Full Sail Partners Blog

Full Sail Partners Promotes Amy Balassone to Relationship Manager

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Tue, Aug 21, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

Amy Balassone

Full Sail Partners, a Concur and Deltek Platinum Partner, is pleased to announce that Amy Balassone has been promoted to Relationship Manager. As Relationship Manager, she will focus on cultivating new clients through referrals, building relationships with existing clients, promoting brand awareness of the Blackbox Connector and demonstrating measurable business results for clients. In her new role, Amy is responsible for managing more than 100 relationships with Concur representatives and coordinating efforts with prospective clients.

Formerly serving as a Direct Marketing Associate, Amy has been part of the marketing and business development team at Full Sail Partners for almost 3 years. During this time, she has gained an in-depth knowledge of the products Full Sail Partners offers and helped to solve common problems our clients face. Prior to joining Full Sail Partners, Amy worked as a program liaison to healthcare providers working directly with clients to ensure cost effective outcomes. 

“I have such a customer-focused mentality. I am very excited that in my new position I get the chance to continue building relationships with clients while offering a larger variety of products and services to meet their needs,” noted Amy Balassone. 

With the continued growth of Full Sail Partners’ Blackbox Connector offerings to include the business intelligence tool Entrinsik Informer 5, in addition to Concur, the firm needed a key person to help clients with these specific solutions. Firms interested in connecting Deltek Vision or Deltek for Professional Services to Concur Expense and Invoice or to Informer 5 now have a point of contact in Amy. 

“Amy has demonstrated a willingness to continuously grow and learn. We are so excited to promote Amy to Relationship Manager working with our Blackbox Connector team and helping clients gain insight into our ever-growing portfolio of solutions. With Amy’s excellent customer service, clients will now have a great resource in Amy,” stated Sarah Gonnella, VP of Marketing and Sales.

For more information, please contact Full Sail Partners’ Marketing and Communications Department. 

Topics: Press Release

Full Sail Partners Recognized on Accounting Today’s 2018 VAR 100 List

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 @ 05:30 PM

VAR 100 2018Full Sail Partners, a Deltek Platinum Partner, is excited to announce that it has been recognized by Accounting Today on the top 100 VAR list for 2018. Every year Accounting Today picks the top value-added resellers (VARs) of accounting software, and Full Sail Partners has been ranked in the top 100 again this year. In fact, it has increased in ranking by ten, which is a 25-position increase over the last two years.  

Each year a select group of 100 organizations are honored for their accomplishments as VARs. The top VARs are chosen from firms focused on sales and implementation of accounting and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Criteria used to determine the winners include 2017 revenue, number of offices, and staff size.

“Just four years ago we were listed as one of the VARs to watch and returned to the list in 2015. Each year since then we keep leaping up the rankings. We are thrilled to continually move up on Accounting Today’s VAR 100 list,” stated Sarah Gonnella, VP of Marketing & Sales at Full Sail Partners. “As Deltek end-users too, we share our clients’ desires of wanting a robust project-based ERP system like Deltek offers with the flexibility to choose other best of breed solutions to help automate end-to-end processes. This provides us a unique perspective that many VARs do not have. With the creation of our Blackbox Connector we are bringing data together and streamlining the integration process.”

Accounting Today’s VAR 100 also indicated that a cloud offering is a must for VAR clients, and these clients are actively seeking higher-level capabilities from their technology. They are asking for analytics, intelligence and automation. Conveniently, Full Sail Partners has positioned itself to respond to these exact needs. With its Blackbox Connector capabilities and emerging business intelligence offerings, Full Sail Partners intends to keep developing solutions to fit client growth and desires.

Here is the full 2018 VAR list: https://www.accountingtoday.com/the-2018-var-100

Accounting Today is a leading provider of online business news for the accounting community, offering breaking news, in-depth features, and a host of resources and services. The VAR 100 list is an annual report developed to rank the top technology resellers in the accounting and ERP spaces.  

For more information, please contact Full Sail Partners’ Marketing and Communications Department. 

Topics: Press Release

Top Characteristics of Powerful Key Performance Indicators

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Aug 15, 2018 @ 05:52 PM

KPIs Almost all businesses utilize key performance indicators (KPIs) to identify trends and to measure performance against set goals. KPIs can fall into one of two categories: drivers and outcomes. Drivers measure current and future activity whereas outcomes measure the success of past activity. Furthermore, powerful KPIs should have some key characteristics to ensure they are clear and easily measurable.

Characteristics of Powerful Key Performance Indicators

  1. Simple – KPIs should be simple to understand and to measure. It is extremely important that employees know what a KPI is measuring and how it is being calculated. KPIs should also be concise so that are manageable and do not overwhelm employees with too much information.
  2. Relevant – KPIs need to be relevant to the organization. This can be done by making the KPIs for employees relate to the strategic goals and objectives of the company.
  3. Measurable – Employees need to be able to analyze their performance which is the goal of using KPIs. Therefore, KPIs must be measurable but not all will have a quantitative goal.
  4. Actionable – KPIs should prompt decisions and not create more questions. In other words, KPIs cannot be effective if employees are unsure of what to do with the information.
  5. Timely – KPIs should be reported frequently enough to allow employees to make timely decisions. However, avoid having the reporting too frequent as this can overwhelm employees with too much information.
  6. Visible – KPIs should be visible across the entire organization. This allows employees to see how their work is helping achieve the goals of the entire organization. It also provides incentives to employees to work harder and be more productive.

Using Key Performance Indicators to Drive Success

For a business to be successful, it must have goals it wants to achieve. These goals are a way to measure the performance of the company and its employees. Lastly and most importantly, a KPI is useless if the objective and the result cannot be reported on. Thus, KPIs must be meaningful to be powerful.

Blackbox Connector for Informer 5 and Deltek Vision 

Topics: Project Management, Professional Services

Breaking Down the Early Stages of the Project Lifecycle

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Aug 08, 2018 @ 03:05 PM

Project Lifecycle For professional services firms, having the right project lifecycle is essential to having a profitable company. Even more, the processes that drive your firm’s project lifecycle must be in sync with the systems you use to manage them. There are several stages in the project lifecycle and evaluating your processes requires breaking down the steps. In this blog, we’ll look at the initial and most overlooked phase of the project lifecycle…winning the work.

Leads and Opportunities

Here’s where many firms go wrong when examining their project lifecycle…to start a project, you must first win the job. So, evaluating the lead to opportunity process is an essential component and must be considered in the project lifecycle.

When a new lead is acquired, it needs to be captured in a system that provides visibility to the entire company. As a business development person learns more information from the lead, it is input into the system and analyzed to see if the firm can meet the requirements to win the project. Once the decision is made that your firm can win the work then the lead becomes an opportunity.

If you are using Deltek Vision or Deltek for Professional Services (DPS), it is recommended that you create a “proposal project” to track the time to prepare the proposal. By using a proposal project, your firm will have the analytics regarding the cost of winning and losing work as well as the total cost of the business development efforts.

Fee Proposal Development

Developing the fee proposal is another important step to the business development portion of the project lifecycle. The fee proposal will eventually become the basis for the project budget. It will include what your firm is being paid for the various stages of the project. This may also include bonuses or penalties for meeting or failing to meet certain milestones.

It is recommended for Deltek Vision and DPS users to develop the fee proposal using the resource planning module. This will allow you to incorporate previous performance from similar projects to ensure you are charging the right amounts and including the correct milestones. Additionally, firms should continuously check the scope of work and make sure it’s in line with the fee proposal you are developing.

Fee Negotiation and Finalizing a Budget

Once the client indicates it has a desire to move forward with your firm, the fee negotiation and budget finalization phase of the project lifecycle begins. Things to keep in mind during this stage are possible changes to scope, schedule and fees. The budget created during this process will serve as the guide for the project manager to execute the work.

Next Steps to the Project Lifecycle

This blog discussed the business development piece of the project lifecycle. Remember that periodic reviews of your firm’s project lifecycle are a must to ensure that the process is still in line with how your firm has evolved. Stay tuned for more blogs about project execution and project closeout.

Deltek Vision Navigational Analysis 

Topics: Project Management, Building Business, Professional Services

Revenue Recognition Impacts from FASB ASC 606

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Aug 01, 2018 @ 02:37 PM

FASB ASC 606 On May 28th, 2014 the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) jointly issued the Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. At the end of 2018, the way professional services firms recognize revenue from contracts with customers will be significantly impacted. ASC 606 will require firms to recognize revenue when goods or services are transferred to the customer in an amount that is equivalent to the goods or services delivered at that point. Let’s break this down into layman’s terms.

Basics to Revenue Recognition

The revenue recognition principle is an accounting guideline that requires revenue to be shown on the income statement in the period in which it is earned and not in the period when payment is collected. Furthermore, payment can be received prior to or after the delivery of a good or service, but the income statement must reflect the payment for the period in which it was billed. This is part of the accrual accounting basis as opposed to cash basis of accounting.

Impacts of FASB ASC 606

When FASB ASC 606 rolls out, professional services firms that are subject to audit will be required to apply this new standard. The new guideline establishes a five-step process to govern contract revenue reporting:

  1. Identify contract(s) with a customer
  2. Identify performance milestones in the contract
  3. Determine the transaction price
  4. Allocate the transaction price to the performance milestones
  5. Recognize revenue when the performance milestone has been met

Additionally, if a professional services firm is still utilizing an outdated accounting system or an internally created system, these systems may not be capable of supporting the ASC 606 guideline.

Using the Right Accounting System for ASC 606

Fortunately, Deltek Vision and Deltek for Professional Services users have the right system to accommodate the changes brought on by ASC 606. Since these are project-based ERPs, revenue generation is easily recognized by using the project management tools that are part of these systems. As a result, firms can recognize revenue when milestones are achieved. This is done by using basic revenue generation factors like:

  • Job to date spent
  • Percentage of completion
  • Milestones or deliverables being met

Get Your Firm Ready for ASC 606

Good news! Your firm still has time to prepare for these changes. In most cases, applying the five steps mentioned above will bring your firm into compliance. However, these steps may not apply to all your contracts or for all professional services firms. If you are unsure if your firm is compliant, reach out to Full Sail Partners for more information.

Get Prepared for ASC 606 

Topics: Project Management, Accounting, FASB 606

The Value of Continuous Employee Feedback

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

Employee Feedback

Annual review time is often seen by many employees as a stressor. For even the most productive employee, the question of what hasn’t been said until this one point in the year causes concern. From the manager’s perspective, how is it even possible to clearly remember a year’s worth of employee performance? It makes much more sense to offer feedback consistently throughout the year. Let’s take a closer look at the value of continuous employee feedback especially for project-based firms.

Employee Engagement

With continuous employee feedback, managers can initiate employee engagement which leads to further discussions. The more opinions and ideas that are gathered will ultimately improve the project and ensure that it is done efficiently and on budget. If issues crop up, as they often do, engaging employees frequently will allow for proactive problem resolution instead of reactive analysis down the road. 

Good Balance

Keeping a balance between positive and negative feedback is another benefit of continuous employee feedback. While an employee’s performance may have to be corrected over some issue during a project, other things that have been done well can be provided to offer encouragement. This way, employees are still motivated to do their best work and don’t react negatively to the one matter that needed improvement.

Actionable Feedback

Continuous feedback provides actionable items that are mutually beneficial to managers and employees. Freshly addressing the situation at hand allows managers to respond and employees to correct immediately rather than reacting to what has already transpired and cannot be changed. Employees can also be given proper training to improve their efficiency and the outcome of the project. 

Goal Setting

Talking regularly about performance allows employees to set goals for themselves. When employees see how they are contributing to a project and know they will be a part of the positive outcome, they are inspired to perform better than before. Goal setting benefits managers and employees alike. 

Learn from Feedback

Offering continuous feedback is a way for employees to learn, grow and develop. It is a much better strategy for project-based businesses than annual performance reviews. Consistent feedback encourages conversations, goal mastery and efficiently run projects which is a win for everyone in your firm.

Continuous Feedback and Goals  

Topics: Professional Services, HR

Do More with Deltek Vision Workflows

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jul 18, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

Deltek Vision WorkflowsMany Deltek Vision users are unaware of the vast capabilities of workflows. From managing repetitive tasks to ensuring information is updated, workflows are extremely versatile and easy to setup. Let’s take a look at some Vision CRM workflows.

Workflow Examples for Deltek Vision CRM Users

Contacts - Track companies where your contacts have previously worked and automatically update a user defined grid when the Client field is changed on the contact record allowing information to stay up-to-date.

Marketing Campaigns – Automatically add predefined activities for Marketing Campaign follow-ups to ensure follow-through on your marketing efforts.

Opportunities – Make sure the business development team is following up on opportunities by creating Actions and Alerts that are prompted when an Opportunity is opened, a stage is changed and when the Opportunity is closed.

Warning Notifications - Give a gentle reminder to fill in a field value using a workflow to display a warning message. When a user changes the value of one field, a workflow can trigger a warning to indicate another field requires more information only when a specific value is chosen.

Error Notification - Use a workflow to display an error message instead of making all fields required. When a user changes the value of one field, a workflow can trigger an error message requiring an update to another field before being able to save when a specific value is chosen.

Contact Record Verification - Provide employees further insight on the validity of contact information by creating a workflow using custom fields. Employees simply check a checkbox, and through a workflow, the modified user and the date the checkbox was checked can populate reducing the number of fields the end user has to fill in.

Let Deltek Vision Workflows Work for You

These are just a few examples of things you can do with CRM workflows in Deltek Vision. Setting these workflows up is actually easier than you think and will save you and your firm lots of time. Checkout “Navigating Workflows: Standard and Advanced” and “Oh the Places You Can Go with Workflows, Alerts, and Stored Procedures” to learn more about workflows!

Deltek Vision Workflows  

Topics: Technology Solutions, CRM, Deltek Vision

The 39th Annual Deltek A/E Clarity Report is Now Available

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Jul 11, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

39th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Report Each year Deltek conducts a survey of firms in the architecture and engineering industry to identify key issues impacting the market, highlight bright spots, and forecast future trends. Guided by industry experts, the survey focuses on financial statements, business development, project management, human capital management, and technology trends. This year, in total, 952 individuals took the survey, and nearly 450 companies provided input. Firms in this study are of varying sizes and headquartered across the US and Canada.

Key Findings in This Year’s Deltek A/E Clarity Report

Financial Statements

Firms’ financial statements reveal year-over-year stability in the industry, with most impacts appearing to be driven by talent management and staffing changes.

  • Average operating profit on net revenue was 13.2%, up just slightly from last year’s 13% and the previous year’s 12.8%.
  • Utilization rates dropped slightly to 59.4% from 60.0% last year.
  • The net labor multiplier saw a decrease to an average of 2.96, down quite significantly from a spike of 3.02 last year and back in line with 2015.
  • Firms reversed a five-year decline in overhead rate, increasing from 154% to 155%.
  • The average collection period dropped by one day to 71 days, although high performers increased by two days to a 67-day average.

Business Development

Firms are looking to diversify opportunities and their business development efforts to stay ahead in a competitive market.

  • Net revenue growth forecast was 5.2%, down just slightly from last year’s 5.3%.
  • Firms are using a diverse array of staff for business development, with 19% of firms using dedicated business development staff only, 31% sellers/doers only, and 50% using a mixture of both. However, only 46% of firms had a formal business development process for their staff.
  • Win rates improved to 50.0%, rising 9.8 percentage points from last year’s 40.2%.
  • The percentage of firms with a formal go/no-go process decreased from 75% last year to 67% this year.
  • More firms expect growth in surveying/geographic information systems (GIS), transportation, and commercial markets than any other industry, whereas nearly 60% of firms expect their position to stay the same or decline in the residential, education, and hospitality markets.

Project Management

Firms need to continue to focus on improving the project management discipline and increasing client satisfaction.

  • Two-thirds of all firms have a high level of visibility on cost variance, whereas more than half of all firms stated that they had low or moderate visibility into schedule variance and client satisfaction. Compared to last year, client satisfaction visibility decreased from 53% to 45%.
  • Firms this year reported that 20% of their projects were over budget and 25% of their projects were behind schedule.
  • Sixty-one percent of firms had high confidence in their overall project reporting abilities, down from 72% last year. More than 90% of firms felt confident they were accurately reporting the actual cost and budget of their projects, whereas only 69% of firms felt the same about the accuracy of their schedule reporting.
  • In terms of discipline maturity, only 47% of firms used a formal project management process for three-fourths or more of their projects. Overall, 18% of firms had a PMO or center of excellence. Additionally, only 39% of firms have less than one-quarter of staff with formal project management training.
  • Eighty-one percent of firms are measuring client satisfaction, and of these firms, 45% are conducting these measures for all projects and 49% for strategic projects only. The majority are measuring client satisfaction irregularly, compared to 22% of firms that do so at key project milestones. 

Human Capital Management

Firms are experiencing growth, but employee turnover—particularly voluntary turnover—has increased, making staff retention and improved talent acquisition imperative.

  • Staff growth is 4.3%, declining from 6.9% last year.
  • Employee turnover increased to 12.8%, up from 11% last year.
  • 34% of firms had more open positions, compared with only 15% with fewer open positions.
  • The average time to fill positions was 31–60 days, although for 15% of firms, it takes an average of 90 or more days to fill positions. Compared to last year, there was a 7-percentage-point decrease in firms that filled positions in less than 30 days.
  • Of all firms, 43% have a formal succession plan. For 68% of firms, their succession plan applies only to current leaders and next-in-line leaders, whereas for 7% it applies to all employees.

Technology Trends

In the first year tracking technology trends, firms are looking for better ways to collect data that can be leveraged for strategic decisions.

  • Geolocation and the Internet of Things (IoT) were the most important technology trends.
  • Most firms did not rank artificial intelligence (AI) or wearable technology as technology trends they are focused on, but it can significantly change the way we run our businesses when the time is right.

Benchmark Your Firm with the Deltek A/E Clarity Report 

While these are the highlights of the 39th Annual Deltek A/E Clarity study, the report goes into much more detail. Using these results, you can see how your firm has been doing not only compared to your previous year, but also to other comparable firms in your industry. With these industry insights, you can develop future goals to help your firm stand out against the growing wave of competition. For an in-depth view of everything included in the 39th Annual Deltek A/E Clarity report, download your copy today.

39th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Report  

Topics: Professional Services, Deltek Clarity Report

Jon Rogers Joins Blackbox Connector Team as Technical Support Analyst

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Mon, Jul 02, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

Jon Rogers Full Sail Partners, a Concur and Deltek Platinum Partner, is pleased to announce the addition of Jon Rogers to the Blackbox Connector Team. Jon has joined the Blackbox Connector team as a Technical Support Analyst. In this role, Jon will work directly with clients on the set up of the Blackbox Connector software and provide technical support on the Deltek Vision platform and custom solutions.

“I am excited to be part of the Full Sail Partners crew. I enjoy working with clients to identify problems they are having and providing them with a solution,” Jon stated.

The Blackbox Connector team connects Deltek Vision and Deltek for Professional Services quickly with ready-to deploy business solutions including its Concur Expense and Invoice Connector and its new Informer Connector. With increased demand for Blackbox Connectors, Full Sail Partners sought a new technical team member to provide clients with a personal point of contact to troubleshoot any issues relating to their Blackbox Connector purchase. Additional connector offerings include Constant Contact, MailChimp and Client Feedback Tool.

“We are very excited to have Jon join the team and lend his expertise to expanding our ‘white glove’ approach to Blackbox Connector implementations and support team,” stated Wes Renfroe, VP of Technology.

For more information, please contact Full Sail Partners’ Marketing and Communications Department. 

Topics: Press Release

Reasons to Automate the Accounts Payable Process

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jun 27, 2018 @ 04:36 PM

Invoice AutomationThe accounts payable (AP) process is one of the most important tasks a firm performs daily. Although accounts payable automation is not new technology, it has come a long way over the years. It’s surprising that so many firms have not embraced this technology to improve the AP process. Maybe it’s because they feel doing it manually will be more accurate, or they think their current process is efficient and cost-effective? So, let’s take a look at the benefits of automating the AP process and see if these preconceived notions have merit.

Going Paperless and Reducing Error

Accounts payable is a paper-intensive process that requires printing, copying, storing and retrieving papers. Additionally, manual processes are slow and are prone to human error rather than being more accurate as one may think.  With AP automation, invoices are stored digitally, and both paper costs and manual entry are eliminated saving money and ensuring accuracy.

Improving Employee Productivity

The AP process is a repetitive and time-consuming manual task. For instance, processing an invoice manually requires a person to copy information from an invoice and add it to the accounting books. When a firm automates the AP process, employees are relieved of doing these tasks and can focus their efforts on more profitable pursuits. 

Getting Insight into Your Firm’s Finances

It’s difficult to manage your firm’s finances if you can’t see them. Solutions like spreadsheets or pen and paper hinder your firm’s ability to generate accurate financial reports. Furthermore, being able to see who you owe money to allows you to predict future firm spending and avoid late payment fees and penalties. With AP Automation, your firm’s financial picture is easily accessible and therefore manageable.

Gaining Control of the Procurement Process

Procurement policies are hard to enforce if you do not have a way to approve a purchase before it’s made. Using an automated AP solution allows firms to setup an approval process that ensures purchases are in compliance with firm policy. Firms can gain control of their spending by knowing when a purchase is made prior to being issued an invoice which promotes transparency.

Automate Your Firm’s AP Process

With actual reduction in error, cost savings and a clear view of firm finances, the preconceived notions of not using AP automation are certainly without merit. And there’s even more benefit to automation. An automated AP solution allows vendors to submit invoices to a designated email address or webpage which reduces the risk of losing invoices. It also ensures you pay your vendors on time which makes them happier to work with your firm. Is your firm ready to automate?

Vision Integrates with Concur 

Topics: Accounting, Technology Solutions