Surely other recruiters are looking for this exact report.
Let me give you my latest frustration:
Here's what I am looking for:
I posted a job on oDesk a few months ago. The job is closed because I hired a freelancer and the job is complete. Now it's time for me to bill my client for this job, so I want to run a report that shows all of the money I have paid for this job, since it started. I want this report to show a line item for each financial transaction. Every payment that was made for this job. Every credit, and so on. Sounds logical, right? Sounds like a common request. I mean after all, if I am going to bill my client for the job, it would be helpful for me to know what my costs were.
OK so it took me over an hour to figure this out, but here are all of the non-intuitive steps:
1. Log into oDesk and go to the "Recruit" tab
(On a side note: This tab should be named "Manage My Jobs", not "Recruit". Recruit implies that this tab is only used for recruiting. But in fact you must go to this tab to look up *any* information about *any* job, whether it's current, open, canceled or closed. So the name of the tab should be changed. That's suggestion #1 from me. And that name works because the tab right next to it is already named "Manage my Team")
2. Next, click "View all job postings"
3. Select "All Teams" and "All Job Postings" (since I wouldn't ever remember specifically which team was hired for this specific job, I'll look at all of them). (Would be nice if you could filter by date too, but whatever).
4. In the search results, good luck finding the job because all you see here is the title. Here I have over 100 jobs and they have common titles such as "Convert PSD to HTML". It would be helpful to show a preview of the post. Maybe a pop-up div that appears when you hover over the title, or a [+] to expand the line. Another welcome addition would be a SEARCH box that searches the job postings. For now, if you're not sure if you've found the right job, you click on the job title. If that's not it, you can hit the back button on your browser but then you'll only see Open jobs, and you'll need to fool around with the drop-down lists to get it to show you All Job Postings again. Very cumbersome.
5. OK so I found the job. Clicking on the job shows me the freelancer I hired for this job. And this brings us to the next confusing experience on oDesk: Remember, I am looking for details of a Job. That is why I performed all of the steps above - to find information about this specific Job. But now all of a sudden I am looking at information about a specific Freelancer. Wait. What? Clicking on the link here doesn't continue drilling down into the Job. Instead, it goes down the wrong path of showing me everything about this person. That's not what I am looking for!
There's a link off to the side that says "View Contract". A-ha ... that must be what I am looking for! I click on that link. So far I've traveled through the "Recruit" tab, through an obscure link to view old jobs, followed the job link only to see freelancer information. Clicked on a small link to view contract info and I am barely on the right path towards job information. oDesk is KINDA on the right track. But this new page shows a mish-mosh of information specific to this contract but also information that has NOTHING to do with this contract. For example, a Work Diary that shows all work the freelancer did, regardless of the job. Why am I looking at freelancer info again? See, we've lost focus again here! At the bottom of the screen it also shows every message I've ever sent to this contrator, regardless of what job it was for. Grrrr this is SO frustrating. oDesk inadvertently makes every effort to focus on the *Freelancer* details, but I am looking for information about a specific *JOB*. Stop showing me info about the Freelancer. If I wanted information about the Freelancer I would have gone to the "Manage My Team" section! Besides, this freelancer worked on many jobs, not just this one. Still, this is the rocky path you must go down to try to get the information. So bear with me.
6. OK so I've located my job, and on this page there is a big box that proudly displays the TOTAL amount of money I've paid *THIS* freelancer for *THIS* specific job. It shows that I paid him $199.98 and he worked 18 hours. That's great! Now, I want a breakdown of those hours and earnings, but ONLY FOR THIS JOB. Why is this so hard?
7. You might think this information is readily available, perhaps in the Reports tab. It's available, but not readily available. You need to go through all of the steps in this post to get the four pieces of information you'll need to run the report. The first thing you'll need is the name of the freelancer that worked on this job. On this screen, I can see his name. Write it down.
8. The second piece of information you will need is: the name of the Team under which this job was posted. So go back to Recruit > Job Postings > View all job postings, select 'All Teams' and 'All Job Postings' and find your job again in this list. When you locate the job, in the 5th column you will see the name of the team. Write this down.
9. The third piece of information you will need is the Job Post date. The 3rd column will show the Date Posted. Write this down too.
10. The fourth and final (?) piece of information you will need is the Job's END date. If you don't gather this information, your report can potentially show data for more than one job and that's no bueno.
11. Wouldn't it be GREAT if you could just run the Transaction History report and GROUP BY JOB? Well, you can't. You CAN select a date range and you CAN group by Freelancer, but ... when you run the report, there are no fields that show WHICH JOB it refers to. So simply running the report by specifying the date range and the freelancer will show you all the money you've paid that freelancer, but there's no way to tell which JOBS he was paid for.
So how do you get this information? How do you run a report that shows all of the money you paid for a specific JOB on oDesk? Well, it turns out that there's a rule in oDesk that says a freelancer cannot work on more than one Job (unless he is assigned to more than one team). So: ONE FREELANCER within ONE TEAM = ONE JOB. Remember this rule. Knowing this, along with the FOUR bits of information you painfully gathered from all of the steps above, you can (finally) run the report. Go to Reports tab and select 'Transaction History'
12. On this page, make sure the correct Financial Account is selected. Next, CAREFULLY select the criteria. The Start Date needs to be the "Job Post" date. You gathered this information in step 9 above. The End Date needs to be the Job End Date. You got this in step 10. The "All Freelancers" drop-down must be changed to the freelancer's name. If you don't see his/her name in the list then you have selected the wrong date range and/or the wrong financial account. Finally, the drop-down that says "All Clients" must be changed to the TEAM to which your job was assigned. You gathered this information in step 8 above. I don't know why oDesk calls this drop-down "Clients" when it should really say "Teams".
13. OK, if you've set all of the criteria correctly and you've crossed your fingers, click the "Go" button and wait for the report.
When the report appears on your screen, the very first thing you should check is the Total that appears at the bottom. If that dollar amount does not match the TOTAL amount you saw in step 6, then something is wrong.
Notice how NOWHERE in this report, will you see a reference to the JOB or the CONTRACT NUMBER for which these transactions correspond to. The Reference ID links off to the side do not provide this information either. You're basically trusting that the report is correct. There's a reasonable chance that the report you are looking at shows the COMPLETE transaction history for that Job you found in step 4. But since there's no field/column that confirms the Job name or Contract Number, you can't be 100% sure.
I can't be the ONLY person who needs this report on a regular basis.
oDesk has come a long way over the past few years but it's still evident that buyers were not considered during the UI design stage.
I've paid out over 10,000 USD since I've been on this site so it's safe to assume I have a lot of experience using oDesk. I hope the folks at oDesk will read and understand my frustrations, and make the site more user-friendly for clients (i.e. those who use this site to hire freelancers).
Eric, I completely agree with everything you said and up it by one: if you want to generate said report over a period which is longer than 6 months, you have to generate two reports, because they changed the permissible timeframe from 12 to 6 months. It's equally painful for freelancers. I requested better reporting features about 3 or 4 years ago and was told they're working on it and to "stay tuned". The only change I've seen since then was the unwanted one described above.
For freelancers, I think the permissible timeframe to generate said report over a period has not been limited now and I think they had modified the reporting feature for freelancers and you can generate said report over a period without any limitation of timeframe. Please confirm this.
Manoj, you're right - they seem to have changed it back recently after telling us that it was an intentional change to limit it from 12 to 6 months. My guess is that it was just a bug promoted to a feature.
I am sorry to hear about the confusion and frustration you experienced trying to generate the report. I will share your feedback with the Team.
Also, I would like to confirm that now it is possible to generate a Transaction History report for more than 6 months without limitation.