easily by editing the job, then entering the total amount you intend to bill on the job into the ‘Budget’ field.
Let’s look at an example:
Say we have a job that is a fixed-price agreement. We are billing $500 per month for this engagement, which is a total of $6,000 for the whole year. We are expecting to have 12 installments of $500 on this job, totaling $6,000, so we would enter 6000 in the ‘Budget’ field. This allows us to report on our actual vs budget as the job is progressing.
Let’s look at another example:
Say we have a cash-flow forecast to do for our client on a quoted basis. We will be billing the full $3,000 once the work is completed. We would enter 3000 in the ‘Budget’ field on the job to represent the full amount we intend to bill for this job.
It is worth noting here that you can also quote the job in the second example. Adding a quote will also give us a budgeted field to report against, but it is also a good idea to capture the budget in the budget field to maintain consistency across all jobs.
In summary, job budgets are super important. These should always be checked by the job manager before the job is started.
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