The Quoted vs Actual table is a useful tool for tracking project budget, financial progress and profitability. It is especially beneficial if the scope of the project is fixed and confirmed with the client beforehand and you now want to track whether the project is progressing on budget. It helps you to track:
- how many hours worth of budget you still have left
- whether completed work has been invoiced and payments received
- how much you’ve already spent and whether each service is progressing within budget
- how much profit the project has generated, i.e. whether you got the expected margin for each service or should adjust your price or time estimates next time
How to enable the Quoted vs Actual table
To see the Quoted vs Actual table, the user needs the following user group based permissions, which you can grant under Settings > Administration > Permission sets > Modules and actions:
- View project income and cost
- View Quoted vs Actual
- View all quotes OR View quotes linked to their projects and contacts
Users with relevant access rights can toggle the Quoted vs Actual table on or off in the project detailed view.
How to set up the Quoted vs Actual table
1. Create a quote
First create a quote. The amounts on the quote are the basis for your project budget. To compare your actual spendings and earnings against quoted sums as the project progresses, make sure to add cost and supplier info to your quote as well, in addition to unit prices, to generate cost and profit margin estimates.
2. Create a project from the quote
The Quoted vs Actual table is displayed only if the project is linked with at least one successful quote. You can fully customize which quote statuses are considered successful. The easiest way to link a quote with the project is to create the project directly from the quote. Alternatively, you can also link an existing project with the quote in the quote Modify view or add new quotes directly from the project detailed view.
3. Track actual results against quoted sums
In order for the Quoted vs Actual table to track data correctly, all project-related tasks and bills/expenses need to be linked with correct quote lines. This way you can compare actual results against quoted sums line by line. The easiest way to ensure that everything is linked correctly and data is logged properly is to create tasks and bills/expenses directly from the quote.
If you create tasks, bills or expenses from scratch, you can also link them with correct quote lines retrospectively. See the How to keep the Quoted vs Actual table up to date section below to learn how to do that.
How to read the Quoted vs Actual table
The table displays all the services and products listed on successful quote(s) linked with the project. If you’ve grouped your quoted products or services under subheadings, the Quoted vs Actual table segments them accordingly as well. This way you can track the progress of your project either on a subheading level or on a more detailed service/product line level.
The columns track the scope and progress of each service as well as revenue-, cost- and profit-related data. For each service line, the estimated values taken from the quote are displayed in gray on the bottom row and the actual current results are displayed in black on the upper row. If the actual value exceeds the quoted value, it’s highlighted in red for easier tracking.
P.S. If the user does not have the right to ‘View labor cost of other users’, then they do not see the Labor cost, Cost and Profit columns in the Quoted vs Actual table. In such cases, the user can make sure the project is progressing within budget based on the completed hours in the Quantity column.
Now let’s take a closer look at what the actual result rows tell you about the state of your progress and what metrics they help you track against the quoted sums.
Scope and progress related data
Progress bar visualizes the progress of in-house activities, so you can see how much of the work has already been completed, how much is yet to do, how much buffer you still have or how much you’ve gone over time.
Quantity indicates the number of hours logged and marked as done by team members. If you hover over the number, you can see the list of tasks linked with that particular quote line, so it’s instantly clear which tasks these hours cover.
Income to date shows you how much you have theoretically earned with the work you’ve completed so far. For example, if you’ve already completed 10 hours worth of work, you can see what that means in terms of actual revenue. It’s the sum you could potentially already invoice your client for and recognize in accounting as earned revenue. The number of completed hours is multiplied by the unit price on the quote.
This column takes into account only the time logged via tasks. Bill- and expense-based outsourced costs are reflected in this statistic only once you have invoiced your client for that particular outsourced service as well.
Income shows the amount that has already been invoiced. Clicking on the invoiced amount takes you directly to the corresponding invoice. The colored dot next to the sum gives you a quick indication of whether you’ve received the payment from the client: green – fully received, yellow – partially received, red – overdue, gray – outstanding.
Labor cost indicates roughly how much you have to pay your in-house team for the work they have completed so far. The number of completed hours is multiplied by the labor cost of the respective team member. You can set the default estimated hourly labor rate for each team member under Settings > Work and projects > Labor cost.
Bills and Expenses shows the sum you have already been billed for by your suppliers if you have outsourced the service. See the How to keep the Quoted vs Actual table up to date section below to learn how to ensure that all your bills and expenses are always linked with relevant quote lines.
The green, yellow, red and gray dots in this column indicate whether the bill is fully paid, partially paid, overdue or due in the future.
Cost shows you the sum total of bills/expenses and labor costs, so you have a comprehensive overview of how much you have already spent in total.
Profit becomes relevant once you have properly logged all project-related costs and invoices. The cost field is deducted from the income field to get the final profit margin. Comparing the final result with the margin you initially predicted on the quote helps you to make an informed decision about which unit prices or time estimates to adjust the next time.
The colored dots in the Profit column indicate cash flow – the difference between the money you have received and the bills/expenses you have already paid. For example, if your client has paid you 500 EUR and you have paid your supplier 200 EUR for the same service, the cash flow amounts to 300 EUR. Cash flow does not take into account labor cost because labor cost is only an approximate indication of how much you need to pay your team.
Not quoted data
The Not quoted section at the bottom of the table reflects data that is related to the project, but not linked with any of the quote lines.
For example, if you create a new task under the project, but do not link it retrospectively with any quote line, the task metrics, such as time spent and costs incurred, are displayed on the in-house row in the ‘Not quoted’ section. Or if you add a bill to the project, but don’t link it with any quote lines, the billed cost is displayed on the outsourced row in the ‘Not quoted’ section.
If you do not wish to link such ad hoc costs with any quote lines, you can just leave them in the ‘Not quoted’ section. But if you want to make sure they are reflected in actual results, see the How to keep the Quoted vs Actual table up to date section below for more details.
Click on the Total row to expand it and see the total difference between all the quoted values and the actual results. The same breakdown is also shown by all in-house and all outsourced services.
How to keep the Quoted vs Actual table up to date
In order to get the most out of the Quoted vs Actual table, it is important to keep all income and cost-related data up to date. If you create your project-related tasks and bills/expenses from the quote, they are always automatically linked with the right quote line and the table tracks actual results as it is supposed to. However, if you create tasks and bills/expenses from scratch, you need to link them retrospectively to make sure the table stays up to date. Below are some tips about what to keep in mind.
Link additional quotes with the project
If the scope of your project increases and you submit another quote to your client to cover the additional services, make sure to link that quote with the original project as well. Once the new quote is marked as successful, the services and products listed on that quote then show up in the Quoted vs Actual table as well.
Link additional tasks with quote lines
If you add a new task that falls under any of the quoted products or services, make sure to link that task with the respective quote line as well to keep the budget up to date. Otherwise it’s placed in the ‘Not quoted’ section instead.
To link a task to a quote line, first open the respective quote. You can access the quote directly from the Quotes section in the project detailed view. Click Modify tasks, navigate to the correct quote line and select the option to Link with existing task.
Link events with tasks
If you add an event to your project, e.g. a billable strategy meeting, it’s listed in the ‘Not quoted’ section by default. To make sure it counts towards the relevant quote line, you first need to link the event with a task and that task in turn has to be linked with a quote line. When linking, you can also search the task by its ID, indicated in the URL. This is most helpful if you have many similarly named tasks.
Link bills/expense lines with quote lines
To make sure that project-related costs are reflected accurately on a quote-line level, link all project-related cost document lines with quote lines. Read more about how to link cost documents with quote lines and how to track that all relevant bills/expense lines are linked.
Create invoices from quote or tasks
Invoices can not be linked with the table retrospectively. Therefore, it is important to create all project-related invoices and partial invoices directly from the quote if you want the table to track the results and payments.
Alternatively, if you use time-billing, you can create an invoice directly from the task(s) in the project detailed view. The Quoted vs Actual table reflects the invoice if the task itself is properly linked with the correct quote line.