Tracking consultants in Core

It is a very common scenario wherein you have a project with a fixed contract amount and you hire consultants to perform portions of that work. The contract amount can cover your consultant fee (external expenses) as well as your fee (internal expenses). Or it might just cover your overall fee without any consultant fee breakdown. 

In the first case, the consultant fee becomes part of the contract amount and you can bill it directly to the client. In the second case, you don't need to show the consultant fee to the client. In both cases, you would want to know how much of the cost is internal (employee salaries) and how much external (consultant fees paid by you). So it is a good idea to track the fee separately. 

You can track consultants and suppliers (called Vendors) in Core via:

  • budgets, wherein you add the relevant items and vendors as budget line items
  • project phases, wherein the phases represent the consulting jobs to be billed to the client
  • purchase orders, wherein you receive items (services) and pay the vendor bills

Budgets are the best way to handle this scenario. We recommend setting up projects with vendor expenses, creating line item budgets for consultant fee, tracking your consultant bills and invoicing your clients. You can run budget reports to see the overall picture of the project's progress and spent amount. Check this article for more details.

Alternatively, if you want to see a breakdown of fees in the Projects screen of each consultant, you have to create a project phase for each consultant job. Then you need to enter consultant contract fees, consultant bills and other expenses to see this reflected in the project's performance. This is common in the architecture industry with fixed fee consultants. You can then have a custom report made for you to report whatever information you want.

The third option is to create purchase orders and then vendor bills for your consultants. This is a good option if you do not have to show this information to the client and link it to the client billings. You can look at the Vendors > Performance or Vendors> Transactions screens to track the progress of their work. You can use the Payables > Vendor Bills and Payables > Bill Payments screen to enter the fee paid to them.

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