Feature Article: Updating Your Rates, Overhead, and Budgets for the New Year

January 2017    Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s officially a new year! In the fuss of all your regular year-end tasks, don’t forget to review these sometimes overlooked items: Timekeeper Rates, Timekeeper Profitability Figures, Client and Task Based Billing Budgets, and General Ledger Budgets!

Timekeeper Rates

It’s a new year and you want to increase your timekeeper rates, but how can you make the change happen for all applicable timekeepers on a specific date?

Tabs3 Billing makes it easy to seamlessly update timekeeper rates. You can specify the new rates and the effective date for the change, and the software will then automatically use the new rates for any applicable fees saved for that date or later. Transactions entered for a prior date will use the old rates.

To easily determine current timekeeper rates, run the Timekeeper List (Reports | Miscellaneous | Timekeeper List).

To update rates and set an effective date for the new rates

  1. From the File menu, point to Open and select Miscellaneous.
  2. From the Timekeeper tab, select the desired Timekeeper.
  3. In the Effective Date of New Rates field, enter the date when you want the new rates to take effect.
  4. In the New Rate 1-6 fields, enter the new rate(s).
  5. Press Ctrl+S.

Tip: Once you are certain fees will not be entered for dates prior to the new rates, use the Move Rates button in the Timekeeper file to easily move rates from the New Rate 1-6 fields to the Hourly Rate 1-6 fields.

If any time has already been entered with old timekeeper rates, and the transactions are still in work-in-process, you can use the Change WIP Transactions (Maintenance | Transaction Related | Change WIP Transactions) program to change transactions all at once. (Note: Because this program can make changes to a large number of transactions in the software at one time, we strongly recommend making a backup prior to using this program.)

Timekeeper Overhead

If you run the Timekeeper Profitability Report, or you want to start, you may want to review and update the profitability figures (overhead) set up for each timekeeper. Firms typically will want to update a timekeeper’s overhead when their salary or benefits, such as insurance, change. These figures can be used by the Timekeeper Profitability Report to determine a timekeeper’s realized profit.

To easily determine current timekeeper overhead, run the Timekeeper List (Reports | Miscellaneous | Timekeeper List), making sure to select the Overhead Amounts check box.

To update a timekeeper’s overhead

  1. From the File menu, point to Open and select Miscellaneous.
  2. From the Timekeeper tab, select the desired Timekeeper.
  3. Click the Profitability button.
  4. From here, you can manually enter each month’s Overhead figures, or click the Allocate button to open the Overhead Allocation Window and allocate the timekeeper’s overhead amounts to all 12 months at once.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Press Ctrl+S.

Tabs3 Budgets

Now that your firm’s timekeepers are squared away, you may want to reevaluate any budgets you currently have set up for your clients and adjust as necessary.

Client Budgets

Setting up client budgets, and keeping them updated, helps ensure you are not spending more time than desired on a client’s matter. You can optionally select to display a warning when a fee or cost transaction is added if the budgeted hours or amount for the client has been exceeded.

To easily determine current budgets set up for each client, run the Client Budget Report (Reports | Management | Client Budget Report).

To update a client’s budget

  1. From the File menu, point to Open and select Client.
  2. Select the desired client.
  3. On the Budget tab, make any desired changes to the Budget section.
  4. Press Ctrl+S.

Task Based Billing Budgets

Like client budgets, it is a good idea to review how much you have budgeted for task based billing clients’ activities and expenses. You can optionally display a budget exceeded warning when more than the amount entered for the phase or task is saved.

To easily determine current task based billing budgets for each client, run the Task Code Budget Report (Reports | Transactions | Task Code Budget Report).

To update a client’s task based billing budget

  1. From the File menu, point to Open and select Client.
  2. Select the desired client.
  3. On the Budget tab, in the Task Based Billing section, click the Budget button.
  4. Make any desired changes and click OK.
  5. Press Ctrl+S.

GLS Budgets

Budgets for your general ledger expense accounts are a must, and General Ledger Software (GLS) makes it easy to set up budgets for a new year!

To easily determine current budgets for each account, run the Budget Report (Reports | Budget Report).

To update budgets in GLS

  1. From the File menu, point to Open and select Account Information.
  2. From the Budgets tab, select the desired Account #.
  3. Click the Set Budgets button.
  4. Enter or select the desired Year.
  5. From here, you can manually enter each month’s budget figures, or click the Allocate button to open the Create New Budget window (for a new year) or the Budget Allocation window (for previously set up years), and allocate budget amounts to all 12 months at once.
  6. Click Save.

It’s easy to overlook these periodic maintenance items. Be sure to schedule some time to make sure rates, overhead figures, and budgets are all current!

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