This week we've been focusing on our Q4 Priorities - looking forward to sharing the fruits of our efforts with upgrades to Project Lists, JIRA Integration (beta) and the Contract/Retainer Module in the next week or so - but in the interim here's a bunch of other improvements we've gotten live for you in the last week!
After investigating a trickle of error reports related to users trying to convert an email from a Lead into a Ticket, we realized this process - while apparently supported in the UI - wasn’t properly implemented - while replying to an email from a Lead would turn them into a full Contact, immediately converting a request into a Sale or Ticket wasn't so automagically smooth.
We decided to bite-the-bullet here and let you turn any request - whether the contact is known or unknown (a lead) - into a support ticket or sale, according to the conversion options you have available for that type of request. For a lead, this means we’ll automatically build a basic company + contact as we prepare the Create Ticket (or Create Sale) screen for you to continue converting the request.
We know that some QuickBooks users will group invoices for a single client by using the Sub-customer feature. A common practice is to set-up a sub-customer for each large project undertaken, so that all the project invoices are grouped together nicely. For this reason, Accelo has an option to allow project invoices to push to QuickBooks under a Sub-customer created specifically for that project.
However, if this option was disabled - meaning your sub-clients in QuickBooks really are subsidiaries of a main client - Accelo wasn’t recognizing this when it came to importing customer from QuickBooks.
With this week's improvement, if “Push projects as sub-customers” is OFF, we’ll correctly import sub-customers as real client + contact records in Accelo (rather an ignoring them as clients and thinking they're just placeholders for projects, etc).
Accelo’s automated email capture means we can accurately track when your team last communicated with a customer. This date also respects any phone calls or meetings logged with that contact, giving your sales, support and marketing teams precise data to work with when prioritizing follow-ups, email campaigns or account management initiatives.
This data has been readily available on the Company and Contact listing screens and is now included in the spreadsheet data exports for extra convenience.
This work addresses a problem with status changes from Continuum tickets failing to update the status of the sync’d ticket in Accelo. In most cases we encourage the use of status progressions, rather than bluntly editing the status of things.
For some integrations however, it makes sense to allow the simple change of a status - including with Continuum. Recent engineering work to centralize & simplify our status changing processes caused the special scenario for the Continuum integration to be overlooked, and we’ve just corrected the issue.
Accelo can import appointments from your Google or Exchange calendar into your timesheet, helping you to recognize work-related appointments and convert them into timesheet entries. However we had a small bug with the conversion process which only affected the Daily Timesheet: if you’d chosen a task to associate the appointment with, the resultant time entry wasn’t properly linked to the task - only the parent object (such as a Ticket, Milestone or Retainer Period).
We've now fixed this, and now when you convert something that was in your calendar but not Accelo and link the work to a Task, you'll see the time used on the task update properly, and also see Accelo automatically reduce the time-remaining with the hours you've logged too!
For Accelo accounts integrated with Google Apps, adding new users is as simple as asking your team to visit your Accelo domain and click the “Login with Google Apps” button. As you’d expect, these new users aren’t given any admin permissions, and they’re created with a “Collaborator” licence so you won’t be charged for them until they’re promoted to a Professional licence.
These users are added into the “Staff” permission group to give them some basic permissions for viewing clients and contacts, creating tickets & projects, and other everyday tasks - though as Collaborators they can’t log billable time or create invoices.
One oversight we had made, however, is that these new users have too much visibility into financials. The change we’ve made this week is to ensure these new users also have their Financial Visibility setting set to “Hours only” - a precaution in-case there are certain sales estimates, project budgets, billable staff rates or other financial data they shouldn’t have immediate access to.
A “unified” field is one which appears on most records for a client. For example, a client’s “VIP Status” is something you’d want to reference quickly whether you are looking at a ticket, project or retainer for them. By making this custom field “unified”, you allow it to appear, and be editable, from all these places - without duplicating the data. One shortcoming was that these fields were only appearing in the spreadsheet export of the client list. This limitation has been corrected so now when exporting Projects, Tickets, Retainers, Sales or Assets, the “unified” fields will also be included.
Favoriting (aka. Following) a client is a great way to stay in the loop regarding support tickets, project activity, sales efforts and just general client communication - since Accelo can ensure you get bcc’d for the things you’ve subscribed to in your notification preferences.
However, a few of our customers helped us identify that these email notifications are still to users that don’t (anymore) have access to view the ticket, project, sale or invoice where the activity took place. We’ve reviewed the notifications system and have resolved the matter by filtering out staff according to their viewable permissions, before sending the emails.
The invoicing screen neatly splits billable Services, Materials and Expenses into their own tables so you can make changes and track the sub-total with ease. However, seeing the sub-total amount pre-tax, as well as the total tax for each section, wasn’t really possible. These values are now clearly called out at the bottom of each table, making it easier to spot errors related to tax.
This is good news for project managers and finance officers who need extra flexibility when billing large client projects by a percentage of the budget. When invoicing with the “Percentage of Budget” method, you enter a figure such as 50, and then all line items are updated to reflect 50% of their budget (pre-tax). With this improvement, each line item can have that percentage overridden, and when the changes for that line are saved, Accelo will adjust the line item amount accordingly - including automatically re-calculating the Qty and Rate.
2-factor authentication (2FA) is excellent for adding an extra layer of security to your Accelo account, and we certainly encourage it - whether using Accelo’s built-in 2FA feature, or Google’s one (for Google Apps users integrated with Accelo). However, some recent server-side improvements from our engineering team introduced a redirect issue with 2FA which mean after supplying your authentication code, you were being directed to your home page rather than the page you had requested. In 99% of cases this is fine - but for users logging into our Desktop Timer, this meant the authentication piece was sending them into their Accelo home screen instead of completing their Desktop Timer login!