13 October 2008

Weekly Dynamic: Project Allocation

Feature Pack 1 for GP 10 added the ability to allocate project costs across multiple projects. Here are a couple of scenarios where this could be useful.
  • Company sends employees to a region to work on multiple projects. Hotel, Airfare, Rental Car, etc. can be collected in a single project and then allocated to all the projects worked on during that time period.
  • Company needs to apply depreciation from a piece of equipment to multiple projects. Depreciation costs could be entered for one project and then allocated among the applicable projects.
In a nutshell, Project Accounting Allocations create a negative Miscellaneous Log transaction to move costs out of one project and positive Miscellaneous Log transactions to allocate costs to the other projects. This works across projects and contracts.

So let's take a quick look at the process.

First, setup a Project Allocation Schedule in Project Allocation Maintenance (Cards-Project-Project Allocation). Here you specify one or more From and To Projects, Cost Categories, Misc. Log Trx and Misc. Log Cost Categories. Available allocation methods are Percentage, Units and Amount. For Percentage or Amount type you'll need to add the percentage or amount. That's it for the actual setup. Keep repeating until you have all the allocation lines setup.

To process an allocation, go to Transaction-Project-Allocation. Select the Project Allocation ID (schedule) from one you created and use the insert button to move it to the right. You can run multiple allocations at once which is nice. You can limit allocation data by date range if you are allocatiing only this month's expenses for example. Pick a GL date and hit redisplay.

Transactions available to allocate will appear below along with the allocation result. So if you are allocating 10% you'll see the original amount and the resulting allocation amount. If there are no transactions of a type matching those set in the schedule, you won't even see those lines.

Click process and unposted Misc. Log transactions are created.

A couple of things to be aware of:
  • If you don't set a FROM Misc. ID the cost will allocate to the TO projects but no Misc. Log trx is created to remove them from the FROM project.
  • The FROM project information defaults after the first line has been completed. Very nice.
  • If you set all your TO information but the method, the next line gets created and you can't go back and change the method, you have to delete and re-enter the line. Very bad.
  • I'm still not entirely sure where unit amounts get set. The documentation photo shows them being entered in the Project Allocation Maintenance window but that doesn't work (and the documentation says it won't work). In playing with it, I can't tell if you change that in the actual allocation run. You cannot change the percentage or amount.
  • I'm not sure if you could actually take a line item negative with an allocation. I haven't had time to test
The Project Cost Allocation is a big step in the right direction. I wish that there were more options for allocation similar to Variable Allocation in the GL. I'd like to be able to allocate travel costs based on the proportional value of the projects I'm allocating to for example. However, you have to start somewhere and this is a nice start, especially as a mid-cycle bonus release!