Effortless Invoicing for Time: Fresh Time Status blocks on Projects and Contacts

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Effortless Invoicing for Time: Fresh Time Status blocks on Projects and Contacts

Time Billing To Genrating An Invoice Nad Sending To Client A Complete Workflow Connecting People
Picture this: You use Skylight to break up a larger, upcoming project into smaller tasks.  Then you assign these Tasks to yourself(default) and your colleagues.  Throughout all this process you used the task timer to track your hours.  After the job is complete you would now want to take those logged hours and use them for invoicing in order to receive the payment for your work.

Welcome to a Freshly Renewed, and Improved, Time Statuses: Billing, Time logging and Generating Invoices Workflow!

This new update simplifies the whole process.  Before this enhancement, it was, lets say, bit complicated for the user to generate billable invoice from logged hours.  One had to change into the list-view then proceed to select the time range (you could even select all) and then go into the actions menu () and finally choose the “Invoice Selected” option from the drop down to generate an invoice. Few clicks indeed!

The improvement has not only simplified the way Time Billing workflow goes but, we have also added other features and developments to Skylight time management.

The new statuses reveal a sum of hours booked in each status:



This time when you navigate over to a contact, or project, either on the main page of the record or the time tab’s (also available on calendar view or list views) try looking at the area above the calendar.  You will see a newly updated feature: “Status blocks” we call them.  These “Statuses” function with two main purposes: first, they provide you with the sum of hours you logged in real time.  Second, if you hover over them, you will see a dropdown that will enable you to choose a send option.  You can proceed to pick where you will send your logged in time; you can choose to invoice, quote or even PO’s. The same process applies when it comes to Fixed Prices.  Where you can use the system to log the quantity of resources and expense (e.g. Travel @ 300).

You have the ability to customise these Time Statuses, create your own time flow int eh app. So we use Budget, Schedule and Actuals as defaults but you can change these and customise them to your needs.  Take a look at this blog we did earlier.

Sending items to invoices:(same for Quotes, PO’s)


Let’s assume you logged a certain amount of hours on a project and now you want to generate an invoice so your client can proceed with the payment.

To do this goto the project you have logged time on, either on the main project view or from the Project/Time or Project/Fixed Price Items hover over the status you wish to bill.


Once you choose your desired option (e.g. Invoice, Purchase Order, Quote) using the drop down, you will see the following view.

 


These customisation are optional but it’s great to see them, and understand them, so you can reap the full automation benefits and the convenience Skylight offers.

 

Following the sequence of the numbered arrangement from the above image.

1 Selecting Contact details:


Usually, if you had previously selected a client and recipient on the project, then Skylight will make that assumption and automatically do the selection for you here.  Once you get to “For Attention Of” then you will see all the people who are related to the Client contact. For example, if you have Bob and he works at Wood Work Ltd, then your "Recipient Contact” will be Wood Work and then under the drop down "For Attention Of” you will choose Bob.

You can select these changes here or even after you have generated your record, in this case an invoice.

2 Create a new invoice or add to an existing Invoice:

For a majority of the projects you will be choosing a fresh New Invoice option.  By default new invoice option is always selected.  But, in some situations, you may want to add the data to an existing invoice so you would select Existing Invoice option and then select the invoice you wish to add this data too.

Applying Accounting templates:

This is the place where you have the option to select predefined accounting templates (Beta).  These templates enhance your work with the power to customize your Invoice, Quotes or Purchase Orders..
Note: Accounting templates can only be selected when you are creating a new record.  You can not select an accounting template later, once the quote, or invoice is created.

Import Tags:

If you choose this option, the system will import your project tags and assign them to the new invoice record,  this helps in keeping your accounting information tagged same way as your projects.

3 Customise and Group:


This section is crucial since it determines how your data is arranged together.  There are two parts to it: Headings and Line items.

Heading:


The Skylight invoice allows line items to have headings and invoice line items are used for actual data.

For example, you might want to separate your invoice line items by grouping the related time spent on each particular Task as the Heading.

Task 1

Jun 26th 2012 08:00 - 15:007.000£0.00
Jun 28th 2012 08:00 - 15:307.500£0.00
Jun 25th 2012 08:00 - 15:007.000£0.00

Task 2

Dec 29th 2012 11:00 - 18:307.5080£600.00
Jan 2nd 2013 10:00 - 19:009.0080£720.00
Dec 31st 2012 10:00 - 19:309.5080£760.00

Or If you chose to utilize role TAGS for Heading e.g. design, developer, recruiter(you must have selected role when booking time events).

Designer

Task1 - Jun 26th 2012 08:00 - 15:007.000£0.00
Task 2 - Jun 28th 2012 08:00 - 15:307.500£0.00
Task 1 - Jun 25th 2012 08:00 - 15:007.000£0.00

Project Manager

Task1 -  Dec 29th 2012 11:00 - 18:307.5080£600.00
Task2 - Jan 2nd 2013 10:00 - 19:009.0080£720.00
Task3 - Dec 31st 2012 10:00 - 19:309.5080£760.00

Separate lines Items:


This is a place where you can define how the line items that form the actual calculations for this invoice will include.

Lets say we take the above example “Task 1, Task 2...” and want to add what roles were performed i.e Task 1 had designer and a web developer working on it, Task 2 had an Animator and illustrator working on them. You will select Role in Separate Lines Items column this will show role again each time entry for the line items.

Task 1

Designer - Jun 26th 2012 08:00 - 15:007.000£0.00
Designer - Jun 28th 2012 08:00 - 15:307.500£0.00
Project Manager  - Jun 25th 2012 08:00 - 15:007.000£0.00

Task 2

Designer - Dec 29th 2012 11:00 - 18:307.5080£600.00
Project Manager - Jan 2nd 2013 10:00 - 19:009.0080£720.00
Designer - Dec 31st 2012 10:00 - 19:309.5080£760.00

But then you may not want to show every minute and hour when it comes to the time logs; choosing to show a sum of all the hours worked is much more easier to comprehend.  To choose the option to show the sum of hours, you want to deselect “each individual time block/log” option.

Task 1

Designer14 .0080£112.00
Project Manager1065£650.00

Task 2

Designer7.5080£600.00
Project Manager9.0080£720.00

To get the above your configuration, your settings should look like this:

4 Saved Configurations:

You are probably thinking that selecting that perfect option every time is going to be a nightmare! Fear not, you will be able to save this configuration for later use.

You will do this by selecting “Save current configuration”.  Once your are prompted to save, use a name that defines what the configuration is about (e.g. Task with Roles, client booking form, talent confirmation”) and then hit save. Now when you come to this view next time these configuration settings will be available to you.

Note: Saved configuration only saves the settings in Customised and Group section (3) above.

5 Preview:


The following view shows your invoice and how all your line items would appear.  If you choose to group your data, you will have a real time preview as you select your options.  Prior to selecting “save” ensure that your data is grouped in the way your final invoice would be grouped.  Once you hit save, and that quote or invoice is generated, you will not be able to undo the changes. Though you can edit the line items manually.

So after this process your invoice will look like this:

 


And now it's time to see this in action, here is a video that covers some of the above processes and walks you through generating an invoice from billable time. Do remember that you can use the same process for a Quote and PO.


If you find that somethings are still unclear, and still have questions, feel free to contact us.  We are always delighted to hear from you, please join us on our help forum.


About the Author

TaimurTaimur is the founder of Skylight. He is a serial entrepreneur with a string of successful companies to his name in UK.Having identified a gap in the market, in 2009, Taimur set up Skylightit.com to fulfil a simple need for every business; to centralise all key business data in one application.SKYLIGHTit.com offers a web-based business collaboration solution that includes project management, tasks, time billing and invoicing among layers of features specially designed for businesses and freelancers. It is available in multiple languages including Spanish and German making it a complete business management app.View all posts by Taimur →