Process Step Details - AutoTime

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Elite plan is currently in Beta for practices in the United Kingdom.

The AutoTime feature is available when creating Custom Automation steps, and allows practices to create draft timesheets for users as they complete tasks (either a standalone task or a task related to a particular document). This removes the need for users to manually create a timesheet, increasing efficiency and making it easier to record time against jobs.

To use AutoTime, the "Time" section of the automation step is populated with a fixed or relative amount of time for the task, which is then used to create the timesheet when the task is completed. 

This article explains how to enter time against the automation steps to create documents or tasks.

Note: To use this feature, AutoTime must be enabled in Time & Invoices settings. Refer to Practice Settings Time & Invoices.

For detailed step-by-step instructions on how to create a custom Automation Process, refer to Setting up Custom Processes. For information on creating automation steps within the custom process, refer to the articles in the section Process Step Details.

Enable the Time section of an Automation Step

By default, the Create a Task step will automatically display the Time section in the drawer.

For Process steps used to create a document, to use AutoTime a task will need to be associated with the document using the Create a Task toggle. For example, if the automation process creates an email, a task would be created to review the email.

Note: The Time section of an automation step is only displayed if the step is Create a Task, or if the Create a Task option has been toggled on when creating or altering a document.

The Create a Task option is available on the following Automation Process Steps:

  • Create Email
  • Create Word
  • Create Spreadsheet
  • Create Invoice
  • Create Meeting
  • Create Note
  • Create PDF
  • Create Phone
  • Create Presentation
  • Alter Document

To enable the Create a Task toggle:

  1. From within the Custom Automation Process, click the Add Step button.

  2. Click FYI Actions.

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  3. A list of functions will be displayed. Select one of the eligible steps listed above, for example, Create Spreadsheet.

  4. Click the Task heading to expand the section.

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  5. Click the Create a task option to change the setting to "Yes".

  6. The Task fields will be displayed, and the Time section will be added as a new section underneath the Task settings.

    Note: A draft Timesheet will not be created if the task is not assigned to a user, or if the selected role has not been assigned to a user for the client/job.

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Setting Time Allocation and Default Time

AutoTime requires both the Allocation and Default Time fields to be populated, otherwise, the draft timesheet will not be created.

If not already expanded, click on the Time heading to open the section.

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Allocation - the method used to calculate the time assigned to the task.

Fixed Time means the Default Time value entered in the next field will always be used when the time entry is created, regardless of the size of the client or the Job Time Budget. Relative is used to calculate the time for the Task relative to the total estimated hours for a Job.

For any Relative Allocations, the total of the Default Times for all the Tasks in the Process is calculated. This is then compared to the Estimated Hours for the Job and any "Relative" times are then calculated and proportionately increased or decreased based on the total for the Job that is being considered. For example:

  • The total of all Default Times in the Tasks in the Process is 10 hours.
  • A Task has been set up as Relative, so it will allocate the time proportionate to the estimated total of the Job.
  • The Default Time of this Task is 30 minutes (00:30).
  • The Estimated Hours for one of the Jobs that triggered the Process is 30 hours. For this Job, the Time allocations for this Task will be increased by three times the Default Time. The time allocated for this Task, for this Job, will be 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • The Estimated Hours for a different Job that triggered the Process is 2 hours. For this Job, the Time allocations will decrease and allocate it as one-fifth of the Default Time. The time allocated for this Task, for this Job, will be 6 minutes.

Default Time - The Default Time is set as the estimated time that the action or Task would take. The Default Time is entered as hours and minutes. For example:

  • 00:05 for 5 minutes
  • 00:45 for 45 minutes
  • 01:00 for 1 hour
  • 01:30 for 1 hour and 30 minutes

When Time has been added to an automation step, a clock icon will be displayed in the drawer next to the Time heading. 

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The Actions table for the process will also display the line "A draft timesheet will be created".

In the example below, once the task "Complete Tax Planning Checklist" is completed, a draft time entry of 15 minutes will be created for the user selected as the "Assignee" of the task.

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Creating the Draft Time Entry

When the Automation Process runs, the Tasks will be created. To complete the task, refer to Completing a Task.

Once a Task is marked as completed, a draft Time entry will be created for the user selected as the Assignee of the task. 

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If a User Role has been selected as the Assignee, for example, Administration, or Manager, and a user has not been selected for this role, the draft timesheet will not be created. Visit the Client - Summary and Client - Custom Fields tabs to confirm a user has been selected. Refer to Client Summary and Custom User Roles.

AutoTime timesheet entries can be viewed on the Home - My Time tab, along with against the Client or the Job. Refer to Displaying and Updating Time and Disbursement Entries.

In the example below, we can see an AutoTime draft time entry added to the Home - My Time workspace. 

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Time created using a custom process with AutoTime will display the Automation icon on the right-hand side.

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  • The Status of the Timesheet will be set to Draft

  • The Time will be added as per the Fixed Time in the automation step.

  • Notes will be added by AutoTime. If the task is attached to a document or a task, the note will include the name of the document or task. 

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Users will be able to click on each row to edit and submit the Time. Refer to Displaying and Updating Time.

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