Budget collaboration enables the sending of budget requests for specific matters to the vendors (outside counsel) responsible for those matters, then receiving estimated budget amounts from those vendors, all through Collaborati. The end result of this process, presuming the budget request is approved, is the transfer of allocation funds from a parent Account record to a child Account record associated with a matter.
Clicking the Budgets link in the left navigation pane within CSM Settings brings up the Budget Settings page. These settings control budget collaboration. From this page you may do the following:
- Verify that budget collaboration has been activated.
- Specify a parent account category that should be used for budgeting.
- Identify which matter categories are eligible to participate in automatic budget requests.
- Search and view existing budget requests.
- Manually create a new budget request.
- Specify the default number of days after the request date that the budget request is due. This default applies to all budget requests.
Budget Collaboration and Sharing
The Budget Collaboration field indicates whether CSM sends manual and automatically-generated budget requests to your vendors. The Budget Collaboration field displays On if Collaborati vendors receive budget requests. If it displays Off and you wish to activate the feature, contact Mitratech Support.
The Budget Sharing field indicates whether CSM sends Actuals and Remaining amounts from the Budgets page of a matter to Collaborati. The Budget Sharing field displays On if Collaborati receives this information. If it displays Off and you wish to activate budget sharing, contact Mitratech Support.
Notes on Budget Collaboration and Sharing
If a TeamConnect client makes adjustments to a budget (with Budget Collaboration On and Sharing Off), the client must then submit a Budget Request to the vendor and sync for the changes to be reflected in Collaborati. In short, syncing after making changes to a budget in TeamConnect, with only Collaboration on, will not reflect unless a budget request is sent after the changes are made and before the sync.
Collaborati vendors may see discrepancies between the values listed on their budget and the values reported in TeamConnect. Collaborati automatically records changes that may appear as 'fixed,' when they are in fact pending. Changes in various workflow phases in TeamConnect before final approval are typically not reflected in the TeamConnect budget. TeamConnect values should always be considered the most accurate when there is an inconsistency between TeamConnect and Collaborati budgets.
The Budget Settings section asks you to select a parent category for budgeting accounts. Only accounts that belong to this category or its child categories will participate in budget requests. For example, if you use TeamConnect Matter Management, you might choose the "Allocated" category as the parent category for budget requests. Avoid choosing a category that is intended to track actual expenses.
In addition to the category restriction, budget requests will only be generated for accounts that meet these additional criteria:
- The account has an active parent.
- The account has no child accounts.
- The account is active.
- The e-billing matter and the vendor are set in the posting criteria for the account.
The Budget Settings section also presents a hierarchical list of Matter and project categories under the Select the Matter categories to automatically send Budget Requests for section. In this list, you may select the check-boxes next to the categories that are eligible for generation of automatic budget requests.
Note: If you intend to edit Budget Settings, based on the current status of the CSM-Collaborati synchronization, a warning message may appear to remind you that you must wait until synchronization is stopped before making any changes. Click the Stop synchronization now link on the warning message to stop synchronization. While synchronization is stopping, all fields are unavailable to edit. When synchronization is stopped, all of the fields become available to edit and you can continue.
Setting Budget Request Notifications
The Due Date Settings section on the Budgets page lets you set the due date for your budget requests, as well as email reminders to alert the matter's main assignees when a budget request is nearing its expiration date.
To set a budget request default due date
Enter a number in the Number of days to set Due Date after Request Date box. When a budget request is created automatically, the system populates the Due Date field based on this setting; if created manually, the Due Date field is also populated based on this setting, but the date is editable.
To send an email reminder to the matter main assignee
Check the Send reminder to matter main assignee check-box if the budget request has not be completed by the vendor and you want to notify the main matter assignee.
To set email reminders
Enter a number in the Number of days prior to Due Date to send email reminders box.
Setting Matter-Level Currency
If there is a business need for your organization, you can define the billing currency settings for each type of matter.
To set matter-level currency
- From CSM Settings, click the Budgets link.
The Matter Currency Settings section displays all types of E-Billing matters defined on the E-Billing Roles page.
- Click the Enable budget requests by matter currency check-box.
- In the Enable column, click the check-box for each E-Billing matter type that you want to map.
- In the Custom Field Name drop-down list, specify which custom field on a e-billing matter holds the matter currency field.
- Click Save.
Note: If the matter currency code that you select is not valid, the vendor currency code is used.
Automatic vs. Manual
An automatic request will be generated when the following conditions are met:
- The matter must have a category that you have designated as eligible for budget requests.
- One or more accounts associated with the matter meet the account criteria described above.
- One or more vendors associated with the matter (as Involved parties, with e-billing roles) must be already authorized to work with Collaborati.
Important: The specific event that generates an automatic budget request is the activation of child accounts within a matter. For this reason, you must ensure that all other conditions for budget requests have been met before you activate a child account. If you mistakenly activate a child account before all criteria have been met, you may still be able to generate a budget request by fixing the conditions, then deactivating and reactivating the child accounts.
Even if all the conditions have been met for creating an automatic budget request, it will not be created if there already exists a budget request for the same matter and vendor. Instead, new accounts (if any) will be added to the existing budget request, provided that the existing budget request has not yet been sent to the vendor, and the existing request will be changed to status "Submitted".
If the existing request had previously been sent to the vendor, no action is taken on the existing request, and no new automatic request is created. Instead you must manually delete the existing request and manually enter a new budget request containing the updated information.
Note: Although there are many conditions that must be met to generate an automatic budget requests, there are no such restrictions on manual budget requests. You may create a manual budget request against any matter regardless of its categories or accounts.
Automatic Cancellation of Budget Requests
If you perform some action on an existing matter that causes it to no longer be an e-billing matter, CSM will automatically cancel that budget request. For example, if the matter has an Involved party who was a vendor acting in an e-billing role, and you delete that Involved, the corresponding budget request will be canceled by CSM.
Working with Budget Requests
The Budget Requests Search section allows you to search for existing budget requests and view the resulting list of requests. You may also create a new manual budget request. Refer to Budget Requests for details about creating and editing budget requests.