Product Update

July 24, 2004

1. Projects: Customized task types added; fixed fee projections report enhanced.

New in the OpenAir Projects module this month is the addition of customizable task types. Administrators define task types (such as hard, soft, or internal for example) for the account. Tasks can then be distinguished according to the task type. This feature parallels the booking type functionality of the Resources module. To create project task types, administrators and those users with required role privileges navigate to the Account tab. From the New entries > Create dropdown, create one or more project task types. To assign a type to a project task, in the Projects module select a project. From the “Edit tasks/phases” view, select an existing task, or create a new task. On the “Edit task” form, select a type for the project task. Task assignments, time entries, receipts and timebills are tagged with the task type, if any, of their associated project tasks. The task and task assignment detail reports can display and be filtered by project task type. Summary reports and advanced Resources reports on task assignments permit filtering, subtotaling and detailing based on project task type.

The fixed fee projections report in the Projects module calculates total billings or revenue recognition anticipated under fixed fee rules. We have significantly enhanced the fixed fee projections report this month. It now provides an option to subtotal by client and project. We have also added more flexibility in the time periods that can be reported on. Formerly, the report was strictly forward-looking from the current date, but it can now be configured to start at some date in the past. This would enable users to run a fixed fee report, for example, on projected billing or recognition, on an annual basis for an entire calendar year. Finally, we have added the ability to display user-defined custom fields related to projects or to project billing rules in the fixed fee projections report. To run the report, users who have the required privileges navigate to Reports > Advanced > Projects > Fixed fee projections. Select whether the projections are to come from billing rules or recognition rules. Configure the report layout and apply filters if desired. Enter a date for the starting period and specify how “late” rules should be treated. A “late” rule is a rule that should have run before the first period of the report. The default behavior is to move the value of that rule to the first period of the report. A checkbox on the report configuration form allows the user to override this behavior. Name, save and run the report.


2. Administrative: Allow users to create their own proxies; set default approvers for new users; auto-approval rule enhancements; more decimal precision in tax location rates.

Several administrative enhancements are included in this month’s release. First, we have extended the proxy feature. Proxy allows administrators to designate users who can login to the account of another user, to check access or perform various functions on behalf of the user, without needing to know the user’s password. This month, we have extended this feature so that any user, even a non-administrator, can designate their own proxies, or users who can login as themselves. This was designed for the case where the user may be unavailable (for example, on vacation) and may wish to appoint another user to submit or approve timesheets or expenses on his/her behalf. The user designated as your "own proxy" can login as you, with your role, without going through the normal login process. When the designated user is proxied as you, s/he will have access to all of the features and information to which you have access. In order to create a proxy for one's self, the user must have the role privilege "Create own proxies" enabled (My Account > Account > Roles > [select role] > My account > Create own proxies). To designate your own proxies, navigate to My Account > My Options > Own proxies. Select the user(s) who can proxy for you in your absence.

A second administrative enhancement is the ability to specify the default approvers for new users. In the past, the default approver for new users across all modules was always the original administrator on the account or, if the original administrator was deactivated, the most senior administrator. If the default approver was no longer performing approval functions, the person creating new users had to modify each user’s settings to update the approvals for each module. With this month’s release, an administrator can configure one user with different approvers for timesheets, expenses, purchases, etc. A new checkbox on the user demographic form ("Save as the default approvers") allows the administrator to specify that the current user’s approval setup should be the default approval setup for all new users.

Third, approval processes for timesheets, expenses, purchase requests, purchase orders and invoices can now be configured with ranges for auto-approval rules. This accommodates a scenario where approvals below a certain number should be routed for review to one individual, approvals above the first number but less than a second number to a different individual, and approvals above the second number to yet a third individual. To set this up, administrators create the approval process as follows: In the Account tab, from the New entries > Create dropdown, select Approval process. Name the process and select the approvers from the “Approver name” dropdown. Assign sequence numbers if desired. If multiple approvers have the same sequence number, they will be able to perform approvals at the same time; otherwise, approvals will proceed in sequential order. Then, click “Auto-approve rules > Create” for each approver. To configure an expenses auto-approval rule, for example, check the box "Automatically approve an expense report when the total value is: …” For Approver #1: Expenses greater than or equal to $500. Approver #2: Expenses NOT between $500.01 and $9999.99. Approver #3: Expenses less than $10000.

Under this rule, Approver #1 will only see expenses below $500. All others will be auto-approved and will not be routed to approver #1. Approver #2 will see expenses between $500.01 and $9999.99. Expenses outside this range will be auto-approved and will not be routed to this approver. Approver #3 will see only expenses of $10,000 and over. All others will be auto-approved and will not be routed to this approver.

A final administrative enhancement, in tax locations, is the addition of support for rates with up to 3 decimal places. Previously only 2 decimal places were allowed. To set the tax location rates, administrators and users with the required privileges navigate to My Account > Account > Account data > Tax locations. Select a tax location. Enter rates and save.


3. Resources: Notify user’s line manager of bookings.

We have added a new feature to the Resources module so that a user’s line manager can be notified via email when the user is booked to a project or there is a change in a booking for the user. Line managers are assigned in Account > Users > [select user ID] > Demographic. Select an OpenAir user from the “Line manager” dropdown and save. In My Account > Company > Settings > Resources options, check the box to "Notify line manager of booked resource when a booking is added, modified or deleted." If the account uses booking types, there is also an option on the booking type form to "Suppress booking notifications to line manager of booked resource for this booking type". So, for instance, emails could be sent to the line manager for hard bookings, but not for soft bookings. This setting can be accessed from My Account > Account > Resources > Booking types > [select booking type]. Finally, the terminology for “line manager” can be changed in My Account > Company > Terminology.


4. Opportunities: To dos list enhanced.

The To do list in the Opportunities module now offers some additional display options. First, we have added the ability to display and filter on the user who created the To do. Click the customize link at the bottom of the page, add “Created by” to the list of selected items and click OK. Second, you can configure the To do list to show a subset of To dos, based on their status, on who created them, to whom they are assigned, or a variety of other parameters. In Opportunities > To dos > All, use the advanced filter above and to the left of the list. Click on the dropdown arrow to Create/edit a filter. To filter To do's by status, select "Status (code)" as the column to filter on. Status codes are as follows: N = Not Started/ C = Completed/W = Waiting/ D = Deferred/ A = Active. To display everything except completed To dos, for example, configure the filter with "Status (code) does not contain C".


5. Purchases: Attachments follow request item to purchase item.

In the Purchases module, supporting document attachments can now travel automatically from the purchase request to the purchase order. To enable this feature, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Purchases. Check the box to "Duplicate request item attachments to their respective purchase items when creating POs". With this feature enabled, if a document is attached to a purchase request item, and the request item is added to a purchase order, the attachment will be duplicated to the purchase order, without the need for further action on the part of the user creating the PO.


6. Invoices: Optional approval process for invoices added; hide payment terms on invoice; sort timebills by user last name.

In the Invoices module, we now offer an option for invoice approvals. This affords an additional oversight mechanism before invoices are sent, beyond the standard review procedures OpenAir already provides (timesheet approval, creation/review of billing transactions, creation/review of timebills/charges and compiling them into an invoice). An internal switch controls this invoice approval feature; please contact OpenAir support to have it enabled for your account. When the feature is enabled, the invoice list view has tabs for open, submitted, rejected and approved invoices. An administrator designates those clients whose invoices must be approved before being sent, by making a selection on the billing information form for the client (Account > Clients > [select client] > Billing information). Invoice approval can also be required on a per-project basis; the project-level invoice approver is specified in the project edit form (Projects > Projects > [select project] > Edit project). Approvers can be individual OpenAir users or an approval process. Auto-approval rules can be set up for invoices (in Account > Invoices > Approval processes > [select approval process]; see above for enhancements to auto-approval rules). Invoices for clients or projects requiring approval go through a process similar to that for timesheets or expense reports. If a particular client/project does not have an approver specified, invoices created for that client/project are considered approved upon creation. An invoice can only be emailed or marked sent after it is approved. The charges/timebills on an approved invoice cannot be modified. An invoice can be un-approved by a user who has the unapprove privilege enabled (in Account > Users > [select user ID] > Demographic). Invoices can be submitted in bulk from the open view or approved in bulk from the submitted view. For bulk submission or approval, the “run an action” column must be displayed by clicking the customize link at the bottom of the page. Detail reports for clients and projects can be configured to show the invoice approvers. The invoices detail report can also show the approval status, date submitted and date approved for invoices.

Invoice layout provides two new options this month. First, you can hide payment terms on the invoice. Second, you can display charges/timebills on the invoice alphabetically by user last name. Since these options are an a per-layout basis, you can create an invoice layout to hide payment terms, or to order by user last name, and associate the layout with particular clients, projects or specific invoices. To configure invoice layouts, administrators and users with the required privileges navigate to Invoices > Options > Invoice layout > [select layout]. To associate a layout with a client, select a client from Account > Clients, then click on “Billing information”. To associate a layout with a project, select a project, then click on “Edit project”. To override a layout for a particular invoice, select the invoice, then click on Edit.

7. Would you like to see previous OpenAir product updates?

Click here to browse previous product updates including all new features, modules and functionality.


8. Suggestions, problems, or questions?

As always, please contact us at or 888.367.1288 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 617-351-0226). We pride ourselves on the outstanding care we give our customers. Please let us know how we can improve your experience with OpenAir.