This Help Article will help walk you through the basics of creating a project budget. Check out the outlined steps below to get started!
Quick Summary of Step-by-Step Guide:
- Access Projects & Proposal
- Create a budget
- Add project staff
- Adding Tasks
- Add Expenses
- Adding Subconsultants
- Print an estimate
In-Depth Step-by-Step Guide:
- Access Proposals & Projects
To begin the process, access Clients & Projects > Proposals & Projects and find your project in the list of projects by utilizing the search box or Filters. Once you have located your project, click the project name and select Budget from the menu.
- Create a budget
On the budget page, click on Create Budget.
- Add Project Staff
To get started, you will begin adding staff to the project. To do this, click on the Staff & Rates tab. Click Add Employee and select the employee from the dropdown menu. When you add staff, the rate will be prefilled, by default, with the billing rate that was initially added to their user profile. If you want to charge a different rate for the project, simply enter the preferred amount in the New section.
Note: When you assign a rate to an employee for a project, this rate will remain the same throughout each task. The only way for staff to have a different rate in a project is to apply a Rate Factor to a task. For more information on Rate Factors, see our help article on Rate Factors.
3.1 Using Calculator
You can also check the box under the calculator icon or individually for selected employees to calculate a different billing rate for this project. Options include a cost + fee calculation or a rate multiplier. SQUAVA will use the employee's current hourly equivalent salary or hourly rate in their employee profile to calculate the new billing rate. Be sure to click 'Save' when finished.
Note: An employee must be listed in the Staff & Rates section of a project to see the project in his/her timesheet and assign time to it. If the Staff & Rates group is no longer editable, it is because an invoice has been finalized that captures these individuals and the time period
3.2 + Add Staff/Rates
After you have contracted the budget, you can add additional staff or change the billing rates by clicking on the +Add Staff/Rates button; and entering the effective date. For these updates to go into effect on the current invoice, be sure to enter the effective day as the first day of the current invoice period.
- Add tasks
Once you've completed adding staff to the project, you're now ready to add task and expense category details to your budget. Click on the 'Budget' link with the (unlocked) lock icon next to the 'Staff & Rates' link.
Now you can begin adding your tasks. By default, the task numbers begin at 1; you can change this to any number/letter you want. The system will always assign tasks according to numerical/alphabetical order. For example, let's say you need to add an additional task, and you need it to be after 3, but you do not want to change task 4. You can create tasks 3-1, 3-2, or 3a, etc., and the system will automatically place the new task after 3 without altering task 4.
NOTE: The unlocked lock icon indicates that this project has not yet been contracted. Once it has been contracted, the lock icon will show as locked. You can bill tasks as Time & Materials (T&M), the default setting, or as Lump Sum (sometimes called fixed price or fixed fee). If you would like to bill a task or expense as Lump Sum, simply check the box next to the applicable task(s) where it says 'Lump'; Otherwise, the hours you enter for each task and expense on the project will be billed as T&M. To learn more about combined billing types, see the Help Article: Combined Billing Type. Be sure to click 'Save' when finished.
- Adding Expenses
If you need to add direct expenses to the budget (e.g. mileage, subconsultant, etc.) you can do so in the 'Expenses' section towards the bottom of the page by simply filling in the details related to each expense item.
- Adding Subconsultants
If you're adding a subconsultant, be sure to check the box that says 'Sub' and then choose the applicable subconsultant in the drop-down menu in the 'Description' column. If the subconsultant you desire is unavailable, you can add it by following the 'Subconsultans' link next to the 'Projects & Proposals' or by adding them as a vendor by going to Company > Vendors > Add New and marking them as Subconsultants.
To learn how to log/enter expenses into your expense report for your project, check out the Help Article: Entering Your Expenses.
- Print an estimate:
If you want to provide an estimate to your customer, click on the printer icon above the 'Labor' section. A new window will pop up (see the image below), and you can choose which information you'd like to have included in your estimate by checking the applicable boxes. When finished, click the 'Print' button, and a new tab will open up with a PDF of the estimate you can download and provide to your client.
The budget has now been created for this project, and it is now in the 'Proposal' stage. Once you are ready to contract the project, check out our Help Article: Contracting a Budget to learn more. If the project has a retainer, that can be added by clicking 'Edit' on the button bar of your budget, or you can add that information on the dialog that will be displayed when you contract the budget. Check out our Help Article: Applying Retainers.
Now, you are probably thinking, "Whoa! I still have questions about projects..." Well, don't worry; this Help Article is just to help get you started.
- Now that you've learned how to add a project in SQUAVA, there are still a few things you will need to learn to manage your projects.
- For more detailed information, check out the other Help Articles in the Projects 101 section.