In this article we will go through the differences between the Account Custom Field and the Account as Work Attribute and their behavior within Tempo Timesheets.
The first step to start using Tempo Accounts is to link them to your projects, however, only linking accounts to projects is not enough to generate reports on the time spent in those accounts.
An account can be linked to many different projects, the same way that a project can be linked to many different accounts. That's the reason why issues within a project are not automatically linked to the accounts. Therefore, to be able to track time logged for an account, the issues of the project need to be linked to an Account or you need to be using Accounts as Work Attribute. If none of these are configured, the worklogs are not associated with any accounts and therefore, will not be displayed in the account report.
Let’s check each of the options, Account Custom Field and Account Work Attribute, their pros and cons, to help you decide what would be the best set up for your use case.
Account Custom Field
Linking an account to a project will not set the Account Custom Field on existent nor on newly created issues. It only means that any issue in this project can be credited to a specific account, and this is done by setting the desired account in the issue by adding the account custom field to the issue screen.
Once that is done, choose the value for the account and the field will appear in the issue view. Please note, if no value is set for the Account Custom Field, it will not appear in the issue view (on Server and Data Center you will need to edit it through the Edit Issue Screen).
When an account is set in an issue, all worklogs created in this issue will be credited to that account. Also issue searches including the term ‘Account in ("account a", etc) will include all those where the specified account is configured on the issue’s Account Custom Field. Only users with Edit Issue permission will be able to change the account value in the field.
When using the Account Custom Field, the time logged in that issue will be associated with that account, however, if the account is changed in the issue, it will also change in the worklogs. This way, if you have an account configured in an issue and time logged against that issue, and later you decide to change the account in that issue, all the historical data will be affected as the value in the Account Custom Field is linked to the issue and not to the worklog itself.
Account Work Attribute
Work Attributes are values that can be added to the time logged providing detailed information about that worklog.
Different from the Account Custom Field, the Account Work Attribute is not configured in the issue screen, but in the Tempo Settings and will appear in the log time form. The value for the account is chosen when logging time. Each time the users log their time, they will need to choose the account value from a dropdown. The dropdown will present all the accounts linked to that project and the global accounts you may have.
The Account Work Attribute, as the name suggests, is linked to the time logged itself and not to the issue. In this case, if the account in the project changes, the worklogs will maintain the original account. To change the work attribute value, it will be necessary to manually do it one by one.
Using both Account Custom Field and Account Work Attribute together
When adding the Account Custom Field to the issue, the dropdown of the Account Work Attribute in the log work form will default to the same value as the one set in the issue against which the user is logging time. If the issue itself is not linked, the user will need to select which account to use. This is because many accounts can be linked to one project.
So, when using only the account custom field in the issue (not in the log time form), all the time logged there will be linked to that account but if the account is changed in the issue, it will change the account value in the worklogs as well.
When using only the Account Work Attribute (in the log time form), the account value is linked to the time logged and the value does not change unless you manually change it.
When using both the Account Custom Field and the Account Work Attribute, the dropdown value in the log time form will default to the same account set in the issue. In this case, the account in the issue can be changed without changing the historical data as the account was set on the worklogs by the work attribute.
The Account Custom Field is linked to the issue itself, while the Account Work Attribute (the one that appears in the log time form) is linked to the time logged itself.