Why Is Project Costing Important?

Many services organizations need to see the true project costs, taking into account allocation of costs from overhead activities and other costs not specifically identifiable with a single project. This is especially true for government organizations working on cost plus type projects, but time & materials and firm fixed price projects sometime require separate reporting of these costs too.

Key customers have identified the following benefits of project costing in Unanet:

  • Provide project managers with the tools they need to report on fully burdened costs (direct and indirect) in real time, so that actuals can be compared with budget and funded amounts.
    • The ability to generate reports in real-time will drive more timely data capture and thus improve DCAA compliance. Without this functionality, project managers have to wait for reports from their accounting system which may be weeks or even months late.
    • It provides additional leverage for training the project/program managers and pushing accountability to them.
    • Report formats and usage are familiar and easier to use for project staff than accounting system
  • Forward visibility of under or over performance is particularly key for fixed price contracts to see costs versus billings as funded amount, and contract end, is approached.
    • A real-time future view of project spend as resource loading and project plans change will be valuable.
    • This functionality allows Unanet to be used for project estimating and pricing on government contracts, avoiding the need for third party tools.
    • Plans and budgets are integrated with detailed actual costs in one system.
  • Deliver project costing information outside the finance department
    • By providing improved information to program management, faster resolution of potential problems will be achieved. As with other Unanet reports all information is presented based on real-time data.
    • Accounting will not have the burden of producing Job Summary Reports (JSR) and other project costing information for managers, saving time or avoiding the need for project managers to have access to the accounting system
  • System specific:
    • Accounting systems typically used by smaller government contractors do not provide Project Costing Reports. Using Unanet to provide this capability removes a driver for them to go through a complex and costly migration from their existing accounting system.
    • Three sets of indirect cost rates are supported; Target, Provisional and Actual, providing additional reporting options and planning flexibility compared with many accounting systems which only offer two rates.
    • There is no limit on the number of cost structures or indirect cost elements. Some systems have limitations such as only seven pools, and the inability to accurately calculate rates from multiple cost structures.
    • Unanet allows a descriptive label to be specified as well as an account number for a cost element. This improves ease of use over systems that assume that the user understands that 39 means Direct Labor, 51 means Subcontractor etc.

Project Costing support in Unanet enables users to report on the fully burdened costs associated with their projects. These burdened costs are calculated in real-time within Unanet using the indirect pool rates provided by an external accounting system or other outside application. Fee for Cost Plus projects, Fixed Price schedules, and billable labor and expense calculations for Time & Materials projects can also be included in reports, providing the ability to see revenue and true margin.



"I love Unanet! It is great that you can run a report and easily see who is available, what projects a person is assigned to, and how many hours people are charging."- Michelle Graffin Controller, Orbital Technologies
An invoice that used to take 1 person 2-3 days that is now complete in 30 minutes, and a report that used to take 2 hours that is now produced in 2 minutes! - TJ Guarino, Tessada


"I’ve never done a timesheet so fast in my life! What an incredible change. I’m so glad we switched. They’ve really done a lot to polish it up, too."- Paco Hope Managing Consultant Cigital, Inc.
"Unanet billing is so great. I don't know why anyone wouldn't use this!"- Jackie York Controller, Quallion
Being able to see where we are on projects REAL TIME instead of waiting for Monday processing has made it much easier to let clients know exactly where we are with their projects. Unanet has set a higher standard for project reporting and there is more to come!. - Jenny Clark director, solvability