An introduction to projects
New to projects in FreeAgent? Here's a brief introduction.
Projects are large pieces of work that you undertake for one particular customer. So for example, if you're a publisher, then this would be the publishing of a new book by one author.
Perhaps you want to keep track of the time you spend on a particular contract for a particular client, on a daily or weekly basis. To use the Time Tracking module in FreeAgent, you have to set up a project to record time for. The project in FreeAgent corresponds to your contract.
Time is tracked against different tasks within the project. So in the above example, the publisher might have tasks like designing the layout of the book, or proofreading the manuscript.
Tasks can be set as billable or unbillable. Unbillable tasks would be those that you can't pass on to your clients, for example admin.
You can also enter a set billing rate to use when you track the time you have spent on the project, which is then used to create invoices within the project. Until you do this, any unbillable hours will show with a cost of £zero.
You might also want to set a budget of hours that you're going to spend on this project.
Once you've tracked time against a project, you can then add that time to an invoice so that you never forget to charge your customers for your time.
Track costs and profitability
When you're working on a project, you'll incur costs. This might be mileage travelled to visit the customer, or in-house tasks. The publisher's costs would include, for example, paper and binding for the books, and transporting the finished books to the bookshops.
You can track these costs against projects in FreeAgent, and, if you wish, charge some of them on to your customer, either at cost, or with a mark-up, or at a different specified price.
You'll be able to do that in FreeAgent if you set up a project and, as you enter bills, expenses and payments, assign them to that project.
Then you can see, as you issue invoices to your customer, how much profit you've made on the project, allowing for rebilled costs and those that can't be rebilled, but must be "taken on the chin".
You can choose whether or not to include unbillable time on the project profitability breakdown.
Track payments from customers
As your customers pay you for invoices you've issued for a project, a green bar appears in the background to the "Invoiced" figure on the profitability table.
This bar extends as your customers pay you for more invoices. So the more green you see here, the less your customer still has to pay you for this project.