How the latest technology can boost efficiency and productivity
There’s been a huge shift in the UK economy and the Professional Services industry over the last two decades. Professional Services firms have seized the opportunity to address a rapidly growing demand for knowledge-based services. They’ve advanced and expanded rapidly.
But there’s a catch. In the race to keep up with client needs, some firms have neglected their own infrastructure and processes. And in a newly competitive world, efficiency and agility are increasingly important.
Some Professional Services firms have been so busy satisfying customer demand for their expertise that they haven’t had the bandwidth or appetite to modernise their operations.
Systems stand still, but your competitors don’t
One of the critical challenges facing Professional Services and project-centric firms today is visibility and control of their project and business finances. Historically, they have evolved separate systems for each. Often, these are manual, based on spreadsheet data entry, copying and pasting or transferring files between systems, departments and calculation systems. It’s not surprising that it’s slow and inaccurate to report on project performance and on business performance.
Employees don’t enjoy this contorted process either. The experience of trying to make systems and data work together for reporting means they’re saddled with time-consuming manual admin that creates frustration and distracts key people from fee-earning work.
In a fast-changing world, high performance relies on quick reactions
The problem today is that Professional Services firms need to be more agile and responsive. They need to report in real time on project billing and work in progress (WIP), to keep customer invoicing and cashflow up to date and to ensure that project managers can track progress accurately. They need to feed this information into the overall finance system, for clear and transparent performance insight and forecasting.
Ideally, Professional Services firms want to maximise the time available for chargeable activities and minimise time on admin. But when manual systems and processes are cumbersome and difficult for consultants to use, they may record chargeable activities inaccurately, or not at all. That means they’re not billed to the client, so revenue is lost.
How many of your critical financial processes rely on manual input?
Many Professional Services firms lack the ability to generate and review fundamental performance indicators on demand. That means they can’t make insight-based decisions that could affect overall business performance. It’s impossible to reposition or pivot strategy and operations without a full picture of current and projected financial performance, including project delivery commercials.
Moreover, Professional Services firms are often paying out twice – for a Project Management tool and a separate financial management system. The costs incurred by inefficiency and a lack of integration between these systems are harder to quantify. Customer-facing staff and admin teams, as a result, spend time on data collection, manipulation, and rekeying to provide the bare minimum of record keeping and reporting of management information.
The big win is cloud-based, all-in-one finance and project management
Now, there’s a single cloud-based solution that can achieve this goal for Professional Services firms. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central combines financial management with extensive functionality for project and resource management (PSA, developed by Progressus). It brings people, processes and financial data together, end-to-end, for full control and visibility over projects, project financials and business management.
By bringing together these two crucial functions, Professional Services firms can achieve a real-time, 360 degree view of financial data. Processes are automated, saving time and reducing manual input, freeing up staff to focus on client service and other critical activities.
Directors and project managers have full control over their projects and financials in the context of overall business performance. It’s easier to understand and predict results and cashflow. Accurate records, reminders and billing help to improve client service. The overall result: improved efficiency, productivity and staff satisfaction through a better user experience.
A finance management decision that makes financial sense
Adopting an industry-leading solution from Microsoft means that Professional Services firms who already use other Microsoft applications can get better value from them, because they work in harmony. There’s a resilience benefit too: because it’s a cloud-based solution, staff can access systems and data remotely and on-the-go on any device.
Finding experienced implementation partners you can trust
When embarking on a new project it can be a daunting task trying to find the right implementation partner to work with. At Xpedition, we are a Microsoft Gold Partner of over 20 years and expert at guiding organisations through the implementation of intelligent cloud-based business applications based on Microsoft Dynamics 365. We understand the challenges of the industry and have formed a strategic partnership with Progressus to help Professional Services organisations boost their productivity and automate processes.
Progressus was established in conjunction with Microsoft leaders, who recognised the need for a fully integrated business solution to support Professional Services firms and project-based businesses. The Progressus solution is an extension to Dynamics 365 Business Central. It adds advanced project and resource management capabilities for Professional Services and project-centric businesses.
Register for webinar: Wednesday 16th September
Get in touch with our Professional Services specialists or register for our upcoming webinar, if you’d like to find out more about the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central with Progressus Project Management to support your organisations’ digital transformation strategy.
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