Deltek Vision product: iAccess (version 7.4 and up)

Today I attended Deltek’s webinar for presenting their Navigator replacement called “iAccess”.

My bottom line conclusions from today’s event are as follows:

  • They are segmenting their user audience into 3 groups; back office (Deltek Vision Core), mid-range users (Deltek Vision iAccess) and road warriors and lite users (Deltek Vision Touch – for smart phones).
  • Deltek has re-discovered the value in purely web-based platforms and has made the iAccess functionality available through most recent browsers of any device with a large screen. It’s not designed for phones, but supports any screen size 1024×768 nicely.
  • The core product of Deltek Vision has changed very little, while their iAccess product is well developed with intuitive, interactive interface elements like list filters, info bubbles and informative graphics. Thus, it seems that most of their product development resources have been allocated here lately. I recommend spending your company’s resources on getting used to this product.
  • They continue (for better or worse) to leverage the ideas that are in the market and meld them into their product feature set. Thus, the collaboration and business development components of iAccess look quite similar to some other Vision add-ons we’ve seen before.

Here are some details (screen shots) from the presentation and my thoughts. (all images are from the presentation and are thus property of Deltek, Inc.)

Deltek is considering the fact that there are different levels of Vision users with different sets of needs. Thus, they’ve divided it up into 3 camps as follows:
overall

Time and expense modules are available. With nicer interfaces. This is a good example of a better way to display the WBS.

WBS

Some interface elements serve to clarify where data is being entered, like when you enter hours for timesheets:
time entry… and you can upload receipts to expense line items directly if you’re using an iPad. Very nice.
receipt

It looks like some common sense renaming is taking place. For example, CRM is now being called “Business Development”. Another noteworthy item; I always recommend that my clients change the infocenter “Clients” to “Companies”.  Looks like these guys finally caught on:
clients to companies

iAccess is a truly multi-tabbed, browser-based app now. No more silverlite!!! Yay!  You can have multiple sessions of Vision iAccess open in a browser, making it way easier to manage data in multiple areas.
multitab

You have interactive list reports available right there (not in a separate window). Some great features include changing parameters on the fly, filtering and sorting, and clickable items that allow you to navigate to other portions of your data inside the same app window.

list reporting in iaccess - cool

Wow! Live project health indicators in your project list if you’re a project manager… this is nice.
niceeac values in list

All underlined links in iAccess provide more info, including some explanation about what the numbers mean. This is helpful for sure.
formula behind numbers

I found the planning interface to be much easier to read and sensible.
labor plan edit

Last but not least, something VERY interesting they’re unleashing (not sure how it works yet or how well it works yet).  accounts receivable review and Invoice approvals right here in iAccess for use by PM’s. This is an invaluable tool and will save a lot of trees as well as round trip times for invoicing.
invoice approvals

Good job Deltek!

p.s. I have not personally tested any of this functionality. However, I will be helping clients implement most of this functionality in the coming months. If you would like help with your Vision implemenation, please contact me now to schedule time for later this year.

Deltek Vision: How to calculate WIP (work in process)

WIP is defined as the billable value of work you haven’t billed for yet.  Some companies will include this in their revenue calculations. Vision even has a feature where you can have it “generate revenue” based on this number.

This is great, but what if you are operating under the following conditions?

1. 95% of your projects are fixed fee projects that last several weeks or months
2. Presently you don’t have a project management tool that gathers percent complete data enterprise wide, thus Vision doesn’t know about percent complete on any particular project.
3. Since you don’t bill by the hour much, the possibility of calculating WIP by looking at the “billing value” of your unbilled labor is well… useless (also because you never know how one project will perform as compared to another when it comes to hours vs. estimated hours or actual labor billing vs. estimated labor billing).

Well you can find me, Loren Saunders, to come up with a round about way of calculating your WIP based on some basic assumptions which are as follows:

1. Projects on average will “spend” hours at the same rate as compared to % complete on that project (remember, we’re talking about the life of the entire project here. It’s understood that the spend rate will vary throughout the life… but in general we’re going to homogenize the rate for simplicity).
2. Your project managers report actual % complete on the project, and that’s what’s being billed for when invoices are produced. If your % billed vs. % complete is completely out of whack then this formula won’t work.
3. Your billing terms and Compensation amount field in projects are in synch. Meaning, for any given part of your project, the amount shown in “Compensation” is the sum of the fees in billing terms.

To calculate the WIP for fixed fee projects under these kinds of conditions you can use the following formula:

Find your % billed:
% Billed = Total Billed / Total Compensation

Come up with an EAC hours from % billed:
EAC Hours = 1 / % billed * Total Hours Billed

Figure out what the unbilled hours represent as compared to EAC Hours:
WIP Hours % = Unbilled Hours / EAC Hours

Multiply WIP Hours % by Total Compensation:
WIP Value = WIP Hours % * Total Compensation

There you have it. It’s rough, but it’s an OK estimation when you’re dealing with a limited information environment.

If you would like a SQL script that will do this for you, or perhaps a report to get this, get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

Deltek Vision: Understanding Backlog

Recently I’ve been involved with stabilizing a Deltek Vision implementation for a client in NYC. By “stabilization” I mean getting to the point where we can print out an income statement and balance sheet and they make sense, seem to represent a picture of what’s really going on in the firm. For a while there things were out of adjustment to put it mildly, and now things are back in alignment.

However, there was this one annoying thing that came up… it’s called backlog. It’s a number that appears on the Firm Metrics report under reporting/executive/Firm Metrics. The backlog number in our case was something like 967 Million Dollars… for a firm that does about 30M in revenue… seemed kinda high right?

So I went about understanding exactly what is “backlog” according to Deltek Vision, how is it calculated, and what to do if it just doesn’t seem like it’s right?

Here’s what I found out in two parts:

1. Backlog is defined as Compensation – JTD Revenue
a. This number ignores project status… so making projects dormant does not remove them from the backlog calculation.
b. This only applies to regular projects (not overhead or promo projects).
c. The number can be negative as well as positive.

2. To clean it up you need to align the JTD Revenue number with the Compensation number, but take into consideration what you’ve got going on in your billing terms.

In order to both clean up this number AND keep it in synch with something like reality, I wrote a stored procedure which adjusts a project’s compensation when either of two things happen:
1. billing terms get changed
2. status is changed from Active to Inactive or Dormant

For this particular client, most of their projects are fixed fee. This means the stored procedure needs to take into account the different types of fee billing possibilities, as well as take into account unit billing or cost plus (time and materials) projects. Since there are hundreds and hundreds of projects in this particular Vision database, it didn’t make sense for the client’s staff to go through every project and check the Fee amount, then enter that into compensation. It also doesn’t make sense for them to maintain that field manually on an ongoing basis.  Things happen fast in NYC. Automation is key.

What’s more, many of their projects have phases with their own fee amounts, as well as a fee table (at the top level) with the checkbox “enable posting by billing phase” checked. So here is what this nifty little stored procedure does:

1. For fee projects (or phases or tasks), it sets the compensation value at each phase (or task) to what is set in billing terms.
2. For any other kind of project, it sets compensation to JTD Revenue (unless the user wants to enter a different value, then the adjuster ignores it)
3. Unless the project has been made inactive or dormant, in which case it sets the compensation value equal to JTD Revenue… because it really shouldn’t be counted in backlog.

Sorry I don’t have any good pictures of the Deltek Vision interface for this one… there wasn’t really a good reason for it.  Instead, here’s a picture of my daughter and I on a recent trip to REI.

20150607_125602

SCG – Custom Tools for Deltek Vision – in beta

What is the “Reversal Tool” built by Saunders Consulting Group for Deltek Vision?  (versions 7.x)

Good morning!

I just wanted to let you know about another little gem that has come out of a pretty extensive Vision stabilization project I’ve been working on. This particular firm had a couple years’ worth of accounting transactions they needed to correct because of incorrect entries, use of general ledger accounts or other issues.  Since the idea of un-posting and re-posting all these entries (in order to re-class items) or even generating re-classing entries for each file is rather daunting… I developed a very useful tool to help us through the process. It’s called at the moment the “reversal tool”.

What does it do? It allows you to:
1. See a list of posted files for any period. (currently only journal entries or cash disbursements)
2. Choose from the list which ones you want to “reverse”
3. Click a workflow button and autogenerate reversing files (journal entries or cash disbursements) for those posted files.

Why is this useful?

Rather than just unposting files (which has its own merit) sometimes it’s better to leave a transaction trail of “what happened” and add additional entries to correct errors that were made.  This is the whole idea behind journal entries in the first place. Thus, the reversal tool allows you to “reverse” any Deltek Vision standard journal entry or cash disbursement you’ve posted, by generating a matching file which reverses the debits and credits to the same accounts. This allows you to leave the original file there in case you need to refer back to it.

Some of the cool features:
1. You don’t have to remember any file name, period or posting sequence… it provides you with a list of what’s been posted

2. It re-creates the file if the file was not archived… (What?  It re-creates the file?  Yes… it does.) This means it works for recurring transactions where Vision doesn’t actually store each file. (annoying)

3. It’s easy peazy, and of course, has a good log to show you what you’ve already done.

Interested in providing this power tool to your accounting department using Deltek Vision?

Get in touch.  I’d love to hear from you.  See screen shot below to see an example in action… as always names have been blocked out to protect the guilty.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

SCG_reversal_tool

ASJC: Adjust Salaried Job Cost – a re-write for Deltek Vision

Previously, I wrote about Deltek Vision’s process Adjust Salaried Job Costing or ASJC which reconciles the cash paid out to employees with the amount of labor cost assigned to projects. This process when running correctly should “zero out” your Labor Cost Variance account.

You can find that piece here:
https://saundersconsultinggroup.com/2011/03/08/deltek-vision-adjust-salaried-job-costing/

However, in order for the standard, built in ASJC process to work in Vision there are some annoying and weird conditions, and I might add; a couple flaws.
1. It has to be run at a certain time during the period, after all timesheets are posted.

2. It has to be synchronized with your pay periods

3. Setting up the job cost rates in Vision in the employees infocenter can be confusing

4. It doesn’t support running the process for previous time periods… like for instance if you’re in July and want to run it for May, unless your employee pay rates have NOT changed at all.  In fact, it just doesn’t have any support for handling changing pay rates over time.

5. Besides the weird conditions above, one fundamental flaw is that it actually changes the pay rates assigned to labor in the original transaction tables.

6. Lastly, and most importantly, the most egregious part about Vision’s built in ASJC process, is that you can’t reverse it, undo it, or otherwise correct a bad run and start over!!

So I re-wrote it.

I have a client who does not synchronize their processing with payroll periods and things come in a little more organically during the fiscal period. Kind of like in real life. They still needed some sort of ASJC process for Vision because they have a lot of salaried employees working overtime.

Here are some features of the re-write:
1. It requires a custom grid in the employee infocenter which stores salary history. Most companies already have this, but if yours doesn’t then it’s time to create it, and yes this can be done during installation of my custom ASJC process.

2. Since it uses salary history for rates, you can run my custom ASJC process for any period you want, at any time you want. If you feel like running it for some period back in 2013, no problem.

3. It doesn’t care about when you pay your employees, just how much they are paid per week.

4. It does NOT alter the original data in the LD table, because it uses labor adjustments instead.

5. You can review the changes BEFORE they are applied.

6. Best of all.  YOU CAN UNDO IT, REVERSE IT, AND TRY AGAIN !

If you’re interested in implementing the SCG Custom ASJC process on your Vision implementation, let me know.

Thank you!

Loren… what are you doing? Why haven’t you been writing more blog entries lately?

Happy Holidays!

I have been a bit remiss with this blog. I apologize. My excuse is being busy with the following projects:

CALIFORNIA:
1. Automating labor rates in Deltek Vision with an outside platform being the system of record. This includes automation of prevailing wage rate schedules, dealing with differentials and changing benefits elections. I will be using lots of workflows and webservices to pull in employee pay rates, benefits selections and related data to reside in Vision.  Then more workflows to automate maintenance of labor cost tables based upon employee selections of day/night shift, labor category (staff type) and reg, ovt, or double time.   I will be making extensive use of Vision’s new custom infocenter features.

This project should be completed some time in the spring.  If you’re suffering from prevailing wage rates and schedules maintenance in your own organization let me know and maybe I can help.
NEW YORK:
2. A client has been using Deltek Vision for a few years but they do not feel they are getting everything out of it that they can.  Thus, this is kind of a re-implementation project.  They previously converted from Advantage and need help making the conceptual and practical transition from a pure accounting system to a project accounting system.  They have yet to implement timesheets, expense reports and workable methods for project Work Breakdown Structure.

Both of these projects require a lot of work just scoping and defining what needs to be done. It’s very challenging!

It’s much more challenging than just building a custom report or a small workflow process with a relatively narrow set of requirements and small set of users. This is essentially taking a set of ad-hoc defined business process, and designing a proper automated solution to manage the operational data of that process (or those processes). This normally requires the integration of existing applications or solutions, importing or incorporating historical data, transforming historical data when data architecture corrections are made, and designing new processes, policies and procedures for using the new tools we put in place.

Lastly, training and documentation will be required to make sure that the processes and tools put in place actually get used!

Luckily most of the work can be done off site, thus keeping down travel costs and allowing me to work in relative isolation so I can concentrate!

If you’re ever in down town Austin, TX give me a call and I can show you my office and some cool stuff!

 

 

Deltek Vision Custom Report: Missing Timesheet Days

Deltek Vision 6.X and 7.X provide you with a standard report for missing timesheets. But that only tells you if someone has filled out an entire timesheet or not. It doesn’t tell you if an employee has gaps in their timesheet.

If you want to know what days an employee has not entered time for at all inside of a timesheet that is not actually missing, then you need this report.

This report shows you days that are either entirely missing, or just haven’t met the allotted Hours Per Day amount.

Missing Timesheet Days Report
Features:

  • Set your own end date
  • Set how many days back you want the report to look
  • Use any PROJECT search to filter the report (you can filter this report as you would any Project report in Vision; using Organization or Profit Center, related Employees, Employee status, or any other attribute of the Projects or Employees infocenters or related infocenters).

Customizations: Contact me to discuss adding features to this report.

Base Price: $1,200 – No maintenance fees.

Screen shot:

scg_missing_timesheet_days