Product Update

August 21, 2003

1. Timesheets: Payroll types; copy department head, approver on alerts; increased notification range for alerts; display phase name on timesheet report.

OpenAir is introducing several new features in the Timesheets module this month. First, the time capture capability of OpenAir has been enhanced with the addition of payroll types. Users can now associate worked hours with a payroll type, in addition to client, project, task, time type, and service/activity. There are many possible functions this new feature might serve. For instance, if your work force performs services in different states or tax locations, the user can now distinguish on the timesheet where the service was performed. Administrators or those with requisite role privileges can create payroll types in the Account tab; they can also select a different name—such as tax venues--for payroll type in My Account > Company > Terminology. The payroll type dropdown can be displayed on the main timesheet grid and can be made a required field by checking the appropriate boxes in My Account > Company > Settings > Timesheet options. The timesheet report can be configured to display the payroll type field by going to Timesheets > Options > Timesheet report layout. The time entries detail report can also be configured to display this field. All summary reports that include timesheet hours as an available value can be subtotaled or filtered on payroll type.

Second, department heads and approvers can now be copied on timesheet alerts. When configuring a late timesheet alert, the administrator now has the option of checking boxes to copy the department head and/or timesheet approver of the user whose timesheet is late. On an overdue timesheet approval alert, the administrator can choose to copy the approver’s department head. Approval processes and project approvers are excluded from the copy feature. Administrators, and other users with requisite privileges, create timesheet alerts by going to Timesheets > Alerts > New entries > Create Late timesheet alert or Create Overdue approval alert.

Third, timesheet alerts have been also been enhanced to allow a greater range of days upon which notification is based. Formerly, the alert rule could be configured to send notification to users who had not submitted a timesheet that included 7 days ago. This month, we increased the range to include up to 10 days.

Fourth, you can now display the phase name, in addition to task name, on the timesheet report. If a user has been assigned a task in the Projects module, and that task is part of a phase, the project manager or timesheet approver may want to have the phase information available when reviewing the timesheet report. This can now be accomplished by configuring the timesheet report to include the phase name. To do so, administrators and those with requisite privileges navigate to Timesheets and click the Options tab on the right, then the Timesheet report layout tab on the left. Add “Phase” to the list of columns to display and click Save.

2. Resources: Create and display bookings in chart form; view resource’s schedule in booking chart, resources list.

We offer staffing managers another option for creating and displaying bookings this month. In addition to the booking list and the booking grid, you can now create and display bookings using a booking chart. In addition to this new method, we also offer the staffing manager a new tool to assist in creating bookings, since we now enable the manager to view the user’s schedule from the booking chart or in the resources list view through a graphical calendar display.

To configure the new booking chart, administrators and users with the requisite privileges can navigate to Resources > Bookings. Click the new Chart link and then the Settings link. Define the period (daily or monthly), the number of periods, and unit of utilization (hours or percentage). If desired, restrict the resources to be displayed by setting a maximum number of resources, and by filtering on resource, department and/or job code. Click the Chart link to display resources that meet the criteria defined in the settings. In addition to resource name, the chart displays the earliest and latest booking dates for the resource, a bar chart of the utilization for the specified period, and a calendar icon. Managers can perform a wide range of actions using the chart:
a) To create a booking or multiple bookings for any resource, go to the New entries > Create dropdown on the right.
b) To create a booking for a resource listed on the chart, click on the hyperlinked resource name. (Hovering the mouse over the resource name displays a screen tip: “Create booking for [Resource name]”.) A new booking form, prepopulated for the selected user opens. Enter information to book the user and click Save, to return to the chart. The new booking will be displayed on the chart (provided the booking meets the criteria defined in the chart settings).
c) Click on a bar in the chart to view bookings for that resource within the time range indicated by the bar. (Hovering the mouse over the bar displays a screen tip: “Bookings during period for this resource”.)
d) Click the Booked link under the Resource name to view all of the bookings for that resource. (Hover the mouse over the Booked link to display a screen tip).
e) To move through the chart, either click the booking start/end date links for any resource, or click the moving arrows above the bar charts. The single arrow moves the chart one day for daily charts, one month for monthly charts. The double arrows move the chart one week for daily charts, one year for monthly charts. (Hover the mouse over the date links or the arrows to display screen tips.)
f) Click the Calendar icon to view the resource’s schedule. This brings up the graphical calendar, from which the manager can peruse task assignments, schedule requests, and bookings for the user in daily, weekly or monthly view.

Finally, the administrator or staffing manager can also access resource schedules (task assignments, bookings and schedule requests) by viewing the user’s graphical calendar in Resources > Resources > [Select resource] > Utilization. Click the Calendar icon to view the graphical calendar for the particular resource.

3. Projects: Percent complete fixed fee billing rules; exclude non-reimbursable expenses from expense item billing rules; display project stage in task list.

Several new features have been added to the Projects module this month. First, fixed fee project billing rules can now be based on percentage of completion of a phase or project. Previously, fixed fee billing rules were always based on the date or project milestone entered in the rule. Now, billing managers can create a fixed fee billing rule that generates billings based on how complete the project or phase is. To create a fixed fee billing rule based on percent complete, billing managers navigate to Projects > Projects > [select Project ID] > Billing. From the New entries > Create dropdown, select “Fixed fee on % complete”. Specify whether the rule is to be based on percentage completion of the project as a whole, or on a particular phase of the project. Enter the % complete threshold amount. When the % complete of the project or phase is greater than or equal to the threshold, the amount of the billing rule will be created as a timebill upon running of the billing rules.

Second, project billing rules can be configured to exclude non-reimbursable expenses. This is useful in cases where a client pre-pays expenses, for example; the user may want to track the expenses for reporting purposes, but will not re-bill them. The new feature lets the user enter the receipt in the expenses module and mark it as non-reimbursable. The project or billing manager can create or edit an expense item billing rule to prevent non-reimbursable expenses from being converted into billable charges, by checking a box in the Expense item billing rule form to “Exclude non-reimbursable receipts.”

Third, the task list in Projects can now display the project stage. Click the Customize link at the bottom of the task list. Highlight “Project stage” under Available items and click to Add highlighted items to list. Click OK.

4. Invoices: Display time type, cost center and project phase on invoice; filter on billing contact when creating invoices.

A couple of new features were added to the Invoices module this month. First, time type, cost center and phase can now be displayed on the invoice, if desired. The time type is taken from the time type entered by users in timesheets. Phase also comes from the user’s timesheet entry; if the user selects a task on the timesheet and the task is part of a phase in the projects module, the phase can be displayed on the invoice. Cost center derives from the receipt or time entry rules set up in the Account tab > Account data > Cost centers. To create or edit an invoice layout, administrators or users with the required privileges navigate to Invoices > Invoices > Options > Invoice layout options. Select an existing invoice layout or create a new one from the New entries > Create dropdown. Add the desired fields and click Save.

Second, the list on the invoice creation screen can now be customized to include the billing contact as a filterable column. This is useful for accounts that create a separate invoice for each billing contact, allowing them to select all timebills for a specific billing contact. To add the column, go to Invoices > Invoices > Create > An invoice (or Multiple invoices). Click the customize link at the bottom of the screen, add “Billing contact’ to the list of selected items and Save.

5. Reports: Export status of transactions; envelope status report; project stage filter and field in detail reports.

We continue to make enhancements to the Reports module. This month, we’ve added the ability to show whether a particular transaction has been exported using OpenAir’s Integration Manager (IM). The IM is an application that communicates with OpenAir over the Web using the OpenAir XML interface, exchanging data with external systems, including QuickBooks, Platinum for Windows (PFW) and other packages. Integration Manager allows the import and export of transactional and reference data in almost any delimited format.

To view the export status of transactions, users with the required reporting privileges navigate to Reports > Detail. In the Invoices and Expenses areas, the Invoices, Timebills, Envelopes and Receipts detail reports can now be configured to display whether the items have been exported. Click to edit the report layout. Available options include “Exported as text using IM”, “Exported to QuickBooks using IM”, or “Exported to PFW using IM”.

In the case of invoices and envelopes, the value may be reported as Yes, No or Partially. Since invoices and envelopes are containers and the line items are the entities that actually get exported, it is possible to have a container with only some of its line items exported. For example, if the IM text export was configured to filter out timebills with no dollar amount, then a timebill with a value of 0 would never be exported and the containing invoice would always be "partially" exported. In Detail reports for Timebills and Receipts, you can also report on whether the item was exported; in this case, since these are line items, the value will be either Yes or No.

The new export status reporting feature also applies to export of purchase orders and purchase items. See Reports > Detail > Purchases > POs or Purchase items.

Second, we’ve added a new report to allow managers to track the status of expense envelopes. As with the timesheet status report, this report enables managers to expedite approval and (ultimately) the billing processes. It gives a quick view of which users have not created or submitted expenses, and eliminates the need to go into each submitted item to review the approval history to determine which approver is holding up the approval process. Administrators and those with required privileges can run the report by navigating to Reports > Advanced > Expenses > Envelope status report. Choose a time period, number of periods, and ending date. You can filter by user and/or by department. The report can be configured to show the approver for submitted envelopes, by checking the box "Include approver for envelopes pending approval". On running the report, each user will be listed, on a grid, with the status of the envelopes for whatever period you specified, with the following letters to indicate status: X = Missing, O = Open, S = Submitted, A = Approved, R = Rejected. If “Include approver for envelopes pending approval” is checked, the report will identify the person whose approval is required to move the envelope to the next stage of approval, as well as the approval process, if applicable.

The third addition to reporting is a project stage filter and the ability to display the project stage field on any detail reports that include a project filter.

6. Expenses: Hide expense location field on receipts.

The Expenses module allows users to record an “expense location” on receipts. If your company does not require users to record the expense location, an administrator can now suppress this field by going to My Account > Company > Expenses options. Check the box “Hide expense location on receipts”, and Save.

7. Opportunities: Select customer contact for proposals; HTML and PDF version links added to proposal guest view.

The proposals functionality in the Opportunities module has been enhanced this month by the addition of two new features. First, when creating a proposal, you can select the customer contact to which it should be emailed. Secondly, HTML and PDF version links have been added to the proposal as viewed by the client.

8. Webinars: OpenAir demonstrations for current customers.

Based on the high level of interest in our past customer Webinars, we are continuing our online seminar series. These events are designed to expose you to the breadth of OpenAir product features and functionality, so you can get as much value as possible out of your account.

The events will show you how OpenAir can be used to manage the sales pipeline and create proposals in Opportunities, create employee profiles, find and book resources and evaluate utilization rates in Resources, plan, manage and collaborate on projects using Projects and Workspaces, track time and expenses to projects and set up approval processes in Timesheets, Expenses, and Purchases, handle complex project accounting and billing rules in Projects and Invoices, and manage key customizable account settings such as roles, terminology, data filters, calendar settings, and hierarchies in My Account. They will highlight recent product enhancements.

We are offering two sessions:
Thursday, September 4th, 12-1pm EST.
Tuesday, September 9th, 12-1pm EST.

The purpose of these seminars is to expose you to functionality you are not currently using, rather than to train you in detail on how to use specific features. If you are interested in arranging a training session, please contact Tim Groves at 617-351-0272 or

9. Would you like to see previous OpenAir updates?

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

10. 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 improve your experience with OpenAir.