Assignments help you to perform work for a client within a structured and organised way that allows for the descriptive and accurate capture of WIP. This benefits your practice by recording information, encouraging a time-efficient and accurate billing process, and increasing reporting flexibility. Clients benefit as they have a personalised workflow that meets their requirements. You can also easily keep your clients up-to-date because you know the type and cost of the work being performed.
You can also set up a standard set of assignments to use for each client when they ask for your services. Standard sets of assignments are called Assignment Templates.
In Practice Manager, the work performed is broken down into work units which have a time and cost associated with them. Work units enable you to accurately estimate the work to be done, the time involved and the associated costs. The information gives you the tools to better manage your business resources, cash collection and workflow.
The work is broken down into Assignments and Schedules.
Time and expenses cannot be entered against a client without an assignment.
All time and disbursements are recorded against assignments. Assignments enables you to logically group the different work types. When entering WIP and expenses, you select assignments to record against. The assignment can either be:
A chargeable assignment linked to a client and therefore available to raise bills against
Non–chargeable against which you will record annual leave, sick leave and training, etc.
Standard assignments save time and ensure a consistent practice workflow and estimation of costs.
Schedules are created within clients’ assignments. Each schedule contains stages which consist of tasks and milestones. Use these two features if you want to track and monitor the work done for a client. Tasks and milestones are added to the schedule using the Assignment Details page > Schedule tab and can be added individually or from a pre–defined schedule template. See Schedules for complete details.
Schedules are divided into:
A stage is a level that a practice might want to budget for and monitor work performed within a schedule. A stage groups various tasks essential to get work done for a client. The practice usually groups these tasks to:
Allocate a cost to performing the stage so that management knows how much it will cost to perform the work — in other words, work out a budget.
Set a period of time to complete a stage so that management can estimate how long it will take to perform work for a client. You can allot an end date to the completion of a stage so that you can monitor how work is progressing. If you enter a stage without a start or end date, it is seen as a milestone and is displayed in blue on your homepage (if it has been customised to show Schedule Details).
Monitor the progress of work being performed so that the stage is completed in a timely manner to the expectations or timeframes agreed with a client.
Allocate employees (who have the skills and authority to do the work) to a group of tasks in one step
For example, the stage preparation could include the tasks of:
A task is an activity or the basic step that each employee does when performing work for the practice. A task forms part of a stage allocated to an employee category as part of a schedule.
The time taken on a task or an expense associated with a task, is either chargeable or non-chargeable to a client. Time and expenses are accounted for by recording information on timesheets and expense sheets. Each task has a code associated with it and is maintained in the system under a Task Code.
You can set tasks and assign them to stages. You can also attach documents (using the To Do tab), define timeframes (schedules) and track progress. How simple or detailed the assignments become is up to you. The more detailed and structured the assignments, the more detailed the profit analysis per work type, enabling you to fully understand the profitability of the services offered to clients.
Some example tasks are:
Send for review
Sign off work.