Practice CS: Understanding periods

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As a billing and accounts receivable system, Practice CS tracks financial information by period.

This topic addresses some frequently asked questions about the role of periods in Practice CS and the affect of changing them.

For detail instructions on how to advance or modify the dates of a period, or to roll back to a prior period, click here.

How long is a period?

Technically, a period can be any length of time. Typically, periods are about a month. Most firms have 12 periods per year, each corresponding to a calendar month. Other firms may use a different number of periods or end them on a day other than the last calendar day of a month, including:

  • 13 four-week periods
  • 12 periods, each ending on the last Friday (or other day of the week) of each calendar month
  • 12 periods, each ending on a specific day of each calendar month, such the 25th of the month
  • 26 periods, each two weeks long

You can, of course, have as many periods per year as you like, and each can end on any day you choose. Be mindful of what gets affected by the number of periods and their end dates as described below in the section titled "What is affected by periods?".

When should the period be advanced?

You can advance the period at any time. It does not have to be advanced on the first day of the next period.

Our recommendation is that the period be advanced when all activities related to the current period are completed according to your period processing cycle.

What is affected by periods?

Periods are used to set default dates on several screens, dashboard portlets, and reports. They are also used for aging WIP and A/R balances. More specifically:

  • Screens and dashboard portlets that provide a filter on date fields and, when "is in the range" is chosen, the option for period or period to date is also chosen
  • Dates for reports:
    • Report date when Period End Date or Prior Period End Date is chosen.
    • Detail line (and Detail line 2) when Period-to-date or Prior Year Period-to-date is chosen.
  • Report filters that provide a filter on date fields and, when "is in the range" is chosen, the option for period or period-to-date is also chosen.
  • Aged WIP and A/R balances
    • The date range of each period is determined by the dates of each of the last five periods.
    • Aged balances appear in the Agings portlets on the Client and Firm Dashboards, reports such as the Work-in-process Summary, Accounts Receivable Summary, and Billing Worksheet, and optionally on invoices and statements.
  • 24 Period History
    • Determines the last period and the date range of each of the 24 periods shown.
    • 24 period histories are found in the 24 Period History portlets on the Client and Firm Dashboards and the Billing Worksheet report.
  • The date range shown in the following portlets on the Client and Firm Dashboards:
    • WIP Recap PTD
    • A/R Recap PTD
    • bill Summary PTD
    • The PTD column in Key totals
  • The last date shown on the WIP Detail portlet on the Client Dashboard is the end of the current period.
  • Invoice date when the Default invoice date in Billing User Preferences is set to Period end date

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