Project Partners Blog


Posts Tagged ‘oracle project billing’

By Neeraj Garg

Oracle E-Business Suite Project Costing

Labor Costing Enhancements: Labor transactions in Oracle Projects can now be costed via several new methods:

  1. Costing using HR Rates (includes support for multiple rates and rate by criteria). This feature now enables support for the Davis-Bacon Act.
  2. Support in Oracle Time and Labopr for additional data to be captured to support rate by Criteria.
  3. Total Time reporting. This feature allows the standard/actual cost for Exempt employees to be automatically pro-rated over all hours charged to projects by the employee. Prior to this enhancement, exempt employee costs could be over-counted if they charged more than the standard working hours.
  4. Labor costing using Payroll actuals. This feature supports using actual payroll costs to drive project labor costs. Support is included for Oracle Payroll or a third party payroll system.
  5. When using Payroll actuals for labor costing, you can choose to accrue labor cost using standard rates prior to payroll run. This allows you to continue billing all project costs using the accrued standard cost and then post adjustment entries to invoices based on the actual payroll run. When combined with the “Adjusted transactions on standard invoice” feature in Oracle Project Billing, this makes the accrual adjustment feature seamless to the end client.
  6. Expenditure Batch Reversal: In order to support the payroll feature of reversing a payroll run, Oracle Project Costing now supports reversing the costing for an expenditure batch and reverting the costed transactions to an uncosted state.

Integration to Oracle Complex Maintenance,Repair, and Overhaul (cMRO):  Support for unplanned and non-routine  maintenance has been added to the integration to Oracle cMRO in addition to existing support for Regular maintenance. Such maintenance visits/activities can now be associated to new or existing projects/tasks.

Enhanced Cost Collection by Cost Code: A new classification –Cost Code – is now available on a project/task. A Cost Code can be a multi-segmented attribute and can be setup to represent a hierarchy of values.  These cost codes are predefined during implementation and can be associated to a project. Each task can then be assigned one or more values for the cost code. Once this is done, all actuals must now include valid cost code values in addition to project and task. This allows for more granularity in setup and collection of actual costs and easy comparison of similar types of costs across projects and tasks for metrics like productivity that are key in the Engineering and Construction industry.

Self-Assessed Tax from Payables: Oracle E-Business Suite Projects Applications will now bring over any self-assessed tax on project related supplier invoices from Oracle Accounts Payable as a project expense.

Oracle E-Business Suite Project Billing

Standard Invoicing for Adjusted Transactions: Adjusted transactions can now be included on a net new invoice instead of going to a credit memo. This is controlled via an option at the project and task level for labor transactions only, or for all transactions.

Oracle E-Business Suite Project Management

Planning with HR Rates: If you use the HR Rates option for labor costing, these rates are also available in the planning screens (WorkPlans and Financial Plans) to determine planned cost for labor lines.

Forecasting Using Updated Rates: When generating a forecast, ETC amounts are now computed using updated rates (from the rate schedules) for all rate based resources.

Planning Without Resource Classes: You can now plan for projects, tasks and resources without assigning a resource class. This allows additional flexibility in determining the planning granularity

Planning by Cost Codes: You can now plan by cost code (assigned to project/task) and further at any level of the cost code you choose.

Technology 

Online Patching: In addition to these features specific to Oracle E-Business Suite Projects, the biggest technology update is Online Patching.  Online Patching uses the Oracle Database 11g Release 11.2.0.2 feature of “edition-based” redefinition to significantly reduce the downtime traditionally needed for patching and related maintenance activities.

The way this works is fairly elegant. An “edition” is a private environment in which you can redefine database objects. With online patching, patches are applied to a separate edition while users are working with the original edition. After applying patches, the system is cut over to make the patch edition the new production edition. After the initial upgrade to Release 12.2, all future patches and maintenance packs will be applied online, requiring only a brief cutover period to make the new functionality active.

If you have any questions about the new features in Oracle E-Business Suite Applications, Release 12.2, don’t hesitate to contact us via our online form, or call me at +1.650+712.6200.

By John Sasali and Kimberly McDonald Baker

We know that many, many users of Oracle Project Billing use Billing Extensions to tailor their invoicing capabilities.  You can learn more about the expanded functionality provided by Extensions in Oracle E-Business Suite Projects by visiting our resource library, where you will find two whitepapers and a presentation.

Therefore, we want to make sure everyone who uses Extensions knows that Oracle patch 13345785:R12.PJ_PF.B causes issues with Billing Extensions.  Oracle describes this patch as PERIODIC RELEASE 6 FOR 12.1.3 ON RELEASE DATE 01-FEB-2013.

This patch for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3 causes numerous issues if you use a billing extension that creates automatic class events and you are billing expenditures on the same invoice. If your invoice is only expenditures or only events, however, you should not have any problems. 

Error messages vary but you will find the following in the log.

ORACLE error during DRAFT INVOICE GENERATION (cursor=31 code=-1458: ORA-01458: invalid length inside variable character string
          )
PAI_ORACLE_ERROR

or

ORACLE error during DRAFT INVOICE GENERATION (cursor=32 code=-1722: ORA-01722: invalid number)

Oracle has this listed as as bug 16313327.

 

By Kimberly McDonald Baker

We want to be sure you don’t miss a new case study article featured in the November 2012 issue of Profit Magazine, titled “Unifying Financial and Project Management” In this article you will learn about Colonial Pipeline Company’s integrated Oracle E-Business Suite and Primavera systems, and a few of the benefits that Colonial is receiving.

With the new, integrated Oracle system, Colonial will have all project related financial records and information in one centralized repository. Project managers and the leadership team will be able to view individual projects or overall capital spend easily. With the new system, Colonial expects time spent on monthly status reporting to decrease by 75 percent, from 8,000 to 2,000 project management hours annually.

“This is a paradigm shift of work for our project managers from doing data manipulation to actually being a project manager,” says Phillip Chandler, Financial Controls Administrator at Colonial Pipeline Company. “This allows them to support our customers both internally and externally in a more effective manner.”

Chandler says Project Partners has helped Colonial implement best practices into its processes, making the company more efficient. “The Project Partners team is sensitive to the specific needs of Colonial. At the same time, they are able to present solutions from an outside perspective that we also need to grow as a business,” says Chandler. “Project Partners has provided the expertise and professionalism that we needed for developing and implementing our project.”

You can read the full article here.

By Randy Egger
President, Project Partners LLC
Former chief architect of Oracle E-Business Suite Projects applications

Over 20 years ago, Finance and IT organizations (under the direction of the Chief Financial Officer), were in control of systems and desperately wanted to instill some financial controls and measures into the Delivery organizations that ran projects. The battle was always that the Project Managers (PMs) didn’t want to be controlled by departments they felt had no understanding of the world of project management, they wanted complete flexibility to best deliver their projects, and they were not concerned with the CFO’s desire for visibility into projects. Most PMs managed projects using personal systems based on Microsoft® Excel or Microsoft Access. The more sophisticated project managers used Microsoft Project, and the most advanced firms used Primavera, Cascade, Mantix, Artemis, and Cobra. BUT, the project systems used by PMs seldom could reflect accurate cost data which then made it difficult to really know the financial health of the project. Therefore, many PMs simply managed to effort and schedule.

In the “old days” a job code equating to a project was part of the general ledger chart of accounts – and most PMs were not strongly concerned about financials. So, how could you let accountants manage financials and project managers manage projects? You needed a system that allows both worlds to obtain the information that they wanted in the format that they wanted. To meet this need, in the early 1990’s Oracle released its first Project Accounting (PA) system: a true project based sub-ledger.

When the initial implementations of PA started, it was the Finance group that was imposing controls onto the Project Managers. Finance wanted visibility into ongoing projects, hence Finance was making most of the decisions, which generated friction between the organizations. To meet the requirements driven by Finance, PMs needed to change the way they were managing projects and that introduced a large opportunity for Change Management.

Getting structure into a non-structured environment was the primary challenge. When companies have been doing things a certain way for decades, it is VERY hard to change that culture… so compromises are made in an attempt to balance the needs of both organizations. Some folks would create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to map to a Cost Structure simply so that they could track and control costs. Other companies placed intelligence into both the Project number as well as the WBS … because that was the way it was always done in the past. Some would claim that it made controlling charges easier while others would claim that it made reporting easier. But, in both cases, Project/Task naming was mirroring the way a General Ledger chart of accounts is structured, and not the way a project manager manages a project.

As time progressed, operations and project-based delivery organizations matured and developed a better understanding of what is needed to facilitate harmony between Finance and Project based Operations. At the same time, Oracle developed a Project Management system that was closely linked to its Project Accounting application. When Oracle released its Oracle Project Management (PJT) application and companies began to implement it, it became clear that Oracle had taken one step closer to really bridging the Accounting world to the Project Management world. But that still was not enough. PMs wanted and needed an EASY tool to assist them with their Project Management needs. Then, Oracle made the smart decision to purchase Primavera.

For those companies that implemented Oracle Project Costing and Project Billing only, without a futuristic vision of having a truly integrated Project Management system in place, trying to implement any form of integration of Project Accounting to a Project Management system became a horrible mess. When that happens, the only real thing that can be done is to update the implementation of Project Costing and Project Billing with a clear understanding of how it would integrate with either Oracle Project Management or Primavera. If there are other major issues that also need to be addressed, then a complete reimplementation of these modules should be considered.

Any company that is upgrading to E-Business Suite Release 12, or implementing R12 for the first time, will have the opportunity to rethink or redefine how they will move to become a truly project centric organization. Whether you are implementing for the first time, updating your implementation or re-implementing, thinking through the business needs that address both Project Accounting and Project Management will be paramount for your future long term success.

This issue applies to more firms than one might initially expect. I have always stated that “every company is a project company … they just don’t know it yet.” As more and more organizations decide to operate their firm or certain divisions on a project basis to better understand costs and level of effort and to develop repeatable processes using a structured Project Management methodology they will look to Oracle’s Enterprise Project Portfolio Management solutions, which remain the most complete in the market. And they will benefit from the significant evolution of these applications that enable Finance and Project Management to work together in harmony.

Your firm made a large investment in Oracle Applications because management knows that using Oracle E-Business Suite Projects will help increase profitability and ensure that project objectives are met. But your project managers and administrators already have full time jobs, and they frequently remind IT and Line of Business Managers that they don’t have extra time to learn new software or hours every day to use project management programs. End-user adoption or acceptance of new software is often the biggest hurdle to bringing in new programs, no matter how great the functionality is.

But the fact remains: your firm needs to meet its business goals and has bought or is considering buying Oracle EBS Applications because of the improved business performance that results from a successful implementation.

So how can YOU help your firm maximize the return on its software investment?

Here’s a great start: You can have your project managers and administrators trained on Oracle EBS Projects in 82% less time and spending 40% less time on a daily basis, using a familiar Microsoft® Excel front-end, ensuring rapid end-user adoption, and putting your company on the fast track to the many benefits provided by Oracle.

View this webinar and see how our User Interface Applications free up your firm’s employees to make more strategic contributions and achieve business objectives.

By Ravi Shankar, PgMP, PMP, PMI-RMP and PMI-SP

Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) Projects Applications Release 12 provides rich functionality to support multi currency processing capabilities in the areas of accruing revenue and generating invoices.  Revenue is always processed in the project functional currency, as distinct from the project currency and project funding currency.  Revenue amounts derived in the billing transaction currency (invoice processing currency) are converted to project functional, funding and project currency during the revenue generation process.  The Release 12 EBS system tracks and posts the revenue, unbilled receivables and unearned revenue in both the functional and billing transaction currency to the general ledger, thereby giving full visibility, both at the project level and in the general ledger, of the details of revenue in the different currency options. Read the rest of this entry »

By John May

In 1992, the American Institute of Architects® formalized a standardized “percentage of completion” contract billing methodology.  The forms developed are known by their numerical assignments:  G702 and G703.  The purpose was to allow contractors, owners, architects and construction managers a familiar way of communicating and authorizing payments during the life of a construction contract. Read the rest of this entry »

By Peter Budelov

Project Managers (PMs) lead a hectic life because they not only need to manage the day-to-day operations of a project (i.e. work deliverables, schedules, cost and revenue), but they also must spend time with the appropriate IT tools to do this.  The keystone in making good project management decisions is having accurate, timely and easy to access project reporting data. 

Typically when using enterprise project management applications, this data is available, but not necessarily easy to get to, may not be easily displayed in a user friendly manner, does not necessarily have all the data needed, is not configurable, and certainly unavailable in a disconnected mode. Read the rest of this entry »

The first step in working with a project in the Oracle Projects Suite, project initiation, is typically performed centrally by a project administrator using a template, and then routed for approval (to check proper template usage, project manager assignment, and funding).  Eventually the project manager (PM) is notified that the project is ready to be modified for detail workplan and date input, key member and resource assignments, other project attributes, transaction controls, and detail financial planning. Read the rest of this entry »

The need to issue a credit memo is common everyday practice for all companies. When the invoice being credited is recent, or the credit is an easy one-to-one (credit memo to invoice) match, this process should be fairly simple. But what happens when you need to issue a credit to your customer months after your invoice has been paid, accounting periods have been closed and information has been archived? What if you need to issue an on-account credit not associated with any particular invoice but rather just a credit to the customer or a credit to the project? What if you want to issue a credit along with your current draft invoices rather than for the original paid invoice? Using standard functionality in Oracle Projects, all credit memos created, whether for canceling an invoice or for correcting an item on a previous invoice, are handled by creating a credit memo that can only be applied against the original invoice. This happens even if the original invoice has already been paid. There is little flexibility in issuing credits not directly associated with the original invoice. Read the rest of this entry »