What are categories used for. Find out here. And then scroll down for a more detailed explanation.
Have you ever wondered what categories are used for in the program? The name is so generic, it could be used for almost anything. Well in fact, categories can be used almost any reason you see fit. But their primary purpose is to record the basic kinds of work you do for projects. Are you doing Sales, Marketing, Travel, Engineering, Administrative work for projects? And would you like to know how much time you spend in these basic areas? That is what categories are for. They let you know where you're spending your time, independently of any given project.
Categories are usually not tied to projects. That is to say... you will normally perform the same kinds of work for every project. Of course, you can tie them to projects and perform certain categorical work for each project. But normally, you do the same work for every project, which means categories help you see what type of work is performed. You can set up the category list any way you like.
Where will you see categories in the program?
1. Categories in the timesheet
By default, the timesheet displays categories under each project. Click the "+" symbol next to a project and a list of categories will appear. (Choose Tools, Categories to edit the list.) After expanding the timesheet project, you can enter hours against a category. In doing so, you are creating a time log. Each time log is assigned to a category.
If you are using project tasks, then expanding a project will likely display those tasks assigned to it. Since each project task has a category associated with it, you are also automatically logging time to categories when you enter hours for a task.
2. Categories assigned to project tasks
As stated earlier, every project task is assigned a category. That lets you define the basic type of work you are performing when doing that task. Each time you enter hours into the timesheet for a task a time log is created from the task. That time log will have the project task category assigned to it.
3. Categories for each time log
Every time log has a category assigned to it. It is a required field. Click the Time Log tab and then choose View, Columns to display the Category column in the view.
4. Categories in reports
You can run a report named "List, by employee, category" that groups your time logs by the category they were logged with. This lets you see how much time you spent on each category.
5. Grouping invoice line items by category
You can choose an invoice template named "Group by Category.rtf" that groups invoice line items by the category they were logged with. Choose Insert, New Invoice and then choose the invoice template to perform the grouping.
6. Billing clients by category
Normally, employee billing rates are used by the program. Each employee has their own billing rate, and you can override these rates for each project. But you can also choose to use category billing rates instead. (See Tools, Category Billing Rates.) In this case, the type of work you perform determines the hourly rate you charge. Each category has a rate, and you can override these for each project. When using category billing rates, employee rates are not used.
Optionally, you can make certain categories visible to each employee. This mean each employee would have a set of categories for themselves. And those categories would have billing rates set appropriately for each employee. This gives you the best of both billing worlds where billing rates are tied to employees and the types of work they perform. See Tools, Categories to assign them to users.
7. Send hours to QuickBooks by category
QuickBooks also uses a version of category billing called "Service Items." Each service item in QB has a client rate associated with it. Each segment of time is multiplied by that rate to form the line items on their invoices. Since you can export your time to QuickBooks, our category is mapped to their service item. Choose Tools, QuickBooks to export time to QB.