Letting users choose which client is billed for a multi-client project

You can use Replicon to set up multiple-client projects that allow the user to choose which client their hours are billed to when they record time.

With these types of projects, sometimes referred to as 'user's choice' or 'bucket' projects, costs and billing are never split among clients. Instead, when a user enters time against a project, billable line items for invoices are generated only for the client they selected. Similarly, in reports, amounts are associated only with the specific client selected when the user recorded their time.

Multiple-client projects that allow you to split costs and billing among clients on a percentage basis are also available in Replicon. Refer to Allocating a project's costs to multiple clients and Billing multiple clients for a project for more information.

Please note the following constraints when using 'user's choice' projects:

  • User selection of clients from multi-client projects is not currently supported in Replicon Mobile or CloudClock. You can enter hours against the project using those apps, but you'll need to select the appropriate client using the web app. You can set up the Client selection for "User's Choice" projects validation to remind users to do this.
  • Client selection is also not supported when entering expenses against projects.
  • This feature is only available for those using configurable timesheets in the new product suite.

'User's choice' project usage scenarios

'User's choice' projects can be useful in a few different scenarios:

  • For billing external clients, if you perform the same kind of work for multiple clients, and
  • For inter-departmental costing, when a cost center needs to record the exact hours worked for each department
  • For joint ventures where the billing allocation isn't pre-determined

Scenario #1: Internal costing

When one department, or cost center, performs work for other departments within a company, that cost center might need to attribute the cost of those services to the departments who used them.

In this scenario, the company could use cost allocation to divide costs, but then they'd have to pre-define the percentage splits. If the company wants a more precise measure of cost distribution, they could set up a 'user's choice' project and record the hours worked for each department.

For example, an IT department does work for the Support, R&D, and Human Resources and they need an easy way to track exactly how much time they spent working for each department. In this case, they can set up a 'user's choice' project, and add each of those departments as clients. Then, when they work on a project for R&D, they can choose R&D as the client when they record their time worked.

Scenario #2: External client billing

Some companies provide services for a large number of clients, and the type of work they do doesn't deviate much from one client to the next. In this case, creating a project for each client's work would create unnecessary overhead when the only thing that changes from one client to the next is the hours billed, not the work performed.

For example, a website developer has over 100 clients, and carries out the same five tasks for just about every client she works for:

  1. Requirements
  2. Design
  3. Build
  4. QA
  5. Launch

She could create a new project for each client, but then she'd have to wade through these when maintaining projects, and update all of them if she ever changed her process. Instead, she could create a single Basic Website project and assign every new client to it, then choose the one she performed work for in her timesheet.

Note that if she ever needed to do custom (bespoke) work for a client, she could create a seperate project to manage just those custom tasks.

Scenario #3: Joint ventures without pre-defined cost splits

Sometimes companies involved in a joint venture know what percentage each party will be responsible before project billing begins. But in cases when that split isn't known, companies can use a 'user's choice' project, and have workers bill specific clients in the venture for the time they worked. 

Setting up a 'user's choice' project

To set up a 'user's choice' project:

  1. Click Projects in the side menu, and click Add New Project.

Or, you can modify client assignments in an existing project by opening the project and clicking the Project Info button.

  1. From the Client section of the dialog that displays, select the User’s Choice option.

  1. Select a client from the Client field, if one isn't already selected.

Once you've selected a single client, a +Client link will appear under the field.

  1. Click the + Client link.

  1. Select a second client.
  2. Continue clicking +Client and selecting until you've added all applicable clients to the project.

You can add or remove clients from the project at any time.

  1. Finish setting up the project. Click Add Project.

All of the clients you assigned to the project will be available for users to choose from when they record time against this project.

When a user selects this project in their timesheet, a Client column will appear from which the user can select the client they performed work for. For punch users, a Client drop-down field will display.


How can we ensure users don't forget to select a client?

Since users have the choice of selecting a client for 'user's choice' projects, they could choose not to select one (or forget to select one). If you want to require selection of a client, enable the Client selection for '"User's Choice" projects validation rule in their timesheet template. Then, if they fail to select a client, they'll either be given a warning or be prevented from submitting the timesheet, depending on the workflow conditions assigned in their template.

Can we change a project from 'user's choice' to cost allocation, or vise versa?

No, you can't change the project type once time has been entered against the project.

Can we import 'user's choice' projects using the RIA import tool?

You can't assign multiple clients to a project using RIA; however, you can import a project with RIA, and then assign clients using the web interface.

Is there a maximum number of clients we can associate with a project?

No, there's no fixed maximum.

Related links

Billing multiple clients for a project
Running client reports
Allocating a project's costs to multiple clients
How billing works
Reviewing the billing status of a client