Using custom fields to calculate GST in Microsoft Project

 Mar 10, 2014

Microsoft Project allows you to customise fields for several purposes including; to save time, avoid typing errors, meet stakeholders' expectations and needs, warn you that a task is due in a certain number of days, or to meet reporting expectations. Customised fields can perform simple and complex calculations, similar to functions in Excel. In Project, you can also add drop-down lists with options so that the user can select from a list rather than manually type in data. There are 9 custom fields that you can add in Microsoft Project. These include cost, date, duration, finish, flag, number, start, text, and outline code. Note that all field types allow you to add 10 customised fields with the exception of the 'text' field, which allows for 30 customised fields. Let's say, for example, you want to calculate the GST on the resources' standard rates. To do this in Microsoft Project, you will have to firstly, create a cost customised field and add it to the 'Resource Sheet.' To do this, follow the steps below:
  1. Open the Project file and go to 'Resource Sheet' view.
  2. Click the 'Project' tab (or Resource Sheet Tools Format).
  3. Click the 'Custom Fields' button in the 'Properties' group (or columns group respectively). Since you are in the 'Resource Sheet' view, the Resource option is already selected.
  4. Select the 'Cost' type and then select the 'Cost 1' field.
  5. Rename this field to 'GST.'
  6. Click the 'Formula' button.
  7. Using the 'Field button', select the 'Cost – Standard Rate' option and click the asterisk (*) button.
  8. For GST, you'll need to multiply the Standard Rate by 10% so type in '0.01.'
  9. Click OK. The message displayed is warning us that the existing data will be deleted. Click OK again.
So now that you've created the GST custom field, you'll need to insert the calculated field in the Resource table by doing the following.
  1. Select the 'Ovt.Rate' field.
  2. Press the 'Insert' button on the keyboard.
  3. Type “GS” and Microsoft Project will select the GST field (rather than you scrolling down the list).
  4. Click on this and the GST field will be added to your table.
Now, you're done! Simple, isn't it? There are many great other features of Microsoft Project, which I'll continue to write about in upcoming blog posts, so stay tuned.

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About the Author:

Magdalena Todor  

With over 20 years experience as a facilitator and university lecturer, Magda is one of our most senior and experienced trainers. With previous practical on the job experience as a project manager she embodies a brilliant balance of training experience and business knowledge. With every event she delivers, Magda takes a wholehearted approach to ensure every course is impactful, relevant and a genuinely positive learning experience for all.

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