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Managing financials in the non-standard way

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Level 10
The 'standard' way of managing financials in Workfront is by using the standard fields: Budget, Estimate at Completion, Fixed Cost etc: I'm wondering -- for those people who have decided that they need to create their own financial fields (either in conjunction with the out-the-box fields, or as a complete replacement) -- whether they went for the approach of using the "Expenses" tab with a custom form(s), or just went straight for a custom form(s)? Jamie Hill JLL
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Level 10
Hi: We used a custom form on the Expenses and on the tasks. We have the attributes we need for GL Coding and a flag to tell us whether the item is operating expense or a capital spend. That introduces problems of its own, given our capitalization policy. What really stops us from trusting the numbers in WorkFront is the lack of effectivity dates on the cost per hour rate. There is another thread where people have clever work-arounds to that problem though. Eric

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Level 10
>>What really stops us from trusting the numbers in WorkFront is the lack of effectivity dates on the cost per hour rate. I'm having a slow brain day - what do you mean by that sorry? 🙂 Jamie Hill JLL

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Level 10
Hi: Each user has a cost/hour. If you change that cost/hour, then it changes the cost of the work that user did globally – for all time. Changing that cost changes the cost of work done in prior years. We cannot accept re-costing projects that have closed. What we want is the ability to set a start date for a given rate and that supersedes the prior rate as of that date. Does that help? Thanks, Eric

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Level 10
Hi Eric, It won't change your costs as long as you've got billing records created on projects and marked as billed (right side is after hour change for users which has logged time against it). Your Planned Cost numbers will get change indeed, but not Actual. Dagmara Garwell BAKKAVOR LTD

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Level 10
Yes, we looked at using Billing records to lock in the cost, but there was a problem. That was years ago, WorkFront consultants worked on it, I forget what it was. ☹

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Level 10
Hi Eric, As designed, billing records are created manually within Workfront, which can be time consuming – perhaps that was the problem. To solve it, we developed "http://store.atappstore.com/product/auto-bill/">Auto-Bill , which efficiently creates Billing Records for those Projects that need it, thereby locking in Hours, Revenues, and Costs (so you can then change Rates, for example), and/or to protect Projects from accidental deletion. I confess, I don't use it regularly myself (see "cobbler's kids"), but perhaps some of those who do could comment further on their usecases for how Auto-Bill has helped. Regards, Doug

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Level 8
Autobill has been a lifesaver for us since we create 100+ billing records every 2 weeks. Huge time savings!

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Level 6
Hi Eric Was the problem just a fix for Workfront or can you remember if it was an issue that remains? I want to make sure we fully understand the situation before making our rate changes at the end of this month. Thanks J Regards, Laura Ray Junior Project Manager Bakkavor Information Systems Bakkavor Group West Marsh Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 2BB, UK Direct: +44 (0)1775 763 010 "www.Bakkavor.com"> www.Bakkavor.com // Laura.Ray@Bakkavor.com

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Level 10
The issue remains. I think the best solutions involve the use of Billing records to lock cost in. Look at how Billing records work. Thanks! Eric

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Level 10
We predominantly uses standard fixed revenues on tasks, which come in from our finance system. We do have a couple of custom revenue fields but they are also fixed amounts rather than hourly rates. We would have used Expenses for the financial items, but the issue is that we wanted to be able to create expenses first, then tasks, and then link expenses to tasks. Workfront doesn't allow this, so we instead create tasks and link them to other tasks using predecessors. This introduces complications with reporting on revenue but it is the lesser evil and is a whole other topic. 😕 David Cornwell

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Level 10
David - The inability to add tasks to an expense, or change the task associated with an expense after the expense is created is a royal pain. We end up deleting the expense and recreating it to connect it correctly. Argh.

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Level 2
I could really use some help here. As most of you do we have our own way of doing financials. We calculate capital costs for a capital project based on the stage of the project. Discovery and warranty work is expense even if the project is a capital project. I would like to create two custom fields for a project and not sure how to do this. Rather than just actual cost I would like an actual cap cost and an actual expense cost which would total actuals based on the hour types charged to the project. It seems possible just haven't been able to figure it out. Sharon Noll Matrix - Internal

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Level 10
Hi Sharon, One approach that's worked well for us is to: · create a dropdown on the Project to indicate it's Default Financial Type (e.g. CapEX, OpEX, or G&A) · on each Task, also have an Override Financial Type (same dropdown values) · on each Task, have a calculated field (e.g. Reported Financial Type) that takes the Override Financial Type (if present) or the Project's Default Financial Type (if not) · optionally, on each Task, pull its Parent Task's Reported Financial Type "down" to it, effectively easily defaulting all tasks in a particular phase (such as Discovery and Warranty) to OpEX on a CapEX Project With these in place, and the costs stored at the Tasks (noting that there are various ways to approach that one, too), creating a Task-based financial report of CapEX, OpEX, and G&A is then quite straightforward (and flexible). Regards, Doug

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Level 10
Some great suggestions here in this thread. Though for me a sad caveat with using your own custom data for financials is that you have to learn to ignore or not even use certain (otherwise potentially useful) parts of the system e.g. Portfolio summaries Utilization with respect to costs: It would be great if you could point Workfront to use - for example - your custom "Planned Cost" field, but sadly this isn't the case. Jamie Hill JLL

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Level 2
How then would I calculate using this method the actual cap and actual exp spent on each project? Sharon Noll Matrix - Internal

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Level 10
Hi Sharon, By convention, you would track all Actual Hours and Actual Expenses under each Task, then create sum of Actual Hours (and/or Optional Revenue) report grouped (and optionally Matrixed) by Project Name, by Task Reported Financial Type (eg Project A CapEX 100 hrs $10,000; OpEX 20 hrs, $1500; G&A 0 hrs, $0 dollars), and similarly, an Actual Expense Report (eg Project A CapEX $50,000; OpEX $4,000; G&A $19.99). For best results, some additional work might be required to split certain Tasks into separate Tasks (eg a CapEX subtask and an OpEx subtask) so the assignments and Actuals can be properly made and recorded, respectively; and, of course, training and enforcing, likewise. To simplify reporting, it is also be advantageous to create custom data currency parameters for each Reported Financial Type at the Project level. That way, you could periodically run the Actual Hours and Actual Expenses reports, update them on each Project (or similarly, into the very valuable built-in Cost, Revenue Benefit fields that Jamie mentioned). With that data available at that level, it then becomes straightforward to report, chart, and compare some very interesting information (eg $ CapEX hours remaining, % OpEX $ spent, $ G&A over Planned). The value of such information might be enough to justify the manual effort required to periodically update it; or even to automate it using a custom built api, or using a partner offering such as our UberCalc solution ("http://store.atappstore.com/product/ubercalc/">http://store.atappstore.com/product/ubercalc/ ). In my opinion, compared to other approaches such as multiple CapEX/OpEX hour types, this approach has the most benefits (eg a simple Project Level default, ability to override at a Task level and even Sub Task level, ability to quickly reclassify any of those by simply changing one custom form dropdown vs re-handling Time Entries) makes it the Best Practice of which I am aware. Regards, Doug