If you find your company is struggling with charging clients or justifying costs internally, it’s high time you considered a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution.
A Professional Services Automation (PSA) allows you to:
- accurately record time and expenses
- effectively schedule the right resources
- ensure timely billing
- measure the financial performance of both your projects and employees
Before diving deep into searching for the best PSA solution out in the market, you need to take into account the following:
Business needs – You have to decide which processes are the most critical for your organization and have to be automated. There are a lot of solutions that promise they do wonders for your business, but they might be missing the specific options you need.
Scalability – Will the software grow with you? You need to select a flexible PSA solution and make sure that you can update features, add new users or remove existing ones.
Team Decision – Gather all the people in your organization that are going to be involved in the implementation process. This will make it easier for you once you’ll have to get all users onboard to use the PSA solution.
WebSan Solutions is holding a webinar this November that will get you familiar with the idea of using a PSA solution for your business needs. You’ll also have the chance to look at Moniroo, our Professional Services Automation solution that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics GP.
Doriana Kote, Web Marketing Coordinator, WebSan Solutions Inc., an Ontario Business Achievement Award for Service Excellence 2014 Finalist
Last week I met with a new client, we began with our normal introductions, etc. They were curious as to my expertise with the Dynamics product line. After discussing the seven different certifications I personally have from Microsoft, the conversation quickly moved onto other topics. However, this reminded me of the rigorous screening process Microsoft employs for its partner network.
Any partner wishing to sell Microsoft Dynamics GP must have employees certified in its core financial management system. Further certifications are required in database management among others. Recently all Microsoft Partners were asked to complete formal training & certification in Sure Step, the Microsoft Project Management System. I am glad to say all WebSan staff that were tested passed with flying colours!
Congratulations Team WebSan!
Did you know Directors of corporations can be held personally liable for un-remitted HST!?!
Be ready for the new HST! Contact WebSan now to take advantage of our HST Cut-Over Tool-Kit.
Over our many years of experience with Microsoft Dynamics GP, we have developed a proven implementation methodology for companies both large & small. Get the job done right the first time! Let us help you with HST upgrades:
- Update company-wide sales & purchasing tax options
- Set tax settings for specific grouping of customers or vendors
- Ensure appropriate sales items are taxable or not
An often-used buzzword over the last few years in the IT sector has been virtualization - the process of turning one server that hosts a single operating system into a super-system that can potentially host 10 or more operating systems. By now most large corporations and agencies have some sort of virtualized infrastructure in place, and for good reason. The benefits to using this technology are numerous: hardware and operation costs are drastically reduced, virtualization provides enhanced flexibility with the allocation of resources, and production environment’s mission critical applications have been noticing improvements of up time. But how can a virtualized server improve your organizations testing and development cycles?
One of the major benefits of a virtualized test server is the ability to swiftly bring new resources online and create new development environments. Cloning a standard template that has been authored with the fundamental tools required by the development team can create these new environments. Procuring, configuring and installing hardware used to take weeks - but all of the sudden your development team’s new environment is up and running in less than the amount of time it takes to get a cup of coffee.
Another true benefit to a virtualized test server is that there is less risk of cross-contamination between environments. There is no longer an issue when development team A modifies core system files that could possibly interrupt development team B from using that code library. Why? Because both teams have completely separate environments using completely different virtual hard drives connected to completely different virtual networks.
So what about the cost? The common perception is that you need a really powerful and expensive server - but this is not the case. Taking into account the timesavings you will experience, you will also find that there is there is not much investment needed to get a virtualized test server online, especially now that VMWare’s ESXi Hypervisor is available as a free download. Perhaps that server sitting in the basement can be used to get your foot in the virtualization doorstep.
I've seen it numerous times...it happens in law firms, accounting firms, consulting firms, and any company where employees are the "product" upon which revenues are based.
The problem with the professional services industry is that a large key to success is cash flow management. That means that you must effectively manage the time between when your resources perform the work and when the customer pays. Let's take a look at the whole process.
Part 1 : Time and Expense reporting
To effectively get your personnel to report their time and expenses, it must be simple. Some of the ways to address this are :
- enable your team to enter their time and expenses through a simple to use web portal, or even a mobile device. That way it doesn't take a significant amount of time out of their day to "get their paperwork in".
- set up a process whereby remote users can simply mail their expense receipts to head office (or even scan them into a central server). The receipts should be indexed with the expense report number as well.
Part 2 - billing entry
- the time and expense reports should be approved by a manager, preferably online, and afterwards should move seamlessly into the billing engine
- the billing process should be automated from the time and expense reporting, with minimal, if any, manual intervention. We find in most professional services firms that this is an area where the most manual intervention takes place.
- if the invoices need to be approved as well, this should be done online and with workflow. This step is usually a "crutch" for poor time and expense reporting accuracy, so it's acceptable for this to be part of the process to ease the transition to a new system for management. After a while, however, this approval step should be eliminated.
Part 3 - customer invoicing
- during all professional services systems implementations, I insist on the client providing us 2-3 customers to interview. This is because the #1 reason why bills are not paid on time is because they are not clear and concise for the customers.
- invoices should be standardized, but can also be customized by customer. This is a service I would recommending charging for, but it can also reduce their time-to-pay. The theory is simple: if a customer gets their bill in exactly the format they're looking for, then why would they need time to reconcile it against their records? Provide as much information as possible, presented in a way that they want, and watch your open AR shrink.
So there are some creative ways to affect your cash-to-cash cycle, while improving customer service and reducing costs as well.