Cost vs. activity date RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    I have a task where the payment of the task comes after the task end date. I have another task where the payment comes before task start date.

    Is it possible to reflect this in MS Project? -currently when changing the date of a cost the start/end date of the task is automatically adjusted, however in order to visualize the actual cash flow, i need to add the date of payment outside the start/end date. On the other hand i also need to indicate the actual end date of the task.

    Any ideas?



    Monday, January 22, 2018 3:41 PM

All replies

  • Hi Karen,

    You'd have 2 solutions:

    1- either the cost can be accrued prorated (by default), at the start or the end of the task. In the resource setting, you can specify this parameter, prorated by default.

    2- create a distinct milestone for the cost, so you can differenciate it from the task itself and position it when ever it is occuring.

    Hope this helps,

    Guillaume Rouyre, MBA, MVP, P-Seller

    Monday, January 22, 2018 4:22 PM
  • Karen,

    plenty of ideas, but a bit more information will help. Do you have an example, a screenshot?

    Star by listing the distinct tasks, milestones and events,

    eg do the task, report completion of the task, submit the claim, wait 30 days, get paid.

    In MSP cost is a positive number and getting paid is a negative number. You accrue the cost (+$) when you do the task. You accrue the income ( -$) when you get paid. There is no resource needed for this since you can just make it a fixed cost for the event.

    Any help?

    Monday, January 22, 2018 11:22 PM
  • Hi Trevor,

    Thanks for the reply. 

    Ill try to elaborate a bit:

    One example could be an outsourced manufacturing of some product that are used as part of the project. 

    I'll have to pay 20% when i book the manufacturing, then ill pay the next 20% when the manufacturing is initiated, and the remaining 60% is payed one month after the manufacturing is done.

    Since i need to deliver input to the production i need to keep the actual start date, so i know when the input must be ready. Since i need to use to manufactured product, i need to know the actual end date. 

    So, i have the first payment before, the second payment when the task starts (here i can use the option i ms project accrue column), and the third payment after the task is done. 

    Does this make sense? -can i get this reflected in Ms Project. I was hoping to avoid making to many subtasks for the sake of tracking cost.... 

    Tuesday, January 23, 2018 7:58 PM
  • Hi Guillaume,

    Thanks for the reply. I added a reply below - in case you have a solution to the elaborated problem.. 


    Tuesday, January 23, 2018 8:00 PM
  • Karen, don't hesitate to make as many tasks, milestones and events as required, and break it down into the necessary level of detail. That is the fastest, easiest and most effective way to get what you want. You have all of these distinct events. Just list them. Some will have nonzero durations, others zero duration. Each will have predecessors and successors. There will be patterns and repetition, so easy copy/paste. Once you have them all in the network model, you will be able to sort, group and filter on them, easy.

    Any help?

    Tuesday, January 23, 2018 10:46 PM
  • Alright, it seems that the functionality i'm looking for is not present in MS P. I am aware that subtasks etc. can be created and that it can be sorted that way, I was just hoping for the other solution to be a possibility. 

    Thanks for your replies, much appreciated.


    Wednesday, January 24, 2018 8:47 PM
  • Karen --

    From your final reply, I suspect you are trying to accomplish all of this using a single task, named something like Manufacturing.  You COULD make this happen very nicely if you would use three tasks, which would be:

    • Book Manufacturing
    • Manufacturing
    • Manufacturing Final Payment

    Make the Book Manufacturing task a milestone.  Make the Manufacturing Final Payment task a milestone as well.  Specify the Duration value for the Manufacturing task to reflect the time needed to manufacture the product.  Specify a Finish-to-Start (FS) dependency on all three tasks.  On the FS dependency between the Manufacturing task and the Manufacturing Final Payment task, add 30d of Lag time.  Set a Start No Earlier Than constraint on the Manufacturing task to represent the date manufacturing is expected to begin.

    Apply the Cost table in the Gantt Chart view.  On the Book Manufacturing milestone task, enter a Fixed Cost amount that represents the 20% down payment.  Set the Fixed Cost Accrual value to End.  On the Manufacturing task, enter a Fixed Cost amount that represents the second 20% payment.  Set the Fixed Cost Accrual value to Start.  On the Manufacturing Final Payment milestone task, enter a Fixed Cost amount that represents the final 60% payment.  Set the Fixed Cost Accrual value to End.

    If you display the Task Usage view and apply the Cost table, and you add the Fixed Cost row to the timephased grid, you will see that all of the Fixed Cost amounts align precisely with what you describe as your need.  When you enter Actual Start and Actual Finish dates, this will align the payments on the exact dates they were made.

    Just a thought to let you know Microsoft Project CAN handle your situation pretty nicely.  Hope this additional information helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018 9:14 PM