Setting Up a Budget for a Job

See Also

 

Before You Start

Before you set up the budget for particular activities in a job, you must add the activities to the job.

You must also have set up labor rates or percentages for each production activity. (This is one-time setup.)

Getting to a Job's Budget

Getting to a job’s budget from the People or Jobs pages:

1.

At the top of the screen, click the People or Jobs tab.

2.

If the job you need isn't shown in the list, use one of the options on the left to view the appropriate list of jobs.

For example, to list all active jobs, click By Status, pick the department name, and then pick Active.

3.

Click the job to select it.

4.

Click Go and then click Budget. (Show/hide screen)

Getting to the Budget from the Activities screen

1.

Go to the job’s activity list.

To do this, double-click Activities on a job panel, or click Go, and then click Activities. Then pick the department to see the activities for.

2.

On the Activities screen, click Activity Budget. (Show/hide screen)

This takes you to current department’s budget. (To see the budget for all departments, you'd choose Entire Job from the drop-down at the top of the screen.)

The Budget Screen

The main budget screen looks like this:

Seeing the Entire Job’s Budget or Just One Department

The drop-down at the top of the window lets you choose Entire Job or any department that is associated with the job. (If the job only has one department, these views will be the same.)

Tabs

When you come into the budget, you always come to the Total Budget tab first. This gives you an overview, so is the one you will most often use when you are monitoring the budget after it is initially set up. It combines labor, subcontracting, and materials for each activity, and it then shows amounts for each of these cost areas individually. You may need to scroll to the right to see all of the columns and/or scroll down to see all of the activities. However, you can’t change the amounts budgeted on this tab; to make changes you must go to the labor, subcontractor, and materials tabs. These tabs list only the figures related to the corresponding area; there you can change the amount budgeted in the Estimated Sales column. If an activity has subactivities, the Total Budget tab shows all subactivities for an activity combined into a single line; the other tabs breaks out these subactivities into separate lines.

Columns

Activity: This column lists all production activities for the job or selected department. By production activity, we mean activities where you actually do something for the customer like painting, or replacing carpet, or checking moisture. Activities like doing the initial estimate, sending a bill to the customer, or doing a customer satisfaction survey don’t produce anything for the customer and aren’t generally budgeted in this way; they’re typically addressed in the labor burden (departmental overhead costs). The activities setup indicates whether each activity is a production activity; if the Production Activity box isn’t checked in the Activity Setup, the activity isn’t listed here even if it is part of the job.

Estimated Sales: This is the amount of the total job cost that is associated with this activity. This is the only column in the budget that you can change directly; the others are calculated from this and/or drawn from information entered elsewhere. You can’t change this column on the Total Budget tab; you must go to the Labor, Materials, or Sub Budget tabs to make changes. For more on changing the budget, see below.

Allocated: This is the amount of the estimated sale amount that you expect to spend on direct costs. This amount is determined based on the Activity Cost setup for the activity. For example, if your cost setup indicated that 40% of Framing/Rough Carpentry should go for labor, then if you entered $1,000 in the Estimated Sales column, Chronicle would calculate that $400 of this is allocated for labor.

Cost: This is the actual amount that this activity has cost to date. For labor, Chronicle calculates cost based on what is entered on the Labor Entry screen and on the employee’s pay rate. For example, if you enter 8 hours labor for an activity and the employee makes $15/hr, Chronicle calculates a cost of $120 and reflects it here. For materials and subcontracting, cost is determined based on what is associated with the activity in your accounting program. Cost isn’t shown on the Materials or Sub Budget tabs because Chronicle doesn’t currently have any way of telling which costs from your accounting program are for materials and which are for subcontractors. You can see the sum of the materials and subcontracting costs on the Total Budget tab.

Margin: This shows the difference between what is allocated and what you’ve spent so far. For example, if $400 was allocated for an activity’s labor and so far you’ve only spend $250, then you have a margin of $150; that is, you have $150 left to complete the activity within budget, or, if the activity is done, you have a profit of $150 beyond what you expected. On the other hand, if you $400 was allocated for labor and you’ve spent $500 for this activity’s labor, then you’ve spend $100 more than you were supposed to—this is shown as ($100)—and you’re in danger of losing money on this particular activity. Lines with a negative margin are shown in red to warn you of a potential problem.

Status: This indicates whether the activity is Pending, Active, or Completed. This is significant since it tells you whether the costs and margin are likely to be final or whether more changes are likely to come.

Red Lines

Lines in red indicate that your costs for that activity exceed what is allocated for that activity. This could be because you exceeded the budget or it could be because no Estimated Sales amount was entered for that activity yet.

Totals

Totals for each column are shown at the bottom. If you have more activities than fit on the screen at once, the totals are for all activities and not just for the ones you can see. (The scroll bar at the right lets you see the other activities.)

Non- Associated Payables

If any payments in your accounting program have been associated with the job but aren’t linked to an activity, a box appears at the bottom of the screen that lists them. If you enter expenses correctly in your accounting program, you'll never see this entry.

Buttons

Export: Exports the budget to an Excel spreadsheet so you can print, perform additional calculations, and so on.

Refresh: Gets the latest information and refreshes the figures on the screen. You only need this if, while the budget is open, you make changes elsewhere in Chronicle that affect the budget. For example, suppose while looking at the budget, you noticed that some labor is missing. If you enter that labor without closing the budget and reopening it, you must click the Refresh button to see those changes reflected.

Activity Detail: For labor, this lists each employee labor entry (with activity, subactivity, cost, date, and hours) that contributed to the labor cost. (Show/hide screen)

For material and subcontracting expenses, this lists each expense that is associated with the current job and activity in your accounting program.

You can also get to the activity detail by double-clicking any line in the table.

Audit Log: The audit log shows who changed the amount budgeted for an activity.

Cancel: This discards changes made since you last saved, and it closes the budget.

Save: This saves any changes you’ve made to the budget while still keeping the budget window open for further viewing or changes. Once you click Save, the Cancel button will no longer undo those changes.

Save & Close: This saves any changes you’ve made and closes the budget window.

Changing Budgeted Amounts

To change the amount budgeted for any activity:

1.

Go to the Labor, Materials, or Sub Budget tab.

You can’t change amounts on the Total Budget tab.

2.

For any activity that you want to budget, click in the Estimated Sales column and type the appropriate amount.

If the activity cost is calculated based on a percentage: Just type the total amount estimated for this activity and press enter.

If the activity cost is calculated based on an hourly rate: When you type something in the Estimated Sales cell, Chronicle brings up a box where you can enter the total anticipated hours for this activity, and it calculates the total from that. (Or you can enter a total amount and Chronicle calculates the hours.)  (Show/hide screen)

The bottom of the screen tells you whether that activity’s costs are calculated based on a percentage or an hourly rate. If the bottom of the screen indicates that the activity cost method isn’t set up yet, you must complete that activity cost setup before you can budget the activity.

3.

Click the Save or Save & Close button to save your changes.

The Save button saves your changes but keeps the budget open so you can continue to make other changes; Save & Close saves the changes and closes the budget window.