Friday, February 13, 2004
A Consultant's Best Friend? Two Peak's BillRate 1.2 Reviewed
Posted by Don Tolson in "SOFTWARE" @ 10:00 AM
Entering 'Entries' (Time, Mileage, and Expenses)
BillRate's focus is on billing of time, mileage and expenses to a project, so only the two levels of hierarchy are provided. From a billing perspective, this makes sense, but to truly make this a timesheet recorder, there would need to be additional task-level layer.
Tapping the appropriate icon at the bottom of the screen (for Time, Mileage, or Expenses) brings up screens for these entries. Each of them must be associated with a defined Project.
Figure 6: BillRate’s Time entry screen.
Time is recorded in hours and minutes and while there's no stopwatch function to automatically record your time on a particular job, you can input the start and end times and have BillRate calculate the duration, using the triple-dot button to the right of the duration field. The Time entry screen also provides space to put in a description of the work, and assign the entry to a Category.
Figure 7: Categories screen.
Categories are the place where you can define the type of work being done for the client and assign hourly rates to each Category. However, Categories are global for all clients, so this assumes you will be charging the same rate to every client for the same type of work. When you create a Category, it's a good idea to assign a code, since this is the method by which categories are displayed in the drop-down selection box on the Project's screen. If you don't create a code, then the category entry will show up as a blank in the selection box, and the entry won't show up properly on the billing screens.
Figure 8: Expenses screen.
Expenses are similar to time, except that there is the addition of a fairly extensive 'Type' list provided to describe the type of expense. To record an expense, values for both Project and Type must be selected from the list. Unfortunately, I didn't see any way to add or remove items from the Type list. I also didn't see any options for dealing with different currencies. The amount of the expense is recorded on the Billing tab.
Figure 9: Mileage screen.
Mileage recording uses the differences in odometer readings, but you can work around this by just putting 0 in for the starting point and the mileage you want to charge at the ending point. For tax purposes though, it's always better to put in the true odometer readings, especially if you're charging the mileage back to a home-based business.
BillRate provides three user-definable custom fields which can be attached to each entry, regardless of type. The names of the custom fields are global to the entire database (all clients, all projects) and is accessible from the Tools menu. For each of the entry types, you can also record the amount to be billed, and whether the amount has been billed to the client, and/or payment received. In my line of business, we leave that to the Accounts Receivable system, which is fed from my timesheets.
Figure 10: BillRate’s Billing’s screen.