Product Updates: Dec 12-18

19-Dec 2016
Product
geoff professional
Geoff McQueen FOUNDER & CEO

With the holidays right around the corner, last week was a busy one! Our team crushed some long hours and were able to push several awesome improvements out for our Accelo family to enjoy - here they are!

Contracts Module Upgrade

The biggest thing we set live last week was the new and improved Contracts Module! With this module being so powerful and customizable, it was a little intimidating to set up. To make the configuration process easier, we decided to give the screens a well-deserved makeover (hint: it’s got a completely new editing interface). If you’d like to deep dive into its functionality, check out this blog post.

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More Control Over Milestones & Tasks

This update is another foundational piece behind our major Projects upgrade! With the way Milestones and Tasks were displayed before, it was hard to tackle smaller tasks like “Project Kickoff” before the heavier stuff under Milestones since these smaller tasks would automatically get reordered below Milestones (which was confusing and frustrating). Many of you requested that we not force the Tasks to be reordered, and so that’s exactly what we did with this update. Now you can set up your project plans with whatever order of Milestones and Tasks that you like.

List & Filter Improvements

We shipped a number of small improvements to our List and Filter screens last week, making it easier for folks to use our powerful filter feature on our list screens to find that they want. Improvements include: 

  • Better handling 0 values as filter criteria: Without diving too deep into computer science land, before Customer Number fields were treating “0” as “empty” because in code, “0” means false/no. That meant that you couldn’t save required number fields with a value of “0” or save any non-required fields with “0”, which affected both “Number” and “Decimal” fields. Now, having a field with the value of “0” is possible, like when you’re first prospecting the value of your Sale :-).

  • Filtering for multiple Companies in Issue lists: if you wanted to find all of the tickets for Acme Corp and Zulu Inc and see them on the list screen, you'd probably think to do the same as other filters and just enter them one after the other on the list screen. However, previously we were treating the company search as an "and" query, and since an issue can't be against both companies you'd get an empty list. Now, if you enter multiple companies you'll get the combined list!

  • Tweaks to the new Project list screen design: the enhanced Project List screen we rolled out a couple of weeks ago has been popular, but particularly at low resolutions we were seeing some inappropriate scrolling. We've now fixed this and a small alignment issue with the date filter chooser.

iOS App Improvements

We made a bunch of improvements to the iOS app last week - they’re currently available for our iOS Beta testers and we hope to get them released later this week (when Apple finishes their review process).

Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Login via Google Account: when you open the app for the first time, we've now made it easier to authenticate. Instead of typing in your username and password or scanning a barcode, you can tap the Google login button and if you're email address is known to Accelo you'll get logged in.

  2. Login performance: while adding the Google login, we’ve also reduced the sync down to a single query so now you’ll notice a major improvement while the “Synchronizing your account…” screen is shown - behind the scenes, there's a lot less back and forth going on, which will speed up the first load experience.

  3. Bugfix with Taskboard scrolling: previously, if you were scrolling on Taskboard and hit "minimize", the app crashed. Now it doesn't and will seem less like it is possessed.

  4. Tapping on Email from Contact creates Activity: when you click on the email address for a contact in the iOS app, we will now fire up the create activity screen, rather than going out to the default mail application (which doesn't do handy things like auto-cc managers and log time the way Activity creation does).

  5. Better distinction between Clients & Users in create Activity: if you're sending an activity from the iOS app you might have been frustrated that it wasn't super obvious which people that you see in the To and CC lists when you enter a string are clients and which are colleagues or other Accelo users. We've improved the interface now to more closely mirror the web app, so you don't accidentally send Joe the client something you wanted to send to Joe your co-worker!

Renaming Manager to 'Owner' (or anything else) on Projects

One of the things we wish we'd done differently when we were starting out was use the word "Owner" instead of "Manager" for identifying the user who is responsible for a Project, Milestone or other work in Accelo. As part of our projects upgrade work, this week we rolled out the first editions of what will be custom titles for this role of Owner/Manager. 

Now, if you're an Admin on your Accelo account and you go to the Configuration > Module Titles, you can choose whether to call the person who's responsible for a Project or Milestone the "Owner", "Grand Poobah" or leaving it as the previous default, "Manager". We're working on bringing this functionality to our other modules - Sales, Tickets, Retainers, etc - soon too!

JIRA Beta Improvements

Our JIRA Beta continues apace, with a number of improvements over the last week. Highlights include:

  • Fixed the duplicate notifications from JIRA on comments: when we import JIRA comments into Accelo as Activities, we were mistakenly then going into JIRA and reformatting the comment to have the same format as the activities that get created in Accelo (ie, the subject of the activity and a link back to view the work in Accelo). This made for unnecessary noise and wasn't really that helpful (since JIRA comments and work logs don't have useful subjects anyway). All fixed now.

  • Preventing "noisy" activities being pushed to JIRA at all: there are certain transactional or notification activities that get created in Accelo (such as when a task gets assigned or completed) which were being pushed into JIRA as if they were useful activities. We've stopped doing this now.

  • Redesigning the JIRA link/view experience in Accelo: this is one we're still working on, but through the beta we had people getting confused about the role of our "existing" (or old) mechanism of linking an Accelo Ticket and a JIRA Issue (ie, doing the linking from Accelo). With the beta, all linking happens from JIRA, and while we're still finishing the link/designation that a Task in Accelo is actually paired with a JIRA Issue (should go live before Christmas) and also bringing back a "Create JIRA Issue" magic link from Accelo into JIRA, we've at least eliminated the confusion of the old way in the new beta.

  • Ensuring only 'active' things are found in keyword search: when you are trying to find the right Project, Milestone or Ticket in Accelo, you really don't want to have old and complete projects and tickets returned. This week we upgraded the back end search to not show things that are paused, resolved, closed or complete.

Zapier Beta now Globally Available

For those of you that expressed interest in joining our Zapier beta, last week Zapier made our application available to anyone in the world! 

Now you can search “Accelo” in Zapier and find out app - for more details and how it works, check out our beta documentation here.

Client Portal Invite Bugfix

This was a small but important bug fix. While each Contact can have multiple links or affiliations, if they weren’t active, the invite would break. Now if you try inviting someone to view the client portal, even if they aren’t active, it will work.

Additional Decimals in Invoice PDFs

The challenge here was that time (hours, minutes, seconds) doesn't convert into decimals very well, but your accounting system needs to work off decimal quantities. If you use lots of decimals you can match things up pretty well, but by the PDF invoices we were sending out rounded the quantity numbers displayed to 2 decimal places.

An example of where this became a problem was if you had 5 hours and 33 minutes logged, it would populate nicely at 5.55 (60x5+33/60), but if you had 5 hours and 32 minutes logged, while the real value is 5.5333333333, we’d cut it off at 5.53 to keep things looking clean. 

The trouble there was that even though all was accurate on the back end from a billing perspective (where we store 6 decimal places), your clients couldn’t see that, and so when they analyzed their invoices they might’ve thought you were overcharging them in some cases (i.e. your Rate on the PDF multiplied by the Quantity may not have matched the line item amount). 

To fix this, we checked for more decimal places on the line item, Quantity, and Rate and adjusted it to show up on the PDF when necessary so that you don’t have to deal with clients thinking you’re nickel and diming them.

Improving the Products & Services List

This was a smaller but important UI polish for Materials and Services lists. Previously, the Code column on the Service and Materials Lists wrapped large codes well when there were spaces between the words, however, longer names (without the spaces) didn’t wrap and bled into the next column.

To fix this, we made the Code column automatically truncate the information shown when a single piece of text is longer than the column can handle.

Handling Lots More Text in Invoice Descriptions

Another small yet important update last week was fixing long text streams stretching the table column on an invoice. Before, the Edit Invoice page got a little messy when the line item description held too much text. Now with some UI polish, you can include descriptions or resolutions on invoice line items.

Cloning Types Didn't Copy Progression Actions

Last week we had a bug that didn’t let Progression Actions clone on Retainer Types the first time round. Usually, when you create a new type (in this case a new Retainer/Contract Type) you have the option to clone the workflow or business processes (i.e. a Progression) of an existing Type, which saves a lot of time in setup. With last week’s bug, the Progressions would clone but not the individual Actions (i.e. Update a field, Create a task, Send an email, Attach a file).

Eliminating the persistent Intuit navigation button

If you're connected to Quickbooks Online, you might’ve noticed a little “Intuit” icon in the top right corner of the web app. You might wonder why Accelo had such an ugly, poorly placed icon infecting every screen of the application - well, it is because Intuit made it a requirement of synchronizing with them.

Thankfully, Intuit have changed their policies and it is no longer a requirement. As a result, we've now joyfully killed it with fire. Don't worry if you notice it missing - the Quickbooks Sync is still working in the background (and for admins, it is accessible from the Integrations panel). We also have links from the View Invoice screen in Accelo to see the specific invoice directly in Quickbooks Online - so, much more professional and useful now than the floating button.

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