You asked, we delivered. BQE Core has improved our already powerful Fee Schedules by enabling users to set up rate tables to handle specific billing rates, based directly upon the employee’s job title (classification).
Here’s how it works.
Let’s say you are a principal in your firm and typically bill your time out at $200/hr. However, whenever you perform a task such as drafting, you need to bill out at a rate of $80/hr AND show the classification of “Draftsperson” on the invoice to the customer.
You got it, boss!
#1: Fee Schedules and Classifications
The Classification feature in Core can be used in conjunction with a fee schedule to create a custom set of bill rates depending on the employee’s job title or classification in the company.In the above example, we are tracking two titles:
- Principal: This is the default classification, and can be set using the “Title” field on the Details page of the Contacts > Employee record.
- You can also set the default billing rate for this employee in the Rates & Options tab. In this example, we would set the Bill Rate field to $200.
- Draftsperson: To override the default classification and bill rate for the employee record, we need to create a Fee Schedule.
- Note - Fee Schedules need to be assigned to your project(s) to become effective.
To set up bill rates by job classification or title:
- Open the Projects > Fee Schedules screen. Create a new schedule if needed.
- Name your Fee Schedule and then click save. We called ours “Standard Rates.”
- Click on the Services tab on the top right of the screen.
- Be sure to click on More > Show/Hide Columns and opt to show both the Classification and the Priority columns. These may be needed to indicate which line is considered first. The lower the number, the higher the priority.
- Select the name of the employee (or group like Principals), and provide the activity to be performed. In this example, we created a group of activities and called it “Drafting.” This activity group includes blueprinting, CAD work, designs & calculations, etc.
- We then entered “Draftsperson” into the Classification field, and set the Bill Rate to $80.
- The final touch was to assign this fee schedule to the appropriate project(s).
This can be done from the Projects screen or Fee Schedules screen.
- Now, when this employee enters time using any activity included in the Drafting group, the billing rate will automatically change from the default set at the employee record. Instead, it will become $80/hr AND pick up the appropriate job title of “Draftsperson”.
Project Settings are Considered First!
Once you have assigned a Fee Schedule to a Project, Core looks at the fee schedule first to get the rates and classification. If the employee enters time using an activity listed on the Fee Schedule, Core will override the defaults from the employee record with the new details.
In case of similar matches, it looks at the priority and pulls that bill rate. It also brings the appropriate classification from the fee schedule.
If there are no fee schedules assigned to the project, Core would get the rates and classification from the Employees screen instead (i.e. $200/hr, Principal).
#2: Employee and Activity Groups
Fee Schedules are designed to increase productivity and billing accuracy. Entering employees/activities multiple times on a rate table is not only inefficient, but it can also be downright confusing.
For example, entering “Employee A, drafting (activity), Draftsperson (classification), $80”… and then doing that again for each specific activity related to drafting is valid, but it’s very inefficient and can look quite messy on the schedule.
The solution would be to use the Productivity Tools > Groups feature to create an Activity Group which contains every activity code related to the Draftsperson role. You can then use this Group on your Fee Schedules instead of having to list out specific codes.
You can also set up Employee Groups, in the same manner, to help organize employees into categories.
Best of all, these Groups are not restricted to Fee Schedules. They can be used with setting up Budgets, Project Assignments, Reporting, and similar features in Core.
#3: Cloning Fee Schedules
BQE Core provides you with the option to base a new Fee Schedule on an existing list of employee rates/classifications.
- Go to Projects > Fee Schedules
- Select “Create New” from the top right of the screen
- Then select “From Existing Fee Schedule”
This will create an exact copy based on the schedule you selected.
Here’s an example in action.
- We cloned the “Standard Rates” schedule, then named it “High Rates.”
- Then, on the Services screen, we set the Draftsperson rate to $120.
- We also entered a new line with the Principals employee group and set the Bill Rate for all other services to $300.
- The trick is to make sure that the Priority for the Draftsperson line is set to a lower number (higher priority) so that any time entry using a drafting code uses the Draftsperson classification and rate of $120 on invoices.
- If the priority is wrong, click on More > Manage Priority to correct it.
Now, anytime employees enter time in Core, you can be confident that billing and reporting will be accurate and efficient. If you set a project to bill hourly, then these rates and classifications pass on seamlessly to invoices. If you bill a fixed fee, then you can still track the billable time entered for these projects and report on the health of your contracts.
Keep in mind, Core can also help you set up internal Budgets (similar to Fee Schedules) to help improve profitability. Please check out our articles on Budgets for more information.
This topic is covered in more detail in our Project Set Up training. If you would like to have a one-on-one session with one of our expert trainers, contact your account manager and we would be happy to help you learn more about Fee Schedules and Bill Rates by job classification.