I wish being a designer was just about creativity and design.
What I learned quickly after leaving school, was that being successful wasn’t about just being a good designer. You have to be able good at managing finances (that dirty green thing that helps us keep on doing the thing we love.) Which means getting jobs and getting paid for jobs completed.
Today I spent half a day going over 15 smaller projects I manage and evaluating their completions and if we have been paid on them. All these projects are for one client and are based on work that is expected to be competed the year it is received. Specifically, I went through our software system that evaluates the amount of money and hours we have to complete the job and graphs out our progress on that path. I am able to see if we are on track to finish the work with the allotted hours remaining. To find out how many hours you have for a project, you take your paid fees for a project and divide them by your companies Burn Rate. The first two graphs are pretty self explanatory, but just to be clear: the light blue line on the graph represents the amount of money allotted for the project. The red line represents the hours recorded towards the fees paid to do the project. The dark blue line represents the hours we have actually invoiced the client on. The “WIP” line represents hours worked that have not been invoiced to the client.
The below graph looks at similar things but in actual amounts of money.
Our software does more detailed information, but these give you the idea of what I worked on today. The hope is to not work more hours than we have to complete the project If it aligns with the set line or rises above it, then we are working at a high proficiency and might even make more money than planned.
After reviewing these graphs, I reviewed the invoices that we have sent to the client and whether we have been paid on each of them. I do this for two reasons: 1 – because being paid is good and 2 – to close out those projects that have their work completed.
Through this process I found 4 invoices that hadn’t been paid over the past year on different projects. New copies of the invoices were prepared by our accounting department and after re-mailing these I contacted the client to discuss how they would like to resolve these.