Movie-Film Production Management
Commitments Tracker
Project Cost Control for non-accountants

Contents

Commitments Tracker System Benefits
When, How, and What are vital to a Project Manager
The Commitments Tracker Answer
Commitments Tracker is especially useful to Large Corporations
Commitments Tracker Users
Commitments Tracker System - Major Functions

What is a Commitments Tracker?

A Commitments Tracker records the financial obligations of a project or business. The reason it exists is to try to overcome the inadequacies of traditional accounting systems in forecasting accurately the true financial status of a project. Commitments diaries can range from entries in a secretary's notebook to simple ledger cards showing the running totals for each budgeted area of a project. In today's personal computer environment, there are a variety of spreadsheet based commitment diaries.

The thing missing from most of these types of systems is that they do not link up with a meaningful, project-oriented financial reporting system. Whilst manually operated commitment diaries have been the simplest way to remind project managers of what money has been committed, they are usually ad hoc in nature. Significant expenditure can go unrecorded and this endangers financially sound decisions.

By comparison, Commitments Tracker is easy to use, but powerful software, which gives project managers, and managers of departments within large organisations, accurate financial information when they want it and how they want it, no matter what the industry. Commitments Tracker does so far more quickly than a manually operated Commitments Tracker and far more flexibly and with much greater detail than a spreadsheet based computer system. Commitments Tracker is easily capable of handling projects from, say, the construction of a high rise commercial building to a small project, such as a television documentary.

With Commitments Tracker you do not need to be a highly qualified accountant to be able to produce accurate project costings on a daily basis. Commitments Tracker is designed to provide cost control for non-accountants!

Commitments Tracker operates on low cost IBM-PC compatible computers running MS-DOS 6.22 through to Vista. 

List price of the single user version of the Commitments Tracker is $USD1000+GST per user.

Commitments Tracker System Benefits Top

The benefits to Commitments Tracker users include:

  • Accurate financial statements on a daily basis
  • Detailed and extensive cost reporting of project cost overages
  • The earliest of warnings about cost overages
  • Better management decisions due to better financial information
  • Salary savings because of a reduced need for highly qualified accounting personnel
  • Improved productivity because Commitments Tracker minimises the effort required to maintain effective financial control
  • Departments can maintain internal financial systems without compromising corporate standards
  • Commitments Tracker information is timely and accurate. Accurate daily corporate reporting is possible
  • By standardising on Commitments Tracker in a large organisation, only one electronic interface (between Commitments Tracker and the existing centralised system), needs development, even though each department may have its own internal reporting standards.
  • In most situations, an investment in Commitments Tracker is much more cost effective than an investment in additional, traditional, accounting software.

When, How, and What are vital Top

When - In many cases, where a company's normal financial system operates on a monthly cycle, it can be several weeks before a manager is aware that a project is over-budget in a particular area - often too late to take effective management action. If it takes a supplier an average of ten days to send an invoice, then on a project with a weekly cash-flow of tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of dollars, the wait for invoices can mean that the actual cash position of the project is understated by an amount equal to twice the weekly cash flow.

How - Because each new project usually differs from the last, a typically static Chart of Accounts used by a centralised ledger often bears no relation to how the project manager views the task at hand. To use the centralised information, the project manager has to translate it so it relates to the specific project. This wastes time, and it's not always useful because the information is often outdated.

What - Many accounting systems actually provide very little useful detailed information to a project manager. At best, many systems show only the name of the supplier, the date, the amount and cheque number. In the project management environment, knowing what the item was is vital because obviously, any one supplier can be supplying materials across many cost areas in a project. For example, without detailed information about what concrete went where, estimating the cost-to-complete for a particular section of a project is very difficult. Most traditional accounting systems do not provide this degree of detail - or if they do, they cost many times as much as the investment in Commitments Tracker.

The Commitments Tracker Answer Top

Commitments Tracker allows you to create as many cost areas/accounts as you want for your project and to group them in as many ways as you need to suit your operation. The number of separate accounts is, for all practical purposes, limitless. Commitments Tracker then allows you to enter commitments in what ever level of detail you choose, and to apportion a share of those commitments across as many separate cost areas as you want.

Commitments Tracker allows you to use a standard format budget for your Company, or alternatively, to design a unique budget for a particular project. It can be as simple or detailed as you dictate. Commitments Tracker then produces cost reports, within seconds, for any account or group of accounts. It will arrange those reports as you require, for example, by supplier, by cost area, by cheque number, by personnel or by date or by goods or service.

Commitments Tracker will report your project's progress against budget at the touch of a couple of keys. The true, detailed, financial position of your project is available to you as soon as your commitments are entered.

Finally, Commitments Tracker stores all the information indefinitely so that each completed project becomes an invaluable data-base for quoting and tendering for new projects, and for analyzing cost movements in a wide variety of areas.

Commitments Tracker is for Large Corporations : Top

Your organisation is undergoing change and a system needs to be in place within weeks, rather than years or months.

You are experiencing frustrating delays in financial reporting from the centralised financial system which is leading to different departments within your organisation developing their own semi-independent financial information systems.

Your existing financial system is focused on historical accounting information rather than "mission critical" management information.

Several weeks of commitments information missing from your departmental and corporate reports, thereby understating costs.

The expertise required to operate departmental double entry accounting systems is not available to you or is expensive.

Remember - Commitments Tracker can be linked directly to your Corporate Accounting Systems!

Commitments Tracker Users Top

Commitments Tracker Users around Australasia include:

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney, Australia - Government-Owned Television Network
Communicado Limited, Auckland, New Zealand
- Leading Independent Television Producer
TAFE Film School of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia -
Government Film & Television School
TV3 Network Services, Auckland, New Zealand
- Private Television Channel

Commitments Tracker Major Functions Top

Budget Design - Commitments Tracker allows users to enter budgets quickly and efficiently. Users can choose to select a standard budget format or set up a unique budget for a unique project. As the user designs their budget they create a "ledger" to which committed costs and actual costs will be allocated. If the budget requires revision, users can update their existing ledger without comprising their accounting efforts to date.

Commitment/Actual Entry - Commitment related transactions typically originate via purchase orders. These transactions are held until invoices are received. The committed amount is then replaced by the invoiced amount. Quick access is provided to any transaction in the system to minimise data entry time. Commitments Tracker allows the user to analyse transactions using "Flags" so they can see types of cost across the complete project - irrespective of the Chart of Accounts. Information is available on the screen as well as via printed reports. You cannot go over budget without being warned!

Budget Reports - Budget Reports at various levels of detail are available on screen, via printer or as a disk file for later use with third party software. Budget Variance reporting displays modifications to the original Budget.

Transaction Reports - Commitments Tracker Cost Reports provide the user with information at Heading Level, Cost Centre Level, Account Level, and Transaction Level. The user can see at a glance how much of an account balance is made up of Commitments and how much is made up of actual amounts.

Cost Reports - Using these reports, the user can see at a glance where the project is against budget and what funds are available for each budget code at various levels of detail. Percent Complete Reports are available.

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