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Title: How should I handle billable markup on expenses for T&M contracts?

Brief description:

This entry discusses the options for applying a G&A billable markup for expenses, typically with Time and Materials contracts.

What’s covered in this document:


Expense markups may be handled in a couple of ways in Unanet. The markup must be added prior to any expenses or vendor invoices being entered in your system.

If a T&M contract stipulates that expenses must have fixed G&A percentage (billing by x%, and that % is not going to fluctuate based on your G&A rates or any other influence) applied on invoices, this can be done directly on the T&M project by using the Expense Markup feature and adding the applicable expense type(s) at the project level and set the fixed % markup to be applied on invoices.

If a T&M contract stipulates that expenses must have a G&A percentage that fluctuates applied on invoices, or is pulled from your G&A indirect rate set up in your system, then you will likely want to set up a separate project for Expenses where that project is set to a Billing Type of CP.

The Pros and Cons of each option are below, along with the steps for setup.

Pros and Cons

Method for billable G&A markup on TM contractProsCons
Expense Type Markup
  • Only one project is required.
  • Works nicely if the markup never changes year over year.
  • There is no date range in the Expense Type markup feature, so when the markup goes up, it goes up for all future expenses (except locked/extracted ones of course). Timing has to be impeccable as far as locking/extracting expenses applicable to one date range and setting up the new markup %.
  • The markup cannot be adjusted when final rates are received, which is a requirement for anyone who is applying G&A rather than markup.
Separate CP project and cost structure
  • Allows tight control of G&A % changes year over year. You can pick up G&A rate changes and escalation from the cost structure.
  • You don't have to specify markup to each T&M project every time you need a new expense type in the system.
  • Must create a separate project with a Billing Type of CP and ensure all applicable expenses get charged to that CP project. (Labor will remain on the T&M Billing Type project.)
  • Separate project may be confusing to look at because the Billing Type is CP for a T&M project.
  • Billing must involve Lead/Contributor project setup. This works fine but is an additional step.

Option 1: Expense Type Markup

You can either:

  • add the markup at the Expense Type level if this markup would be added for the specific expense type across all T&M projects in Admin > Setup > Expense > Expense Types, apply the appropriate markup. If the % markup changes the next year, you may want to consider temporarily turning on the property Limit Access To Administrators Only (Restricted Access Mode) (Admin > Properties > Unanet > Access/Permissions) in order to ensure no other expenses are processed while you finalize the one year's expenses on the old rate and set up the new rate.


  • add the markup directly at the project level if the markup % is project specific and will apply only to certain T&M projects in Project > Expense Types, click +Expense Type to add the applicable expense type(s) and click Save.  Then click the edit pencil icon  for the recently added expense type(s) to edit and enter the applicable % in the Project Markup field.

If new expense types are added to the system, you must specify the markup amount each time (in addition to mapping the expense types in the Cost Structure).

Option 2: Separate CP Billing Type project and Cost Structure

Sequentially, the setup for a T&M contract with variable G&A markup or a G&A markup tied to your current indirect G&A rate would be using a TM billing type project and a CP billing type project as follows:

  1. Create Project with TM Billing Type and allowing Time but not Expense on the Project's Time and Expense tabs.
    1. Associate this T&M project with a cost structure that applies the labor burdens for costing (or any cost structure that includes labor even if you don’t care about costing on this T&M project. The key here is you need a Cost Structure to get the project to appear on a Project Accounting report instead of a Project report, and the cost structure enables that).
    2. In the Budget tab, populate the appropriate Labor Bill and Labor Cost values as well as Funded value if desired.
  2. Create separate Project with CP Billing Type and allowing Expense but not Time on the Project's Time and Expense tabs.
    1. Make the Project Code similar to the T&M labor project above. For example if the T&M labor Project Code is “1234,” then make this CP Expense Project Code “1234-EXPENSE." Associate this project with a cost structure that contains the applicable markups per year (as in the screenshot below). This may be the same cost structure as for the T&M labor project above.
      1. Update the G&A Markup as appropriate annually in the Cost Structure.
    2. In the Budget tab, populate the appropriate Expense Bill (expense plus markup) and Expense Cost values as well as Funded value if desired.
  3. Ensure that people charge time to the T&M project, and expense to the CP project.
  4. Run Project Accounting Reports like the JSR or Project Revenue & Funding Summary report.      
    1. In the JSR you can roll the two projects together or break them out.
    2. The Revenue line will show the hours charged to the T&M project * bill rate, as well as the expenses charged to the CP project with the G&A rate applied. Again, if you roll the projects together you’ll see the total revenue, or if you want to see labor separate from expense, you can choose not to roll up.

Additional Information

Help Docs - Expense Type Setup including Markup

Help Docs - Project Expense Types including Project-specific Markup

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