Full Sail Partners Blog

Ryan Felkel

Recent Posts

Things We Learned at Deltek Insight 2018

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Fri, Nov 16, 2018 @ 11:44 AM

Deltek Insight 2018

It’s important to keep in mind that Deltek Insight is about much more than just Deltek and its products. This annual networking event always offers so much to those who attend - from what’s new with accounting standards to inspiring stories from keynote speakers to opportunities to exchange ideas with colleagues. For those who didn’t have the opportunity to attend Deltek Insight 2018, here are some interesting things we learned this year.

Fun Facts Learned at Deltek Insight 2018

  • FASB ASC 606 impacts must be taken against retained earnings in 2018.
  • Deltek Vision will continue to be supported through at least 2022.
  • Deltek products are evolving and one new enhancement is “Hey Deltek” - the natural language processing and interaction creation like Siri and Alexa.
  • Johnny Cupcakes doesn’t actually sell cupcakes but t-shirts. So many people love his creative branding and messaging.
  • “Failures are just experiences. Experimenting is how we grow,” according to Johnny Cupcakes who started 16 companies before he was 16. Most people think they might fail so they don’t even get started. His advice? Take more chances and fail faster. When we fail, we learn, and failure helps us redefine priorities in life allowing us to be successful.
  • B2B and B2C are old fashioned concepts. You should now think H2H (human to human connection). How is your role and work impacting lives and making them better? This human connection is what brings us closer and builds memories.
  • Johnny Cupcakes also suggested “do more of what makes you happy,” which reinforces that human touch. Life is too short. Your clients have the same needs as you. Doing more of what makes you happy in return makes those around you happy.

Deltek Insight is Always Full of Information

As always, this year’s conference provided much value to those who attended. If you want to know more about attending Deltek Insight in the future or have any questions about this year’s conference, reach out to us using the link below. We hope to see you at Deltek Insight 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

Reach Full Sail!  

Topics: Deltek Insight, Professional Services

Improve Your Expense Management Process

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Thu, Oct 11, 2018 @ 01:54 PM

 

Expense ManagementExpense management seems to be a difficult task for accounting personnel at many professional services firms. With a workforce that is constantly on the go, tracking spending and enforcing expense policies can provide a plethora of challenges. What if there was a better way to manage expenses? Let’s see what firms can do to improve the expense management process.

Streamlined Process from Start to Finish

Being on the go means employees must be able to book travel and track expenses from anywhere at any time. Employees and those who approve expenses need to be able to easily accomplish these things from a smartphone or tablet. So, an efficient expense management solution needs to have a user-friendly mobile feature available to all.

Accurate Collection of Information

Not only is it time consuming to have to manually enter information from receipts, it is also prone to errors. Firms should have an expense management solution with optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities. OCR technology enables applications to recognize printed or written text characters so users can take a picture of a receipt, and the application will add the name of the vendor, the dollar amount spent and the date to an expense essentially saving time and reducing errors.

Simplified Policy Enforcement

Sure, we all like to make travel for ourselves more convenient for our schedules and prefer certain hotels. However, the later flight and the preferred hotel might cost a lot more, and if the policy is to find the best deal, how can your firm know employees are sticking to it? Well, firms should have an expense management solution that compares the costs of flights and hotels to ensure employees are booking the best value. If a more expensive flight or hotel is required, employees can submit a request with a reason indicated.  

Integration with the Core Accounting Software

Several core accounting management systems have built-in expense management solutions. However, they often lack the key features mentioned above. This means firms may need to look for a third-party solution provider to gain these benefits. It is important that the third-party solution integrates with the core solution, so do your research to find one that helps keep your expense management process streamlined.

Picking the Most Efficient Expense Management Solution

It is said that business travel expense is the second most difficult operating expense to manage. By moving away from paper receipts and automating the expense management process, firms can gain better control of employee spending. So, what are you waiting for? Find the best solution to improve your firm’s expense management processes.

Vision Integrates with Concur 

Topics: Technology Solutions, Professional Services, Accounting

Benefits of Having Clean Company Data

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Sep 26, 2018 @ 03:41 PM

 

Clean Company DataYou’ve probably heard the saying, “bad data in – bad data out.” Well, bad data is outdated, incorrect, incomplete or duplicated information, and according to the Harvard Business Review, workers waste 50% of their time dealing with it. Now ask yourself, when was the last time someone at your firm took a deep dive into the data in your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system?  While the process of cleaning company data is time consuming, it is something all firms should do on regular basis. Businesses can achieve numerous benefits by fixing bad data. Here’s a look at some of the top benefits.

Improves Employee Productivity

Spending the day combing through a bunch of bad data is tedious work and a major time waster. Furthermore, the result of this extensive effort might be little to no actionable information. Also, with finding inaccurate information, employees may be led down the wrong path and not towards the goal. However, with clean company data, businesses can be sure employees are making the best use of their work hours and accomplishing goals.

Improves Marketing Efficiency

Building a pipeline of new revenue requires having accurate data about customers you want to target for your marketing efforts. Having the correct email address, mailing address and phone number is critical to ensure the highest rate of return for your marketing efforts. Regularly cleaning customer data ensures information is up-to-date and marketers can realize a higher return on investment and a larger pipeline of new opportunities.

Improves Decision-Making

Effective decision-making is critical to the success of a firm and requires having accurate data. Business intelligence (BI) is a hot topic in all industries right now. For your firm to be able to jump on the BI bandwagon, the data you are using to make decisions must be accurate. Having clean data can support better analytics and improve your firm’s decision-making process.

Prevents Fraud and Billing Mistakes

Having clean company data can also reduce fraud and billing mistakes. In many cases, vendors may send multiple invoices for the same service to encourage firms to pay them faster and more often. They are not trying to be malicious. Accurately tracking invoices to see which ones have been paid will reduce double paying vendors.

Get Your Firm’s Data Clean

The task of going through your firm’s data can be daunting, but the benefits of clean company data are worth it. To begin the cleaning process, you’ll want to define goals and assign ownership to the different steps required to obtain your goals. You can also automate several of these steps using the different software solutions, or you can seek help from a trusted outside company that is familiar with the ERP system your firm uses.

Blackbox Connector for Informer 5 and Deltek Vision 

Topics: Client Relationships, CRM, ERP

Introducing Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Sep 05, 2018 @ 03:13 PM

 

Deltek VantagepointWhen Deltek for Professional Services (DPS) 2.0 is released, it will have a new name - Deltek Vantagepoint. In addition to the name change, there will be several enhancements to improve the user experience for both back office and front office users. Here is a sneak peek of how Deltek plans to take the breadth and depth of the Vantagepoint solution to the next level.

Say Goodbye to the Smart Client

With the release of Vantagepoint 2.0, Deltek will begin to push users away from the smart client and direct them to the web browser version. Using this version, they will be able to access Vantagepoint from any device that is connected to the internet using any browser they desire. Think of it this way - Vision is the smart client and iAccess is the web-based version. Keep in mind that if your firm is still using Vision, you may want to consider using iAccess more to get comfortable with the look and feel of Vantagepoint.

Proposals Engine

The proposals engine is now being introduced to Vantagepoint, and it is a great feature. For marketing, the proposal process can be extremely time consuming. With the proposals engine, a person creating a proposal can go through and check off boxes based on the requirements of the RFP, and Vantagepoint will automatically create the proposal. It can include images and pictures, employee resumes, past work examples, references and more.

Combined Opportunities and Projects

The opportunities hub is going away and is now being combined with projects. This has a huge upside for business development. By tracking an opportunity as a project, time and associated costs can be captured to help determine the price of pursuing new work. Additionally, a timeline with milestones and reminders can be developed to ensure business development is staying on top of winning the opportunity.

Simplified Transactions

Moving forward, transactions will be managed within a single location. Users will go to one place within Vantagepoint to enter, edit, report, post and approve transactions. Additionally, you will have the option to enter transactions without files and to post on entry. The line item detailed view will still be available.

Project Information Management Integration  

Deltek Project Information Management (PIM) will now be integrated with Vantagepoint. It will be easy to find since it will be a tab in the project record. By using PIM, firms can easily share project related documents and information within one platform.

Expanded Dashpart Designer

The new improved dashpart designer allows users to create custom dashboards with information that is important to them. They can select bar and line graphs, pie charts, or other graphics as part of their dashboards. Additionally, users will have enhanced control for grouping, sorting, filtering and totaling data all within the dashpart.

Improved Reporting

The reporting screen will now have a preview menu. When users create a report, the multiple clicks required in the past will be eliminated. The reporting tool will also include charts and graphs.

What Deltek Vantagepoint 2.0 Means to Your Firm

One thing is for sure - 2018 to 2019 will be a transitional time for Deltek Vantagepoint. As Deltek continues to further develop Vantagepoint, more features will be added to further enhance this solution. The most important take away for users is that they need to be aware of the changes coming and they need to be ready to embrace them.

Reach Full Sail!  

Topics: Professional Services, Project Management, Accounting

Preparing Your Firm for the Future with Succession Planning

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Aug 22, 2018 @ 03:09 PM

 

Succession Planning Change is inevitable but planning for change can certainly alleviate its impact. If you’re the owner or leader of a professional services firm, you know that senior level personnel are eventually going to retire or might simply move on to new challenges. With this in mind, your firm can be prepared by having a succession plan in place for when employees leave.

What is Succession Planning?

Stated simply, succession planning is the process whereby an organization ensures that all key roles can be replaced by competent new employees. As part of the succession plan, employees that are going to eventually fill these high-level vacancies will participate in a training and mentoring program to prepare them to become future firm leaders. The succession plan should also include replacing lower level employees as they move to higher positions within the firm.  

The succession plan should be presented to employees as a professional development and training opportunity. It should provide a map to employees on where the firm believes their individual skills will benefit the organization in the future. In an effort to plan for staff leaving, the process actually encourages retention of other high-quality employees.

Developing a Succession Plan

Creating a succession plan requires firm leaders to take a hard and honest look at their current financial situation and where they predict themselves to be in the future. Additionally, they will need to determine when certain employees will retire, and which employees are appropriate to develop as future replacements. Each role no matter where it is in the firm will require a different training program that includes a mix of activities to ensure the skills required to be successful are learned in advance of any departure.

Common Challenges of a Quality Succession Plan

Creating and maintaining a quality succession plan is challenging. Here are some common issues firms face with succession planning that must be considered:

  • Smaller firms have fewer positions which makes it difficult for advancement
  • Tapped succession employees may leave for better salaries at other firms
  • Project-based firms can experience ups and downs to the number of contracts/jobs they manage and deliver which affects staffing
  • Senior leaders may stay in their position rather than leave when planned
  • Chosen succession employees may lack motivation to advance
  • Plan falters due to poor communication or the lack of clear development and training taking place

Investing into the Future of Your Firm

A succession plan is an investment into the future of your firm. The time and effort required for a successful succession plan is costly, but the plan can also create future savings. Having a great succession plan in place will encourage retention since employees will feel valued, but it will also prevent the negative impact of change if someone unexpectedly leaves.

Succession Planning  

Topics: Professional Services, HR

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

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: Accounting, Project Management, FASB 606

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: Deltek Vision, CRM, Technology Solutions

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: Technology Solutions, Accounting

Getting to Know Marketing Campaigns in Deltek Vision

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 @ 03:37 PM

Digital MarketingIf you’re a marketing professional that uses Deltek Vision, you should definitely be taking advantage of the marketing campaigns Info Center available in Vision. First and foremost, any marketing effort from email blasts to clients to attending a conference can and should be tracked in a marketing campaign. Also, marketing campaigns in Vision provide visibility into the success of your marketing efforts and people within your firm can see prospects that were targeted for a specific campaign. Here are some ways you can use marketing campaigns to improve your firm’s marketing efforts.

Targeted Marketing Campaigns

Let’s say you have a segment of an industry you want to market your services to - how does Deltek Vision and the marketing campaigns help you? Using Vision’s advanced search functionality, you can drill down in your CRM system to identify prospects you want to reach with your campaign. Even more, you can associate them to a marketing campaign in Vision to allow you to track these prospects and easily create lists.

Want to create an email blast to send to your identified prospects to promote your services? If you use marketing campaigns in Vision and a third-party email marketing platform like Constant Contact or MailChimp, there’s an integration to make this happen. You create the email in the automated marketing platform you use and then quickly associate the targets in your Vision marketing campaign to the email you created. The need to export and import contacts is eliminated.

Furthermore, in the Vision marketing campaign, you can see your email stats such as clicks, bounces and unsubscribes. All of this data allows you to evaluate the success of your effort. If it sounds too good to be true, learn more here.

Industry Conferences

At industry conferences, you’re likely to attend educational seminars and social events in the expo hall. You’ll have many opportunities to network with existing clients and prospects, as well as find new leads. So, what do you do with all those notes and new business cards? If you created a marketing campaign prior to the conference, you can simply add these people with notes to the marketing campaign in your spare time at the conference.

Additionally, if you attend the same conferences every year, marketing campaigns can track who was there in prior years. The campaign notes also show which people are consistently spoken to at each event. This allows you to preplan who you want to target and what you want to talk to them about next time.

Wait, there’s more! If you are an event sponsor, you may also be able to get a list of who is registered for the conference. These people can be added to the marketing campaign prior to the event which makes adding notes on the targets easier since they are already associated to the campaign you created. You can also choose your targets knowing with near certainty that they are attending the conference.  

Event Hosting

Does your firm host webinars or client events? If the answer is yes, you probably target a specific segment of your clients and prospects to market your events. Like the targeted campaigns mentioned above, you can quickly segment your contacts to identify who you want to invite to your event. When using a marketing campaign in Deltek Vision to assist you, you can easily add these contacts to your campaign and track who attended. This information will help your firm evaluate the success of the events you do.

More Benefits to Using Deltek Vision Marketing Campaigns

By using Deltek Vision marketing campaigns, you’ve seen that you can easily track touchpoints with leads, prospects and clients to gain visibility into the entire lifecycle of developing business. Furthermore, you can learn what works and what doesn’t work when marketing to contacts to create more business. However, once you create a marketing campaign, you can also create a project in Vision for that marketing campaign. You can bill your time and expenses associated with it to better improve your ability to track the ROI of your marketing efforts. So, what are you waiting for? Start using marketing campaigns in Vision today to show the success of your marketing efforts.

New Call-to-action 

Topics: Marketing, CRM, Deltek Vision