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Thoughts on Expense Tracking

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David C. Rankin David C. Rankin
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Thoughts on Expense Tracking

Ralf, all,

        Here are a few thoughts on expense tracking in egw. (food for thought
that is) We currently do all accounting in quickbooks. What we would
like to find with egroupware is a quick way to "capture" case office and
case expenses along with the attorney time so that expenses and time can
be properly associated with each case. Currently we use a steno pad by
the fax, another by the postage, another by the copier which all are
manually entered in quickbooks.

        Egw does an excellent job with time. Our goal is to come up with a
simple and convenient way to keep track of phone calls, faxes, postage,
etc. Those are the things that are used every day, that often never get
captured or billed because there is no "easy" or convenient way for the
attorney to do it. (almost all attorneys are too bipolar to remember to
go back to the fax and write down the 18 pages we just sent on the steno
pad)(our staff does very well)

        With egw, a great addition would be a quick "expense" feature, that
would basically be a pop-up, like timesheet, but with a much simpler
interface that would present only the needed capture fields like:

combobox combobox combobox text
[project] [item] [subitem] [quantity]

        This could also be an "expense" button within the timesheet dialog
itself. Time/date would be an autofill field. Each combo box would hold
a list of all current items in the pricelist that would also serve as a
"quick add" for either projects or items not already in the project or
pricelist. The subitems could serve to keep the item list from growing
to large. Examples (mail:certified, mail:insured, phone:intrastate,
phone:interstate, etc., etc.)

        The "quick add" for a project would simply bring up the new project
dialog (or simply add the project name to the project table with the
details to be added later). The quick add for items  or subitems would
bring up a simple dialog that would allow for the "just in time" entry
of the item name, description and cost per unit. That way the pricelist
could be built and grow on its own without someone having to set aside
time to build a pricelist.

        The natural follow on would be a print or report feature that would
allow for the printing or exporting of client case expenses and time
that could be easily added to quickbooks or serve as a stand-alone
record for project expenses.

        As Egw grows, I would love to be able to use it for billing. With its
logical design, and all the expense and time data captured in the
database, the ability to use it for that purpose is just a matter of
developing the output routines to make that data usable as such. I don't
expect egw to grow into an accounting package, but then again, there is
no reason it couldn't do everything that quickbooks does either and do
it better. That is why I'm so impressed with the package.

        Thanks and keep up the great work.

--
David C. Rankin, J.D., P.E.
Rankin Law Firm, PLLC
510 Ochiltree Street
Nacogdoches, Texas 75961
Telephone: (936) 715-9333
Facsimile: (936) 715-9339
www.rankinlawfirm.com

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Ralf Becker Ralf Becker
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Re: Thoughts on Expense Tracking

Hi David,

timesheet is, beside it's name, designed to track times and expenses.

You can create pricelist items of unit "each" and use just the start
date and quantity fields.

The date field is filled with the current date. If you want to record a
time with expenses, we could use the preset end-time (if not start time
or duration is given) as start time.

The only feature lacking compared to your describtion would be:
1. hierarchical pricelist items (eg. mail:certified, mail:insured)
2. extra interface for expenses removing the end-time and duration

Not sure how important (for my usage cases) these two are. Specially 2.
is a bit contra productive, as we use to track the time even for
expenses (eg. travelling time for km based travel expenses).

Ralf

David C. Rankin J.D. P.E. schrieb:

> Ralf, all,
>
> Here are a few thoughts on expense tracking in egw. (food for thought
> that is) We currently do all accounting in quickbooks. What we would
> like to find with egroupware is a quick way to "capture" case office and
> case expenses along with the attorney time so that expenses and time can
> be properly associated with each case. Currently we use a steno pad by
> the fax, another by the postage, another by the copier which all are
> manually entered in quickbooks.
>
> Egw does an excellent job with time. Our goal is to come up with a
> simple and convenient way to keep track of phone calls, faxes, postage,
> etc. Those are the things that are used every day, that often never get
> captured or billed because there is no "easy" or convenient way for the
> attorney to do it. (almost all attorneys are too bipolar to remember to
> go back to the fax and write down the 18 pages we just sent on the steno
> pad)(our staff does very well)
>
> With egw, a great addition would be a quick "expense" feature, that
> would basically be a pop-up, like timesheet, but with a much simpler
> interface that would present only the needed capture fields like:
>
> combobox combobox combobox text
> [project] [item] [subitem] [quantity]
>
> This could also be an "expense" button within the timesheet dialog
> itself. Time/date would be an autofill field. Each combo box would hold
> a list of all current items in the pricelist that would also serve as a
> "quick add" for either projects or items not already in the project or
> pricelist. The subitems could serve to keep the item list from growing
> to large. Examples (mail:certified, mail:insured, phone:intrastate,
> phone:interstate, etc., etc.)
>
> The "quick add" for a project would simply bring up the new project
> dialog (or simply add the project name to the project table with the
> details to be added later). The quick add for items  or subitems would
> bring up a simple dialog that would allow for the "just in time" entry
> of the item name, description and cost per unit. That way the pricelist
> could be built and grow on its own without someone having to set aside
> time to build a pricelist.
>
> The natural follow on would be a print or report feature that would
> allow for the printing or exporting of client case expenses and time
> that could be easily added to quickbooks or serve as a stand-alone
> record for project expenses.
>
> As Egw grows, I would love to be able to use it for billing. With its
> logical design, and all the expense and time data captured in the
> database, the ability to use it for that purpose is just a matter of
> developing the output routines to make that data usable as such. I don't
> expect egw to grow into an accounting package, but then again, there is
> no reason it couldn't do everything that quickbooks does either and do
> it better. That is why I'm so impressed with the package.
>
> Thanks and keep up the great work.
>

--
Ralf Becker
eGroupWare Training & Support ==> http://www.egroupware-support.de
Outdoor Unlimited Training GmbH [www.outdoor-training.de]
Handelsregister HRB Kaiserslautern 3587
Geschäftsführer Birgit und Ralf Becker
Leibnizstr. 17, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Telefon +49 (0)631 31657-0

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