Full Sail Partners Blog

Financial Trend Findings from the 40th Deltek AE Clarity Study

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Aug 21, 2019 @ 12:53 PM

40th Annual AE Clarity Report

You’ll be happy to know that the 40th annual Deltek AE Clarity Study found that AE firms’ financial metrics increased across the board. However, what you’re really wondering is how your financial metrics matched up against the findings of the AE Clarity Study. By comparing your metrics with the study findings, your firm can see what it must do to ensure it has an even more successful future when compared to past performance. Here are some financial highlights from the 40th Deltek AE Clarity Study.

Hurdles that Firm Financial Leaders Experience

A shocking reality to many firms is that finding and retaining top talent is becoming very costly. In fact, this challenge was introduced to the survey this year, and it was the largest one faced by financial leaders last year. To put this into perspective, it typically costs a business 1% to 2.5% of its total revenue to hire and onboard a new employee according to a study by MIT. For a firm with over $1 million in revenue a year, this is an astonishing amount.

However, there are other standout challenges firm financial leaders faced. Some of these included business development challenges such as increasing profitability and managing firm growth. But when closely reviewing the Clarity Study financial findings, human capital management issues were very common. Succession planning and ownership transition ranked as the fourth leading challenge for financial leaders.   

Key Financial Findings from the Deltek AE Clarity Study

Overall, the 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Study found that the majority of firms are improving their financial performance. For instance, the study found that firms have increased their operating profit on net revenue by 1.2%. On the other hand, firms experienced only a 0.4% increase in utilization rate and a 0.05% increase in net labor multiplier.

Surprisingly, overhead rate changes affected firms differently depending on size. Whereas large firms experienced a decrease by 5% in their overhead rates, small firms reported an 11% increase. However, the increases are most likely associated with firms making investments back into their companies and their employees. Other reasons for these increases may be related to inflated office space costs and the general increase in the cost of doing business. Keep in mind, this is just a summary of the financial findings, and you will find more details in the actual report.

Finding Ways to Overcome Financial Hurdles

During the study, firm financial leaders were asked to rank their top three initiatives to overcome the hurdles they face. The majority listed business process improvement as the most important. This makes sense, as a more streamlined business process will quickly cut hidden costs. The study next revealed that firm project managers often lack financial understanding. Therefore, firms are increasing financial training for project managers to create more profitable projects. Lastly, financial leaders want to improve business forecasting which will also help with human capital management.

Benchmark Your Firm Against the AE Industry

The Annual Deltek AE Clarity Study is a great tool that allows AE firms to compare themselves to others in the industry. What makes this study so significant is that it uses information from over 700 companies of all sizes with over 2,500 individuals responding to the survey. As a result, the information contained in the study represents the entire AE industry. So, take advantage of this free study to discover how your firm measures up to the industry standard.

  New call-to-action

Topics: Professional Services, Deltek Clarity Report