How to track direct costs and indirect costs for projects in Jira?

Federico Baronti
May 22, 2024 12:25:00 PM

Understanding direct costs and indirect costs is essential for effective cost tracking, project management, and financial planning. Carefully classifying costs ensures adequate project budgets and a proper decision-making process, especially when assigning resources. If you need to start improving the budgeting for projects (especially if you're using Jira) and enhance the allocation of resources. Keep reading to learn more about these types of costs.

For anyone monitoring or managing the finances of their projects or services, it's important to be aware of the differentiation between direct costs and indirect costs; direct costs are those attributed directly to a specific project, product, or service, and indirect costs are those that cannot be directly traced or attributed to a specific project, product, or service.
The reasons why you should be clear about the differentiation between these two are:

  •    Estimate budgets and costs accurately: Distinguishing between these costs is essential for creating project budgets and estimating the true cost of specific activities or deliverables. It's critical to prevent budget overruns and forecasting.

  •    Make decisions well-informed: Understanding the nature of costs (direct vs. indirect) allows us to make decisions based on data; that way, Project Managers and financial teams can assess the cost-effectiveness of different activities and allocate resources strategically, leading to better project outcomes.

  •    Control and monitoring costs: Separating costs helps while monitoring and controlling project expenditures. By tracking how direct costs are being utilized, project managers can adjust to them and stay within budget margins to ensure project success.

  •    Optimize resources: Identifying direct costs allows for enhancing resource allocation like labor, materials, and equipment, ensuring that resources are efficiently utilized for activities that will positively impact project goals.

  •    Provide transparency and accountability: Having costs classified as direct or indirect promotes transparency within an organization. It ensures that each project or department is accountable for its specific expenses, reducing the potential for financial discrepancies and enhancing overall accountability.

Once established why it's important to be aware of the differentiation of these two concepts, let's keep going by defining them in dept:

What are direct costs?

Direct costs are those directly attributed to a specific project, product, or service. They're incurred when resources are destined exclusively for the production or execution of a particular activity. E.g., the cost of materials, labor, and equipment used to manufacture a product are direct costs.

Direct costs are identifiable and traceable; they can be easily linked to a specific project or activity. This makes them crucial in determining the true cost of a particular effort.

What are indirect costs?

Indirect costs, also known as overhead costs, are expenses that cannot be directly traced or attributed to a specific project, product, or service. They're incurred when running a business. However, they don't contribute directly to produce a product or service.

These types of costs can be classified into two categories:

  1. Fixed overhead costs: These are incurred regardless of the production or activity level. E.g., the cost of rent, utilities, and insurance are fixed overhead costs.

  2. Variable overhead costs: These costs vary depending on the production or activity level. E.g., the cost of supplies and the cost of machine maintenance are variable overhead costs.

Once those concepts are clarified, let's imagine the situation when someone is in charge of overviewing a project's finances, and those projects are run on Jira. What's the right way to proceed?

Implementing an effective cost-tracking solution in Jira
How to track your Jira project budget?

To implement this solution, note that your project must be in Jira. To act on it, the first step should be to get into the Atlassian Marketplace and look for the app Budgety for Jira. This app will allow you to track costs associated with your project, monitoring their impact on budgets through real-time reporting. Once you're sure you'll keep going with this app, starting with it is pretty much straightforward:

  1. Install Budgety from the Atlassian Marketplace and access it from the apps menu in your Jira.

  2. Choose on which project you need to start tracking the costs, then add them and be sure to differentiate between those direct and indirect, as you can see:
    How to track costs with Budgety

  3. Once done, you'll be able to get information about the localization (direct or indirect) of your costs within your whole project portfolio through Budgety for Jira:

As you have seen, having the concepts of direct and indirect costs well differentiated when tracking the costs of your projects is essential to succeeding at financial monitoring for the sake of your business's health. Even better, if you're running those projects in Jira already, you need to add the missing economic information through Budgety and start tracking it to succeed and maintain complete control over your projects' finances in Jira.

Get Budgety for project cost tracking in the Atlassian Marketplace

Get Budgety for budget and cost tracking

If your team is already managing projects in Jira and needs to track their finances, Jira doesn't offer that solution out-of-the-box, which is when Budgety comes into play.

Budgety is a solution that allows monitoring of those direct and indirect costs that represent the total economic impact of the project for the business. You can try the app for free in the Atlassian Marketplace by clicking the button below: 


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