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Items & Rates


This article describes how to use reported time to:

  • Automatically calculate invoice amounts (invoicing)
  • Automatically calculate gross payroll (payables)
  • Automatically calculate amounts due to contractors and Corp2Corp entities (payables)
  • Automatically populate QuickBooks invoices and timecards
  • Set bill and pay cycles
We will start this section by explaining how the automation process works.
Note for Timecards: If you’re planning on only importing timecards, you will still have to set up items in SpringAhead because QuickBooks requires items on each line of their Timesheets. Rates will not need to be set up.

Automation Overview

SpringAhead will automate the majority of the invoicing, gross payroll and contractor payment work. The screenshot below illustrates a sample of the invoice fields that SpringAhead can automatically populate. ir_1.png

You’ll note that SpringAhead populates virtually every field. This deep level of automation is comparable for timecards, gross payroll, vendor payments and employee reimbursements.

To safely provide this level of automation, SpringAhead combines user-input fields, such as project hours and notes, with administrator-defined settings such as bill rate, item, and description. ir_2.png

This table illustrates what information can be automated and who is responsible:

User Entered Admin Defined (One-time setup & maintenance)
  • Employee name
  • Customer / Job
  • Dates worked
  • Hours worked
  • Tasks performed (optional)
  • Other Notes (Optional)
  • Address
  • Invoice number
  • Terms
  • Item
  • Rate
  • Customer Message
  • Memo
  • Class
  • Invoice date
  • Purchase order number
  • Rep
  • Item description
  • Amount
  • Taxes

Note that employees enter only what is necessary and aren’t required to make decisions that may result in errors. Administrators set up the other invoice elements on a one-time basis and do not have to re-enter data when processing invoices or payables. The result is maximum efficiency and accuracy.

Definitions: SpringAhead uses the term Payables to describe gross payroll, contractor payment and expense reimbursements.

Disabling Invoicing and/or Payables

If automating invoicing and/or payables is not the right approach for your company, instructions to disable these features are as follows:

Disabling Invoicing:

  • Log in as an administrator
  • Simply click on Settings, then My Company
  • Check No Invoicing under the Invoicing section
  • Click Save
Disabling Payables:
  • Log in as an administrator
  • Simply click on Settings, then My Company
  • Check No Payables under the Payables section
  • Click Save
Note: If you are planning on importing timecards and generating invoices manually from imported time data, we highly recommend using SpringAhead to manage the invoicing process. SpringAhead will automatically populate the invoice data as if you had entered it by hand. This will save data entry time and reduce manual data entry errors.


Items, Bill Rates, and Pay Rates

The first step to automate is setting up items and rates. This section is divided as follows:


  • How QuickBooks uses items and rates
  • How SpringAhead handles items and rates
    • Assigning multiple rates per item
    • Using the rate hierarchy to manage complex billing environments
  • Setting up items and rates
How QuickBooks Uses Items and Rates

QuickBooks describes Items as anything that your company buys, sells or resells. Therefore, items must be set up in QuickBooks in order to bill or pay. In the following two screenshots, note how QuickBooks attaches a rate to an item and then uses it as the item being invoiced: ir_3.png ir_4.png

Note that if you’re using QB payroll, you won’t need to setup pay rates because QB Payroll uses raw hours and would ignore rates in SpringAhead. Nonetheless, you still retain the option to set up pay rates in SpringAhead. This will allow you to run reports with pay data in SpringAhead.

How SpringAhead Handles Items and Rates
SpringAhead offers item and rate management functions not available in QuickBooks:
  • SpringAhead allows multiple rates to be attached to a single item
  • SpringAhead uses a  simple hierarchy to manage complex rate schemes

Setting Multiple Rates Per Item

QuickBooks only allows one rate per item (the rate is “married” to the item). SpringAhead “unmarries” the rate from the item, thus allowing you to assign multiple rates to a single item. For example, a typical QuickBooks setup for “Consulting” when there are multiple users with different bill rates would look something like: 

Note that there has to be a unique item name for each rate. Alternatively, SpringAhead allows you to assign multiple rates to a single item: 

These rates are then automatically populated in QuickBooks as if you had manually entered them. Bear this in mind as you set up rates in SpringAhead – based on how your company uses items, there may be opportunities to simplify item and rate setup.

How SpringAhead Handles Multiple Rates (Rate Hierarchy)

SpringAhead uses a rate hierarchy that allows your company to set rates in multiple locations (by project, by user, by task, etc.) and predictably manage which rate will be used in each circumstance. The rate hierarchy process is simple: SpringAhead looks in the following six places in the following order: ir_7.png

Once it finds a rate, it stops looking. Therefore, if different rates are populated in all six fields, the Project Bill rate will always be used. If only Task and Project rates are entered, SpringAhead will always use the Task Rate because it is higher in the search order than Project.

Simplifying rate setup: 

Here is an example of how you can use the hierarchy to simplify rate setup. Assume an employee, Karen, works at five companies and has the following bill rates for each: ir_8.png

In this example, the easiest way to set up rates would be to set up a User Rate of $150 for Karen and a Project rate for Karen of $100 at Company E. Thus by entering two rates, the entire population of five companies is covered. Alternatively, individual rates could be entered at all five companies (more setup work, same result).

SpringAhead will follow the same hierarchy when looking for a pay rate. The bill and pay rates may be set at entirely different levels. For example, SpringAhead can use the bill rate from the project level and the pay rate from the user level.

If you have a complex bill rate setup, feel free to call us for suggestions.

Five Typical Item and Rate Configurations

How you setup items in SpringAhead should parallel how you use items in QuickBooks. Five typical ways to set up items for invoicing are described in the screenshots below. Look at a representative sample of invoices in QuickBooks and indentify which type(s) resemble your items—the next step entails setting up SpringAhead to match your QuickBooks setup.


1 item covers everything
(Rates cannot be set at the global level)


Items and/or Rates are based on the user (e.g. name, title, role)


Items and/or rates based on the user/job combination. Useful when managing multiple rates per user and project

Items and rates based on the nature of the work

Each job or subjob has its own item and/or rates

Note that items and rates may be setup at different levels. For example, an item such as “Consulting” may be setup at the global level while rates may be set at the user and project levels. The next section describes how to set up items and rates based on your business needs. 

Setting Up Items and Rates

The item and rate setup sections are presented in the reverse order of the rate hierarchy. This presentation parallels the easiest way to setup SpringAhead: Set up items and rates that cover most cases and then set up the exceptions.

To add an item that doesn’t appear in a drop-down list, add the item in QuickBooks and use SpringConnect to bring the new item into SpringAhead. Note that only ‘Service’ type items are imported.


To set a Global item, follow these steps (a global rate cannot be set):
  • Click My Company
  • Scroll down to Invoicing
  • Click More Settings 


  • Select the desired global item from the Default Item drop-down list
  • Click Save
To set an item at the user level:
  • Click People and select the desired user
  • Within the project, click on the Mapping tab
  • Select the desired item from the Item drop-down list ir_18.png
  • Click Save and Exit
To set rates at the user level:
This step requires a one-time setup action before rates can be set:
  • Click My Company
  • Under Defaults, check Use User Rates


  • Click Save
To enter user rates:
  • Click on People and select the desired user
  • Click on the Project Rates tab and click Add Bill and Pay Rates
  • Enter the first date that the user can submit hours in the Date Start field ir_20.png
  • Enter the bill and /or pay ratesd
  • Click Save and Exit
User and Project Item/Rate
Item Setup:

To set up an item at the user/project level, select the item from the Invoice Item drop-down list. ir_22.png

  • Click Projects and select desired project
  • Within the project, click on the People tab
  • Click on Add Person, and enter the UsersStart and End DatesRates, and Invoice Items
  • Click the green Add Person
  • Click Save and Exit
This item selection will override any items maintained at the global and user levels. It will not override the item set at the project billables level (described below).

To set rates at the project-and-user level:

To enter project/user rates:
  • Click Projects and select desired project
  • Within the project, click on the People tab ir_23.png
  • Click Add Person and select the User(s)
  • Enter the first date that the user can submit hours to the project in the Start Date field
  • Enter the rate(s)
  • Click the green Add Person
  • Click Save and Exit
Note: The End Date field is useful for rate changes. In combination with the start date field, you can define rates for periods of time. Leaving the end date field blank indicates to SpringAhead that the rate is to be used indefinitely.

Task Item/Rate



Before setting items or rates at the Tasks level, first ensure that Tasks are enabled:

  • Click My Company
  • Check Use Tasks


  • Click Save
Then set up SpringConnect:
  • Open SpringConnect
  • Click Options and select Settings
  • Click Advanced
  • Check Sync Items as Tasks


  • Click OK to save and exit Advanced Settings
  • Click OK to exit Settings
  • Click Synchronize to sync the items as tasks
Tasks are enabled on a project-by-project basis. To enable tasks at the project level:
  • Click Projects and select the desired project
  • Within the project, click on the Tasks tab. Select This project uses tasks and they are…
    • If users are required to select a task, select Required in the adjacent drop-down menu
    • If users are to select from a limited set of tasks, select Only selected tasks apply to this project  ir_27.png
  • Click Add
  • Click Save and Exit
Item Setup:
Tasks are the same as your items in QuickBooks, therefore no additional setup is required.

Rate Setup:
If the task rates vary by project, use the Bill Rate override field in the Project Tasks section.
If the task rates are generally consistent, enter the rates in the Tasks section on the left side of the Settings area. Those rates can be overridden by project as per #1 above.

Project Override Rate

If a single bill and/or pay rate applies to a project, it can be entered at the project level. This bill and/or pay rate will override all other rates, regardless of type. An invoicing item can also be set at the project level and it will also override all other item settings.To enter a project invoicing item:



  • Click Projects and select desired project
  • Within the project, click on the Invoicing tab
  • Select an Invoice Item ir_29.png
  • Click Save and Exit
To enter project rate(s):
  • Click Projects and select desired project
  • Within the project, click on the People tab
  • In the Project Rates section, select Bill everyone $ per hour. Input the rate here ir_30.png
  • Click Save and Exit

Time Type Overview

Time Types are used to categorize how different types of time are billed and paid. They are also useful for tracking PTO hours (sick leave, vacation, etc.). Users are required to select a Time Type for every hour they record.

Here are a few sample time types and their use:



Setting Up Non-Billable Time

SpringAhead has Standard Time Types for:

  • Sick
  • Vacation
  • Holiday
  • Non-billable ir_32.jpg
SpringAhead also accommodates Custom Time Types. These may be added and mixed with any or all of the Standard Time Types: 
Setting up QuickBooks:

The first step to setting up default and/or custom time types is to create a QuickBooks project to associate them with. In the screenshots above, ‘Internal Time’ was used as the project. Determine the name of the project that you would like to associate your default or custom type types with and create it in QuickBooks by adding it as a customer. More than one ‘customer’ may be created if desired. When done, use SpringConnect to bring the new customer(s) into SpringAhead. SpringAhead will add these ‘customer(s)’ to the Project list upon import.

Setting up Default Time Types:



  • Log in to SpringAhead as an administrator
  • Click Settings
  • Click Projects
  • Select the project to add the time types to (e.g. ‘Internal Time’)
  • Within the project, click on the Time Settings tab
  • Click Add Standard Time Type to add time types, as applicable  ir_34.png
  • Click Save and Exit
Setting up Custom Time Types
  • Log in to SpringAhead as an administrator
  • Click Settings
  • Click Time Types on the left hand menu
  • Click Add Time Type ir_35.png
  • Enter the Name of the time type
  • Toggle Yes for Invoices and/or Payables, as applicable
  • Map the Time Type to the QuickBooks Payroll Item using the drop-down menu
  • Click Save and Exit

Now add the Custom Time Type(s) to the Project:

  • Click Projects
  • Select the project to add the custom time types to
  • Within the project, click on the Time Settings tab
  • Check off Custom time types are used on this project to allow all custom time types ir_36.png
  • If desired, check off Only selected custom time types apply to this project to select specific time types for the project ir_37.png
  • Click Add Time Type
  • Select the Time Type to add from the drop-down menu
  • Click the green Add Time Type
  • Add and repeat as necessary
  • Click Save and Exit
Completing the setup
  • Select the project from the Projects list
  • Within the project, click on the People tab
  • Designate who can submit time to the project. If all users can submit time, select Track time for  All Time Users ir_38.png
  • Click Save and Exit

Setting Up Overtime

Overtime rules are specified at the project level in SpringAhead. To bill and/or pay using overtime rates:
  • Log in as an administrator
  • Click Settings
  • Click Projects
  • Select the project to set up overtime rules for
  • Click on the Time Settings tab
  • Click Add Standard Time Type
  • Select Overtime or Doubletime and apply the relevant rules ir_39.png
  • Click Add Standard Time Type or Update. Then click Save and Exit
If the Bill or Pay Multipliers are blank, the defaulted rates will be used. Overtime bill and pay rates default to 150% of the regular rate. Doubletime rates are fixed at 200%.


Setting Up Payroll Items

Setting up Payroll Items is fast and easy. The following table describes how to setup Payroll Items based on how your company uses QuickBooks and SpringAhead: ir_40.png

Based on your setup requirements, follow these instructions:

Map all Time Types to the proper QuickBooks Payroll Item

Mapping Time Types to the proper QuickBooks Payroll item will ensure that each hour worked is paid at the correct rate as set up in QuickBooks. QuickBooks Payroll Items were imported into SpringAhead when the data was synced and should already be available for use. To map Time Types to Payroll Items, follow these steps:

  • Log in as an Administrator
  • Click Settings
  • Click My Company
  • Scroll to Timecard Payroll Items and Codes and click More Settings ir_41.jpg
  • Select the appropriate Payroll Item from each drop-down
  • Click Save
Hourly vs. Salaried Employees: Note that there are different Payroll Items for Hourly and Salaried Employees. SpringAhead distinguishes between these types based on how the employee is set up (as an hourly or salaried Employee Type).

Setting the default Timecard Export setting: You can Export Timecards with Invoices, Payroll or Accounting. Most companies send hours with Payroll because of their correlation. 

To do so, log in as an Admin, go to My Company and:
  • Choose to Export Timecards with Invoices under Invoicing and/or
  • Choose to Export Timecards with Payroll under Payables: Payroll Export and/or
  • Choose to Export Timecards with Accounting under Payables: Accounting Export

Map all Time Types to a single QuickBooks Payroll Item

If you won’t be using QuickBooks Payroll but you want to import hours into QuickBooks, you will need to have at least two Payroll Items to map the hours to – Hourly and Salary. The instructions for selecting a Payroll Item for each Time Type is as per the prior step, however ‘Hourly’ can be used for all non-salary Time Types and ‘Salary’ can be used for all Salary Time types.  

If you don’t already have Payroll Items setup in QuickBooks and aren’t sure how to add them, search for Add a Payroll Item in QuickBooks for instruction.

How to turn off time exports to QuickBooks

If you will not be exporting time to QuickBooks, no mapping to Payroll Items is required. To turn off the default to export timecards, uncheck any Export Timecards options in My Company.


Setting Bill and Pay Cycles

SpringAhead will aggregate your invoice, payroll and contractor payment data based on your bill and pay cycles. For example, if your company invoices customers on a semi-monthly basis, SpringAhead will summarize the data accordingly: ir_42.jpg

The aggregation is similar for payroll and contractor payments, and data can be rolled up as follows:

  • Weekly
  • Bi-weekly
  • Semi-monthly
  • Monthly
  • All (All available data is rolled up when the administrator elects to process it)
Bill and pay cycles should be set at the global level and overridden at the Customer, Project or User levels as noted below.


Setting Invoice Cycles

Invoicing cycles can be set at the Global, Customer and/or Project levels:

Project / Job
Applies to all customers and projects/jobs unless overridden
Overrides the Global setting. Applies to all projects/jobs for that customer
Overrides Global and Customer settings
  • Click Settings
  • Click My Company
  • Scroll down to Invoicing
  • Select the Invoice Cycle
  • Click Save
  • Click Settings
  • Click Companies
  • Pick a company
  • Select the Invoice Cycle
  • Click Save and Exit
  • Click Settings
  • Click Projects
  • Pick a project
  • Click on the Invoicing tab
  • Select the Invoice Cycle
  • Click Save and Exit

Setting Payment Cycles – Employees and Contractors

Payment cycles can be set at the Global and User levels:
Applies to all employees AND contractors unless overridden
Overrides the Global setting
  • Click Settings
  • Click My Company
  • Scroll down to Payables
  • Select the Payable Cycle
  • Click Save
  • Click Settings
  • Click People
  • Select a person
  • Click on the Project Rates tab
  • Select the Pay Cycle
  • Click Save and Exit

If you are using bi-weekly cycles, the start date of the bi-weekly period may be offset by one week. To set the proper start date:
  • Log in as an Administrator
  • Click My Company
  • Click More Settings under Global Settings
  • Enter in the Allowed Entry Date, which is the date of the first day of the first pay cycle that your company began using SpringAhead
  • Click Save
Note: If your company does not use standard pay cycles, the All setting may be used (in Invoice Cycle, Payable Cycle, etc.) This instructs SpringAhead to aggregate and process all approved items when the administrator processes data.

SpringAhead is now ready for employees to begin entering information.



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