If your company or organization invoices working hours to customers, Octaved Flow can be used to easily track the project working time of each employee. For this purpose, the employee creates time bookings for the respective activities.
With the billing function of Octaved Flow you can export recorded working times as time sheets as well as create invoice records for further processing.
Who is the billing function in Octaved Flow for?
The billing function is for anyone who bills work time to third parties. This can be customers in the true sense, but also so-called internal customers, i.e. areas within the company or group of companies to which a recharge is made.
The work can be within the scope of projects as well as ongoing/recurring activities such as maintenance work. Any other type of work that is billed according to working time can also be mapped. Note: For simplicity, Octaved Flow refers to everything as a project. However, the term is broad.
Usually, clients expect proof of performance in the form of a time sheet (timesheet).
What does the billing function cover?
For a better understanding, here are the areas from the context of Billing that can be mapped with Octaved Flow:
- Organize and structure - Create projects and divide them into work packages, creating meaningful accounting objects.
- Manage resources - Assign people who are responsible for implementation
- Plan - Set milestones, define time windows for realization
- Book time - Book work time, using billing types to ensure limits are met
- Analyze - Use project controlling to identify issues before they become problems
- Invoicing - Invoice preparation and control, create time sheets, create invoice records for further processing.
Invoicing itself is not part of Octaved Flow's domain. Systems for invoicing can be ERP systems, enterprise resource planning systems or pure invoicing systems. Examples are SAP, Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Lexware.
These or similar systems are present in every company. Octaved Flow integrates either via Excel files or a direct connection via API and provides the required data for billing working time.
Menu item Billing
The Bill menu item in the Bill category displays projects in which there is at least one work package that is a candidate for billing. A work package is billable if the following applies:
- The status is Completed, meaning all work on this work package has been completed (including a final review by the project manager).
- The work package has not yet been billed.
- If the work package is billed by effort, it must also contain time postings.
So if you only have projects where the work packages are either still in progress or already billed, then nothing will show in this menu item.
The state can be mixed within a project. So there can be work packages in a project that are not yet ready for billing, those that have already been billed, and billable work packages. For better orientation, projects are displayed complete with all work packages. Work packages that cannot be billed are grayed out:
Create an accounting
To create a billing, select some or all of the billable work packages in a project:
A billing can only include work packages of one project. If you want to settle multiple projects, simply create multiple settlements.
Then click the Bill 1 button at the top.
The totals will be displayed for your review. With the button Create new billing the billing is created:
If you have established fully integrated processes where a statement created in Octaved Flow including the timesheet PDFs is retrieved from the billing system, this is also an opportunity to review the timesheet again.
The table displays the most important information about the billing. A green check mark on the right means that the work package has already been billed. An orange exclamation mark means that there are still open time bookings. An open time booking is a time booking with a start time but without an end time. Because this means that the working time is considered as zero, the problem should be fixed.
If you click on a work package in the table, all information about the work package is displayed on the right.
You can check here, for example, to what extent specifications such as from/to effort have been adhered to and check time booking texts for typing errors.
List of settlements
A newly created payroll is displayed at the top of the List of billings.
This menu item shows all created settlements. Here the further processing takes place. Depending on whether an invoice system has been connected, invoices are transferred directly from here to the invoice system or ERP system or downloaded for further processing.
Time sheets are also transferred or downloaded directly to the billing system depending on the connection. Even with direct connection, time sheets can be downloaded here in parallel.
If you open the inspector for a work package or a project, there are under Billings all billings to which the work package or project has been assigned.
Overview of the billings of a work package in the inspector](inspector_billings.png)
Billings can be deleted. The corresponding work packages will then reappear under Billing.
In the menu item Prepare the billing preparation takes place. This step is intended for the project manager to take a final look at the work packages before passing them on for billing.
Workflow to billing.
A typical workflow within your own company up to the point of billing might look like this:
- The project manager creates the project and work packages and assigns the work packages to team members for execution.
- Via the status Open the project manager gives a signal to the team member when the implementation can be started. Alternatively the project manager uses the project planning.
- The team member completes the work package and reports it back to the project manager as done by checking off the work package:
By reporting the work package as completed, the next step in the workflow is to prepare for billing. The project manager checks if everything is ok with the work package. For example, whether all the tasks on the checklist have been completed and the time booking texts do not contain any typing errors. Then the project manager sets the status from Open to Completed.
By setting the status to Closed, the transfer from the project manager to the office in the company responsible for billing takes place.
In the menu item Prepare, only projects are displayed in which there is at least one work package to which applies:
- The work package has been checked off as completed (usually by the executor).
- The status of the work package is open.
- For contingents, it is sufficient if the time contingent is 100% exhausted with time bookings.
- And of course, only work packages that have not yet been billed count.
For better orientation, projects are displayed complete with all work packages. Work packages that are not relevant for billing preparation are grayed out.
If persons in the company assume several or all of these roles in personnel union, the workflow is nevertheless the same in principle. It is possible to combine steps in the workflow or to approach them differently. For example, the project manager who identifies a work package to be billed in Project Controlling can also change the status right there.
Meaning of the status "Completed"
The status Completed means that all work on the work package has been completed and it is ready for billing.
At the same time, the Completed status means that no more time bookings can be added, changed or deleted. This ensures that time bookings are not changed during the billing process and a different status goes to the customer than at the time of the review.
Super User Mode
Project managers have the permission to activate the Super-User Mode in order to still be able to edit time bookings even for work packages that are actually locked. The super user mode is only active for a limited time and then switches off. For example, if there are still open time bookings, the super user mode can be helpful.
If the project manager would set the status to Open - even if only for a short time - someone could get in the way with a time booking of the billing. With super-user mode, there is no such danger.
Quotas and fixed prices
With the billing type contingent, a fixed number of working hours is agreed with the customer. Therefore, there is no need to wait until the work package is completed before billing. Contingents can be billed at the time of assignment, at the end, or at some point in between.
It is similar with the Fixed price billing type. Down payments are quite common with fixed prices. Note: Unlike contingents, fixed prices do not require proof of performance in the form of a time sheet. Therefore, fixed prices never appear in time sheets.
The question is what role Octaved Flow should have in billing contingents and fixed prices, i.e. which workflow is best for you. Your options can be found in the filter settings:
So, to map the workflow, the filter setting is used. If you never show quotas and fixed prices in the billing in Octaved Flow, then this makes your billing system fully responsible for billing.
If you display quotas and fixed prices in billing in Octaved Flow, you can add them to billings. This makes them a part of the billing record that can be downloaded as Excel or transferred directly to the billing system.
Non-billable work packages
Non-billable work packages are not part of the billing record. They still appear in gray for better orientation.
An invoice record for a billing contains the corresponding work packages with the information relevant to the billing. These are:
Integration with billing systems
Octaved Flow integrates with the system landscape via a REST API and connects to the billing system:
In terms of integration with billing systems, ERP systems, or enterprise resource planning systems, there are three basic options:
- No integration - Time sheets are downloaded as PDFs and sent to the customer via email, for example. Invoice records are downloaded as Excel and then processed further.
- Integration of invoice records only - Time sheets are downloaded as PDF and sent to the customer by e-mail, for example. Invoice records are transferred to the billing system via interface.
- Full integration - Time sheet PDFs are also transferred to the billing system via the interface and sent from there to the customer, for example together with the invoice.
Octaved Flow can inform the connected billing system about a new statement to be picked up and processed.
A web hook is used as a trigger here and can be configured through the UI. The web hook can only be used with on-premise installations, not from the cloud.
Alternatively, the billing system can check for new billing at regular intervals, for example every 2 hours or once per night.
Customize the design of the time sheets
In the System Settings under File Export you can upload your logo, which will appear in the top right corner of the Time-Sheets. You can also adjust the color to your company's corporate design and make other settings:
Download sample timesheet
The time booking function can also be used in the context of optimizing internal processes. Booked times can be used to identify inefficient processes in your own company and then improve them. Since personnel costs are usually the largest cost factor, Octaved Flow can play an important role in this context. However, as you have seen, this tutorial is primarily about the accounting of working time.