At FDAQRC, our consultants are a vital part of our business model. We pride ourselves on ensuring our consultants have the tools they need to succeed. FDAQRC uses BigTime as a quick and easy way for consultants to track hours and submit expense reports. The platform allows our project managers, accounting department, and consultants to track project info all in one place. We use these reports and hours to reimburse consultants and accurately bill our clients. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of BigTime and avoid common pitfalls.

Submitting multiple expense reports for a trip or project
One common issue our consultants face when submitting expense reports is submitting multiple reports for the same project. We suggest simplifying the process by double checking that you have all meals, hotels, rental cars, and any other expenses accounted for on this specific project before submitting the report. This minimizes the chances of not being reimbursed for something or having to submit a second bill to a client for a project that had already been closed.

Entering hours to the corresponding project
Our consultants work hard and sometimes have multiple projects open at the same time. Due to this, we have seen some consultants submit hours and expense reports under the incorrect project, which would result in the client being incorrectly billed. We suggest clearing out previous projects in BigTime by selecting “Clear Blank Rows,” which will make only current projects show up in the area to report hours. If a consultant realizes they have entered hours under the incorrect project, they should email our accounting department as soon as possible. It is much easier to correct the issue sooner, rather than realizing the hours are incorrect when preparing the final bill for a client.

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Submitting expense reports after the deadline
With everything that goes into an audit or other projects, sometimes small finishing details, like submitting an expense report, can fall through the cracks. Occasionally, expense reports get turned in far beyond the deadline. We suggest making the expense report part of the consultant’s routine for the conduct portion of a project. Adding it to a to-do list after completing a report will help ensure that the expense report is submitted in a timely manner rather than being put on the back burner and forgotten about. It is important for us to have all expense reports by our deadlines in order to give clients an accurate bill within a reasonable time frame. This maintains a positive image of FDAQRC, showing clients that we are engaged, organized, and efficient through every step of our interaction with them.

Missing information
Another common issue with expense reports is forgetting to submit receipts or not submitting the original copy of the receipt. Sometimes it is hard to keep track of all receipts for a trip, especially if it’s a few days, or even weeks, after the fact. We suggest keeping a folder or file of all receipts from each audit or work trip that consultants may take. Another solution would be to take a picture of the receipt on a phone instead of keeping up with paper receipts. It is important for our accounting team to receive a copy of the original receipt, not a typed-up copy. This helps with our bookkeeping and fact checking to ensure clients are being billed accurately for all parts of the project.

Entering but not submitting expense reports and timesheets
While this sounds like a silly issue, the hour tracking platform requires an extra step that is easy to overlook. Sometimes we see consultants enter all their hours correctly and save the project but forget to actually submit it. There is a small button at the bottom of the time reporting page to fully submit the hours to accounting. Once all hours are completed and entered correctly, make sure to click the submit button at the bottom of the page, not just save the hours.

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When entering your expense reports, please keep in mind that our Accounting Department will also need the exchange rate for each place visited during the trip. If you are working overseas and travel to multiple countries or areas, you will need to include each exchange rate and note which receipts correspond to the exchange rate.

Our last piece of advice: when in doubt, contact accounting! Our accounting team is more than happy to answer questions and fix issues ahead of time, rather than finding them later in the process.