You can create an invoice in BigTime in just a few simple steps. The first section of this article will walk you through that process. Once you understand the step-by-step for creating an invoice, we will then introduce you to the concept of an invoice "style", and help you decide which invoicing styles fit your firm's specific needs.
- You can create an invoice for any project in the system, at any time. Whether you use the invoicing wizard, or you create invoices from your project's dashboard, generating invoices is extremely simple.
- Each invoice that you create utilizes an invoicing style. BigTime supports manual, time & materials, fixed fee, retainer, and other invoicing styles. Check out the links in the second half of this article and under Further Reading for more details about each of the styles we support.
- When you create a new invoice, it's considered a "draft" until you send it. Once an invoice is sent to your customer, it becomes a "final" invoice (and is part of your firm's payables).
- BigTime can post your invoices to your accounting system once they're finalized. If you would rather track A/R in an accounting system like QuickBooks, then the last step in your invoicing workflow would be to post invoices to QuickBooks.
Creating an Invoice
You can use the step-by-step below to create a new invoice using BigTime's invoicing wizard. For more information about creating invoices using specific templates (like time & materials or fixed fee invoices), please refer to the further readings provided at the end of this article.
1. Open the Invoices tab on the navigation bar and select OVERVIEW.
2. Click the CREATE INVOICE button at the top of the page. The system will then open the invoicing wizard to guide you through the rest of the process.
3. Select the project you want to create an invoice for. Once you have selected a project, you will see a summary of all recent billing activity relevant to that project. When you're ready, click NEXT at the bottom of the screen.
4. Select the invoice style you would like to use to generate your invoice. BigTime can use different calculators to generate time/materials invoices, fixed-fee invoices, and more. Select the style that supports the type of invoice you would like to draft, then click NEXT.
5. Once BigTime generates an invoice, you will have the opportunity to adjust it before it's finalized. Every invoice style supports different features in the draft screen. For more information about the settings within a specific style, refer to the further reading section at the end of this article.
6. Click the FINALIZE button to save the invoice. Once you've reviewed/edited the invoice, no matter what style of invoice you have selected, you will finish the process by clicking Finalize. After doing so, the invoice will appear on your Draft Invoices screen, where you can review, edit, print, post, and send/email it.
Every invoice you create in BigTime is based on an invoice "calculator" or style. Think of invoice styles as the math we use to calculate the amount(s) due, based on the time, expenses, contract terms, and other information attached to a project.
BigTime supports a number of different styles out of the box. Instead of a general discussion about how invoice calculators work, let's take a look at some specific styles that ship with the system.
Manual invoices are a blank page. They simply create an empty invoice and allow you to enter the charges (and notes) associated with an invoice by hand. They don't rely on time, expenses project budgets, or anything else in the system.
This popular invoicing style is the one that most time/billing systems support. Add up all of the time and expenses you've acrued to date, and then place that total billable amount on an invoice. That's a time/materials invoice.
T&M invoices can be subtotaled as well. This allows you to show your customers the total hours/fees by staff member, team role, labor code, task, etc.
Time/Materials Invoicing Basics
Fixed Fee Invoices
Fixed-fee invoices are based on a project's budget, not on the time that has been billed against the project. Once you and your client agree on a total fee "budget", you can produce a fixed-fee invoice to bill for a portion of that budget.
Fixed fee invoices can include additional charges as well. Some firms, for example, bill a fixed amount for time, but pass-through all of their expenses. This type of billing arrangement can be supported using BigTime's standard fixed fee invoice style.