Creating New Tasks for New Billing Rates author avatar

Fiscal Year 2018 is right around the corner! Do you have your new task(s) set up to reflect the option year of your contract? Or perhaps you have modifications to bill rates or provisional rates for a current contract, have you already set up the new task to reflect this change? No matter what your situation may be, we at PROCAS want to make sure you have all the information necessary to properly set up your contracts. This article will provide some guidance and tips on setting up new tasks.

The general steps for setting up a new task for an option year include:

  1. Insert a new task record incrementing the subtask field.
  2. Create the billing setup for the new task.
  3. Update the work authorization for employees who will be working on the new task.
  4. Establish project approvers for the new task, if necessary.

Before we begin, let’s make sure we are on the same page. In PROCAS, the term task has two meanings. A task is a 13-digit string of numbers and possibly letters. In the example below, the base year task is: 10003.001.00.105. The term task also refers to the first set of three digits (001). Typically, when using the term task, we are referring to the full 13-digit string numbers (and letters).

You can reference our PROCAS Implementation Guide (v 2.50) or reach out to our consulting team for a more in-depth explanation of the 13-digit task breakdown. Below is a brief overview:

10003 – Project

A project represents the contract.

001 – Task

The task represents a work order or CLIN within the contract.

00 – Subtask

                The subtask represents the year of the contract.

105 – Cost Center

                1 – Division        

                0 – Location

                5 – Work Site

The subtask segment of a task allows you to further break down your work order. We recommend beginning each subtask with 00 to represent the base year. As new option years are awarded, you can increment the subtask field to correspond with the option year.

In our example, the Operations Support task for the base year is: 10003.001.00.105. The period of performance is from 10/01/2016 – 09/30/2017. Our company was just awarded its first option year for the contract. The period of performance for option year 1 is 10/01/2017 – 09/30/2018. We will insert a new task record for the option year coded: 10003.001.01.105. The subtask field is used to indicate the option year. New tasks can be set up under Projects --> Tasks.

The first digit of the subtask can be used to mark contract modifications. For example, if there is a change in bill rates for a labor category or a change in provisional rates, insert a new 13-digit task using the first digit of the subtask to indicate the modification.

10003.001.00.105 – Base Year

10003.001.01.105 – Option Year 1

10003.001.11.105 – Option Year 1, change in bill rates.

After setting up the new task, proceed to the Billing Setup form under Projects --> Billing Setup. If cumulative amounts and hours billed from the base year task should be displayed on the invoice for the option year task, be sure to set the Receivable Task on Tab 1 to be the same as the Receivable Task for the base year. One way to establish a receivable task is to insert a task record with the project number followed by all zeros (for example: 10003.000.00.000). This way all work orders, CLINS, option years, and mods can be shown on the same invoice, if this is what your client requires.

If the cost center (last three digits of the full task string) of the option year matches the cost center of the base year, you can copy the Billing Setup from the base year to the option year by clicking the Copy button. This feature can be used on tabs 2 and 3 of Billing Setup. Labor Category descriptions on Tab 2 can be updated at any time.

If the new option year brings new labor categories, be sure to first create the new labor categories under Accounting --> Personnel --> Labor Categories/Fixed Priced Items before adding them to the Billing Setup.

Fixed-Price contracts should have Billing Rates on Tab 2 only. Cost-Plus contracts should have Provisional Rates added to Tab 3 of the Billing Setup. T&M contracts should have Billing Rates for labor on Tab 2 of Billing Setup and Provisional Rates for materials on Tab 3.

Before beginning to invoice out of PROCAS, you should verify the Billing Rates for each labor category or the Provisional Rates. Once the Billing Rates or Provisional Rates have been established and invoices have been finalized, you cannot change the Billing Setup without impact. A change in Billing Setup after invoicing has already begun will result in the system retroactively applying the new billing setup to any prior period invoices for that task. The lump sum adjustment will be shown on the next invoice to be calculated in addition to any current period costs at the new rates.

Companies that have Cost-Plus contracts can use the Billing Setup in PROCAS to calculate adjustment invoices for them. If you know your rates are going to change in the next year, but you are not quite sure what the new rates will be, still set up a new task as discussed. Complete the Billing Setup with your current provisional rates. Generate your invoices using the new task. Once you receive the new rates, update the rates in the Billing Setup of the new task. The next invoice generated will calculate an adjustment for the difference between the old and new rates for the prior period invoices. Going forward, the new rates will be applied. This procedure can be used for T&M contracts as well.

The next step in setting up the new option year is to update the Work Authorization form. The new task needs to be added to the list of authorized charged codes for any personnel working on the project. This can be done under System --> Time and Expense --> Work Authorization by Person OR System --> Time and Expense --> Work Authorization by Task.  Both forms are the same information, just displayed differently based on your preference and ease of access. You only need to add the new charge code to one of the Work Authorization forms.

*A helpful shortcut on the Work Authorization forms is the keyboard combination Ctrl + D. This allows you to copy down from the line above. This can be used in fields that will be the same for all employees such as Pay Code, Account, etc. This shortcut works throughout several PROCAS Accounting forms and journals.*

When updating the Work Authorizations, you will need to decide when the new task should be made active and the old task inactive. Once the new charge code is set up, marked off as active, and imported into the timekeeping website, employees will immediately have access to record time against it. If the old charge code is also active, employees can charge against both tasks at the same time. Unfortunately, there is always that one employee who charges to the old task even though you sent out an email reminding everyone of the new charge code. You can reference our blog post from last month for help troubleshooting the common error message received when employees try to move time from the old inactive charge code to the new active charge code (see “Fixing a ‘You are not authorized to charge’ Error” article published 8/24/2017).

You may find it helpful to add Authorized Start and End Dates and/or Budgeted Hours to employee work authorizations. These fields are optional and informational. Entering an Authorized Start and End Date or Budgeted Hours will not prevent an employee from charging time to the task outside of the constraints. DCAA requires employees to record all time worked on a contract regardless of these restrictions.

If your company has project managers assigned to approve time that employees charge to a specific task, you will need to establish their access to employee timesheets under System --> Time and Expense --> Project Approvers.

Whether your company follows the government fiscal year or any other period of performance, you can follow the steps provided to create new tasks as necessary. As always, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or feedback.

Linking Transactions in PROCAS author avatar

Transaction linking is a process unique to PROCAS. Think of it as telling a story through accounting transactions. Linking occurs when transactions become and, if necessary, remain associated with one another. Linking can be seen throughout the accounting system. Some of the most common areas include: the Receipts Journal and the Disbursements Journal. In addition, linking can (at least it should) be seen in reversing entries.

Linking can be difficult to understand at first, but putting in the time and effort to implement proper linking can help you avoid having unsightly reports that look like this:

 

When looking at the financial journals in PROCAS, you may have noticed they each have a column called “Trans.” This is the column where linking is done.

 

Typically, when inserting a new transaction, all lines of detail will autofill the “Trans” column as the specific transaction number. For example, in the transaction below, lines 1 and 2 have G100265 in the “Trans” column, which is the same as the transaction number. This is fine in many cases, but if the transaction needs to be linked to another entry, the “Trans” column will need to be adjusted.

 

A transaction is entered into the accounting system in order to establish an event. Some events are one-time occurrences that do not come up again in the future. Therefore, no future transactions need to be linked to it. In other instances, the initial transaction is only the beginning. The initial transaction establishes the event, but future transactions will be associated with it. To keep the story of the event connected through all transactions that are affected, future transactions need to be linked to the original entry.

It may be difficult to understand the process when reading about it, so let’s use an example.

Say you just calculated an invoice for last month. The current period amounts are perfect; the cumulative amounts are perfect. You print the invoice and click “Create Sales Journal Transactions.” A sales journal entry is created to establish a receivable for the amount the client owes your company (debit) and to recognize revenue earned during the period (credit). You will notice when the sales journal entry is created, the “Trans” column in each line of detail is the same as the transaction number. This is correct because the sales journal is the initial event. No further action is required.

 

Next, let’s say your client receives the invoice and pays your company the amount owed. When the payment is received, you open the receipts journal to record it. You debit the cash account and credit the accounts receivable account. The “Trans” column on the accounts receivable line should be linked to the sales journal that the payment is being applied towards. This allows you to keep the sales journal associated with the payment. See the below example.

In receipts journal entries, it is also important to include the task and client code on the accounts receivable line. The information on the receipts journal should match the sales journal entry in order to be properly linked.

 

Linking the receipts journal to the sales journal will allow you to easily follow the story of events from beginning to end: an invoice is generated and submitted to the client for payment. Payment is remitted.

Linking the receipts journal to the sales journal will also relieve the accounts receivable balance associated with the specific invoice. This will clear the sales journal from your Accounts Receivable Aging reports.

In the above receipt transaction, you will notice the “Trans” column on the cash line is referencing itself. This is correct. No linking is required on the cash line. The receipts transaction is the initial event for the cash account; therefore, it is correct to leave the “Trans” column as the receipt transaction number. You cannot link the cash account line to the sales journal transaction, because the cash account does not exist on the sales journal transaction.

One important thing to remember when linking transactions is that they must be linked in the proper order. Transactions should typically be linked forward. In this case, the AR account makes its first appearance on the sales journal. For this reason, the receipts journal transaction (a subsequent event) should be linked to the sales journal transaction (the initial event) and not vice versa. You cannot link the AR account on the sales journal to the receipts journal transaction because the AR account does not exist independently without the sales journal. Think of the story of events here. You cannot start the story with the payment. The story starts with the invoice (sales journal), so all subsequent events should be linked to the sales journal.

Still doesn’t make sense? That’s okay, let’s use another example.

You just received an invoice from what is hopefully one of your favorite vendors, PROCAS. The amount invoiced is $790 and payment is due within 15 days. You open the purchases journal to put the invoice in line for payment. You fill out the header information on the purchase journal such as transaction date, vendor, invoice date, amount due, etc. Next, you go down into the details to debit the appropriate expense account and credit accounts payable. You will notice that the “Trans” column on both lines of detail will autofill as the purchase journal transaction number. This is correct since the event starts here. In other words, no linking is involved on the purchase journal transaction because this is the beginning of the story.

 

The following week, you are getting ready to cut checks. You go through the automated checks process to print a check payable to PROCAS. A disbursement journal transaction is automatically created. When you go to the disbursements journal, you will notice there are 2 lines of detail. The first line is a debit to accounts payable. The second line is a credit to cash.

 

The AP account was established in the purchases journal when you input the invoice into the system. Upon paying the invoice, the AP account should be relieved now that the liability has been resolved. In other words, the AP account on the disbursements journal should be linked to the purchases journal transaction that established the liability.

 

You will notice the “Trans” column on the accounts payable line references the purchase transaction for the specific PROCAS invoice. The story begins with the purchase of PROCAS software access. The invoice for the purchase is recorded in the purchases journal. The story ends with the payment to vendor PROCAS on the disbursements transaction. The payment is recorded in the disbursements journal. Linking the disbursement journal transaction to the purchase journal transaction will relieve the liability to PROCAS.

Now that we have gone over linking techniques, try running your AR and AP reports in PROCAS. If you notice there are any vendors and/or clients with a lengthy history showing up on the report, check to verify associated journal entries have been properly linked. If a payment has been made or received, but there are still transaction details on the report, this is a sign there is a problem with linking.

You are always able to go back to prior period entries and correct the linking. This will not have any impact on your financial statements. Linking prior period transactions will only affect the display of the vendors and/or clients on your reports, not any general ledger balance details.

If unposting prior period transactions is not an option for you, linking can also be fixed by inserting current period journal entries to associate transactions with one another. For more in depth training on linking, feel free to reach out to our Consulting Team.