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Technical Tuesday: Integrating Service Management with Time Keeping Part 1

Doug Johnson | January 3, 2017

This post is the first in a three-part series that explains how to manage time spent in the Service Management module. In the first article, we discuss how to share hours performed in appointments of the Service Management module with the Time & Activities module. In the second article, we learn how to associate services with employees, and configure options to track time where multiple employees participate on a single appointment. In the third article, we demonstrate how accountants can bill work that is performed in the field.

This tutorial assumes a working knowledge of Acumatica and the Service Management, but is also designed to give those who don’t have that knowledge a glimpse into what Acumatica Cloud ERP Software can do to transform business processes.

Acumatica's Technical Tuesday

Environment: 6.00.1488 with Field Services Customization 1.3.38

Data: SalesDemo data from partner portal, install Field Services Demo data customization on top

Business Purpose

Cloud ERP gives field workers the ability enter time as they are remotely performing work. By collecting time from the field, timekeeping is more accurate – by collecting time electronically, timekeeping is more efficient because data does not have to re-keyed.

By using a cloud system, recorded time is instantly available to billing and reporting processes. Recorded time can be used to:

  • Bill clients with more accuracy, efficiency, and timeliness
  • Track employee status and productivity
  • Manage project costs in real time

Proper configuration of your ERP system will contribute to higher levels of accuracy and process efficiency. In this article, we learn how to associate employees with specific services to better control the hours logged by field workers.

Business Scenarios

Field employees can be authorized to record time in different ways. Some common scenarios are listed below:

  1. Employees log time while on appointments for tracking purposes.
  2. Multiple employees log time against multiple services. Timesheets reflect the actual time that each employee worked and include the specific services performed. A supervisor who may not perform specific services can record time.
  3. An employee logs time while performing a service. Accounting utilizes this time to bill clients based on time and materials.

Acumatica Implementation: Tracking Employee Time on an Appointment

In this example, your company tracks time using the Acumatica Time & Expenses module. You want to track employee hours on an appointment. Depending on the type of service being performed you want to track time based on standard service times or based on the actual time recorded by the employee on the appointment.

The scenario workflow:

  1. Setup the environment to integrate the Service Management with Time & Expenses
  2. Create an appointment for the ABARTENDE customer with BACKUP service and assign it to the employee, Becher Joseph
  3. On behalf of Joseph Becher, Start and Complete the appointment
  4. Verify the created time activity for Joseph Becher

For this workflow, we review two different time keeping options. First we record time based on the scheduled service time. Next we record time based on the actual start and stop time recorded on the appointment.

Implementation Steps: Standard Service Times

Step 1: Setup Service Management integration with Time & Expense Module

  1. Go to the service management preferences screen (SD100100) and enable Time & Expenses Integration
    Enable Time & Expenses Integration
  2. For each service type that you want to integrate with Time & Expenses, you need to:
    1. Set the flag to Automatically Create Time Activities From Appointments
    2. Define the Default Earning Type

To do this, navigate to the Service Order Type form (SD202300) and modify the MRO type as shown below.

Automatically Create Time Activities From Appointments

Notes:

  1. You can also define an earning type per service using the Non-Stock Items form (IN202000). This will apply a default to a specific service instead of the service order type.
  2. If you are not using the SalesDemo data, make sure that employees doing the work have (1) an employee account (Organization -> Organization Structure -> Manage -> Employees, EP.20.30.00) as well as a user account (Configuration -> User Security -> Manage -> Users, SM.20.10.10). Make sure that you link the employee record with the user account using the Linked Entity
  3. Linked Entity

Step 2: Create an appointment

  1. Go to the Appointments form (SD300200), create an appointment with the following settings and save:
    • Customer ID: ABARTENDE
    • Services tab: Add a BACKUP service
    • Staff tab: Add Becher Joseph as staff member

      Create an appointment

  2. Note: in the Staff tab there are columns for Track Time and Earning Type. You can override the default values taken from the service by employee for this specific appointment.

    Track Time and Earning Type

 

Step 3: Start and complete the appointment

  1. Start the appointment by selecting Action > Start Appointment
  2. Complete the appointment on behalf of Joseph Becher by selecting Action > Complete Appointment

    Start and complete the appointment

Note: In this case the actual start and end time was set according to the theoretical length of the appointment. If you wanted to record the actual hours, you need to change the settings on the screen Service Order Types -> Time Behavior tab. This scenario is covered in the next section.

Step 4: Verify the employee time sheet

  1. Go to the Employee Time Activities form (EP307000) and select the employee Becher Joseph. You will see the time activity line with the start time of the appointment. The Time spent will be the difference between start and end time on the appointment.

    Verify the employee time sheet

  2. You can create a time card for the employee by going to the Employee Time Cards form (EP406000), select the employee Becher Joseph, and click on Add New Timecard.
  3. This will open the Employee Time card form (EP305000) with the hours performed in the service management already listed there.
    1. Press Save
    2. Optionally, you can select Normalize Time Card.
    3. Select Action->Submit from the action menu.
    4. Select Action->Approve from the action menu. (you will have this permission if still logged in as the administrator)
  4. After the time card has been approved, go back to the original appointment. In the Staff tab, the Approved Time and Time Card Ref. Nbr. columns (by default hidden), indicate that the associated timecard has been approved as shown below.

    Associated timecard has been approved

Implementation Steps: Track Actual Start and Stop Time

Suppose that you want the actual time spent on the appointment to flow through to the employee’s time card. To do this, modify the settings on the Service Order Types screen.

  1. Navigate to Services > Services Management > Configuration > Service Order Types (SD.20.23.00)
  2. Select the MRO service type and make the changes that you see in the screen below

    Track Actual Start and Stop Time

    Notes:

    1. By changing the radio button to Sets Actual Start Time in Header and Services Lines we keep track of when specific services were done. This assumes that every service on the appointment starts and stops at the same time (if there are multiple services on an appointment).
    2. Checking the boxes Actual Start/End Time of Header will update Actual Start Time in Service Lines simplifies data entry if your services start and stop at the same time as your appointment.
    3. Use the Modify Actual Start/End Time of Header based on Minimum/Maximum Service Line if you want your appointment to start at the beginning of the first service and end at the ending of the last service.
    4. Use the Maintain Actual Start/End time of Header and Service Lines if changed manually to avoid overwriting custom start/end times.
  3. Process an appointment, using the following parameters:
    1. Customer = ABARTENDE
    2. Add service line: BACKUP
    3. Select employee: Layla Beauvoir
    4. Select Action > Start Appointment
    5. Select Action > Complete Appointment. You need to wait at least one minute before ending your appointment. If you do not, the system will warn you that the time recorded cannot be zero.
  4. Note the differences on both the Appointment record as well as the Employee time activity.

Actual duration of the services and the quantity

The actual duration of the services and the quantity are listed based on when I start and stopped my appointment.

The employee timecard

The employee timecard contains the difference between the start and stop times on the appointment instead of the estimated service duration.

NEXT WEEK: Part 2

Next week, we learn how to indicate that different employees performed different services. We will setup services starting at different times and we will see how this is integrated to the Time & Expenses module. 

Additionally, we will test further options of time behavior in the service management.

Doug Johnson

Director of Partner Programs and Enablement at Acumatica. Doug is in charge of showing people the specifics about what makes Acumatica’s Cloud ERP software awesome for our customers and partners. For other tips and technical training, stay tuned on Tuesdays.

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