Tasks in Recurring Projects
Tasks can be assigned to Projects, and they will have their own due dates that must come before the overall project due date. As you can see below, you aren’t allowed to select a task due date that occurs later than the project due date.
Tasks will repeat along with the recurring Projects, and their due dates will be calculated to be relative to the recurring due date. For example, if the task in the original project is due three days before the project due date, the task will always occur three days before the due date of each recurring project. This works very well.
Here’s my project management dashboard for a recurring project that has two tasks. The original project shows on the left side (project due October 6). I set the project to be recurring every two weeks, and you see some of the tasks for the recurring project on the right.
If you are using the project management feature you will probably find that you have certain workflows that you repeat for some kinds of clients. It would be convenient to be able to duplicate that project workflow for each of your clients, rather than having to create a new project manually each time.
QuickBooks Online Accountant has a Duplicate option that allows you to make a copy of an existing project. This works with recurring projects.
Double-click on any project or task that is a part of your recurring project. This lets you edit the project. There is a Repeat icon next to the due date. Click the Duplicate button at the bottom of the window.
Clicking Duplicate makes a copy of the project that is already set up to be a recurring project. Set your new due date and all of the tasks that are a part of the project will have their dates adjusted to match.
I wish that we had the ability to create templates here. A template would be a standard project that isn’t active, isn’t assigned to a client, and doesn’t show on your project management dashboard. As it stands now, if you want to recreate an existing project, you have to duplicate one that already exists. That means you have to search for an existing project on your dashboard, which might not be simple if you have a lot of active projects. Since active projects can be altered, you don’t know if the one that you are duplicating has been altered from your “standard” layout. Also, since you start by editing an active project, there is the possibility of accidentally changing the original project, which isn’t good. Templates would be a great addition to the recurring project feature.
One workaround is to create a “dummy client” and assign tasks to that client. Then you can duplicate those and assign them to your real clients. I don’t like this, though, because it clutters up your client list, and those active projects will show on your project dashboard. I don’t view this as a good way to manage things.
I have only been playing with this feature for a few days now, but from what I’m seeing so far this new feature works very well. Project management in QuickBooks Online Accountant is a lightweight feature when you compare it to the more complicated products that are available, but it is well suited for a smaller office with simple needs. And, as I’ve mentioned before, one of the great benefits is that it is free! There are a few minor tweaks that I would like to see in the recurring projects feature (along with the addition of templates), but this is the initial release. Intuit is very interested in getting feedback, so I expect that there may be some modifications after more people use it.