A project is the DNA that sets Costpoint apart from other leading accounting systems. Projects provide the ability to break work down into discrete tasks that can be managed and accounted for as well as rolled up and summarized for reporting. Projects provide the flexibility to combine different revenue and billing types within a single structure and consolidate them back to allow you to get a true financial perspective on the health of an activity. With the availability of 30 characters for the project string with multiple levels, a project can be as simple as a single level or as complex as multiple levels with multiple tasks, subtasks, CLINs, SubCLINs, activities, etc. below them providing thousands of project nodes. In short, projects provide a great deal of flexibility in how you organize, track and manage your work.
Like most things in life though, it comes with a price. The price of the power and control provided by projects is the burden of setting up these complex structures, sometimes multiple times as your company grows and more projects are added.
In previous versions of Costpoint, the “Mass Add” functionality allowed you to copy an existing project structure, either in part or in whole, to another. You could also copy ancillary tables as well, however you had to remember to go behind and clean up information in the new project to ensure that it didn’t have remnants from the old project. Costpoint 7 still has “Mass Add”, however it has an additional feature that is similar but much more robust and flexible – “Project Templates”.
Project Templates allow you to establish multiple “standard” project models that can be used to provide project structures, either for all projects, or for multiple types of projects. For example, you may set up one template for software development work, another for help test support, yet another one for commercial work, and so on. You could also set up templates by project manager if your PMs have different preferred work breakdown structures (WBS). In short, Project Templates help you ensure compliance with your standard project creation policies and guidelines.
The templates not only allow for standard project structures but also allow you to establish default values for nearly every field. Additionally, you can now set a field as required to ensure it is completed!
Another great feature provided by Project Templates is the ability to assign the completion of each field to a role and use workflow to route the project for completion. The projects are actually built in work tables; using workflow, one person can initiate the project and then route it for completion by accounting, contracts, project control, etc. Once all of the data is entered, the project can then be approved and loaded into the project tables for use by the rest of the system. It makes for a very simple, yet powerful internal control.
Another great feature is the ability to automatically generate the WBS. Once you define the project structure, you can then click on a button and the entire WBS is created and populated with the project information from the template. With some projects having hundreds, if not thousands of tasks, this is an immense time saver.
If you’re still unsure of how to get started with using Project Templates in Costpoint 7, or have questions on best practices, feel free to contact us.