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Help Billing, Cost & Revenue Managers

Adding and committing a SmartBudget

Before using SmartBudget, ensure Polaris has been configured with all necessary required data.

To add a plan:

  1. Launch SmartBudget.

  1. Add a new SmartBudget plan.

To do this, click the  icon located at the bottom, right-hand corner of the page, complete the fields in the dialog that displays, and click Add SmartBudget.

The plan may take a few moments to generate, depending on how much data is in your system.

Once generated, a Billable Resource Costs table will display, showing the new billing rate goal for each billable role, for that plan period.

The other fields in the table show the data used to make rate calculations. You can change which columns display by clicking the icon in the corner of the table.

The generated plan will save as a draft by default; you only need to click Save Draft if you modify the plan.
  1. Optionally, make adjustments to the SmartBudget plan.

To edit rates or other parameters, click the Edit button, located in the top, right-hand corner of the page.

Then, update individual utilization, billing rate, or margin goals.

While editing, either the rate or margin goal must be locked (by clicking the icon), to control how other variables are impacted by your edits.

You can also set billing rates to round up to the nearest $1, $5, or $10, but only when the New Billing Rate Goal column is unlocked for editing.

  1. Commit the SmartBudget.

When you’re happy with the plan’s utilization rates, billing rates, and margins, click the Edit button, then click Commit.

The plan will be made active. This may take a moment.

When a plan is committed, the Administration > Projects > Project Roles page updates as follows, for each billable role:

    • New Billing Rate Goal values populate the Billing Rate field
    • Loaded Labor Cost values populate the Cost Rate field
    • New Utilization Goal values populate the Target Utilization field

The first day of the plan period is set as the effective date for each new rate.

The new defaults will become available in all project rate cards. Billing rates assigned at the project level will not change, though project managers can update existing rate assignments manually, if needed.

Copying an existing SmartBudget

You can copy an existing plan by opening SmartBudget, clicking the icon, then selecting Copy SmartBudget.

Note that:

  • Costs will be recalculated in the new plan, based on data for the new plan period
  • You can copy the existing plan’s rates, utilization, or both for each role (you must copy at least one).

Updating costs for a SmartBudget

If cost values change in your system, you can apply the updated values to an existing plan by clicking its Update Costs button. The Last Update date will change accordingly.

If you update costs for an active (committed) plan, rate defaults won’t update unless you re-commit the plan.

If you’ve added new employees, their required data must be set up to be included in cost calculations.
If you add an cost amount directly to the plan, cost values and goal calculations will update automatically within in the plan.


Can we edit a plan once it’s been committed?

Yes, you can update values and rates, and re-commit the plan whenever you want. Updated rates will overwrite the existing defaults, but any project-specific rates you’ve set won’t change.

What if a project or contract is already underway? Will the rates update?

No. SmartBudget can only update default rates for new projects, so any existing projects will not be impacted.

How do we apply rates to a project?

You’ll apply goal rates as the role defaults by committing a plan. Then, when you add a role to a project’s rate card, the default will be used, unless you override it.

I get a Plan Creation failed error when I try to add a plan

Your plan might fail to generate if you’re missing required data. Check that all data prerequisites have been met.

Why can’t I commit a SmartBudget?

The Commit button will be unavailable if an error is present in the plan. If you resolve the error, that button should become available. Click the arrow beside the error to see more details.

What does the Business Costs table show?

This table shows the sum of all business costs for the period: Business costs + Direct cost of resources. These are used to calculate the billing rate goals.

Business cost values are entered at Administration > Company > Business Costs.

Can we include business costs at the plan level?

Yes, if you forgot to include an overhead cost that applies to a plan, you can add it using the Business Costs table on the right side of the page. Simply click Add Cost.

Costs you add here will automatically be included in cost calculations, so they’ll update either billing rates or margins, depending on which is locked for editing.

What does the Non-Billable Resources table show?

This table lays out all of the non-billable resources and their costs. These costs comprise a portion of the total overhead load carried for each hour your billable resources work. This data is included so you understand exactly what the cost calculations are based on.

How often should we create a new plan?

Create a new plan whenever you want to revise rates. This may be on an ad hoc basis, or on some regular schedule, such as quarterly or annually.

At the end of the plan period, do rates automatically revert to what they were?

No. Updated default rates only change if you add a new SmartBudget, or update the rates manually.

Can I delete a plan?

You can delete both draft and active SmartBudgets by clicking the  icon in the top, right-hand corner of the page, and selecting Remove SmartBudgets.

However, removing an active plan will cause all default rates for the period to revert to their pre-commit values.

Related links

Maximizing profit with SmartBudget
SmartBudget setup checklist
How SmartBudget billing rates are calculated