A flexible structure of billing rates is one of the key requirements to any system that automates work of a professional services company, where time is the main billable resource. This structure is particularly important for project controllers, who need to express tricky contract conditions with different billing rates for different customers on different projects.
On the one hand, project controllers require plenty of options to capture any imaginable combination of hour prices for a specific assignment. On the other, they expect simplicity of use. However, achieving this simplicity becomes increasingly challenging as the amount of rates to choose from grows.
The upcoming solution update of Exact PSA addresses these needs by increasing the amount of configurable rates and providing simple means to work with them.
The more rates the merrier
Starting from solution update 246/401, a rate is a pairing of both the sales price and the cost assigned to a combination of criteria such as a person, a project, a customer or an activity. All rates have a date range attached.
All rates are listed in the following order, starting from the most important:
- Project + person + activity;
- Project + person;
- Project + activity;
- Project + person + activity of the parent project (if applicable);
- Project + person of the parent project (if applicable);
- Project + activity of the parent project (if applicable);
- Customer + activity;
- Person + activity;
With this setup, rates in Exact PSA fall into one of three categories: personal rates, customer rates and project rates. When the system needs to look up a specific rate to populate the sales price of a billable hour, it starts from the top of the list and progresses down until the first non-zero match is found. In case no rates have been defined in the system, the sales price and the cost of an item that represents an activity is used.
This hierarchy of rates is configured in Synergy Enterprise and obsoletes previously available both the external rates that provided only the sales price, and the internal rate that represented the cost of labor. During the upgrade process all existing rates will be copied into the new rate structure so that nothing disappears.
Not getting lost in all the abundance
Access to rates is carefully guarded by Exact PSA: project controllers can view and edit all rates, consultants can see none of them. Project managers are allowed to view all rates that apply to the projects they are directly responsible for, but cannot peek into rates of other projects.
Project managers and project controllers can get hold of rates by following one of two paths: either by looking at an individual personal, customer or project card or by listing all personal, customer or project rates from a dedicated overview screen.
The new rates structure will become available to existing and new Exact PSA customers in June 2011.
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