The Ochre app Expenses feature can provide all the bookkeeping required by the small firm architect. Let your accountant do the accounting. Your app can record and show how projects are doing financially as well as how well the organization is doing overall.
This is how it all works.
The key to monitoring project profitability is to determine how much overhead expense to assign to the project for every dollar spent on the time devoted to the project. Determining this number allows you to streamline your financial management and do away with accounting (i.e. Quickbooks or similar). If you need help with this, see this article.
The main piece of information that you need to have profitable projects is how you stand with the project design budget. If you enter your time in Ochre daily, you will know the answer daily. Daily is when you can take corrective action. No one can afford to let a week or two’s project time go to waste.
Because Ochre is a bookkeeping system specifically for architects, you will find that it takes less of your time than you are used to. The time requirement is about two hours a week.
Several times per day as you switch projects, make a time entry for what you have accomplished on the My Records page of Ochre. If you come back to the same project, edit the earlier entry by increasing the hours and adding to the description (if needed).
Every time you make a time entry, it immediately shows up in all other project tables, including the Project-Phase table showing budgeted time and dollars; the Invoicing Time table showing the billable value of completed work; the Payroll Prep table showing the current size of the earned payroll; and Project Accounts table showing all income and expense for the Project.
Daily time entries are 'best practice' for accuracy and for immediate feedback.
Time entries do not affect expenses until a payroll entry is made.
As mileage is driven on behalf of a project or the office, make a mileage entry on your My Records > More…forms, etc. page. The value of the mileage entry is calculated for you based on the rates that you have established. At the same time, the value of the mileage is shown as a PROJECT expense when you view the project records.
Mileage entries immediately affect the project expenses and income by creating an unpaid bill and an unpaid income entry. Both show up in the main Expenses and Income table, and in other tables to help complete the transactions. The Reimbursements table shows what is owed to the individual. The Receivables table shows the amount owed by the client. For Internal mileage entries an associated income entry is not made.
Reimbursable Expenses work similar to mileage entries. When you incur a reimbursable expense, you make a Reimbursable Expense entry on your My Records > More…forms, etc. page. The value of the reimbursable expense is shown as a project expense when you view the project records. It also is entered as an unpaid reimbursable expense. The value that will be invoiced to the client is calculated for you based on the markup factor that you have established, and is entered as un-invoiced income for the project.
For Reimbursable Expenses that are incurred by the organization rather than an individual the form button is on the Expenses page - “Add Reimb. Exp.”. The form works the same way by creating an expense entry and an income entry for the project.
Income entries (Expense entries, too) are made by a Level 5 User. To make an income entry, go to the new Expenses page and select the “Add Income” menu button. Fill in the form and submit. Most income entries are expected to be invoices. When you submit the form, the amount shows up on the affected project as income and in the Receivables records as an unpaid invoice. The amount is easily found in the Receivables table to mark 'paid' when the income is received.
Expense entries are similar to income entries. Entering expenses as the occur leads to the minimum amount of time for the task. Attach a picture of the bill and eliminate having to manage a ‘Bills to be Paid’ file.
To make an expense entry, go to the Expenses page and select the “Add Expense” menu button. Fill in the form and submit. Most expense entries are expected to be bills rather than actual payments that you are making. When you submit the form, the expense amount shows up on the affected project account including your Internal (general office) account as an expense. The entry also shows up in the Payables table if it is not “Paid?".
When a bill is paid, open the Payables table and mark it Paid. This will remove it from the Payables table.
When you are paying bills, use the Payables table for reference as you write a check, use your bank’s bill paying system, or PayPal. Mark each entry as Paid as you complete them.
CREDIT / DEBIT CARDS and DIRECT DEBIT
Expenses paid by DEBIT CARDS and DIRECT DEBIT are similar. Enter them using your banking statement as a checklist. Check the “Yes” radio button of the “Paid?” field so that these records are not treated as Payables.
Expenses paid by CREDIT CARDS have two workflows. First you can use the same method as DEBIT CARDS and DIRECT DEBIT. This is ideal, but it requires more data entry for the numerous small amounts (usually). The second way is to treat the credit card payment as a single transaction. If you make partial payments, this approach is helpful. However, you will have to rely on your credit card statement to remind you of your total credit card liability. And at tax time your credit card payments will need to be categorized for your tax return. (A job for your accountant?)