Thursday, March 26, 2009

Project Accounting Cost Allocation By Unit

Okay, so this is what happens when I am stranded in a hotel room in Denver during a blizzard, I gnaw on something until I manage to understand what it is doing.

Since the feature pack came out last summer, I have been aware of the Project Allocation feature but have not had cause to use it. I had played around with it some, but really did not understand the capabilities relative to the Unit allocation method at the Cost Category basis. So, tonight I did some testing and I think I have it figured out (at least partially).

From what I can tell, both fields deal with timesheet cost categories. So, let's assume that I accumulate vacation time in an overhead project and I want to allocate the hours (and cost) to other projects based on their billable time (assuming that the more billable time there is, the more vacation there would be as well).

Considering this all came from testing (the documentation I could find was not particularly clear), please feel free to post comments, clarifications, and corrections :)

So, let's assume that I have the following setup:
  • VAC is my vacation cost category for timesheets
  • BILL is my billable cost category for timesheets
  • MISC is my cost category for miscellaneous logs
  • ALLOC is my miscellaneous ID
  • OHPROJECT is my overhead project
  • PROJECTA is one billable project
  • PROJECTB is another billable project

I have posted timesheet transactions that result in the following actuals on the projects:

  • OHPROJECT: 100 hours VAC for a total of $10000 in cost
  • PROJECTA: 20 hrs BILL for a total of $2000 in cost
  • PROJECTB: 30 hrs BILL for a total of $3000 in cost

I can set up my project allocations as follows:

From:

  • Project: OHPROJECT
  • Cost Category: VAC
  • Misc ID: ALLOC
  • Misc Log Cost Category: MISC

To:

  • Project: PROJECTA
  • Misc ID: ALLOC
  • Misc Log Cost Category: MISC
  • Cost Category Basis: BILL

Method: Unit

Then enter a second line with the following allocation...

From:
Project: OHPROJECT
Cost Category: VAC
Misc ID: ALLOC
Misc Log Cost Category: MISC

To:
Project: PROJECTB
Misc ID: ALLOC
Misc Log Cost Category: MISC
Cost Category Basis: BILL

Method: Unit

This allocation setup will result in the following allocations being created by taking the cost category basis and determining the portion of the whole. For example, the total quantity for the cost category basis for PROJECTA and PROJECTB is 50 hrs. So PROJECTA will get 40% of the allocation (20/50) and PROJECTB will get 60% of the allocation (30/50). As Mike Lupro pointed out, this will allocate the full amount in VAC on OHPROJECT to PROJECTA and PROJECT B.:

  • Allocated to PROJECTA: $4000
  • Allocated to PROJECTB: $6000

Well, there you go! Pretty nifty I think, and I could definitely see applying this in the future. Let me know what you think.

6 comments:

MikeLupro said...

Wow - I didn't know this capability existed.
Two comments:

Comment 1:
The example appears to take ALL VAC and pushes the cost to the two billable projects.

If some of the VAC was non-project related this would put too much VAC Overhead into ProjectA and ProjectB.

To get around that I might suggest and ADMIN project where all non-project hours are posted. Then include the ADMIN project in the allocation so all hours are properly allocated to all projects. The ADMIN project would receive an appropriate percentage of the VAC allocation and so would ProjectA and ProjectB.

Comment 2:
I talked with a PA escalation person at the Tech Airlift and she said there was a new feature in PA and Payroll that would back-allocate any and all payroll costs (based on specific costs by employee) for all project related time entries.

That sounded like a great answer to posting payroll overhead back to PA.

I've not tried this in test or with any clients yet.

Christina Phillips said...

Great point, Mike. I updated the post to reflect the fact that it will push the full amount of the FROM project to the TO projects.

On comment 2, do you know if they were referring to the benefit allocation or something else? The new benefit allocation in the Feature Pack allows you to associate payroll benefits with timesheet cost categories so that benefits can be allocated back to projects via a routine.

K M Dhariwal said...

It is quite nice feature, however, I was trying to post all the salaries & overhead into INTERNAL project and then reallocating it based on time sheets (with zero cost) captured against actual projects so that I can have accurate cost for each project. Strangely, it let you keep reallocating the cost - so if you run the allocation process twice it will reallocate the same amount twice (understating FROM and overstating TO project in terms of cost).

-------------
Khalid Dhariwal

K M Dhariwal said...


I was trying to post all the salaries & overhead into INTERNAL project and then reallocating it based on time sheets (with zero cost) captured against actual projects so that I can have accurate cost for each project. Strangely, it let you keep reallocating the cost - so if you run the allocation process twice it will reallocate the same amount twice (understating FROM and overstating TO project in terms of cost).

--
Khalid Dhariwal

K M Dhariwal said...

I wonder if this will work for recurring reallocations ... e.g.

Source Project: INTERNAL
Source Budget ML: PAY

Destination: Actual Project (multiple projects)
Destination Budget ML: TSA (Timesheet Allocation)
Allocation Basis: TM (Timesheet trasactions which only post quantities to the project and have no cost or revenue effect ... I want to allocate cost from INTERNAL:PAY and want to bill the revenue from Fees upon completion)

Now first allocation runs fine (even tough there are some difference in amount which one can overlook) ... but when the next month comes, reallocation keeps adding the old amount as well even if one specifies the date range ... strangely, date range will show you correct figure for the first month but as you change the range to next month it shows nothing, however, if the range includes both months it shows the accumulated figure .... I wonder if this functionality is designed for recurring allocations?

Christina Phillips said...

Yeah, Khalid, I think on both points you are running in to limitations of it in terms of being relatively new functionality. IMHO.