Full Sail Partners Blog

Michael Kessler, PMP

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How to Measure a Project’s Financial Health

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Jun 06, 2018 @ 03:06 PM

Project HealthFor many firms, measuring the financial health of their projects requires them to utilize a variety of different analytics and statistics. However, firms often use project invoices as the primary and only measurement to determine the financial health of a project. Although project invoices are an important element in both a project and firm’s concern, they aren’t necessarily a measure of success. 

Besides key performance indicators (KPIs), which are leading indicators geared toward firm management, there are other statistics firms need to consider. These include measurements at specific milestones to help evaluate a project’s financial position and make proactive decisions to keep a project on track or facilitate corrective actions.

The Essentials to Determining a Project’s Financial Health 

For starters, some key components of the evaluation entail every project being documented with: 

  • A current and accurate fee
  • A work breakdown structure (WBS) reflective of fee and scope
  • The proper revenue recognition method 

Understanding the Components of a Project’s Financial Health 

To best focus on the financial success of a project, firms should use job-to-date (JTD) as the measurement of time. Here are some key stats that can be found or created in Deltek Vision’s Project Earnings Report: 

  • Profit or Variance – This provides a comparison between revenue/earnings and spent at either cost or burden. For projects billed on time and materials (T&M), the project profit should be built into billing rates and therefore a zero variance is an indication of profitability. A negative variance is the result of the writing off time charged. For fixed fee/lump sum work, the goal is to incur the minimal amount of cost while still executing the scope and not compromising the quality. 
  • Projected Profit or Variance – In order to calculate this metric, an estimate to complete (ETC) needs to be updated and managed. Using the ETC plus the JTD cost results in an estimate at completion (EAC). By comparing the EAC to the Fee, we can establish how healthy the project will be when complete. This can also be a good indicator of scope creep. Additionally, using actual and projected profit in tandem provides 4 scenarios and a matrix approach can be developed for the review of a project’s financial health: 
  1. JTD is showing a profit but projecting a reduction in that profit moving forward
  2. JTD is showing a profit and continued or increased profit is forecasted
  3. JTD is showing a loss but some or all that loss can be mitigated moving forward
  4. JTD is showing a loss that will continue or grow 
  • Direct Labor Multiplier – How much revenue is being generated per labor dollar charged is key to managing a specific project and beneficial to measuring against the firm’s overall metric and the goals set. At the inception of a project, the budget will provide the estimated multiplier. Keep in mind that a statistic requires having something to compare it to.
  • Work in Process (WIP) – This is calculated as the difference between project revenue and the amount invoiced. Furthermore, this will help mitigate any at risk to earnings from a project. If revenue is accrued, we must be mindful of the time associated with it being billed and collected. Deferring revenue can minimize or mitigate the risk. 
  • Backlog – Indicates what is left to be earned. In other words, it is the future available revenue stream. When combined with all projects, it provides one of the lines on a KPI graph. In addition, it reflects the required full time equivalent man hours to complete and deliver contracted work. 

It is important to note that all the above work in tandem. For example, backlog can be derived from the ETC. 

Make Your Project Profitable 

Measuring the financial health of a project requires using several metrics. Additionally, projects should be monitored during the entire cycle from inception to completion. This will allow project managers to foresee possible shortcomings and take corrective action.

Revenue Generation  

Topics: Project Management, Accounting, Professional Services

Understanding Project Budgets in Deltek Vision

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Thu, Mar 08, 2018 @ 03:03 PM

Project Budget

More often than not, firms that use Deltek Vision can find project budgets in the Budget and Revenue tab of the Project Info Center. There you will find a series of fields that will be further defined later in this blog. Before we go too far down the rabbit hole, let’s dive into some basics. 

Deltek Vision Project Info Center

A good place to start is the Project Info Center, and whether you use the Budget and Revenue or Contract Management tab, the definitions are the same. Deltek Vision refers to budget as total compensation, but in very simple terms, it is your contractual fee or upset amount. It is statutory, referring to the agreed upon amount between seller and buyer. In no way should this be minimized as Vision uses it for many calculations and processes, but it may not necessarily be the budget. Here are some key terms you should be familiar with: 

  • Direct Labor is the portion of the contract value that relates to your firm’s effort and you can segregate WIP and backlog specifics to this amount using revenue categories
  • Direct Expense is other direct costs such as travel that is part of your fee and not a pass through
  • Compensation is the sum of Direct Labor and Expense in Vision
  • Direct Consultants are third party consultants that are part of your fee and not a pass through
  • Reimbursable Expenses are other direct costs such as travel that are going to be passed (possibly with a markup) to your client through invoicing
  • Reimbursable Consultants are third party consultants that are going to be passed (possibly with a markup) to your client through invoicing
  • Reimbursable Allowance is the sum of the Reimbursable Expense and Allowance
  • Agreed Upon Contractual Value is the sum of the Compensation, Direct Consultant and Reimbursable Allowance 

Furthermore, all these fields are available for reporting and revenue calculations. 

Locating Budget Amounts in Deltek Vision 

It is important to remember that even though these amounts are available in the Billing module, they are not systematically linked. It is true, however, that total compensation is the maximum that can be invoiced or earned. This amount is external client facing. Keep in mind, this is not the project budget. 

What, what, what? The above is not a budget? In the case of a fixed fee or a lump sum project, we would expect the total compensation to reflect the budget, but the budget should be comprised of labor and expense loaded hours/amounts over a proposed schedule based on fee and scope. Simply stated, a budget is internal and should be used for comparison to actual costs charged to the project. 

Maintaining Project Budgets 

In closing, budgets should be re-visited and re-casted. If managed properly, firms will gain high levels of profitability. A key take away is that, for fixed fee or lump sum projects, performing under budget creates “windfalls” or the difference between the total compensation that was invoiced and earned.

Deltek Vision Navigational Analysis  

Topics: Accounting, Deltek Vision, Professional Services

On the Mergers & Acquisitions Path, Which Fork in the Road to Choose?

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Jan 10, 2018 @ 11:45 AM

Mergers and Acquisitions Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the architectural and engineering (A&E) industry are on the rise. Unfortunately, many firms are not prepared to successfully implement the M&A process. With an acquisition, it is imperative that the “buying” entity have a well-defined set of procedures to easily onboard the incoming firm. In the case of a merger, all involved firms would need a set plan which would dictate the transition to a new firm. However, first a firm must decide the direction it will take regarding the M&A process and evaluate how it will affect the current organization’s structure.

Navigating Forks in the Road for Your Firm 

There are many reasons a firm may decide to begin the M&A process. Each firm has its own vision for the future. On this path, there are 3 “forks in the road,” and a firm must choose one:

  1. Absorbing the acquisition into an existing organization
  2. Creating a new organization within an existing company
  3. Creating a new company 

Making the Acquired Company Part of the Buying Company

Absorbing the acquisition into an existing organization is the easiest and most straight forward. This scenario is usually the result of a simple employee purchase. For example, a design engineering firm acquires a mechanical engineering firm. In this case, the incoming engineers are integrated into an existing profit center (department). They may have brought projects with them or are going to be staffed on existing projects. Since it requires no structural changes to the database, very little of any testing is needed. The focus would be more human resources related blending the culture of the acquired firm into the existing one. 

Making a New Organization within the Buying Company 

Creating a new organization within an existing company is most often the result of expanding service offerings. For example, a base building architectural firm acquires an interiors firm. If the firm’s current structure is studio based, a new studio would be required for the interior work. Under this scenario, a change to the existing structure is made that will require testing. This will include: 

  • Cross Charging
  • Overhead Allocation
  • T&E group management 

In addition, reporting parameters need to be updated to ensure the new organization is included in all metrics and indicators. This will require reasonable lead time to do a test and final cutover. 

Making a New Company Altogether

Creating a new company by merging firms is the most common scenario, and regardless of the dynamics, is often driven by numerous outside factors such as: 

  • Tax implications
  • Buyout and payout provisions
  • Currency requirements
  • Country, state, and other municipal requirements
  • Banking relationships
  • Investment and or holding company requirements
  • Professional licensing requirements 

In a merger situation, a change to the existing structure is made that will require testing. This will include: 

  • Intercompany Billing
  • Foreign currency management
  • Consolidated reporting (in addition to the reporting parameter updates noted above) 

Additional factors that will need to be considered in risk mitigation are: 

  • Rules defining internal pricing
  • New currency being introduced into the environment 

This situation will require at least one test cutover and lead time needs to be considered during the process. 

Final Considerations for Mergers and Acquisitions   

Once you have selected which of the forks on the M&A road to take, the real work begins. Beyond the integration testing noted above, there are two other risk areas that must be considered. 

  1. Data import
  2. Revenue management 

Regardless of which direction your firm chooses to take in the M&A process, Full Sail Partners can offer consulting from subject matter experts. Contact us and we will be happy to help. You don’t have to walk alone. Additionally, we will be at the 2018 Southeast States M&A Symposium in Miami, Florida on January 24th and 25th. 

 Mergers and Acquisitions Webinar Link 

Topics: Technology Solutions, Professional Services, Mergers and Acquisitions

New Year’s Resolutions for Accountants and Project Managers

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Dec 06, 2017 @ 11:53 AM

New Year's Resolutions With the New Year approaching, it is a fitting time for accountants and project managers to review the previous year and identify areas of improvement. While we usually think of New Year’s resolutions for our personal lives, there can also be professional ones. Let’s take a look at some of them.

New Year’s Resolutions for Accountants

For accountants, it’s all about preparing for next year and making changes that streamline and automate processes. Here are the top five resolutions for accountants:

  1. Examine the current revenue/earning methods and determine if the firm is in compliance with FASB 606
  2. Take a hard look at the organizational structure to determine if changes need to be made
  3. Clean-up the firm’s chart of accounts and overhead projects
  4. Define the differences between a project administrator and a project controls role
  5. Try to learn more about challenges the accounting team experiences and create solutions

New Year’s Resolutions for Project Managers

Project managers must consider how to evaluate the success of projects and how to better manage them. Here are the top five resolutions for project managers:

  1. Use the tools within the project management system to better budget and plan projects
  2. Elevate the level of project review beyond invoicing to earned value
  3. Better record and manage change orders
  4. Build a work breakdown structure based on fee and scope
  5. Encourage the team and peers to be timely in submitting time and expense

Start 2018 Off Right!

The New Year brings fresh opportunity to improve a firm’s operations and efficiency. Accountants and project managers must first take time to determine what areas need adjustment or refinement. Full Sail Partners can help! Let us conduct a Navigational Analysis to pinpoint those areas and start 2018 off right. 

Deltek Vision Navigational Analysis

Topics: Project Management, Accounting

To Be a Project Manager or Not to Be…That is the Question

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 @ 04:00 PM

Project Manager As I travel around and work with clients implementing Vision Resource Planning, the issue of what makes a good project manager (PM) is often discussed. The PM track has always been perceived as a measurement of success in one’s career. As employees become more tenured within a firm, there seems to be a natural progression to the PM role. However, not everyone who is strong technically is able to effectively manage projects. Based on my experience, to be a good PM requires proficiency in certain key areas.

Scope Management

A good PM must be involved in defining the scope of the project and needs to play a role in the proposal process. Scope can be narrowed down to what has been promised to the client, or in other words, what is to be delivered. The various components of scope are usually defined and controlled by a project’s work breakdown structure and can include interim deliverables and milestones. 

Equally, if not more important, a good PM should be aware of what is not in the scope. Scope creep is the number one killer of profit. To avoid this, a good PM needs to be very familiar with what is in the contract and when to ask for change orders. 

Schedule Management 

Schedule is the order in which the scope needs to be delivered. This is also called a critical path which defines what and when things need to happen to ensure all interim and final scope delivery. A good PM needs to understand the concept of task dependency and how delays and disruptions can impact future delivery. Scope and schedule management work in tandem and scope creep can impact a schedule. 

Team Management 

A good PM needs to be a committed leader. While “leading by example” may seem cliché, it is a solid guideline to follow as a PM. Even more, a PM must make sure the entire team understands scope and schedule and will keep them inside the white lines to avoid scope creep. 

Financial Management 

To make prudent, yet quick decisions about the financial health of projects, a PM should be provided reliable data. A good PM should understand what indicators are needed to make this health assessment. I believe earned value is the best indicator. By comparing a project’s physical to financial percent complete, a PM and others can measure the “direction” that the project is heading. Once again, scope creep should easily be identified using this measurement.

Client Management 

The human component of project management can be challenging. A good PM should be able to make every client feel important while also filtering and prioritizing so that the scope, schedule and financial components of all projects are properly tended too. A good PM must also be effective in communicating scope creep to the client and should utilize the relationship to secure the change orders that are warranted. 

Quality Management 

Finally, a good PM must have his “hands” on the product whether it be a report, widget, skyscraper or bridge. He must have the technical knowledge to guarantee the product can pass inspections and be accepted by the client. He must also be able to trouble shoot issues, manage challenges that arise, and always be cognizant of the scope to ensure the work performed is within the contractual obligation to avoid scope creep. 

Are Your Project Managers the Right Fit? 

All the above must be considered to determine whether someone makes a good PM. A PM may not have mastered all areas, but needs to be effective in each. These key areas are interrelated and critical to one another. Strong technical knowledge does not necessarily translate to successful PM skills. How do your PMs stack up?

 Blackbox Connector for CFT and Vision Webinar

Topics: Project Management, Professional Services

Uncovering the Value of Deltek Vision for Project Based Firms: A Short Story

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Aug 02, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Short Story The following account is a true story. It begins with an AE firm recognizing the need for change in order to support its growth. This firm quickly realized that bringing disparate systems to one integrated platform like Deltek Vision was the fix they needed.

Here’s the firm’s story…

Identifying the Need for Change

Initially to manage its business, this firm was using several different systems that communicated poorly. Specifically, each critical function for the firm used a separate system which had its own unique database:

  • Accounts Receivable – MS Access database
  • Accounts Payable – MS Access and an outdated accounting program
  • Project Management – Internally developed and managed databases, spreadsheets, and online systems
  • Reporting – Internally developed and supported 

Desiring the ability to make better and faster decisions, the firm opted to move to a single enterprise-wide and industry-proven software platform. The move would allow this firm to streamline operations and reduce overhead time/costs by eliminating duplicate efforts and manual operations. The software of choice for this firm was Deltek Vision. 

Implementing Deltek Vision 

The implementation began with the drafting of processes using the project life cycle as a template. It was built to engage project managers earlier and more often throughout the entire process. Additionally, the firm recognized the need to ensure a budget could be developed using Resource Planning (RP). 

Having a budget became a requirement before a project could be initiated. As a result, the contract compensation was directly tied to the budget making routine maintenance integral to the project’s life. Furthermore, time charging, invoicing, and revenue recognition were not allowed without a project budget. 

The firm also sought to embrace the automation capabilities of Deltek Vision. Automation, of course, enabled the streamlining of processes. As an example, they decided to utilize invoice review automation to allow accounting to work in tandem with operations to deliver financial results. 

Most importantly, the philosophy around reporting changed dramatically. The firm now wanted to standardize reporting practices. Originally, employees had created and used their own desired data and had determined not only individual key performance indicators, but how and what those measurements were based upon.  

The Result of Choosing Deltek Vision 

I began working with this firm three years ago, and there is so much success to share: 

  • Reduction of invoicing time
  • Faster and more reliable monthly closes
  • More and better insight into project performance based on standardized reports 

These are just a few of the identified areas where using Deltek Vision has improved this firm’s performance. In the end, using Deltek Vision, the firm has seen its overall financial performance improve. 

Advice for Implementing Deltek Vision 

Here are some tips to help ensure successful Vision implementations:

  • Engage and work closely with a Deltek consulting partner like Full Sail Partners
  • Plan, design and configure based on your firm’s unique requirements
  • Testing, testing and more testing - both transactional and end to end
  • Make necessary changes and continue testing
  • Prepare for go live including preparing your staff with training  

Commonwealth Webinar

Topics: Professional Services, Project Information Management (PIM)

Travel and Expense Tips from a Road Warrior

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

AirplaneSo many people have suggested that I write a book about my travel experiences. After all, I average about 125,000 domestic miles each year and truly believe that, if I decorated my home with cheap hotel art and bolted down my television, my “layover” in Bakersfield, CA would be quite comfortable. Not to mention the miles and miles of test driving countless models of white cars you see in most hotel parking lots. Seriously though, I do love my job, and because it does require me to travel a lot, I have learned much and will now pass some tips on to you.

Complaining Gets You Nowhere 

I always try to remember to say “please” and “thank you” while mostly keeping my composure when the inevitable stressful situation arises. Gate agents, flight attendants and front desk clerks are simply messengers often delivering news that no one wants to hear. As a result, I make an effort to: 

  • Collect a business card of a manager to let him know how wonderful his team was and how well they handled even the most frustrating of situations
  • Send a note to corporate acknowledging the people that delivered great customer service 

These gestures usually ensure even better real-time service. In addition, knowing the management team at the properties you frequent establishes a good rapport and allows for them to proactively prepare for your next arrival being already aware of your preferences. 

Indirect Routes May Be More Direct 

I always consider different airports and frequently know the routes better than the airline representatives. Selecting an alternate airport can often be both cost and time saving provided you don’t mind a road trip. Also, choosing to drive between two clients within 250-300 miles is a good option which gives you the opportunity to stop and see new places. 

If you find yourself with an early flight on your return trip home, staying at an airport hotel is not only convenient but can be a cost savings. You can go ahead and turn in your rental car early and use a complimentary hotel shuttle. Most rental car companies will also drive you to your hotel if you just ask. 

Make Sure to Get Reimbursed for Expenses 

I have used many different expense report tools over the years beginning with the failsafe Excel and remember the days of sending my receipts via FedEx. Fortunately, I now use Concur Expense which is integrated into the Full Sail Partners’ Vision database using the Blackbox Connector. Concur makes filing expenses easy and streamlined. Using only my smart phone, I can take a picture, upload to Concur and complete my line item in seconds. 

Enjoy Your Travels! 

I hope that these tips will make your business travel a pleasure. I do strongly suggest you monitor your rewards programs to ensure you always receive what is due. Got to go, doors are closing, and it’s time for me to fly. 

Vision Integrates with Concur

Topics: Tips, Professional Services

Why C-Level Financial Types Are More Interested in CRM than Ever

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, May 03, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

CRM for Financial LeadersThere has been an uptick in interest recently from C-Level financial leaders to become more involved with the CRM functions within Vision. You may ask yourself why this new trend is occurring since the CRM module of Vision is for marketing and business development functions. The reason must surely be based on an informational need so that actionable decisions can be made.

CRM Information for Financial Leaders 

CRM databases are full of information to help the marketing and business development team drive new business. So, what information can provide financial leaders the insight they need to make better decisions?  

  1. The Life Cycle of Projects – More often than not, a project is born during the opportunity stage. More specifically, the opportunity can trigger a promotional project and/or a resource plan. As a result, there are financial considerations that must be taken into account: 
  • The numbering of both the promo project and the plan
  • Determining when the pursuit trigger will need to include resources in the staffing heat map
  • Figuring out the rate tables and a multiplier that are going to be used in the plan 
  1. Pipeline and Backlog – A conversation that often occurs between a CFO and director of business development is about the movement of future revenue from the pipeline to soft backlog to hard backlog. This can result in some level of double counting and is especially prevalent in task ordering agreements or infinite deliver/infinite quantity (IDIQ’s). C-Level financial people need to be involved in the definition stage of how future revenue is separated and quantified.
  2. Cost of Winning and Losing Work – Opportunities afford us the ability to track hit rates. These are metrics showing win/loss ratios and can be filtered by unique attributes that are meaningful to your organization. One suggested attribute to track separately is sole source versus competitive wins. From this metric, financial managers can begin to quantify and measure the effort that goes into these wins and losses. However, this requires creating a promo project once the decision is made to bid on an opportunity.
  3. Utilization – Having the fluidity to evaluate time spent on a proposal is a value add. Moreover, C-Level financial types are also aware of utilization. By moving time from a promo project to a regular type project, the time moves from non-productive to productive. When we use Vision functionality to isolate proposal time on utilization reports, it provides insight into why employees are not being productive. 

Sharing Information Firm Wide

It’s always best practice to share important firm data with key individuals from all teams, but those people should also be able to find the information on their own. Like this new trend for financial leaders to learn more about using the CRM module in Vision, marketing and business development people also need to know how to access information from the financial side of Vision. Most importantly, everyone should be involved in the implementation of all Vision modules to ensure the initial setup, data structure and reports are valuable to the firm.

Deltek Vision CRM Top 10 Features

Topics: CRM, Deltek Vision, Professional Services

KPI - the New Industry “Buzz” Word

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

KPIs A KPI, or Key Performance Indicator, is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving crucial business objectives. Organizations should use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targeted goals. Simply stated, KPIs provide your firm with metrics that compare budgeted amounts to the actual values. KPIs are no longer just for accounting and finance as they now reach deeper into a firm’s operational side examining marketing, business development and project management.

KPIs vs Traditional Reporting Methods 

Let’s take a look at how firms benefit from KPIs and how KPIs differ from standard reporting. A common reporting technique is to compare current profit & loss results to the same period the previous year, or to compare year to date then versus year to date for the current year. Budget data for one or both comparisons can be incorporated. Now, what if we graphed this information and included a desired growth line? We will then have a visual of actual performance in relation to a chosen measurement. This measurement will inherently become an indication of whether we are achieving our goals, and would allow us to be proactive in correcting potential challenges. 

Using KPIs to Measure Success 

As mentioned earlier, KPIs are not just a tool for the finance team. For example, a chief operating officer may not relate well to traditional financial statements and focusing on project related metrics would be more to his liking. These indicators can be project specific, relate to a grouping of projects, or be sliced and diced based on the organizational breakdown structure (OBS) or work breakdown structure (WBS). Click here to learn more about OBS and WBS.

In another scenario, a chief strategy officer believes there is a benefit from evaluating trending data regarding hit rates filtered by a predetermined criterion. However, we must keep in mind that unless a benchmark or some other distinguished metric is established, this may not result in a clear and meaningful measurement. 

Here are two examples of KPIs that have proven to be successful: 

  1. Cost and Schedule Variance – Using Deltek Vision reporting, actual project cost performance index (CPI) and schedule performance index (SPI) is calculated and compared to an acceptable mean-variance.
  2. Estimate at Completion (EAC) Analysis – This can be as simple as a two-column report showing EAC in comparison to the contract value. The criteria can also be set by contract type to “flag” anomalies that need to be further investigated. 

The Bottom-line on KPIs 

KPIs can be used company wide. C-level executives can look across client and project types and evaluate revenue multipliers or collections success. These same evaluations can be done at all levels across your enterprise from managers that are accountable for sections of your organization down to individual project managers driving the lowest levels of WBS. What is required is a benchmark, a budget or a goal. Whether top down or bottom up, the view into why businesses perform the way they do will kept top of mind.

So, how does your firm measure success across the enterprise? Is it profit centers, projects, employees or pursuits? Every firm is unique and can’t just use “off the shelf” KPIs. It all begins with a discussion of what you need to drive your firm to the finish line. Once decided, designing the reports and data is easy.

Deltek Vision Performance Management  

Topics: Project Management, Accounting, Professional Services

Understanding and Effectively Using Cross Charge in Deltek Vision

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Mar 01, 2017 @ 10:30 AM

Cross Charge BlogIn a previous blog, we reviewed multi-company functionality in Deltek Vision and learned how it serves as a tool for sharing and accounting for resources across the companies within an enterprise. Cross charge capabilities in Vision are based on similar theories as multi-company, but are focused on the interaction within a company and its organizational breakdown structure (OBS). Before we dive deeper, here are some links to blogs about multi-company functionality and OBS in case you are unfamiliar with these topics.

High Level Insight into Cross Charge in Deltek Vision 

It is important to understand that cross charging is a financial tool and is based on the general ledger. It is not an attribute of project reporting since time charged to a project remains on the project for billing and reporting purposes. Cross charge is labor focused and occurs after the timesheet is posted. 

By default, Vision is built to be project centric, which simply means that the process of entering and posting timesheets determines where the labor charges are assigned. If the cross charge process is not configured or run, the cost will remain on the “books” of the organization where the project is assigned. 

Why Use Cross Charge? 

As financial and operational managers, we must always remember that revenue can only be earned once and a cost incurred once. For this reason, cross charge allows businesses to move these elements in and out of various “buckets” within their organization. When a combined income statement is run, all cross charge entries will zero out and the original revenue and cost will remain. 

The cross charge process is used when firms loan and borrow labor at the lowest OBS level, which could be: 

  • Office
  • Department
  • Discipline
  • Market Sector 

A good example is a civil engineer where projects live in the various disciplines. The survey department would loan their staff to the engineering projects and cross charge would be the financial component to drive and manage the accounting for the labor. 

There are two internal pricing options to choose from when configuring cross charge: 

  1. Project Centric – This is when labor remains on the books of the organization where the project resides. A multiplier is then used to account for some portion of operational/overhead (OH) costs. This factor could be limited to a fringe benefit rate, could represent a breakeven OH rate or even include some profit. The purpose is to ensure that the loaning organization has an incentive to keep their staff busy, but they also need to be careful as to not over extend their resources. 
  1. Employee Centric – This works by adjusting labor back to the employee’s organization. Using typical billing rates, although a multiplier can be used, the revenue is moved from the projects to the employee’s organization. The purpose again is to ensure the loaning organization doesn’t lose the ability to show a profit by sharing their staff. 

Real-life Application of Cross Charge in Deltek Vision 

Here is a success story where the operational process and projects are built on the premise that fee and scope drives work breakdown structure (WBS) in a clients’ Deltek Vision database. Under this model, high accountability becomes the first option where phases and tasks within a project are assigned to different organizations based on the portion of the work. Employees then charge the phase/task that is assigned to the organization they “live” in. This results in more closely managed projects because the profit accountability is shifted back to the organization supplying the labor. This process eliminates the need for cross charge. 

But wait…realizing that in order to run successful projects, there is a necessity to anticipate unplanned needs. This means that the firm must have the ability to borrow an employee from another department for a short-term assignment or a last minute need. For example, the base building studio decides it needs input from the interiors studio. In this scenario, the client falls back on the project centric method noted above as a mechanism to facilitate resource sharing and not impede project progress. Furthermore, this is a prime example of a need for cross charge. 

Gain Control of Resources with Cross Charge 

Whether your current OBS is solid or you are considering a change, cross charge can provide the functionality required to ensure an open and smooth process of resource sharing. With a thorough understanding and effective implementation, cross charge can provide another dimension in managing your business.

Deltek Vision Navigational Analysis

 

Topics: Accounting, ERP, Professional Services