Product Updates: Nov 27 - Dec 3

6-Dec 2016
Product
hugh2
Hugh Cowling PRODUCT MANAGER
geoff professional
Geoff McQueen FOUNDER & CEO

This week features some solid improvements for Task permissions and Task attachments, switching Webhooks on for all Accelo accounts + more documentation, tidying up Trigger email/alerts, a smattering of fixes and improvements around invoicing, and perhaps most notably, our JIRA integration moves into beta!

JIRA Integration Upgrade & Chrome Extension in Beta

Attachments on Tasks

Daily Timesheet Improvements

Smarter, Clearer Invoice Consolidation

Better explaining the Common folder to users

Webhooks and Zapier

Handling Ghost Senders in Trigger-created Activities/Emails

Task Skills now in Status Progressions

Service Items now in Create Invoice

Quickbooks Online: Webhooks & Ledger Codes

iOS: Activity Creation Improvements - Attachments & Performance

Android: Improving Expense Listing with Filters

Limiting Visibility when Tasks are Assigned

Reducing Time Logged now returns time to the Time Remaining Value

Importing Contact from Xero if needed in Invoice Import

Re-syncing from Saasu fix

Truncating Phone, Mobile and Fax as appropriate when pushing Quickbooks Contacts

JIRA Integration Upgrade & Chrome Extension in Beta

Last week we announced that folks could request to join our JIRA Beta, and after a lot of work we're excited to announce that we're now open for beta business. If you'd like to get in on the beta and didn't get a chance to register last week, see the blog post and register for the beta here.

Attachments on Tasks

While working on the improvement for Limiting visibility when tasks are assigned, our team have reviewed another long-standing limitation of tasks: The lack of a place to view all attachments related to the task.

Now, whenever there is activity recorded against the task - such as a work note, email conversation or meeting - if there were any files attached to those activities, they will be listed under the attachments tab for the task. This ensures the task keeps track of files & documents that are specific to it, rather than being crowded with files from other tasks and milestones within a project, for example.

The task assignee and manager have permission to view all files under the task, while anyone else will have access based on normal attachment permissions. As always, if you sent or received the file via an email/activity, then it will always be visible to you.

task attachies

If you’re wondering about the ability to upload files directly to a task - without the need to attach files through creating an activity - we hear you! At the moment tasks don’t have the necessary plumbing & folder structure to handle attachments as other modules do, but yes this is definitely a step we’re looking to add in the near future.

Daily Timesheet Improvements

Last week we made a number of improvements to the Timesheet screens in Accelo.

One improvement we made to the Daily Timesheet was to make sure work scheduled exclusively for you - but created by another staff member - appears on your Daily timesheet screen. We've now fixed this so you can access these activities and log your time and notes with ease.

Another improvement we made was to ensure that the "Log work" note style activities had both a start and end time able to be logged against them in the Daily Timesheet.

Finally, Jacob, the newest member of our engineering team rolled out a small fix that gives a bit more breathing room and space to each of the Task cards down the right hand side.

Smarter, Clearer Invoice Consolidation

With the ability to consolidate the display of work detail on your invoices by the Object the work was done against, Chris at Leonardo Consulting suggested we improve the display by making sure we include the Project title and order things consistently when we're giving the names of Milestones. This is particularly important when an invoice includes work across multiple projects.

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Given the tendency of Milestones to have more generic titles like "Phase 1" or "Design Concepts" which makes a lot more sense when you also know the Project involved, we thought this was a great idea and implemented the improvement last week.

Better explaining the Common folder to users

The "Common" folder in Accelo is a way for you to have commonly used files - templates, checklists and more - available in the Attachments screen everywhere in the system. While this is powerful when you know what's going on, seeing things unrelated to a specific client or project when you look into the Attachments area can be a little scary too!

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Webhooks and Zapier

image8Last week we introduced a number of improvements to our Webhooks functionality, including:

  • Webhooks now active on all Accelo accounts. Now all of our client deployments can use webhooks, either via the API or via the Webhooks section of Accelo's configuration menu under API.

  • New documentation for the webhooks published. If you want to use Webhooks, you'll want to read these docs.

  • A new webhook for sending a notification on Invoice PDF creation. This joins Quote created and the original Request and Task creation/assignment webhook events you can use now.

We've also submitted Accelo to Zapier to be part of their global beta, and we're hopeful that they'll get back to us with the green light on our beta being accepted this week! Once we get through the beta process we'll be able to add more triggers and actions - understandably, the Zapier folks want to make sure the applications they are doing beta assessments on aren't overly complex or broad.

Handling Ghost Senders in Trigger-created Activities/Emails

One of the more popular and powerful features of Accelo's Premium editions is the ability to send emails/notifications based on certain rules being satisfied - such as sending a salesperson a reminder if they haven't spoken with an opportunity for more than X days.

While these activities could be set to come from a "manager" or owner user type, a shortcoming we only fixed last week was handling a "fallback" situation when, for example, there was no owner or manager of the sale. Now, you're able to specify who the fallback person should be in those situations where the defined sender ends up being nobody.

Task Skills now in Status Progressions

When we first built support for Tasks in the Status Progressions in Accelo (which we're actually desperate to completely overhaul and make mobile friendly - a project in early 2017 we hope), there was no such thing as Skills in Tasks. Now there is, and they're heavily used, and we needed to make sure the Tasks created through status progressions were able to set the Skills for the Task, even (or especially) in cases where the Tasks are created automatically as part of a hidden progression or trigger-based automatic conversion.

Now they're there - so if you set up a progression that creates a Task for the accounts team to do a credit check on a new client, and you assign a skill of "Finance" to it, the accounts team can keep an eye for it on the Task list by matching Skill=Finance and Status=Unassigned and go in and grab it. With the overhaul of the Task Boards we're working on this quarter, we're excited to see how much time our clients can save with this sort of automation!

Service Items now in Create Invoice

When you create an Invoice in Accelo, we generally fetch the "service item" information from the project plan, ticket or retainer configuration screens. However, we found that a lot of users were getting stuck into new work without setting these optional service items, which meant the create invoice process was just applying a default service item. The result was invoices were pushed into their accounting system - especially those going into Quickbooks - with generic or invalid item codes.

With the improvement we rolled out last week, you can now edit the service items in the right hand hover card as you hover over each line item. We've got further enhancements around the corner (specifically hiding the account ledger codes from QBO users since QBO doesn't expose them in its own invoice creation process) too.

Quickbooks Online: Webhooks & Ledger Codes

Last week we also rolled out a couple of great Quickbooks Online updates.

The first one involved activating support for Webhooks - this is technology Quickbooks recently released that allows us to configure their servers to "call us back" when an invoice is updated in Quickbooks. When we get this callback we then know to go and fetch the latest invoice detail (often with a newly saved/created payment) and update Accelo. The end result is that changes you make in Quickbooks will appear in Accelo as the Quickbooks servers tell us there's been a change (currently around every 5 minutes) rather than waiting for our polling sweep to get an update just for your deployment (was sometimes an hour or more when things were busy).

Mentioned last week - but worth re-iterating - we’ve recently made sure the Ledger Codes in your Chart of Accounts in Quickbooks Online are accurately mapped into Accelo's Ledger Code system. We'd previously loaded up your "Items" (being Service Items and Material Items) into the Ledger codes, primarily because Quickbooks Online doesn't expose the ledger choices to users at the time of invoice creation. The consequence of this change was that the new Payment sync between Accelo and QBO couldn't work - so we needed to fix this, putting Items where items belong and Ledgers where ledgers belong. After making this fix, we noticed a few places where we need to tighten up the listing of ledgers to make them more tightly focused - we're working on improving these lists currently, but by using the Items (see above) we're now mapping the ledgers properly and automatically.

iOS: Activity Creation Improvements - Attachments & Performance

Creating activities in iOS has been possible for a while, but it hasn't been the most efficient process in the world. Last week the team rolled out a major improvement, and while most of the enhancements are behind the scenes, one change that our users will notice is the ability to attach files - including photos - as they create and send Activities in our iOS app. Perfect for situations where you're wanting to take a picture of something as you log your time, you can now create activities and attach files from our iOS app - Android will be getting the same treatment soon!

Android: Improving Expense Listing with Filters

On Android, we were showing expense lists with a bit too much "full on" information. With the update last week, the Android app now supports filter selections for Expenses, so now you can filter expenses by status, type, submitter and even date ranges.

Limiting Visibility when Tasks are Assigned

When you assign a Task to a User, especially a Contractor in Accelo, you need to give them the ability to see some information to do their job, but not too much. Until last week, the act of assigning a Task to someone meant giving them "view" permission over the object the task was against, which was sometimes too much information.

With this improvement, you can now choose whether you want to grant the assignee of a task automatic view permission to the Project, Milestone, Ticket or Retainer that the task is against. Note that it will still be possible to manually add/remove their “view” access to the parent object.

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Reducing Time Logged now returns time to the Time Remaining Value

In what is by far our oldest bug/improvement to be fixed last week, this improvement was raised in 2013. While the situation wasn't very common - someone enters, say, 10 hours in a timesheet entry on a Task, they then realize they should have said 1 hour, and the edit the activity to be 1 hour - the fact that reducing the time logged didn't "give back" the difference in hours onto the Time Remaining value for the Task an activity was a pain. We're handling this situation intelligently now, whether the activity time is increased or decreased.

Importing Contact from Xero if needed in Invoice Import

Another unusual situation, we weren't handling the importing of invoices from Xero well when the invoice was against a client contact that Accelo didn't know about. Since most users import their Contact and then their Invoices into Accelo on a more once-off basis and then do their invoicing from Accelo, this hadn't come up before, but we're handling it now.

Re-syncing from Saasu fix

We also had a situation where the pulling or manually synchronizing back invoices from Saasu wasn't happening properly after the first pull, causing problems where payments weren't showing up in Accelo even though the invoice in Saasu was now marked as paid. This is now fixed and handled properly.

Truncating Phone, Mobile and Fax as appropriate when pushing Quickbooks Contacts

In that category of "this is what it was like to write software 30 years ago", we had a problem where Quickbooks was flat-out rejecting contacts we tried to push across where the length of the text field we were providing for Phone, Mobile or Fax were more than 21 characters in length. With phone numbers in places like China containing a required 11 digits, and then spaces, dashes, parentheses and extensions all taking up character space, we had situations where we couldn't create an invoice in QB because we were sending a string a bit too long. We're now handling this at the code level and simply truncating what is pushed to QuickBooks to ensure the more important pieces - the invoice and the contact - are sync'd across.

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