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BigTime Glossary

In BigTime, you’ll encounter terms and phrases that may either be familiar or new to you. If you’re confused about any of these terms and want clarification, you can take a look at this glossary to find each one and their definitions. Click through the links in the alphabet below to be taken to different alphabetically sorted terms. 





A/R Aging: An abbreviation of accounts receivable aging. This sorts all your clients' unpaid invoices by how long they've been outstanding. It can give you a sense of which clients are most consistently late on payments and which time periods are the most lean for your firm.


API: A REST-based service that allows you to get directly to your BigTime data so you can integrate all your data with your pre existing tools and integrations. BigTime’s API is housed in a document that you can access by following this link


Activity: Specific work that can be assigned to staffers or that they can assign to themselves. Some types of activities could include making phone calls or writing emails. These are different from tasks in that they function more as items on a to-do list, rather than assignments that need to be completed. 


Allocations:  Allocations let you precisely assign and manage working hours for each staffer across each timesheet period.


Approvals: Managers with the appropriate permissions have the ability to approve or reject time and expense entries submitted by staffers. Any time or expense entry that you approve becomes an “approval”.


Assignment: A way to delegate tasks or responsibilities to staffers.


At-Risk Rate: A way of measuring how many of your projects are at risk of running over budget or past deadlines. You’ll want to keep this rate as low as possible.


Availability: The number of hours a staffer is available to work. This number is relative to each staffer’s capacity, and will adjust once those staffers have been allocated hours.



Base Currency: The currency your firm uses in the country it operates from. This may differ from the currencies your clients use, in which case you can use BigTime’s multi-currency features to record invoices and expenses in foreign currencies.


Bill Rate: The amount that your firm charges clients for the services rendered/hours of work put toward their project. 


Billable Expenses: Expenses incurred that can be charged to a client.


Billable Hours: Hours logged toward tasks that can be charged to a client.


Budget Style: A way to configure how you record budgets across different individual projects. 



Capacity: The amount of time per week that your staffers’ can work. This is measured on an hourly basis. For instance, if a staffer can work eight hours a day, their weekly capacity would be 40 hours. By default, any new staffer added to BigTime will have a default monthly capacity of 160 hours. You can change this later if you need to.


Client: The person, company or organization your firm does business with. Clients are the people that will commission projects from you and are the ones you’ll send invoices to.


Contract: The payment rate for a staffer who has been hired to do work for only a specific amount of time, rather than someone who has been hired as a permanent employee and paid on a salary basis.


Cost Center: A department or function that contributes to the costs of the organization. For example, if an engineer purchases a new computer, the cost will be allocated to the engineering department. That department would be considered a cost center.


Cost Rate: The amount of money your individual staffers charge for work on projects. Different tasks your staffer works on can each have their own different task rates.


Dashboards: A BigTime feature that shows you the overall health of your project through a set of configurable tiles. With dashboards, you can see details such as your at-risk rates, percent invoices overdue, and payment mix.


Deposit: A payment from a client that has been processed and added to your firm’s bank account.



Expense Rate: A way to apply a preset rate to certain expenses, as opposed to manually entering a cost amount every time you record an expense. For example, you could set a $1.00 expense rate and apply it every time you record a gas mileage expense.


Expenses: Money that your firm spends on activities that further the progress of a project. Some types of expenses include airfare, client meals, hotels or car mileage.



Field Value: Values you can set up that will automatically populate in field picklists throughout BigTime. You could, for example, set up Location field values as London, New York and Seattle. Those three values will appear in a list form any time you click into a location field.


Fixed Fee Invoice: An invoice type that allows you to bill clients based on cost rates you set for tasks. You can either bill for the entire cost of the task, or a percentage of each task.



Invoice Calculator: Specific, premade calculators that can be used to tally up line items on an invoice. These are accessible to Pro and Premier users. These differ from invoice templates in that they apply to specific line items, rather than entire invoices.


Invoice Template: A premade template that allows you to configure how invoice PDFs look when they’re sent to clients. You can apply a template to a drafted invoice and view it in the PREVIEW tab.


Invoice Type: A way to categorize invoices based on the style and type of information they include. Some types include Retainer invoice, Time and Materials invoice, or Fixed Fee invoice. Many invoice types are preset by BigTime, but you can also create a Manual invoice and configure your invoice style to meet your needs.



Labor Code: A way to categorize types of work your staffers may do on projects. Some labor code examples include “research”, “UX design”, or “structural engineering”. These can be set up by going to MY COMPANY…FIELD VALUES, opening the BASIC CODES tab, and then opening the CATEGORIES sub-tab.


Lexicon: The vocabulary your firm uses to describe certain actions or structures in your organization. In BigTime, your lexicon is configurable and any changes you make will be reflected across the whole platform. For example, your firm may use the term “phase” to refer to what BigTime calls a “task”. You can edit your BigTime lexicon to reflect this.



Management Authority: The level of access and management abilities a user has. A staffer’s management authority is dependent on the permissions that have been granted to the security group they’re in.


Multi-Currency: A BigTime feature that allows you to manage your firm’s financials and process client payments in multiple currencies. You can use multi-currency for invoicing and billing, and you can also use it for recording expenses. This is useful if you work with clients who use foreign currencies.



Non-billable Expenses: Incurred expenses that cannot be charged to a client.


Non-billable Hours: Recorded hours that cannot be billed to a client. Often these hours are for internal work, such as workplace training.



Payment: Payments are made by clients for invoices you send. To make payment collection easier, you can ask clients to sign up for BigTime Wallet, where they can make credit card or bank transfer within a Client Portal.


Percent Complete Invoice: An invoice type that allows you to charge for tasks based on the percentage that they’ve been completed. For instance, if a “Design” task has only been half completed, you can use this invoice type to charge clients for 50% of that task’s rate.



Rate Card: A rate card is a way to set up project rates that allows you to create one rate and apply it across multiple projects, rather than having to enter a new rate every time. This is useful if you have multiple projects that will all charge the same rate.


Realization: Realization is when you compare the number of hours logged in BigTime with the amount that’s invoiced. For example, if a staffer logs $1,000 worth of hours and only invoiced $500, their realization is 50%. The higher the realization rate, the better.


Report Type: A premade template designed around a specific type of data you might like to report on. These are set up with a selection of fields specific to the type of report you’re creating.


Retainer: A retainer is a fixed amount that is billed to clients every time you send them an invoice.


Review: The step a manager or system administrator takes when they view submitted time or expenses and decide whether to approve or reject them.


Role: A staffer's position in your company.



Security Groups: Groups of staffers that are organized and segmented based on their level of access within BigTime. As an example, you could have a “Financial Team” security group with access to invoicing, and you could add all your finance team members to that security group. Security groups are configured with a variety of user rights. For a definition of user rights, scroll down in this glossary.


Service Fee: A type of non-reimbursable expense. 


Skills: Technical or soft skills that a given staffer possesses. Examples might include Python, app design, public speaking or client communication. In BigTime, certifications and languages are also considered types of skills.


Staffer: The term used to refer to anyone employed by your firm. This can include managers and system administrators.


Subtask: A more specific type of task that falls under a broader task category. For example, if you create an “Editing” task, and below it add “Proofreading” or “Spell Checking” as subtasks.


Sync: The process of aligning data between BigTime and other integrated platforms like QuickBooks and Sage Intacct. This can either be performed manually or happen automatically.


System Admin: A staffer with the highest level of access and permissions in BigTime. They have the ability to turn certain features on or off for their whole firm.



Task: Any scheduled work or assignments that further progress on a project. For example, “editing”, “app design”, or “blueprint creation” could all be examples of tasks.


Tax Rate: A way to record the cost of taxes you’ll need to charge clients for work on a task.


Team: A group of staffers assigned to a project..


Team Lead: A staffer who is responsible for leading specific teams on projects. A staffer can be assigned the team lead role under the TEAM tab on a selected project.


Time & Materials Invoice: An invoice which bills clients for hours (based on the billing rates you've set up) and expenses.


Time Off: Any time that a staffer is absent from work. Examples of time off types include vacation, PTO, sick leave and parental leave.

User Rights: Another way to refer to access permissions in BigTime. User rights can be granted to staffers within specific security groups, and determine their level of access to features and data in BigTime. 


Utilization: The amount of a staffer’s capacity that has been filled up with tasks.


Work-in-Progress (WIP): A label given to invoices that are still in progress and have yet to be finalized and sent to a client.


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