Estimates

Overview

Estimates are used to define cost and revenue benchmarks in a company. An estimate can be a proposed task list, bid, grant, quote or proposal. Unlike budgets, estimates are external documents designed to be shared with the clients and often included in the service agreement. The Estimates screen allows you to create and manage estimates for your clients. Click to watch this video on managing estimates in Core.

Typically, companies start with an internal budget, which can go through multiple iterations until all the stakeholders agree, such as employees, project managers and principals. Then the budget is converted into an estimate and sent to the client. After signing off by the client and beginning the project, it usually becomes the foundation for a project contract or engagement letter. When accepted, companies start keeping track of the budgeted project. You can convert a budget to an estimate and vice versa, if required. Example: An architect creates a budget for a restoration project and then uses it as the basis for the project estimate to win the job. When bidding on another restoration project, the first budget becomes the foundation for a new one and then you can convert it into an estimate.

An IT consulting firm sets up multiple budgets for network installations and related training based on the size of a company and other factors. After identifying a new project, the client is set up, a marketing project created, and one of the budgets assigned to it. You can then convert the budget to an estimate as a starting point for negotiations with the client.

An accounting firm creates a standard budget for accounting services, identifying bank reconciliation, review and other tasks and the ‘standard’ hours they should work. Reviewing the Budget Comparison report, they can determine what factors contributed to the success of the service or where it needs skill improvement.

Some of the main benefits of using estimates are:

  • You can assign estimates to projects to run estimated vs. actual reports.
  • Billers and accountants can use estimates as a starting point to create line item invoices and then use percent complete values of each line item to calculate the overall earned value.

Field Descriptions

Basic Tasks

Create Estimates from Scratch

Create Estimates from Existing Estimates

Edit Estimates

View Reports

Advanced Tasks

Add Documents

Create Invoices from Estimates

Convert Estimates to Budgets

Assign Estimates to Projects

Add Custom Fields

Email Estimates

Download Estimates

Send Estimates for eSign

Submit Estimates

Approve Estimates

Batch Update Estimates

Show/Hide Columns in Grid

Export Estimates

Apply Filters

Mark Screen as Favorite

 

Field Descriptions

Field Name Field Description
Estimates > General >
Date

This is the Created On date for the estimate by default, but can be changed to any other date, such as estimated due date. This can be used to track, filter and search estimates by date.

Miscellaneous Amount

It can be the contingency expenses for the estimate.

Total Estimate It is calculated as the sum of Estimate Activity + Estimate Expense + Miscellaneous amount.
Workflow History Shows a history of the submission and approval details of an estimate.
Estimates > Services >
Hours Hours estimated for the selected activity-employee combination. By default, these Cost Hours are the same as the Proposed/Estimated Hours. It provides managers with a powerful tool to keep their projects within proposed hours.
Cost Rate Cost Rate of a service/activity item. It is the per hour cost of service provided less any taxes. The cost rate is brought forward from Activity Items or can be entered here manually. Typically, this rate is used if you want to base your estimate on the cost to the company and not the billable value.
Cost Amount Cost amount of the service item. It is calculated as (Hours x Cost Rate).
Bill Rate Per hour bill rate assigned to a service item. The bill rate is brought forward from Activity Items or can be entered here manually.
Charge Amount

Total charge amount being estimated for the services. It is automatically calculated as:

[Proposed Hours x Bill Rate] x (1 + Tax 1 + Tax 2 + Tax 3). It can be matched to the contract amount of the associated project.

% Complete Percentage of estimate being used up for the service item. If you create an invoice using this estimate, it uses this percentage to calculate the total amount. You can enter a decimal value as well.
Tax 1/2/3 Up to three taxes can be assigned per service line item. They are summed and used to calculate the bill amount for the activity. Example: If activity GEN:TECH has a Tax 1 value of 5% and Tax 2 is 10%, when a time entry is made for GEN:TECH, 15% is added to the service amount billed.
Start Date This is the start date attribute for the service line item of the estimate. When converting estimates into budgets, this can become the allocation Start Date if that budget is used for task allocation. The start and end dates of the estimates are also used as filters for reporting purposes.
End Date This is the end date attribute for the service line item of the estimate. When converting estimates into budgets, this can become the allocation End Date if that budget is used for task allocation. The start and end dates of the estimates are also used as filters for reporting purposes.
Estimates > Expenses >
Units Quantity estimated for the selected expense-employee combination. By default, these Cost Units are the same as the Estimated/Proposed Units. It provides managers with a powerful tool to keep their projects within estimated values.
Cost Rate This is the default per unit cost of the expense item less any markups and taxes for proper expense tracking. If the cost of an expense varies, this can be left blank. Then, when you log expenses, you can enter the actual cost there. It passes on to the Proposed Cost Rate.
Cost Amount Cost amount of the expense line item before markup and taxes. The per unit cost is multiplied by the units to compute this value.
Amount = Units x Cost Rate
Charge Amount Total charge amount for the expense item of the estimate. It is calculated as [Units x Cost Rate x (1 + MU %)] x (1 + Tax 1 + Tax 2 + Tax 3)].
Markup % Percentage increase or decrease in the cost of an expense to determine the charge amount. If the markup percentage varies for an expense, leave this field blank and enter it when you log expenses. Do not enter the percentage as a decimal. Example: To increase the cost rate by 10.5%, enter 10.5, not 0.105.
% Complete Percentage of estimate being used up for the expense item. If you create an invoice using this estimate, it uses this percentage to calculate the total amount. You can enter a decimal value as well.
Tax 1/2/3 Up to three taxes can be assigned per expense line item. They are summed and used to calculate the bill amount for the expense. Example: If expense A has a Tax 1 value of 5% and Tax 2 is 10%, when an expense entry is made for A, 15% is added to the expense amount billed.
Start Date This is the start date attribute for the expense line item of the estimate. When converting estimates into budgets, this can become the allocation Start Date if that budget is used for task allocation. The start and end dates of the estimates are also used as filters for reporting purposes.
End Date This is the end date attribute for the expense line item of the estimate. When converting estimates into budgets, this can become the allocation End Date if that budget is used for task allocation. The start and end dates of the estimates are also used as filters for reporting purposes.

 

Create Estimates from Scratch

To create a new estimate from scratch, watch this video or follow these steps:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. Click Create New on the top-right and select From Scratch.
    2. On the Create Estimate screen, enter the required information:
      • Estimate ID
      • Description
      • Created By
      • Date: This is the Created On date for the estimate by default, but can be changed to any other date, such as estimated due date. This can be used to track, filter and search estimates by date.
      • Miscellaneous Amount: It can be the contingency expenses for the estimate.
      • Project
    3. Click Save & Done or Save & Add Another.
    4. In the detail view, go to the Services tab and click Add to add service line items to the estimate.

    1. Enter the required information in the top row of the grid:
      • Activity

      • Hours: Hours estimated for the selected activity-employee combination. By default, these Cost Hours are the same as the Proposed/Estimated Hours. It provides managers with a powerful tool to keep their projects within proposed hours.
      • Cost Rate: Cost Rate of a service/activity item. It is the per hour cost of service provided less any taxes. The cost rate is brought forward from Activity Items or can be entered here manually. Typically, this rate is used if you want to base your estimate on the cost to the company and not the billable value.
      • Bill Rate: Per hour bill rate assigned to a service item. The bill rate is brought forward from Activity Items or can be entered here manually.
      • Start/End Date; This is the start/end date attribute for the service line item of the estimate. When converting estimates into budgets, this can become the allocation Start Date if that budget is used for task allocation. The start and end dates of the estimates are also used as filters for reporting purposes.
    2. Click Done.
    3. Similarly, go to the Expenses tab and click Add.
    4. Enter the required information in the top row of the grid:
      • Expense
      • Units: Quantity estimated for the selected expense-employee combination. By default, these Cost Units are the same as the Estimated/Proposed Units. It provides managers with a powerful tool to keep their projects within estimated values.
      • Cost Rate: This is the default per unit cost of the expense item less any markups and taxes for proper expense tracking. If the cost of an expense varies, this can be left blank. Then, when you log expenses, you can enter the actual cost there. It passes on to the Proposed Cost Rate.
      • Markup%: Percentage increase or decrease in the cost of an expense to determine the charge amount. If the markup percentage varies for an expense, leave this field blank and enter it when you log expenses. Do not enter the percentage as a decimal. Example: To increase the cost rate by 10.5%, enter 10.5, not 0.105.
      • Start/End Date: This is the start/end date attribute for the expense line item of the estimate. When converting estimates into budgets, this can become the allocation Start Date if that budget is used for task allocation. The start and end dates of the estimates are also used as filters for reporting purposes.
    5. Click Done.

Create Estimates from Existing Estimates

When you create estimates from existing ones, most of the data gets cloned from the existing estimates to the new ones, including custom fields of service and expense line items.

To create a new estimate from an existing one, watch this video or follow these steps:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. Click Create New on the top-right and select From Existing Estimate.
    2. On the Create from Existing Estimate dialog, choose the estimate from which you want to create a new one. You can also search for it using the Filter search.
    3. Click Continue.
    4. On the Create Estimate screen, enter the required information:
      • Estimate ID
      • Description
      • Date: This is the Created On date for the estimate by default, but can be changed to any other date, such as estimated due date. This can be used to track, filter and search estimates by date.
      • Miscellaneous Amount: It can be the contingency expenses for the estimate.
      • Project

    1. Click Save & Done or Save & Add Another.
    2. In the detail view, go to the Services tab and click Add to add service line items to the estimate or edit the existing ones.
    3. Click Done.

    4. Similarly, go to the Expenses tab and add expense line items or edit the existing ones.
    5. Click Done.

Edit Estimates

You can view, enter and edit estimate details in the detail view. You cannot delete estimates that are in use; if no longer needed, make them inactive instead.

To edit an estimate:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. Select an estimate on the grid and click  to select View Details.
    2. In the detail view, enter details or make the desired changes. Click Save.
    3. To edit the service or expense line items, go to the Services (or Expenses) tab and click Detail on the grid.

    1. On the Edit Estimate screen, enter details or make the desired changes.
    2. Click Save.

View Reports

To view a report:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects >Estimates.

    1. In the list view, click More > View Reports.

    2. Select a report from the Report List dialog. It opens in the viewer.

    3. Preview the report and then choose to export or print it.

Add Documents

To add a document to an estimate:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    2. In the list view, select an estimate on the grid and click  to select View Details.

    3. Go to the Documents tab and click Add.

    1. On the Add Documents dialog, select the relevant tab, depending on the type of attachment.

      • Computer: To attach files stored on your computer, enter its Description and drag your file or click to browse to that location.

      • Hyperlink: To attach an external link, enter its Description and then insert the hyperlink.

      • Dropbox: To link files stored in your Dropbox account, enter its Description and then browse for it.

      • Google Drive: To link files stored in your Google Drive account, enter its Description and then browse for it.

      • OneDrive: To link files stored in your Microsoft OneDrive account, enter its Description and then browse for it.

      • Box: To link files stored in your Box account, enter its Description and then browse for it.

      • Resource Library: To link company resources, select the resource from the library. This option is available only with Core CRM.

    2. Click Add.

    Core pre-fills some of the information about the attached documents in the grid. You can send the documents to your clients, employees or other contacts for getting their digital or electronic signatures (eSignature via DocuSign) using the eSign option from the  row-action menu. Core automatically adds the signed documents to the Documents folder of the entity (record) as separate attachments.

Create Invoices from Estimates

You can create invoices from your estimates. Core lets you edit the information before processing the invoices.

To create an invoice from an estimate, watch this video or follow these steps:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. In the list view, select an estimate on the grid and click  to select Create Invoice.

    2. On the Create Invoice dialog, select a project for which you want to create an invoice. Using the estimate and billing arrangement of the selected project, Core generates an invoice automatically.

    3. Click Continue.

    4. On the Create Invoice screen, review your invoice line items and make the desired changes.

    1. Click Process (Draft or Final). For details on how to create manual invoices, see Invoices.

Convert Estimates to Budgets

To convert an estimate into a budget, watch this video or follow these steps:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. Select an estimate on the grid and click  on its row to select Convert to Budget.

    2. On the Convert to Budget dialog, enter the required information for the new budget:

      • ID

      • Description

    1. Click Save.

Assign Estimates to Projects

You can assign estimates to projects from the Projects screen or from the Estimates screen. While creating a new estimate, you can assign a project to it or after that process you can assign an estimate to multiple projects. However, you cannot assign an estimate to 'Main' type projects, only to standard projects. Also, Core creates a copy of the estimate when cloning projects with an assigned estimate. The new estimate is automatically assigned to the new project and given the same name as that of the new project.

To assign an estimate to a project, watch this video or follow these steps:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. Select an estimate on the grid and click  to select Assign Project.

    2. On the Assign Project dialog, select the projects on the grid to which you want to assign the selected estimate. The 'main' parent projects are displayed as bold and gray. Projects that are already assigned are also grayed out to avoid any assignments by mistake.

    3. Click Assign.

Add Custom Fields

Using custom fields, you can track extra characteristics and attributes of your estimates. You can also add custom fields to the estimate line items, that is, services and expenses. You can have unlimited number of custom fields for an estimate or its line items. Core allows you to customize these fields in the Custom Labels screen.

To add a custom field to an estimate:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. Select an estimate on the grid and click  to select View Details.

    2. In the detail view, go to the Custom Fields tab.


    3. Click Add Custom Field and choose the type of field you want depending on the purpose, say Text Box.

    4. On the Add Text Box dialog, enter the required information:

      • Name

      • Type

      • # of Characters

    1. Check Show in List View if you want this field to appear under the Show/Hide Columns list and show up on the grid. Click Save.

    2. Your custom field is added to the estimate. Enter a value and click Save & Done.

Similarly, you can add custom fields to the line items from the Services and Expenses tabs.

Note: You can display a maximum of three custom fields on the list view per screen.

Email Estimates

You might want to share the estimates with your managers, employees or prospective clients via email. You can also batch email multiple estimates, say, if sending out multiple phase estimates to a client.

To email an estimate, watch this video or follow these steps:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. In the list view, click  on an estimate row and select Email. If you want to email multiple estimates, then select them on the grid and then click Actions > Batch Email instead.

    2. On the Compose Email dialog, enter the required information:

      • To: You can send an email to multiple recipients and also copy them using the CC and BCC options. You can click on the Choose Contact icon to open the Address Book and select multiple individuals or groups to email. However, if you are using a trial version of Core, it does not allow more than 3 distinct recipients at a time. For paid subscriptions, this limit is 50 recipients at a time.

      • Subject: Subject line of the email. You can also insert smart fields into it using the Add Smart Field option on the right.

      • Message: It can be entered and edited using the formatting toolbar.

    1. Each selected estimate is attached as a separate file to this email. Click Add Attachments at the bottom to attach any document to the email. You can also drag-and-drop any file into the Compose Email window from your desktop or email program.

    2. Click Send Message.

If the email is sent to an address that is no longer working, there is a bounce-back email sent to let you know about this.

Note: You cannot remove the default or system attachments. Only user-defined attachments can be added or removed. Core restricts the file size of the attachments to 10 MB and sends the attachments as a single zipped file.

Download Estimates

You can download the details of the estimates as a PDF file directly from the list view.

To download an estimate:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. In the list view, select the estimate on the grid whose details you want to download and click  to select Download PDF.

    2. It prompts you to save the PDF at the relevant location, say your Desktop. Click Save.

Send Estimates for eSign

You can send documents, estimates and reports to your external clients, Core employees or other contacts to be reviewed and signed electronically via DocuSign. For that, you must have first connected Core to your company's DocuSign account via the Integrations screen. Core automatically adds the signed documents to the Documents tab of the entity (record) as separate attachments.

To send an estimate for eSignature:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.


    2. In the list view, select the estimate on the grid that you want to send and click  to select eSign. (This option is not available if your Core account is not connected to a DocuSign account.) You can also send the estimate to DocuSign from the detail view using the Actions menu.
    3. On the eSign - Email Details dialog, choose the To recipients or contacts to whom you want to send the estimate via DocuSign.


    4. You can review and customize the email message, if needed. It is pre-filled with the email details from the Integrations > DocuSign Settings screen.
    5. At the bottom, select your Save Options. You can specify where you want to save the signed copy of the document, say Company Profile (as a company document), Associated Record (as a document of the record from which the eSign action was called) or Specific Record (as a document of an individual record of a specific entity). Core remembers this selected location for the next time a document of that type is sent out for eSignatures.
    6. Click the relevant option:
      • Send: Clicking the ‘Send’ button sends the document to all recipients. If multiple recipients are selected, each recipient receives a copy or version of the document to sign.
      • Send with Preview: If you choose to preview the document before sending, you are redirected to the DocuSign editor embedded in a new Core tab. From there you can make adjustments to the DocuSign document like adding, removing, and rearranging tags throughout the document.
    1. Core displays the progress bar and opens the estimate in the Send for eSignature screen.

    1. Here you can insert Standard Fields like Signature, Initials, Date Signed, Name, etc. into your document where needed.
    2. You can take more actions on the document by selecting the relevant option from the Actions menu on the right.
    3. Before sending, you can also preview the document by clicking Recipient Preview on the top-right. Else, click Continue to skip the preview.
    4. Click Send to send the estimate to the recipients.

The document is then received as an email by the recipients (your contacts), who can then review and sign it electronically. The recipients also receive an email when the action is completed by them. DocuSign informs us via email if the document was reviewed, accepted or declined by the recipients and you can also view the eSign Status in the Documents list view, whether it has been delivered via DocuSign, viewed by the recipients, declined or completed by the recipients, etc. This column does not show up if you are not connected via the DocuSign integration. The signed documents are saved in the specified location.

Submit Estimates

As a part of the workflow, Core allows you to submit the selected estimates for approval using various options. When estimates are submitted, the supervisor or manager gets notified about these submissions. You cannot submit entries or items that are already approved. In case of email notifications, Core allows managers to quickly approve or reject the estimate items submitted by employees directly from the emails.

To submit an estimate for approval:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. Select an estimate on the grid that you want to submit and click Actions > Workflow > Submit.

    2. On the Submit Estimate dialog, enter the required information.

      • Submit To: You can submit estimates to your manager or a specific person from the list.

      • Resource: This can be an employee or a vendor (contract employee or outside consultant). This option is available only if you choose Submit To: Specific.

      • Type: This represents the type of workflow assigned to the submitted estimates, depending on the purpose of the submission.

        - Billing and Payroll: if items are submitted for the purpose of billing the client as well as including them in the payroll of the employee. This option is selected by default.
        - Billing: if items are submitted only for the purpose of billing the client
        - Payroll: if items are submitted only for the payroll of the employee

      • Memo

    1. Click Submit.

After submitting the estimates, you have an option to un-submit them by clicking Actions > Workflow > Unsubmit.

Approve Estimates

As a part of the workflow, Core allows you to approve the estimates submitted to you. Approving an estimate prevents modification by any user with limited security permissions. You can also reject the submitted estimates for any reason. However, only submitted or forwarded estimates can be rejected, not the approved ones. In case of email notifications, Core allows managers to quickly approve or reject the estimate items submitted by employees directly from the emails.

To approve an estimate:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. Select an estimate on the grid that you want to review and click Actions > Workflow > Approve.

    2. On the Approve Estimate dialog, enter a memo, if needed.

    3. Click Done.

After approving the estimates, you have an option to un-approve them by clicking Actions > Workflow > Un-Approve.

Batch Update Estimates

Batch update allows you to edit multiple attributes of multiple estimates at a time and reset the values to none if the field is not required. This process is irreversible.

To update an estimate in a batch mode:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. Select the estimates on the grid that you want to update and click Actions > Batch Update.

    2. On the Batch Update dialog, select the relevant fields and then enter new values for them.

    3. Check the disclaimer at the bottom and click Update.

Show/Hide Columns in Grid

You can configure the fields or columns that appear on the grid in the list view. You can hide or show columns, and sort the order of columns according to your requirements.

To do so, watch this video or follow these steps:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. In the list view, click More > Show/Hide Columns on the action bar.
    2. Select or un-select the column names in the drop-down list, say Status.
    3. Next, click the column name you want to sort the data by, say Assigned (project).
    4. Click once for ascending order (A-Z) and twice for descending order (Z-A).

Note: You can resize the column widths on the grid and then reset them, if needed (More > Reset Column Widths).

Export Estimates

In Core, you can export estimates to the Comma Separated Values file format. Core exports data from all available columns and not just the columns visible in the grid.

To export the estimates to a .CSV file, watch this video or follow these steps:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. In the list view, click More > Export as CSV.

    2. A .csv export file is created and saved on your system at the default download location, say your desktop. Click to open the spreadsheet.

Apply Filters

To view selective data on the grid, watch this video or follow these steps:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. In the list view,  click  on the right.

    2. On the Filters panel, select a filter from the drop-down and specify individual records or range.

    3. Click Add Filters to specify more filters.

    4. When you have finished, click Apply Filter. You can see selective data now.

    5. In the list view, you can remove the individual filters by clicking  on each. To disable applied filters temporarily or remove all filters, click next to the Filters icon and select Disable Filters or Clear All, respectively.

Mark Screen as Favorite

You can mark or flag the most-often used and important screens in Core as your favorites up to a maximum of ten. These favorite screens then display separately on the side menu under the Favorites list. You can manage all your favorite screens in Core from User Preferences.

To mark this screen as your favorite, watch this video or follow these steps:

    1. Open the Estimates screen from the side menu > Projects > Estimates.

    1. In the list view, click  on the top-right.

    2. You can access this screen from the side menu under Favorites.

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