Welcome to another monthly update of our progress and software building path.
Last time, we discussed project entry and languages and some minor stuff regarding the project setup. It's kind of exciting. I can hardly wait to start using the beta version + probably I'll also create a video go-through for you to show you how easy this is.
Anyway, the whole December was spent mostly in creating some kind of logic between Client and Vendor finances.
These were the most important points we had in mind:
- Clients pay You (or Your Company)
- You Pay Your Vendors (or Colleagues)
Pretty darn simple right? But there is a catch:
What happens in reality, is that Clients have one thing to pay. Let's call that "translation". Or "review", or "project", whatever. And since you work with two-three step translations and revisions you have at least 3 things to pay (for example, maybe you have 6 things to pay, it depends on your workflow) :
- Project Management
- ... etc.
With that in mind, the basic setup looks something like the screenshot below. This screen will be available at the Component level in your Projects View, with a different name. Probably on a separate tab.. Note that it's just a draft, once we do create the screen, it will be more sexy:
Based on your workflows, the Client finance will show one task, and the Vendor finance will show 1 or 2 or ... well, X tasks and Y vendors (just as you se Jozsi and Aranka right now). The pairing goes automatically based on workflow of course. Also, you'll be able to immediately see how are you performing, what's the margin and what is the profit in your base currency.
Another good feature too: the price is automatically imported from the database, the price that is based on (1) client, (2) end client, (3) task, (4) vendor and (5) language pair. It's going to save you a lot of time you would have wasted if every time price should be either loaded by pressing a button or, God forbid, entered manually.
Of course, everything will be editable there - at least up until the moment when you mark it Finance Approved. So don't worry if you made a different financial deal with either your Client or your Translators for this one project, you'll be able to fix your numbers.
You'll notice me talking about "real" numbers (money wise) a lot, because these are the ones I like. Cold hard cash.
I don't really care that much about Gross Profit Margin, because it can be a bad distraction. It's probably a good indicator on a quarterly level, or yearly level, but otherwise it's lying to you:
If you only work projects that are 100 words each, and you do them all yourself, it might seem your GPM is 100%, right? Or say, pay yourself 50% of what you get from a client, then your GPM is 50%. Which is great. But 50% of 10 bucks ain't too much. But that doesn't mean we won't show it somewhere. Anyway...
There's more to Client-Vendor finance pairing, so here comes some more points to consider:
- Clients might pay you by word, character, line, page, whatever...
- You might want to pay your vendors by something else, or even
- Maybe you want to pay two different vendors of the same component differently, say, one want's to be paid in Words, the other one in Characters, Pages, Lines, etc.
That last part (same component, more different payments for vendors) might not be available immediately, because here at the beginning it would unnecessary complicate the financial structure. Regardless, it's something to take into consideration for later.
Finances for project with multiple languages
There is another screenshot I'd like you to see. The one when you have finances for many languages shown at once - these are from the same component, of course. For example, when the customer sends you to translate that "Help Doc for Acme Chemicals" to 4-5-6 languages...
I know it looks a little bit messy (and there are things still missing here), but it will all come to it's place.
Here are some more things we are working on:
- Both Client and Vendor side has to have the Unit clearly indicated
- Maybe we'll put a small border around each language so that the grouping is more obvious
- See how Aranka at the top has star-rating? It's probably not the best place to put it, but I just wanted to show we're considering a lot of possibilities 🙂
- Client financials will be possible to mark approved only when the PO is already entered (or generated, if your client doesn't provide you with a PO)
Entering the PO will be pretty straightforward too. Basically you either insert your PO and click the Save button - which means that clients PO gets paired to the right job, or you just click the "Generate PO Number" and click the Save button - then the miniTPMS System will generate always a unique PO for the Component. You can use it for your reference, invoicing, reports, etc.
One thing I want to add here is regarding components with many languages: For the multi-language components, we'll have the possibility to insert (or generate) the same PO Number for all the languages. It probably will be a button or a checkbox to click and create that exact action.
Moving on: We have a summary of the Component finances too (probably at the top of this Financial view). This is especially cool if you have multiple languages involved. It shows you an overview of you profit (or loss) by language, and a total summary for all languages.
Note (I'm noting too much in this post) : this is a draft version, we might switch from this Box view to something more clean, probably to a List view - or even better, we'll make available both.
Finally, how you move on from this screen to "Payables" and "Receivables", is when you have clicked on the small blue button (or buttons) to mark the tasks as Approved (you can approve all items at once, or one by one) they will be available in the Financial module.
Closing the finances at this level will tell the miniTPMS that it's ready for issuing the PO on the client side.
There is no "mark Approved" button on the Client side yet, but there will be one 🙂 probably by the next post on update...
So after the Finance is closed on the Component level for a Client, or a Vendor (or, you know, both), the financial data will be available in the Financial module of miniTPMS and this is where the real fun begins.
In this update I'll explain the Vendor side only
There are many different approaches to Vendor's Purchase Orders, and each company deals with it differently. To our opinion, the best and the most time saving approach is to do these administrative tasks once a month, and send one "big" PO to vendors with all the jobs the have done in the past month. Or you know, past 30 days, past 15 days or whatever. Anyway you like it.
There is of course the opportunity to do it after every task, but it's just too much work for you. And we like o work less, work smarter, and work better.
Here is how it looks like in the system:
The list of Tasks (Jobs) with NO Purchase Orders is combined by each Vendor. Click on their name and these tasks are shown with the appropriate data. You chose which jobs you want to create the PO for (it will also be possible to filter out say, only jobs done between two exact dates, or only those from last month, etc), check the box on the left side and click Generate PO, or click Generate and Send PO. There is also a small text input field where you can add a special comment for your Purchase Order (it's optional, of course).
So why do we have these two options?
Let's start with the one that both generates and sends the PO:
This is ideal for companies who want less fuss and need to do things fast. One click and the PO is generated and sent. The jobs are gone from the list and will be seen in the Purchase Order itself. Later, if something was maybe forgotten or left out, it will be sent in the next PO and all the balance to the universe is restored again. This is the simple way.
The other one is more close to the way we like to organize our Purchase Orders:
We needed a way to combine hundreds of jobs in one PO, without them being annoying or stuffing our "Ready for PO" screen.
This is ideal if you work with vendors whom you pay only 2, 3 times a year. Then, you can click on Generate PO for that vendor without sending, which means you only create the "Draft" version. The next month you can add more jobs to this PO (later I'll explain how). And the next month again... etc. Then, when you feel you are ready, or your vendor is ready to receive the big-big PO with hundreds or thousands (ha!) of jobs, then you can send it. Combined for past several months in one beautifully done PDF.
So it's removing the clutter in the main "Vendor Jobs With No Purchase Order" window, you have great overview, but you don't have to send 1,244 purchase orders through e-mail to your vendor every 6 months, you just send one! (sending PO for every job out there is to my opinion counterproductive, time consuming, and pretty much totally unnecessary).
And basically this is where we stand now.
There is more, of course, however I'm not showing all the new screens and features in this post because it would be overwhelming, and I don't want to create too big confusion before the thing is "live".
I'm also not writing about a lot of small-but-sexy features that will make Your life much easier. There many of them, new ideas pop up every now and then. Not all are implemented, though so ... anyway, I promise, in one of the next updates I'll write about the tiny things, for example, about:
- Checking data entry, ensuring that no bad data enters the system (reducing the possibility of errors)
- Clicking here and there to achieve great stuff (read: User Interface explained, User Experience enhanced)
- Everything that gets pulled automatically from the database at data-entry level
- ... anything else that's "hot in the system"
Oh, and of course one more cool thing for December:
We have had our Big Big Meeting called "Okay, Let's Start Developing Now" which means, in the future there might be less designs shown in the monthly updates, and more of, well, talkin' and explaining what are we coding right now.
I'll try to understand what my development team says, and then I'll try to pass it through to you, so you also understand, where do we stand.
Because of that (Coding the so called backend is pretty boring and there is nothing to see, well, except code), January 2017 and February 2017 will mostly be pretty silent.
We do plan some more design works in January, February 2017, just to keep you entertained:
- Finishing the Purchase Orders and Invoicing management for Vendors
- Finishing the Invoicing procedure for Clients
- Figuring out wether some kind of Dashboard would be appropriate.
Dashboard would mean a "Start Here" screen that shows the overall of your company's operations:
- Projects to send to translation/editing/back to client/etc
- Currently open projects,
- Unassigned projects (this is a very important list if you have different people enter the projects into the system, than those who are distributing them), etc.
As well as an overview of finances:
- Open/unsent POs
- Projects not yet invoiced
- Unpaid Invoices (both Vendor and Client side)
- Due Invoices, etc
Right now we see the benefit of a well designed Dashboard, so we'll also start working on it 🙂
Anyway, thank you very much for the time you spent reading this post. If you got to the end of it you're a pretty cool person.
Next update is in about a month, so stay tuned, and as always: if you have anything to add, or take away, or you like something or you dislike something, tell it in the comments or write me a mail.
Finally, if you decided you want to join now, there is still time for the Special Super-Smashing-Low-Price-Forever Sale: