Welcome and Thank You
Onboarding is accomplished in 3-1/2 Phases, which can take as long to implement as you are comfortable with. And you don’t have to implement all of them.
I highly recommend that you adopt MyCorbu one phase at a time to make the transition as simple as possible. In fact you may choose to stop or pause your onboarding after any phase.
Having said that, I should also point out that 80% of the benefits lie in the first to phases. But, Phase Three is where the real time savings reside - if you agree with me that Phase Three replaces your accounting system.
[Consider printing this webpage if you prefer to markup your progress.]
The 3-1/2 Phase Overview
These are the 3-1/2 onboarding Phases and what you do in each one.
Phase One - Timekeeping.
You will set up your Standard Phases, add your Projects, connect your Phases to your Projects, add any other Staff, set up your Timesheet (optional, but very worthwhile), and start making time entries.
Phase One and a Half - Historical Data
You will consider how far back to go with adding time entries, and start making the entries. This is a ‘half phase’ because you can implement it anytime.
Phase Two - Tracking Design Budgets.
You will add Rates to your staff details, Budgets to your Project-Phases, and any Custom Billing Rates to Projects.
You will also set up Mileage, and Reimbursable Expenses if you want to use these features.
Finally and optionally, for each staff member you will enter an allowance for Paid Time Off [PTO] and a target for Billable Ratio.
Phase Three - Financial Management.
You will set up your Categories and add whatever historical data you feel that you want in MyCorbu.
[As you work through onboarding in MyCorbu, you might find that the Admin Reference Guide on the Admin page is a handy reference.]
Phase One - Timekeeping
The onboarding that is described in Phase One will have you ready to start timekeeping. However, you will not have access to the money implications of your time. Once you have completed this phase, you may want to at least complete these parts of Phase Two: Rates, Custom Billing Rates, Mileage, Reimbursable Expenses, and Payees.
Phase One includes these tasks:
Completing your account
Simply go to the Admin page and add all the User Roles to your account.
Adding standard phases
If you routinely use specific phase names for your Projects, it will avoid confusion to assemble them and enter them now. Go to the Projects page and click the ‘Add / Update Projects’ button. Scroll down and on the right side of the page is a table of Phases (blank for now) and a form for adding a new Phase.
I suggest adding only the Projects that you are actively working on. On the same page as Phases, the ‘Add / Update Projects’ page, complete a form for each Project. Only two pieces of information are critical right now - Project Name, and Billable? (‘Billable?’ cannot be changed after you click SUBMIT). Completing other information is not discouraged, but it can be added later without issue. Uncheck the Custom Billing Rates box unless you are familiar with the instructions.
Consider adding your non-billable “projects” for general office time and for Paid Time Off. These non-billable Projects are just as active as any others.
Everything in MyCorbu starts with a Project-Phase. A Project-Phase is a combination of a Project and a Phase that becomes a container for time and costs. Projects are a group of these Project-Phases.
Three pieces of information are mandatory - select the name of the Project, select or add a Phase, and click the appropriate option under ‘Billable?’. Everything else can be updated later.
YOUR PROJECTS ARE NOW SET UP - Staff are next.
Adding Staff (if any)
If you have employees or contract workers, the next step is to return to the Staff section on Admin page and use the ‘+ Add User’ button to add other Users/Staff. The people that you add will be able to access MyCorbu based on the User Role that you assign to them.
User Roles are a method of controlling access to the records saved in MyCorbu. Each main tab in the app’s main menu equates to a User Role.
TIMESHEET - Level 1 - Everyone
ALL TIME - Level 2 - 'Job Captain' and above
PROJECTS - Level 3 - 'Project Architect' and above
BOOKKEEPING - Level 4 - 'Project Manager' and above or bookkeeper
ADMIN - Admin - Principal or anyone needing access to everything
Each User should be assigned all the User Roles up to and including their highest user level, User Role.
When adding staff, you need to assign a password. I suggest just using ‘password’ for simplicity. However make sure each staff member changes their password to something hard to guess. My favorite is three random words, or better yet a password manager like 1Password.
When you add Staff they will receive a Quick Start Guide, but you may want to clarify how you want Mileage and Reimbursable Expense entries made. And whether you are ready for this feature to be used.
Setting up your Timesheet
This last step of Phase One is optional, but it saves you time every day.
You can have your Timesheet set up for you automatically every day. This is a time-saving convenience. You will save lots of clicks by setting this up. When a random task comes along, just use the ADD TIME ENTRY button.
Here's how to use this feature.
Go to the TIMESHEET page, then Timekeeping Extras page.
On the page that appears, scroll down and on the right you will see a form titled “Add A Project-Phase To Your Daily Timesheet Display".
On the form, select the Project-Phase that you want on your timesheet.
Select YES so this Project-Phase will display (starting tomorrow).
Reload the form to select other Project-Phases you want on your timesheet.
Your timesheet for each day is created for you over night. Any of the previous day's time entries that haven't been used are also removed overnight. If you can’t get to it today, just add a negative number to keep the entry around. A negative number turns the cell red so it doesn’t get overlooked.
To add time to your Timesheet, click the 'edit' link on the Project-Phase row. If you need to add time to Project-Phases that are not displayed on your Timesheet, use the ‘Add Time Entry’ button and complete the form.
You have completed this phase, and you can begin making time entries. However, you may want to at least complete these parts of Phase Two: Rates, Custom Billing Rates, Mileage, Reimbursable Expenses, and Payees.
NOTE: Any time that you enter on a project before setting up Custom Billing Rates will not use those rates retroactively.
Phase One and a Half - Historical Data
Now that you are ready to add time entries to your account it is time to consider what Historical Data that you want to add.
Historical Time Data is most helpful for active Project-Phases.
In descending order of value after active Project-Phases would be:
You may be tempted to go deeper into historical data than just current work. However, my advice is to skimp on historical data because every month it becomes less and less useful. And you can add historical data anytime if you realize it would be useful to have in MyCorbu.
Before committing to a plan, review this article on Historical Data.
Phase Two - Tracking Design Budgets
Phase Two adds the money dimension to your timekeeping data. You can get immediate and useful feedback about how your projects are doing. You can also track some additional things - Mileage, Reimbursable Expenses, PTO, and Billable Ratios. Here is how you set up each.
Key Feedback Features
Design Budgets - Rates
In order to track design budgets you must establish Rates for each staff member and yourself. On the Admin page go to Staff Details. The table of staff has columns for you to add three Rates: Labor, Charge, and Billing.
Labor Rate: what the person receives per hour for their work. If they work hourly, use their pay per hour. If they are salaried, divide their annual salary by 2080 to arrive at a Labor Rate.
Charge Rate: what is charged to the project for each hour the person works on it. The Charge Rate includes the Labor Rate and an additional amount representing a proportional share of overhead expenses. Profit is not included. In other words the Charge Rate is equal to the Standard Billing Rate minus profit. In the case of a contract worker, the Labor Rate and the Charge Rate are the same.
Standard Billing Rate: what is billed to the client for each hour spent on their project. The Billing Rate includes the Labor Rate, a proportional share of overhead expenses, and profit.
This Architekwiki blog post describes a method for determining accurate Charge and Billing Rates.
Design Budgets are tracked by Project-Phase, and can be tracked by hours and by dollars. Hours Budgets are simply the number of hours that the Project-Phase is expected to take. The Dollar Budget is the Net Fee minus profit. So the Dollar Budget is the number of hours multiplied by the average Charge Rate.
The Hours Budget and the Dollars Budget are entered on the Projects page in the table of Project-Phase Budgets. The number of hours entered for the Project-Phase by staff is summed and displayed as ‘Hours JTD’ (Job-To-Date). The number of hours entered for the Project-Phase by each staff member is summed, then multiplied by their Charge Rate, and displayed as ‘Spent JTD’.
If you have entered a Dollar Budget, the percent completion is calculated for you.
Custom Project Billing Rates
You can have Custom Project Billing Rates. If you want to make use of this feature, you must add the custom rates before entering any time that you want to use the rates.
Custom Project Billing Rates can be set up when you add a project. You can also access the process from the Bookkeeping page by navigating to the Fees page or the Project Financial Status Reports page.
This is an overview of Custom Project Billing Rates.
Optional, but Handy, Tracking Features
Making Payees of your staff members and yourself integrates the staff into the Mileage and Reimbursable Expenses functions. If you have added Labor Rates for each staff member as described above, this was done automatically.
To do it without entering Labor Rates, go to the Staff Details page accessed from the Admin page. Edit each staff member by making sure the ‘Make Payee’ box is checked.
Once you have established Mileage Rates, you can make mileage entries. Mileage entries are similar to time entries and are made by the staff member on the Timesheet Extra page from their Timesheet page.
Based on your Mileage Rate information, two transactions are made automatically. First is an expense transaction. This will show that your organization owes your staff member for the miles driven. The second transaction is an income transaction that will show that your client owes your organization for the miles driven.
Mileage Rates are created on the Mileage Entries page accessed from the Tools button on the Bookkeeping page.
See Mileage for more details.
Similar to Mileage, once the Reimbursable Expenses Markup Factor has been set for each project, staff members can document any expenses that they pay on behalf of the firm or a project. Some examples might be tolls, parking, reprographics, permit fees.
Two transactions are made automatically as with Mileage.
The Reimbursable Expenses Markup Factors are set on the Reimbursable Expenses page accessed from the Tools button on the Bookkeeping page.
See Reimbursable Expenses for more details.
Paid Time Off for each person is treated as a number of hours per year. You can track PTO by any number of non-billable Project-Phases, but it is simpler to have just one Project-Phase for Paid Time Off. The PTO allowance is entered on the Admin page in the Staff Details table. By clicking the ‘Detail’ link for a staff member, you can see their PTO time taken during various timeframes.
The Billable Ratio is the percent of all hours spent that are billable. The Billable Ratio target is entered on the Admin page in the Staff Details table. By clicking the ‘Detail’ link for a staff member, you can see their Billable Ratio during various timeframes.
Phase Three - Financial Management
Setting up your account for Financial Management is unexpectedly easy. Adding Categories and Fees are the only two tasks. Adding your income and expense transactions is very similar to adding a time entry. All Financial Management activity starts on the Bookkeeping page.
Categories might be called ‘accounts’ in accounting software that you have used. You have a choice here of duplicating those accounts as Categories or simplifying things by re-thinking what you really need from your bookkeeping system. I recommend making your list of Categories as minimal as possible. My experience is that I rarely have a business need to consider Categories. Your major cost is time. Analyzing expenses by Category is a distraction from analyzing how you are using your time.
In MyCorbu Categories are used to group your transaction records to make sense of them for managing your business and your taxes.
All bookkeeping entries should get a Category. You set up your categories for income and expenses just once. Categories can be edited, but all existing transactions using the category will be affected. You can add a new category anytime.
To set up Categories you use the ‘Tools’ button on the Bookkeeping page, then the Categories button. The table shows all your Categories. The Add Category button opens a form where you enter each Category.
This link takes you to more information and a list of Categories.
Fees from all your billable projects may be entered. Fees are entered for each Project-Phase. When you enter a fee, you can indicate that it is ‘Hourly’ or ‘Lump Sum’. This designation will control whether you will ‘report’ the percent complete or whether it will be calculated for you. When you enter a fee for an Hourly project, the value of the fee is your estimate of how much will be billed. The percentage complete is based on actual time spent and this estimate.
Fees can be added anytime and other features are not dependent on them. Using the Fees feature is optional. You may have another system that you prefer. However managing your Fees here will tell you how much work there is in your backlog, and it will aid you in preparing invoices.
Instructions are embedded on the page to assist you in working with Fees.
Making transaction entries is very similar to making a time entry. On the Bookkeeping page simply click the ‘Add Income’ or ‘Add Expense’ button and complete the form. Instructions are part of the page.
Making your Historical Data entries is all that remains. Review Phase One and One Half. You may want to go deeper on historical data than just current work. However, my advice is to skimp on historical bookkeeping data because every month it becomes less and less useful. And you can add historical data anytime if you realize it would be nice to have in MyCorbu.
I suggest the scope of Historical Bookkeeping Data be the current year’s data or Transactions for the past three to six months.
See this link for some issues to consider.
CONGRATULATIONS. YOU HAVE COMPLETED ONBOARDING.