Better Material Budgets

New Feature: Budgeting for Materials via Milestones

27-Jan 2022
hugh2
Hugh Cowling PRODUCT MANAGER

Introduction

Our Product Team are delighted to announce this long-awaited material budgeting feature is available for all customers within Projects*.

It unlocks the ability to include materials in the budget of a Fixed Price Milestone, even though the parent milestone (or project) is not set to include materials.

*Requires a subscription to our Projects product and access to the Materials feature.

What problems does this solve?

Incorporating materials into the service budget was, until now, an all-or-nothing feature.

We took the existing feature whereby materials can be “included” in the fixed price of a project, and adjusted it with additional flexibility to apply to milestones EVEN if the project is not Fixed Price.

 

Problem 1) I only want to package some of the materials into a fixed price.

Use case: As a quoting or project manager, some materials we use are tricky to explain or justify to the customer - or may even represent 3rd party services. I need to build the value of these materials into part of the project budget, keeping them hidden when quoting and invoicing. However, other materials the customer is aware of should be visible and invoiced as normal. This is important so I can track the budget, usage and profit of all materials required in the project while still creating quotes and invoices the customer can accept.

Solution: Now you can take a normal Time and Materials project, and change just 1 or 2 milestones to be “Fixed price including materials” so that the materials just for those milestones are hidden - built into the Fixed price. Materials on other milestones, or at the general project level, are not hidden, so they’re still added onto the budget and invoiced as normal.

 

Problem 2) I need to set aside part of the budget just for materials

As a quote/project manager, I sometimes have to account for materials that haven't been purchased or finalized yet. I can quote the customer with as estimate of the material cost, but I also want to reflect this as a material budget on the project. If I could define this budget on the project, then when the materials are known they could be added to consume this budget so I can ensure my estimates were appropriate.

Solution: Now when setting up the quote or project, you can configure a specific milestone to represent a group of materials, as a Fixed Price without any services component (by setting the hours to 0 and the rate to $0). As the project progresses and materials are added under the milestone, you can effectively track the consumption of the material budget.

Notable features

Improved Subtotals

 

By specifically calling out the value of any materials that are included in Fixed prices, it’s easier to understand how the total values are calculated - giving you more confidence when updating and saving the budget of a quote or project.

Hiding “included” materials on Quotes

We’re now hiding away any materials that are part of a Fixed Price/budget. This felt like the right approach now that a quote could have a mixture of normal materials (that add to the total) and included materials which don’t affect the budget.

More flexible invoicing

In the past, when it was all-or-nothing for materials to be included in the fixed price of a project, you couldn’t invoice for time & materials (what we call “Work Done”) because that would be mixing time & materials together in a single line item.

With this update, you might have a project that isn’t Fixed Price, but just 1 milestone that is Fixed Including Materials. Applying the same business rule to block you from invoicing for the “Work Done” didn’t seem right to us, so we’ve allowed that option - with the exception that your Fixed Including Materials milestone will revert to invoicing for its “Remaining Budget” method.

Questions or Comments?

We know this update covers some pretty advanced topics, so if you're unsure about a particular scenario or have any other feedback, please reach out at support@accelo.com

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