TBH I don’t care. If things are unacceptable for the collaborators and/or PM, they will complain to each other and find something that works for all parties. When I am project managing myself, I ask people to upload their own bills, then I process them (informally, like “ah, yeah, that’s done. Let’s pay it”).
But I do care. What made some projects unenjoyable was always bad process (not limited to payment processes though).
Yes, with a few months of friction and unsatisfactory conditions before. People don’t complain right away esp. when there is a power imbalance. So there may be duplicate payments, delayed payments due to miscommunication and whatever little messups we had so far until something changes.
I don’t see a good reason against a good default … people rarely change defaults, so that would be the process to stick to except a project manager has a reason to change it and invests the work to build and document it.
I’m not fully satisfied with any of the proposals above yet. New attempt, without requiring project managers to log into FreeAgent on Sunday, and also working for people without FreeAgent access (like one-time collaborators):
If you don’t have access to either FreeAgent or Dynalist:
Send your bill to your project manager by e-mail.
The project manager uploads it to FreeAgent and adds the “mark of approval” in the comment field.
The paying director pays at next payment day.
If you have access to FreeAgent and Dynalist:
Enter and upload your bill into FreeAgent.
Create a Dynalist task in the “Payment Authorization Queue” section for your project manager, with a link to the bill on FreeAgent. The project manager will automatically notified by Dynalist Companion.
The project manager adds the “mark of approval” to the bill in the bill in the comment field in FreeAgent.
The paying director pays at next payment day.
If that sounds good, I would change our documentation accordingly.
Ok, go for it. I would suggest this is presented as a suggested arrangement. Also, your latest versions overlook the Dynalist payment queue, which is the only “rigid” part of the process.
Sure, can do that. I’ll then also include that project members should speak up early if they see the process used in their project turn out to be a mess.
In the spirit of minimal bureaucracy, I replaced it with the queue of authorized bills in FreeAgent.
I followed the process outlined by Alberto above - worked nicely for me. As for need for PM to explicitly review and ok an invoice - not sure what other option would be there in order to ensure we are delivering what we as a company are paid for? Or maybe I am not understanding properly… find what you outline above a bit confusing to be honest…
Sure, that’s needed and also in my proposal:
The difference is only how the project manager should review and ok the invoices. I prefer a process where (1) we have a track record of that, (2) know where to find that track record in each case, but (3) don’t force the project manager to do a regular task like “log into FreeAgent on Sunday”. That’s how the last proposal came up.
Dear project managers and management board (@anique.yael, @hugi, @noemi, @alberto, @nadia, @johncoate): I updated the wiki at the start of the topic with the documentation of the bills payment process. So that’s our new default now – please make sure all our collaborators are aware of the changes. It’s simpler than before, with some potential for further automation.
This is all according to the discussion with Alberto etc. a week ago, which incidentally also moved to this topic now. Note the paragraph in the wiki about project managers being free to organize things differently, and the one telling people to complain if the processes don’t work
And one more adjustment proposal, to be discussed with @alberto: Does it make sense that the payment manager marks bills as paid in their comment field in FreeAgent? Would prevent accidental double payments if there are multiple payment managers (or one payment manager who can’t remember making the payment), in the time span before the next reconciling of bank transactions in FreeAgent.
Thanks Matt! Now it comes down to sticking to it.
It’s not so different from the past, so most of our current collaborators should find it acceptable.
I wouldn’t mark things as paid - I usually look into the account statement on the online bank to check if something has already been paid. Plus tasks are checked off from dynalist when done, so we have two ways of seeing it.
Not exactly. Dynalist contains only the authorization tasks now. There are no payment tasks in Dynalist in the current process – that’s the difference from Alberto’s original proposal. Now, every due bill marked “AUTHORIZED” in FreeAgent is ready for payment.
Anyway, thanks for the insight re. marking as paid or not. Since it’s not really needed, we avoid it, in the interest of a simple process.
Ah one more thing: A nice looking flowchart or other diagram to illustrate the process would help returning visitors to remember the process without having to read everything again. If anyone wants to create one … (@anu?).
And yet some tasks in Authorized are marked off as done. who marks them off, if not the person making the payment?
The person making the authorization (= the project manager) marks the authorization task as completed.
Most of the completed tasks you see right now in there are remainders of Alberto’s system, i.e. payment tasks … to distinguish them from authorization tasks, I added “Pay” resp. “Authorize” to them.