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Time & Budgets
Overview of Time & Budgets
Overview of Time & Budgets

Estimate and track time to understand jobs that are on-budget, allocate resources, and uncover performance insights to transform your firm.

Ian Vacin avatar
Written by Ian Vacin
Updated over a week ago

Unlock your firm's hidden profitability by using Time & Budgets. Set estimates, track time, manage capacity, analyze performance, increase productivity, and integrate your time data to enable billing.


Why use Time & Budgets in Karbon?

Since Time & Budgets is woven tightly into your workflow, there are many areas by which you can set up, use and optimize across Karbon. To get you up and running quickly, we recommend you watch the 10 step setup video and then follow the step-by-step directions in the setup guide.

As an overview, Time & Budgets include the following components and options:

  • Specify Time & Budgets settings:
    Turn on and off Time & Budgets and setup key global parameters like tracking time (for work or work & contacts), tracking budgets (for time or time & dollars), and expenses

  • Set user permissions & capacity:
    Set capacity for colleagues (hours per week) and provide additional permissions to view dollar amounts and be a Time Administrator

  • Customize Task Types in Workflow:
    Customize the type of tasks that your firm performs and denote which are billable or not billable

  • Set dollar amounts by Role:
    Set a standard dollar amount by role for all task types or create custom dollar amount by role for each and every task type

  • Update Work Templates (or Work) for Time & Budgets:
    Add Task Types to work template tasks, set the fee type (e.g. fixed, time & materials, and non-billable) per work template, and add estimates by Role

  • Manage Time & Budget per work item:
    Adjust (or add) budget estimates and Fee Settings per work item to reflect the details of each engagement. No matter your fee type is, log your time and add expenses as you work to get an actual reflection of the profitability of each job to re-assess your fixed fees or enable billing for time and material jobs. Review your budget vs. actuals by team member, role, or task type plus see an audit report of all time entries

  • Manage and review Time & Budget per contact:
    Log your time and add expenses directly to a contact. Filter by time period, Work Type, and/or Work Status to review all activity across time and expenses for the contact. Review activity by Work or Work Type to get an assessment of what time has been tracked, what was the budget, and how much budgeted time remains (overall vs. by team member)

  • Review, update and submit timesheets:
    At the end of week, review your timesheet, add in missing items using Suggested Time Entries, make comments, and submit to a Time Administrator for approval. If you are a Time Administrator, you can also update your colleague's timesheets.

  • Review and approve timesheets:
    If a Time Administration, receive notifications in Triage of submitted timesheets and review/approve directly in Time from the main menu. Review timesheets by period, review by Colleague, comment on individual timesheets, and approve or deny timesheets as needed

  • Review the Colleague Utilization report:
    From Time in the main menu, filter time data by time entry date and/or Colleagues to review colleague utilization as it relates to capacity, actual time (billable, non-billable, and total time) and the resulting dollar amount

  • Export time, budgets, timesheets, and utilization:
    Wherever Time & Budgets exists, if you are a Time Administrator, you can download time related information by what is displayed. Create custom reports or use that data to complete other activities like billing

  • Integrate with QuickBooks Time:
    Connect with QuickBooks Time to manage timesheet approvals, add/edit/review all-time data within QuickBooks Time, obtain advanced time reporting, and bill clients easily by integrating QuickBooks Time to QuickBooks (or other billing solutions)

  • Integrate billing options:
    Use existing, native integrations with Ignition, GoProposal and QuickBooks Time to enable fixed fee, time and materials, and hybrid billing. Leverage our open API to create a custom integration using your time, work and contact data to integrate to your preferred time or billing solution

Video Overview of Time & Budgets

Navigate between the video chapters to skip to the part you need help with.

Chapter 1: Turn on Time & Budgets Feature

Chapter 2: Set up a budget in a Template

Chapter 3: Time & Budgets in Work

Chapter 4: Time on a Contact

Chapter 5: Time & Budgets on your Kanban board

Chapter 6: Managing timesheets

Chapter 7: Reporting on colleague utilization

Chapter 8: Final Summary

Setting up Time & Budgets

Karbon's Time & Budgets functionality lets you estimate and track time to understand jobs that are on-budget, allocate resources, and reveal performance insights.

Note: To use Time & Budgets, you must have a Business or Enterprise subscription. If you need to upgrade your plan please email us at You will need to be an admin to set up Time & Budgets in your Karbon account. Like all other Settings changes, these will be activated across your entire team.

This guide outlines the steps to set up Time & Budgets in your account, and provides tips for beginning to use the functionality across your team. Get up and running quickly by following these 5 steps:

1. Turn on Time & Budgets

From Main Menu, go to 'Settings' and choose 'Time & Budgets'. You will then have the choice to choose what Time & Budget Settings you activate in your account including time tracking, budgets, and expenses.

Time Tracking

Choose whether you want to track time by just Work or Work and Contacts. Then decide whether to require timesheets to be submitted for approval.

If you would like to require timesheets to be submitted, be sure to have your extra user permissions setup (e.g. Time Administrator) to ensure that designated colleagues can review, comment, deny and approve timesheets.

Set up Roles and Task Types to be required fields to ensure that all necessary information is captured as your colleagues work.

In addition, you can restrict roles for time entries. Admins can now limit users to only record time against roles allocated to their profiles. This is to prevent billing errors and reduce the need for later corrections.

Note: If integrating with QuickBooks Time, note that timesheet approval is not permitted in Karbon and rather is delegated to be completed within QuickBooks Time.


Turn on Budgets to track estimates for either time or time and dollars for work. Once turned on, budgets throughout Karbon will be enabled including the Budget Overview and Budget By Team Member / Role / Task Type on work items.

Best Practice Tip: If you choose dollars, you can adjust user permissions to decide who on your team can view the rates.


Turn on expenses to track against work and contacts. Once enabled, you will find an Expenses area on each Work and/or Contact that allows you to 'Add Expense' and specify a description, cost, amount billable and the date the expense was incurred.

2. Update user permissions & capacity

From the Main Menu, go to 'Settings' and choose 'Colleagues' to update each colleague's capacity (hours per week) and extra user permissions (if required). User permissions to consider enabling include:

  • Time Administrator:
    Allows a user to view and approve everyone’s timesheets as well as to be chosen by colleagues to have timesheets submitted to for approval. As well as has the ability to change and edit their own and others' capacity. Multiple Time Administrators are permitted to exist

  • View Dollar Amounts:
    Allows you to decide which team members can see the dollar value for budgets and actuals throughout Karbon if Time and Dollars for Budgets is selected in Time & Budget Settings.

If you want to track team utilization, add in how many hours a week each colleague is supposed to work and we'll use that and divide it by their billable hours to display their utilization.

3. Add & edit Task Types

From 'Settings' choose 'Workflow' and on the third tab click on Task Types. Here you can edit and set up the types of tasks you'd like to track budgets and time against. Task Types can be used when creating budgets and creating time on work.

Click into the 'Task Types' to choose whether you would like it to be billable.

4. Edit Task Types dollar amount

From Settings > Colleagues > Roles, click into your desired roles and edit the dollar amount for each Task Type within the Role.

To adjust the Dollar Amount for the Role, you have two options to choose from:

  • Standard dollar amount:

    This rate is the default rate that is used when you create an estimate for that role for ALL task types

  • Custom by task type:

    If you select this setting, you will be able to adjust the dollar amount for each and every task type that can be associated to this Role. The default rate will be populated initially and simply click the amount to adjust

5. Update Work Templates with Task Types, Fee Type and Estimates

Once you have set up your Time & Budget settings as described above, you will be able to associate task types to tasks, add estimates to your templates, create time off your Work and Contacts as well as handle timesheets.

If you need to adjust existing work items, we recommend that you update your work templates first and reset each work item to template. Otherwise, you can use the same methods outlined below to update a given work item. If needing assistance with updating in bulk, reach out to our support team.

To update your work templates, there are three activities to complete:

  • Add task types to work template tasks

  • Specify fee settings per work template

  • Add estimates to work templates

Add task types to work template tasks

Assigning task types to work template tasks provides you an understanding of how to create your estimates for work templates by highlighting which roles perform which task types. In addition, future Time & Budget feature additions will leverage these Task Types to provide you more understanding, visibility, analysis and automation.

To update your work template tasks with Task Types, select a work template, click the 'Tasks' tab, and click on a task to see its full task details.

Similar to how you added Roles and Due Dates to a given task, click the Task Type field and choose the appropriate Task Type for this task.

As you add Task Types to work template tasks, track the combination of the Role and Task Type to use in specifying your estimates in the next step.

Note: If you started using Karbon on or after October 1, 2020, all your work templates provided initially will have task types added to your work template tasks. If using Karbon prior to that date, all pre-loaded work templates will not have task types associated to assigned work template tasks.

Specify fee settings per work template

For each work template or work item, you are able to specify how you collect fees from the client when completing the work on the 'Time & Budgets' tab or editing a work template in the 'Budget' tab. Open a specific Work Template from Main Menu > Settings > Work Templates. From that Template, select the 'Budget' tab.

Note that the 'Budget / Time & Budget' tab will only display if Budgets is turned on in Settings > Time & Budgets. In addition, Fees won't be displayed unless you choose 'Time & Dollars' for the Budget option in the Time & Budgets settings.

There are three choices to choose from:

  • Time & materials:

    Choose this to build up your billable amount for a job as you track time for the job. Your budget will reflect what you estimate and your 'Fees - Time & Materials' will grow as the actuals grow

  • Fixed fee:

    When selected, the 'Fees - Fixed Fees' total shown will show the full amount of the fixed fee vs. increasing over time like with Time & Materials. The Budget amount will look different to your fixed fee amount as is based on your estimated time and relative dollar amounts to calculate. In almost all cases, your budget should be less than your fixed fee total unless it is a loss leader service item (e.g. 1st month of advisory vs. ongoing advisory)

  • Non-billable:

    When non-billable is selected, the Fees section on the 'Budget Overview' will disappear since no fees will be collected for this work item.

Add estimates to work templates

Open a specific Work Template from Main Menu > Settings > Work Templates. From that Template, select the 'Budget' tab. There, you will be able to add in your Budget and Time estimates by using the 'Add Budget Estimate' button or link.

When adding an estimate to a template, add the appropriate Role, Task Type, hourly billing rate (click Use Default), and the estimated time to complete in hours and minutes. The Team Member field isn't typically added in a work template, but would be on a work item where the resources are already assigned. Once complete, the 'Estimate Total' will calculate. Then click 'Save'.

Repeat this process for all associated Task Types per Role and for all Roles that participate to complete the work. This will create an accurate budget that can be reviewed in total in the 'Budget Overview' and by Role / Task Type / Team Member in the budget details table.

Once your templates are all set up, you can then begin creating your work off of your templates as usual and add in your actual time, expenses and more as you complete the work. If you would like any prior work created off of this template to inherit the budgets you will need to reset your work to the template.

Best Practice Tip: Regardless if a fixed fee or time & materials engagement, after completing the budget estimate for all roles and task types, review the budget from the Budget Overview to see if the total hours and dollars reflect your expectations for the given service work. If too high or too low, review the time estimates provided or review your billing rates per role and task type.

10 step set up video

Watch the ten videos below to learn hands-on how to setup Time & Budgets:

Or watch the full 1 hour video end-to-end:

Using filters to refine the Time and Budget tab on a contact

Off of your 'Time & Budget' tab for a contact, you will see all of the budget data that is pulled in from the contact’s work items where there might be a budget or actual time entered. You can use the following filters further to refine your view:

  • Time Entry Date

  • Work Type

  • Work Status

Note: If you have refined your Time & Budgets view by using the filters, whatever data you are viewing will be the data that is exported from the download icon in the Budget by Work Type (or Work) section.

Viewing budgets

Kanban board

You can view budget information for each column on your Kanban board that will outline aggregate totals of Fees, Budget, Actual and Remaining.

To reveal this information:

  1. Make sure you are viewing your Work in Kanban mode

  2. Turn on 'Display Column Totals' from your sorting menu

If you sort your Kanban board by Assignee, you will see added details of the aggregates that are allocated to each individual.

When you are sorting by Assignee on your Kanban board, you will be able to view both Budget and Budget Allocated.

The 'Budget' amounts show the aggregate 'Budget' amounts for all work items assigned to you.

'Budget Allocated' shows the aggregate amounts assigned for that individual — this includes work items assigned to that individual, and any work items that individual is involved in.

Budget Overview

Based on how you have filtered the data, the 'Budget Overview' provides the overarching totals for budgeted hours/dollars, actual hours/dollars, and the hours or dollars remaining. Depending on your 'Time and Budget' settings, you might have the opportunity of viewing your budgets in several different ways. If you've chosen to check the 'Time and Dollars' in your 'Time and Budget' settings, you will have the opportunity to view your Budget Overview by hours or amounts.

Viewing budget by Team Member, Role or Task Type on a work item

You can view your 'Budget by' Team Member, Role or Task Type. Simply click on the headline and choose how you prefer to view your budget.

Viewing budget by Work or Work Type on a contact

You can review activity by Work or Work Type to get an assessment of what time has been tracked, what was the budget, and how much budgeted time remains (overall vs. by team member).

For contacts, you will see ALL of the budget vs. actual data that is pulled in from associated contact’s work items where budget or actual time has been entered. Use the filters located at the top to further refine your view to get to data view preferred.

For the given contact, the 'Budget by Work' and 'Budget by Work Type' views will show ALL of the budget vs. actual data pulled in from associated contact’s work items where budget or actual time has been entered. Use this information, to get an assessment of what time has been tracked, what was the budget, and how much budgeted time remains (overall vs. by team member).

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