Billing without relieving work-in-process (WIP) using progress bills

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A progress bill provides a way to produce a bill without relieving any work in progress (WIP). The reasons why you might use a progress bill are:

  • Time has not been entered yet.
  • You are billing the client in advance for work that has not been completed.
  • You are billing the client for work that is going to last more than one billing cycle. Using progress bills while the project is ongoing will result in a more accurate allocation of billings and adjustments for firm management purposes. This is because billings and adjustments are allocated proportionally to all work at the end of the project, instead of being allocated to only certain items for that month.

A common use of progress billing is for retainers where the work may not coincide with the agreed-to billing schedule.

Progress bills must be finalized once the work has been completed and you are ready to close out the progress bills against the accumulated WIP. The following procedure will relieve the original progress bill transaction and reallocate those billings against the WIP entries that have accumulated since the original progress bill.

Creating a progress bill

  1. Choose Actions > Billing.
  2. Select the client, engagement, or project for which you want to enter a progress bill.
  3. Click Detail Bill Selected.
  4. In the Summary tab, click the More More button button to open the Progress Bills dialog.

    Note: In the Time & Expense tab, you can right-click and choose Add Progress Entry from the context menu to open this dialog.

  5. In the Progress Bills dialog, enter an engagement, project (if applicable), activity, staff, and amount, and click OK.
  6. The values you entered will be used on the initial billing transaction you create. The billing will be recorded as having occurred for the staff and engagement / activity entered only until the progress bill is finalized. At that point, the billings will be reallocated to the actual WIP transactions entered.
  7. If you will be printing an invoice, click the Compose tab to edit the text that will be displayed on the invoice.
  8. Click Save.

Clearing a progress bill

  1. Choose Actions > Billing and select the client you previously progress billed.
  2. Click Detail Bill Selected.
  3. On the Time & Expenses tab, select the original progress bill line item and any WIP items that will be relieved by the original progress bill.
  4. Right-click and choose Smart Bill Selected.
  5. In the Billed field, enter a zero if you are clearing the progress bill without creating a final bill (that is, if you are not billing additional amounts). If you will be issuing a final bill, then enter this billing amount in the Billed field. Practice CS will automatically enter the appropriate WIP adjustment, either positive or negative.
  6. Click OK.

    Note: The progress bill line will show a negative bill amount, and the WIP line items will show a positive bill amount. This allows for Practice CS to allocate the billings to the staff who performed the work.

  7. If you will be printing the invoice, click the Compose tab to edit the text that will be displayed on the invoice.
  8. Click Save.

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