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AE Practice Manager terminology and definitions




Assignments are a way of organising the work the practice does, like a folder you maintain to keep track of the work you do for the client in a particular area. All work done for a client is recorded against an assignment. For example Tax, Accounts and Business Planning. Assignments are also used to record practice overheads by setting up an internal assignment.

Your practice can set up a standard set of assignments which can then be selected, where applicable, for each client. You can also set up a standard set of documents and tasks to save time later and to ensure consistency in workflows throughout the practice.

The Assignments tab in a Client window lists all the assignments currently associated with the client. You can click the underlined assignment name to access detailed information about the assignment.

Within assignments you can:

  • record tasks and milestones which need to be carried out, including target dates and actual completion dates for each task and budgets
  • store the relevant documents and files you are working with on the assignment.

A minimum of one assignment must be used and these assignments are client specific.

Assignment templates

An assignment template can be used to easily attach assignments to clients. An [Add] button beside each assignment is used to quickly add the assignment to the client.

Assignment template groups

An assignment template group easily attaches multiple assignments to clients.

Assignment types

The basic properties for assignments are defined in the Assignment Types windows. Assignment types generally describe the main types of both internal and external work carried out in the practice. Once the types are defined they can be further broken down into actual assignments to more specifically describe the work carried out for that type of assignment. For example, you may define Tax as an assignment type, then create Tax - Individual, Tax Corporation and Tax - Assessment as actual assignments.

You define the following settings for an assignment at the assignment type level:

  • chargeable or non-chargeable
  • internal or external
  • whether it is included time or not (productive or non-productive).

These settings are then the default for any assignment that is attached to the assignment type. Assignment types are useful for type reporting purposes.


Creates a link between clients and/or contacts. There is no limit to the number of associations that you can create. For example, you could associate a client with:

  • Director of
  • Husband of
  • Has bank of
  • Has solicitor of.


Billing refers to the process of invoicing.


Budgets can be assigned on an assignment, task or employee level.

Charge Rates

These are the rates at which clients are charged for work. Standard is the default setting. You may also have discount rates or premium rates set up. When time is entered, you select either the standard rate or another available rate. The actual cost for an employee's time to the client is automatically calculated from the dollar amounts entered for each rate for the specific employee.

Child client

A child client is set up to have its WIP redirected to another client (the parent client) for billing purposes.


Contacts become clients as soon as you do work for them. Before you can enter time or disbursements for a client you need to set up an assignment for them. Until you attach an assignment to a contact you cannot do any work for them. Only contacts set up as clients appear in your client reports.

Code Types

Code types let you classify the type of work carried out in the practice to a level where employees can break their WIP into a number of activities or tasks within an assignment. Code types are further categorised into code groups. Examples of code groups are time, disbursements, Estimates to Complete and miscellaneous charges.


A contact includes all your clients and other individuals or companies which are relevant to your practice. Enter as a contact anyone or anything for whom you want to record information. Contacts could include:

  • All clients
  • Clients' staff
  • Clients' family members if they come into contact with your practice
  • Practice partners
  • Partners' families
  • Practice employees
  • Suppliers (for example, stationers, software suppliers, couriers or caterers)
  • Professional associates of your practice and clients (for example, banks, bank managers and lawyers)
  • Prospective clients.

The amount of information you keep on your contacts and clients is up to you. For some you may only require a name and phone number. For your valuable clients you can maintain a full documented history of past and current work and information.

Extra Lists
(Custom Categories before AE PM 5.0)


Extra lists are definable lists of fields and their associated values that can be used to define and categorise your contacts and clients. It is a way of dividing your database into logical groups to make them easier to work with and analyse. An extra list consists of an extra list name and a number of associated values. You can define whether an extra list is to be available for contacts/clients, employees or both.

Extra lists are displayed in the Contact, Client or Employee window under the Extra tab.

For example, you may set up Industry as an extra list, and you can then assign individual values to it. Once set up, from the Client page's Extras tab, you can select the required value from the Industry extra field for the client. You can then filter for this value in reports to find clients that are in that particular industry.

Extra Fields
(Custom Fields before AE PM 5.0)


Extra fields are used to store information about a client or contact. The value of an extra field has to be entered for each client or contact. You don't select from a predefined list. Use extra fields for any information you want to capture for a client that doesn't have a set of values that can be defined. For example, date of birth, tax file number or annual turnover.

Family Groups
(Introduced in AE PM 5.0)


Family Groups let you group related entities together using a label rather than linking them via a parent-child relationship to another client in the database. This lets you group related clients in a far broader sense than billing purposes.

Example 1: A superannuation fund is always invoiced separately, so isn't included in the billing group with the company, trust and individuals. However, for reporting purposes, you want to include the superannuation fund invoices in the total invoices for the group.

Example 2: A true family group may include several family members and their related entities. For billing purposes, each family member has their own billing groups. However, your practice wants to know the value of an extended family group to the practice.


Departments represent the actual departments performing different work within the practice. For example, if within the practice you have a Tax department, a Financial Services department and an Audit department, these can be set up within the software. This can then be used to indicate which area within the practice a client or employee belongs.


Disbursements are recorded and posted by individual employees when entering their timesheets and represent expenses that can be charged to clients.


Documents are any files which are prepared or relate to the work you are doing for a client, including:

  • forms
  • returns
  • preadsheets
  • Word documents
  • PDFs
  • HTML pages
  • graphics
  • media files.

When you open a document from a Client window or an Assignment window, the appropriate application is automatically launched.

Employee cost rate

Allows calculation of a cost rate for an employee by entering salary and other benefits. This rate also includes leave provisions. This cost can also be entered manually if the calculation is not required.

Estimate to Complete

An estimate is raised when the work carried out for the client has not yet been entered as WIP into the system. You would raise an estimate when you want to produce a bill for your client quickly. Then you could enter the WIP details into the system later.


The Extra tab is where you view or edit the extra lists and extra fields associated with a client or contact. Extras are used for storing information about your clients and provide good reporting information. They can be attached to various names on the database with common attributes. For example, to send a letter to key prospects on the database inviting them to seminar, you could create a category, Seminar, and attach it to the relevant prospects. This lets you print letter for names with the sort view Seminar attached.


Fee, bill and invoice are used interchangeably to refer to the result of raising and posting a request for payment for a client.


Milestones are non time-related markers which you want to check the status of as part of a Job. For example, Waiting for Signature, Send from to client and Ready for Review could all be milestones. Their status is maintained and updated directly from the Schedule tab rather than through timesheet data entry.

Miscellaneous Charge

A miscellaneous charge is a cost that you want to pass onto the client that is not raised as a timesheet or disbursement item. It's often a fixed amount charge that you have been billed on a client's behalf. A miscellaneous charge won't affect the WIP ledger, only the debtor ledger.


Offices reflect the physical offices within your practice. For example, if you have an office in Sydney, one in Adelaide and another in Cairns, you would set up each of these locations as an Office in the software. Then clients, partners, employees and assignments can be assigned to an office.


Overheads are created as non-chargeable assignments. These assignments must be flagged as non-chargeable and internal. The Include time flag is used to indicate a productive or non-productive assignment.

Overtime types

These are used when you want to charge clients above the standard charge rate. For example, double time.

Parent client

A parent client has one or more child clients' WIP redirected to them for billing purposes.


A schedule is the client-specific workflow that sits within an assignment. It is defined by adding any combination of:

  • templates
  • stages
  • tasks
  • milestones.

Standing order

Standing orders are template bills configured to be generated for particular clients, including automatic posting, at a pre-defined frequency. For example, some clients want to be billed monthly and others quarterly to prevent ending up with a large bill at the end of a set of work.

Task codes

Tasks are your practice's activities and transactions, either for clients or internal work. They are the next level of analysis after assignments. Task codes are identifiers in time and disbursement sheet entry. The standard list of codes used by employees in the practice are set up and maintained in the Code Types window.


Templates used in assignment schedules are a list of code types put into a sequence of steps to provide a master workflow within a schedule. The code types available for selection are those which have already been defined in your system.

When creating a new task template for an assignment, you choose steps from a list of code types (activities you need to perform to fulfil the steps required for the client's assignment). These could be time or disbursement activities, miscellaneous charges or estimates to complete.

Templates are created and maintained through a Client window. When saved, they become a reusable template for other clients. Any task or milestone required for a client which is not in the template can be added individually.

Write Off

Use the write off feature when you want to reduce the total WIP being billed to the client and you don't want the unbilled amount to remain as WIP for future billing.

Write Up

Use the write up feature to add to the total billable amount. Write up amounts don't need to be entered as time or disbursement entries into the system.

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