How does Accounting Seed integrate with AdvoLogix?
The AdvoLogix Accounting Seed integration relies on two primary integration points, Matters and billable transactions, the later consisting of Time and Expense records.
To this end our integration offers several methods to create invoices in Accounting Seed. These methods offer in context creation from Matters and Accounts or batch creation from a global application link.
The AdvoLogix Billing Preview works in conjunction with the integration to provide an interactive experience for predicting your firm's upcoming billing as well as managing Time and Expense data from a billing centric context.
Integrating Matters with Projects
Accounting Seed offers project-based accounting making it an excellent companion with AdvoLogix. The integration is, in part, based on a one to one Project-Matter relationship and coalesces the two applications in the following ways:
- The integration adds a new Matter field titled Billable. This field will be used to identify which Matters will be integrated with Accounting Seed.
- An Accounting Seed Project lookup field is added to the Matter and must be validated when the Matter is flagged as Billable. The Project lookup is placed on the Matter layout and is used to associate an existing Accounting Seed Project with an AdvoLogix Matter. A Matter validation rule enforces the Project requirement for billable Matters.
- A Matter trigger creates a new Accounting Seed Project when the Billable checkbox is enabled and the Project lookup is blank. An initial Accounting Seed Project Task is also created, with a Sort Order value of 1.
- The default Project Revenue Recognition method will be “Time & Material in Period Invoiced”.
- There will -not- be a trigger on the Accounting Seed Project. If the desire exists to create Matters from a Project that capability can be done via customization.
- To be Billable a Matter must be assigned to an Account. A Matter validation rule will enforce this requirement. All Time is assigned to a specific Matter. For bill creation purposes the Account for a new Billing is determined by the Primary Account assigned on the Matter.
Creating Accounting Seed Invoices (Billings)
At the core of the integration is the ability to create an Accounts Receivable Billing (Invoice) within Accounting Seed. The integration provides the following five ways to create an Accounting Seed Billing:
- On demand from the Matter List by tagging one or more Matters.
- On demand from the Account List by tagging one or more Accounts.
- On demand using a button from a Matter Detail View.
- On demand using a button from an Account Detail View.
- Via a global batch processing link.
Billing Creation Process
Several parameters work in unison to determine how the new Billing will be created. The following factors contribute to the Billing creation process:
- There will always be one Accounting Seed Billing created per Matter. If no Time or Expense records meet the billing criteria a Billing will not be created.
- Each Accounting Seed Billing will be assigned to the Account established as the Primary Account for the Matter. As per the matter entered on the Time or Expense.
- Each Accounting Seed Billing will consist of many Billing Line objects. Billing Line objects are created 1:1 for each AdvoLogix Time and.or Expense record.
- For all Billing creation methods the user will provide a cutoff date to process the Time and Expenses up to and including the cutoff date.
- Records marked Bill will be included in a Billing and the Billing Status will be set to Billed.
- Records marked Do Not Bill will not be included in the Billing and the Status will be set to Not Billed.
- Records marked as No Charge will result in a Line Item rate of $0 and the Billing Status will be set to Billed.
- Records marked Hold will be excluded from processing and the Billing Status will not be updated.
Note the distinction between No Charge and Do Not Bill. Do Not Bill does not add the Time or Expense record to the resulting Accounting Seed Billing and thus will not show on client invoices. On the other hand, No Charge allows the Time or Expense to be represented on the invoice with a charge of $0.
Controlling Time & Expense Billing Behavior
There are two fields on the Time and Expense records that will determine how the the billing process treats the underlying Time or Expense record during the billing creation process.
1. The Billing Status field conveys the Billing history of a given Time or Expense record and starts with the default value of Unprocessed. During the billing process only those Time and Expense records with a value of "Unprocessed" will be evaluated for the creation of new Billings. Billing Status can have the following values:
Unprocessed: This is the default value indicating the underlying Time or Expense record has never been processed by the integration.
Billed: Indicates the underlying Time or Expense record has been billed by the integration.
Not Billed: Indicates the underlying Time or Expense record has been processed by the integration but was not added to a Bill. The record will not be processed by the integration in the future.
2. The Billing Disposition field designates to the integration how to act upon the underlying Time or Expense record during the billing process. Billing Disposition can have the following values:
Bill: Indicates the underlying Time or Expense record should be placed in a a Bill during the billing process. The Billing Status value will be updated to Billed during the billing process.
Do Not Bill: Indicates the underlying Time or Expense record should be processed but not placed in a Bill. The Billing Status value will be updated to Not Billed during the billing process.
No Charge: Instructs the billing process to assign a Billing Line Item rate of $0, regardless of the rate specified on the underlying Time or Expense record. The resulting Accounting Seed Billing Item will have an extended amount of $0. (new in 1.12.x). The Billing Status value will be updated to Billed during the billing process.
- Hold: Instructs the billing process to ignore the underlying Time or Expense record. Do not place the record in a Billing and do not update the Billing Status value.
During the billing process there are two types of Accounting Seed records created Billing and Billing Line Item. When possible, default values are provided by the Accounting Seed setup and configuration. Specific field assignments are handled by the integration in the following ways.
1. Billing Record Fields
- Billing Cycle Start Date - Derived from the first date of the Billing Lines created within the Billing.
- Billing Cycle End Date - Derived from the Cutoff Date used within the Create Billing process.
- Matter - Carried forward from the underlying AdvoLogix Matter assigned on the Time & Expense.
2. Billing Line Item Fields
- Project - Carried forward from the Project on the Matter assigned to the Time or Expense.
- Task - This will be the first Project Task selected by determined by the Sort Order value.
- Date - The Entry Date field for Time records, the Date field for Expense records.
- Employee - The Timekeeper field from the Time or Expense record.
- Qty - The Hours field for Time records, the Quantity field for Expense records.
- Rate - The Rate Amount from the Time or Expense record. Please note, this value can be overridden with a rate of $0 when the No Charge Disposition option is used on the Time and Expense.
- Comment - The Description field for Time records, the Name field for Expense records.
- GL Account - Uses global integration setting, uses Accounting Seed default if setting is blank.
After the Billing is Created
In order to maintain data integrity various sanctions are placed on the ability to update data that has been previously billed. To this end the integration offers the following functionality:
- Time and Expense records have a validation rule that prohibits editing or deleting the underlying Time or Expense record if the record currently exists in a previously created Accounting Seed Billing.
- A Time or Expense record can be unbilled from the Time or Expense record. When performing this operation, the user is offered the option to remove the Accounting Seed Billing Line or to just disassociate the underlying Time or Expense record from the Billing. Please note the Billing Line cannot be removed if the Accounting Seed Billing has been Posted.
- Each previously billed Time and Expense record carry an identifier that points back to the Billing Line created during the billing process. This object identifier is used for ongoing data management of the billing integration.
- If an Accounting Seed Billing Line Item is deleted, the source AdvoLogix Time or Expense record will be reset back to its status prior to having been billed.
Viewing Billing Information
Given the appropriate licensing and security Accounting Seed Billings can be viewed from an AdvoLogix Matter in the following ways:
- By adding a Billing related list to the Matter page layout.
- The AdvoLogix Timeline will have an option to display Billing items if the appropriate license and security requirements are met.
There are two optional Global options pertaining to the Accounting Seed billing integration. One for the default GL Account for Time, the other for the the default GL Account for Expenses. These accounts will be used when creating the Billing Line items. Leaving these options blank will invoke the usage of the default Accounting Seed GL Account.
A button on the Create Billing dialog provides access to these options.
One of the goals of a good integration is to keep the applications loosely coupled but tightly integrated. To this end our integration places very few requirements on the Accounting Seed objects. We do however make a few enhancements for data integrity and normalization.
Accounting Seed Object Modifications
- Because the integration supports Matter-based billing, we have added a Matter lookup to the Accounting Seed Billing object.
- A a trigger added to the Accounting Seed Billing Line Item adjusts the underlying AdvoLogix Time or Expense record when the Line Item is deleted.
AdvoLogix Object Modifications
- The Matter object has two additional fields added by the integration Billable and Project. Both previously discussed in the aforementioned integration functionality.
- Time and Expense records have an identification field that helps us know which Billing Line Item the underlying record is related to n Accounting Seed.
Billing Preview Capability
- The Billing Preview provides the ability to interactively display Time and Expense records in either detail and summary formats.
- Display filters are provided for Cutoff Date, Account, Matter, Timekeeper, Billing Status and Disposition.
- In addition to the interactive display, the preview can also produce a print ready report in Excel format.
- The end user has the ability to interactively drill into (via hyperlink) the Account, Matter, Timekeeper Time or Expense data directly from the preview display.