Project Management Features in Abak [Video]

Abak offers a wide range of project management features, from detailed budgetting and planning to team assignation, cost control and tailored invoicing.

Want to know more? Take three minutes to watch this video!

What’s the real cost for your billing system?

Sign of the Past Is This Abandoned Gasoline Pump with a Price of 29.9 Cents Per Gallon. The Cost of Fuel Has Made Such a Reoccurrence Nothing But a Dream. The Gas Pump Was Photographed at 04/1974

When shopping for a time and billling system, we tend to compare licence costs only, and we forget about the total cost of ownership for a solution.

Beyond paying for a software licence, we should also look at what is required for implementation, training, and hardware needs.

More than that, we should also look beyond the dollar costs and examine the time that needs to be invested in the new solution to make it operational. This is essential to compute the total cost of ownership. And wihtout the cost of onwership, it would be impossible for us to know the return on our investment.

Let’s look at Abak, for a team of 5:

  • Yearly licence, including accounting integration: $ 660
  • Training, 15 hours, web-based: $ 1400
  • Implementation: done during and between training session by the client themselves. The time required depends on the management choices made by the clients. It usually takes about 5 days of work (40 hours) to get Abak up and running. However, most of our clients don’t stop their business for a week or two to get their time and billing system implemented, they will do it part time, which can bring implementation delays upwards of one month.
  • Hardware and software: a basic windows workstation is fine for users, and windows server with Microsoft SQL Express will run Abak’s server.

As you can see, Abak’s hardware and software needs are on the light side. However, there is no skirting the implementation and configuration work. When choosing a time and billing, we should beware of solution providers that promise implementation within a few hours.

As for Abak, we prefer to present a realistic picture of the resources needed to get the most out of our time and billing system, rather than over promise and end up with unhappy customers.

What do you think?

Project Budget Control: Are Your Sticking To The Plan?

Apollo 11 LaunchBusinesses can use their target profitability to put the project billing budget together. A budget should be as precise as possible: at least by project phase, ideally by activity. Creating a detailed project budget makes it easy to see if a phase or an activity on the project is running over budget, way before the entire project budget is out of control.

Doing a detailed budget also allows for better project estimates down the road. For example, historical information about the number of hours of support required for a specific type of project is essential in building more accurate quotes and improving profitability levels.

Budget for Project A

Task Budget
Hours     Amount
Work in process
Hours     Amount
Billed
Hours     Amount
Variance
Hours     Amount
Bookkeeping 60 6000.00 20 2000.00 10 1000.00 30 3000.00
Business Management 40 4000.00 5 500.00 10 1000.00 25 2500.00
Tax Planning 40 4000.00 0 0.00 10 1000.00 30 3000.00
Training 20 2000.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 20 2000.00
Support 10 0.00 15 0.00 0 0.00 (5) 0.00
Total 170 16 000.00 40 2500.00 30 3000.00 100 10 500.00

With a detailed budget as in the table above, we can see how far along we are for each activity in the project. It’s also easy to see that the support task, which is non-billable, is already over budget. We can hence plan a higher number of hours next time so as to improve our project profitability.

Project Cost & Profitability: Are You Turning A Profit?

Old Style Cash Register and Canned Goods in a Butcher Shop in New Ulm, Minnesota ..., 10/1974In the world of professional services, time is your product. There is no inventory, no production line, and no factory. It can be hard to know how well (or how poorly) you’re really doing.

  • Money might be coming in, but are your turning a profit?
  • Is Mr. Big Client really bringing in big profits?
  • Is Miss BigShot Employee really billing enough to be worth her salary?
  • Are you sticking to your budgets on project spending and billing?
  • How much can you expect to bill at the end of the month?
  • Does a big project really bring in more profit than a small one?

The only way to know the answer to these questions is metrics. Metrics are measurements that one can establish to assess their performance and progress.

It’s surprising how many businesses only know this metric globally, from the annual balance sheet. Projects should be profitable, and non-profitable projects should be identified as quickly as possible.

All expenses should be associated with a project. This includes resource costs (from time sheets, for example), expenses, vendor and contractor invoices, and overhead related to the project. When all costs are coded to the correct project, it’s easy to use invoices for the project and identify profitable projects.

Businesses should have a target profitability level per project and per client.

Project Revenue Expenses Profit (loss)
Project A 2500.00 2000.00 500.00
Project B 3500.00 2000.00 1500.00
Project C 4000.00 4000.00 0.00
Total 10 000.00 8000.00 2000.00

In the table above, we can see that even though Project C is bringing in more revenue. However, since only half of its time is billable, it is not turning a profit at this time. Project B, on the other side, is returning a higher profit, mainly because of its higher proportion of billable time.