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What You Need to Know About OCR and ICR Technologies

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Feb 17, 2021 @ 02:29 PM

For project-based firms, document management is vital, and with a document management system in place, these firms can organize all relevant information with ease. However, many firms use scanning technologies that only create an image of the document. As a result, the image lacks the metadata contained within the document such as client name, dates, invoice amounts and more unless a firm associate adds this information manually.

Artificial Intelligence

Today, new scanning technologies have been introduced to the market that have the capabilities to “read” a document and collect the pertinent metadata making the file searchable. This technology eliminates the time required by an employee to manually gather and enter that information. Before your firm decides to invest into this technology, it’s important to get a basic understanding of how these technologies work.

What is OCR and ICR?

In short, OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is a software that scans text in documents and is usually used for translating long documents into electronic files. ICR, or Intelligent Character Recognition, by comparison, is a software that recognizes fonts and styles of handwriting. With this basic understanding, let’s take a deeper dive into the differences.

It is commonly accepted that OCR technology was first introduced by Emanuel Goldberg in 1914 to read characters and convert them to a telegraph code to help the blind read. During the following decades, OCR capabilities continued to grow to what we have and use today. You may not even realize it, but you probably use OCR technology on a weekly basis. If you travel through an airport, send a letter in the mail, or deposit a check in the ATM, you have used OCR technology. While OCR technology is used regularly and effectively, there is a newer technology emerging as the leader.

In the early 1990’s, ICR technology took OCR capabilities to the next level. Basically, it is a smarter OCR which can focus on details. While OCR is normally used for retrieving typed documents that can be categorized and searched, ICR handles handwriting with more complicated styles than OCR can manage. Even more, ICR is a self-learning technology that teaches itself to recognize new handwriting patterns and improve data capture from scanned documents.

Benefits of ICR

OCR software is generally less expensive than ICR because you get fewer features. For some firms, the advanced features of ICR may not be necessary. However, for the majority of project-based firms, the cost of ICR is worth it as it will save countless hours spent on document management. Since ICR can read handwritten notes, and virtually any font, it can be used to manage many more documents than just OCR alone. Not to mention, the automatic retrieval of this relevant data no matter the handwriting prevents human input error which is a common problem with manual entry.

ICR and Accounting Data

Specifically, when it comes to accounting data, using ICR is extremely beneficial. ICR can be used for scanning various accounting documents such as accounts payable, invoices, purchase orders, onboarding payroll forms, and travel expenses. Larger firms that process hundreds of forms each month will be able to reduce numerous hours spent by team members having to manually enter all that data.

Expense Retrieval on the Go With ICR

Since Deltek is the leading provider of project-based ERP systems, it has already begun adopting ICR technology in Deltek Vantagepoint. Currently, Deltek is utilizing ICR in its mobile expense feature which allows users to take a picture of their receipts which can be read by Vantagepoint. The printed or handwritten text auto populates into the fields in Vantagepoint eliminating the manual entry of this information. Accounting can then see where the budgets stand throughout the project lifecycle keeping everyone on track. Stay tuned as Deltek is continuing to test this capability in other capacities to help streamline your business operations!

Watch demos of Deltek Vantagepoint now!

The Best Business Intelligence (BI) Tool for Deltek Vantagepoint Users

Posted by Chris Simei on Wed, Feb 03, 2021 @ 11:35 AM

One of the topics that keeps arising from the Deltek user base is utilizing business intelligence (BI) tools. Firms are seeking out BI tools for different reasons, but all are seeking to provide further analysis and visibility to employees within the firm. Some of the key products firms are investigating include Power BI to Tableau to Informer. So, what is the best BI tool for Deltek Vantagepoint users? Let’s dive in and discuss why firms are seeking out BI tools and discuss what we have found to be the best solution.

BI info 2

Clients Want More

The Deltek Vantagepoint product is robust and provides many out-of-the-box visuals and dashboards, but there are some further capabilities that require users to turn to a BI tool. Some of the most common features include:

  • Report upon any table or field not just pre-selected datasets
  • Create visuals combining different hubs or tables (For example, Project and GL Reports)
  • Drilldown capabilities from a visual
  • Combine outside data from payroll, marketing solutions, etc.
  • Track against goals, KPIs, and industry benchmarks

Why Informer Stands Out Amongst Other Business Intelligence Solutions

  1. Cloud Compatible – Deltek users in the cloud need not worry. A benefit of Informer is that it is Deltek cloud compatible. The API is pre-configured, and the data connection is already established. For your technology team, this is an important point since this would require a significant effort to establish.

  2. Ease Burden on IT – Deploying a BI tool can be cumbersome for technology teams. Our streamlined approach to deploy a BI solution saves time and resources. Most tools require in-depth data base programming skillsets, such as SQL. One of the key benefits of Informer is its intuitive and user-friendly capabilities, including dataset and visual design.

  3. Integrated Security with Deltek Vantagepoint – Informer utilizes the same security protocols utilized with your Deltek product streamlining the login process. A key advantage is user data is synchronized so you can mirror security preferences used in Deltek. As an example, when users are disabled within your Deltek product, they are also disabled within Informer.

  4. Combine Outside Data – Users can combine multiple outside data sources. For example, firms can bring in payroll data or other third-party solution data for further analysis.

  5. Out-of-the-Box Standards – No more starting from scratch and spending months and even years building out something that could be available to you day one. Our team has built what we call the gold standard, a starting point for project-based firms. On the first meeting, our team will show you how your data looks in our out-of-the-box datasets, visuals and dashboards. We will then work with your team to tweak datasets to your definitions and work with you to validate the data. Our gold standard includes visuals from the Executive down to the Employee and every role in between.

  6. Drilldown Capabilities is Built-in – Informer offers built-in drilldowns to transactional data on visuals. The drilldowns are automatically configured on visuals. In other BI tools it is just another thing you have to design, but not in Informer.

  7. Send Reports and Alerts Based on Conditions – Informer allows users to tap into their data and email certain filtered views to internal or external recipients. Emails and alerts can be scheduled on any conditional criteria. For example, as Project Managers utilize 80% of their budget, an email can be sent with a link to their dashboard and a breakdown of time on their project.

  8. Schedule Data Updates On-Demand – Users can schedule data to be refreshed on-demand or at specific time intervals. Datasets can also be scheduled on separate intervals. Some BI tools lack this flexibility, and all data is refreshed at one time. For example, opportunities may be updated every two hours, projects updated nightly, and income statements updated monthly after postings.

  9. Mobile Accessibility – Dashboards can be viewed on-the-go on any mobile device. One of the key differentiators between Informer and other BI tools is its drilldown capability. Informer content is automatically configured for mobile viewing without any additional development.

See Informer in Action

If you are ready to see more, we recommend checking out this previously presented demonstration webinar to see highlights of the capabilities of the product. Firms that have moved to Informer are finding tremendous benefits. Check out this case story to see how two firms moved from clunky and time consuming methods to up-to-date data with the click of a button. If these two webinars don’t provide you enough information, please feel free to email info@blackboxconnector.com to schedule a demonstration or discuss your specific needs.

Learn More

Power BI, Tableau, and Informer each offers unique features, but our clients believe Deltek users will find Informer to be the best business intelligence tool option. Be sure to join our upcoming webinar providing a more in-depth analysis of the capabilities of each of these products and learn what the future holds for BI tools.

Webinar: Informer - BI

Top 10 Blogs From 2020

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Jan 27, 2021 @ 11:27 AM

Full Sail Partners works very hard to provide our clients with the most up to date, valuable and interesting content relevant to the professional services industry. One convenient avenue for disseminating information is through our weekly blogs. We know that with everyone’s busy schedule, not everything in the inbox can be read upon receipt. With that in mind, we make our content accessible online so it can be reviewed and digested on the client’s timeline. So, in case you missed them and to pique interest for further discovery, here is a quick summary of the top 10 blogs of 2020.Top 10

2020 Trends in the Professional Services Industry

Firms in the professional services industry must adapt to compete in today’s world. Through acquisitions and other partnerships, many professional services firms have been entering into new markets and now have the need to offer a wider range of services to a larger client base. What are the top trends as they deal with evolving client expectations and staying competitive?

  • On Demand Workforce
  • More Flexible Service Rendering
  • Perception as Advisors
  • Leveraging Automation

>>>Click here to learn more!

Deltek Vantagepoint – A New Era for Project-based Professional Services Firms

A two-decade era of Deltek Vision is winding down, but it will continue to be supported through at least January 2023. Its legacy continues under a new name - Deltek Vantagepoint. Just like Vision, Vantagepoint will continue to help your people manage your projects from start to finish, but with a reimagined, intuitive interface focused on efficiency.

  • Available Resources at Your Fingertips
  • Preparing for Success
  • Bring Everything and Everyone Together

>>>Find out what you need to know abut Vantagepoint! 

The Value of the Deltek Vantagepoint Readiness Report

As the launchpad to Deltek Vantagepoint, the Full Sail Partners’ Vantagepoint Readiness Report can be used as a guide for your firm’s cleanup efforts and next steps. This valuable resource is such a strong starting point for firms as they consider when and how to upgrade from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint.

  • How to Get There
  • Start with a High Impact Tool
  • Benefit from the Results

>>>Be more prepared to may the upgrade to Vantagepoint!

The Value of the Deltek Vantagepoint Transition Copy Scripts

During the Vantagepoint testing process, firms will need to address some key areas including workflows, saved searches, reports and configuration settings before moving forward with a production environment. Our Vantagepoint Transition Copy Scripts are a valuable resource to ensure the work you put into addressing issues does not require rework when you move from test-to-test environment or to your final production environment.

  • Vantagepoint Preview Environment
  • Vantagepoint Preview Becomes Testing Environment
  • Benefits of Using Transition Copy Scripts

>>>Learn how copy scripts help ensure a seamless upgrade!

Improve Project Planning with Deltek Vantagepoint

With Deltek Vantagepoint, project planning has been taken to the next level with a focus on the features and functionality that project managers need. Here are some key features of Vantagepoint that will assist project managers with delivering successful and profitable projects.

  • Use Project Templates
  • Take Advantage of Labor Codes
  • Adjust Project Timelines with the Interactive Gannt Chart

>>>Learn about the features in Vantagepoint that improve project delivery!

Easily Capture Project Information Using Deltek Vantagepoint

Gathering accurate project details in a timely manner is a nearly everyday challenge of marketing and proposal managers at project-based firms. Fortunately, with Deltek Vantagepoint, teams can easily capture project information and reference it quickly when it matters most– during proposal crunch time. 

  • Identify Key Project Information
  • Capture Information While Pursuing the Project
  • Move from Pursuit to Billable Project without Losing Key Information
  • Access Data You Need When You Need it

>>>Tracking critical project information has never been easier! 

The Value of Vantagepoint for Business Development

When firms can successfully manage interactions, identify projects that add to our pipeline, and collect the right information to position our firm better than our competitors, we win more projects, improve client satisfaction, and increase loyalty. The abilities of Deltek Vantagepoint CRM can provide business developers, project managers, marketing staff, and executives with real-time information on client touchpoints, project pipelines, marketing and service efforts.

  • Record Interactions On-the-Fly
  • Easily Uncover Client and Contact Relationships
  • Support the Entire BD and Project Lifecycle

>>>When more business with Vantagepoint!

The Value of Deltek Talent for Human Resources Professionals

More and more professional services firms are finding value in having a methodical human capital management (HCM) practice in place. Deltek, the leading software solution provider for professional services firms, noticed that this specific market vertical has unique needs and released Deltek Talent, an HCM designed for professional services.

  • Recruit and Hire Top Industry Talent
  • Provide Development and Advancement Opportunities
  • Performance Management
  • Seamless Integration with Deltek Vantagepoint

>>>Improve the employee experience with Deltek Talent! 

Creating the Intentional Client Experience

When it comes to your clients, building strong long-term relationships is priority, and the quality of these relationships can make or break your business. Most importantly, clients desire an overall exceptional experience, and the intentional client experience benefits your company.

  • Begins with a Plan
  • Takes Being Client Centric
  • Leads to Efficiency
  • Ensures Positive Client Feedback

>>>Learn to create an experience that will delight your clients!

Key Findings from the Annual Deltek AE Clarity Report

The 41st Deltek AE Clarity Report provided a comprehensive assessment of the 2019 performance of AE firms. This year’s study collected responses from more than 415 firms of all sizes within the AE industry and provided a summary of trends in:

  • Technology
  • Financial statements
  • Business Development
  • Project Management
  • Human Capital Management

>>>See how your firm measures up against your peers! 

We’ve Got You Covered

Into 2021, we have all sorts of interesting ideas for relevant industry content just bubbling out of our experts’ heads. So, while you’re trying to stay afloat with your responsibilities at your firm, please know that Full Sail Partners is working to make your job easier. In the months to come, keep an eye out for future blogs on what is new and exciting for professional services firms. And, as always, feel free to check out our content online.

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What’s New in Deltek Vantagepoint 3.5

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jan 20, 2021 @ 02:31 PM

Delivering successful projects requires having the best project management tools available. Luckily for Deltek Vantagepoint users, more features and improved functionality continue to be added in each new version release. And recently, Vantagepoint version 3.5 just rolled out and it includes some incredible enhancements. Here’s a look at what’s new in Vantagepoint.

Deltek Vantagepoint

Dashboard Enhancements

A key feature required to effectively manage projects is having project performance information right at your fingertips. With the Deltek Vantagepoint dashboard enhancements, users can create informative charts, graphs, and lists to easily display your business data. This allows firm staff to quickly make critical business decisions that can positively impact project delivery performance.

In version 3.5, Deltek has taken the dashboards to a new level by allowing users to drill down to detail for hours, labor cost and labor billing on the project dashparts. Additionally, new options for planning data have been added, and the pipeline dashpart now includes the option to show total compensation. If you’re already using Vantagepoint 3.5, make sure to check out these improvements and start visualizing your data in ways you never imagined.

Improved Revenue Forecasting

Revenue forecasting accuracy is essential to delivering a profitable project and Vantagepoint users now have improved insights to ensure a successful project. Firstly, Deltek has now added more accurate and granular views of potential revenue from a project. Additionally, users can create revenue forecasts for individual projects. Deltek also is taking revenue forecasting to the next level by adding a feature that allows users to enter estimated to completion planned revenue at any level and easily update forecasts. With all this new functionality, users can now run reports to show pipeline and forecasted revenue periods.

Project Review Drill Down Capabilities

Project managers need to be empowered to better monitor project details. Now in Vantagepoint 3.5, project managers can easily review direct, indirect and reimbursable expenses as well as direct and reimbursable consultant fees. Additionally, all this information is available in a single location making it easier and faster to access.

Accounting and Billing Improvements

Cash flow is essential for any business to be successful and Deltek knows that their project-based clients rely on having easy and accurate billing to ensure they get paid by clients. For this reason, they have streamlined the billing and invoicing process in Vantagepoint 3.5. Now, the accounting department has better visibility of bill-through dates in interactive billing. Also, accounting and project managers have the option to resubmit draft invoices with new dates. Fast and accurate billing is important to any business and Vantagepoint is helping project-based firms streamline this process.

Expenses Simplified

Employee expenses are a cost of doing business, but these shouldn’t be surprises. Deltek recognized that making expense submission easier can speed up the process. Now in Vantagepoint 3.5, the mobile expense feature has been greatly enhanced with the addition of an intelligent character recognition (ICR) technology. What this does is allow users to take a picture of a receipt which Vantagepoint can read. The printed and handwritten text information from the receipt auto populates into the fields in Vantagepoint. The typical information collected is where the expense occurred, the date and the total amount of the purchase. Therefore, eliminating the manual entry of this information.

Do More with Deltek Vantagepoint 3.5

Each version of Deltek Vantagepoint will continue to grow upon the previous iterations. While we are only at 3.5, be on the lookout for more enhancements as more versions come out. It is truly exciting to learn and see where Deltek is taking Vantagepoint in the future and how it will make successful project management more intuitive and intelligent.

Deltek Vantagepoint 3.5 Webinar Series

Deltek Vantagepoint – A New Era for Project-based Professional Services Firms

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on Wed, Dec 30, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

As 2020 draws closer to the end, we reflect on the past and think about the future. A two-decade era of Deltek Vision is winding down. Deltek Vision will continue to be supported through at least January 2023, but its legacy continues under a new name - Deltek Vantagepoint. Just like Vision, Vantagepoint will continue to help your people manage your projects from start to finish, but with a reimagined, intuitive interface focused on efficiency. Throughout 2020, our firm has communicated with more than 250 firms about their plans to upgrade from Vision to Vantagepoint. In 2021, we look forward to continuing the conversation with many more firms and demonstrating why Deltek Vantagepoint is the gold standard for project-based firms.

Deltek Vantagepoint-2

Available Resources at Your Fingertips

As the Deltek Vision product continues to evolve to Deltek Vantagepoint, clients are looking for answers and clarification on how the change will impact them. The foundation of this new solution is based on Vision with enhanced features and capabilities that users should be aware of before they upgrade. Full Sail Partners has dedicated two years to providing firms with resources to help answer questions and simplify the upgrade process. If you are just starting this journey, be sure to review these resources:

In 2021, we plan to continue educating firms about the latest features as new versions are released. Be sure to sign-up for two webinars focused on the latest release of version 3.5. Both of these webinars will be an hour long and experts will be available to answer your questions.

Preparing for Success

For firms that are ready to jump into 2021 with a plan in hand, we recommend checking out our webinar Preparing for a Successful Move from Vision to Vantagepoint and our Vantagepoint Transition Services to learn more about our 3-step process. Full Sail Partners is helping firms navigate through the upgrade process to deliver a smoother result. Our process reveals the “sins” over the years that might need to be addressed and helps answer the questions of where to start. We have dedicated resources ready to help you outline a plan, train your staff on new features, and make the process more efficient.

Bringing Everything and Everyone Together

Deltek Vantagepoint is designed for the needs of everyone throughout the project lifecycle. The solution was built specifically for professional services firms to improve productivity, boost collaboration, and increase profitability. Suffice to say it was purpose-built with people and projects in mind, bringing all critical business processes into one unified platform. Deltek Vantagepoint brings value to all roles within your firm:

The Future is Deltek Vantagepoint

We understand there are other products that your firm may consider, but we suspect none of them will match the superior levels of project intelligence, management and collaboration needed to grow your business. In 2021, we look forward to helping existing and new project-based businesses better understand the power of Deltek Vantagepoint. Wherever you may be in your Deltek journey, let Full Sail Partners help you navigate your way!

Vantagepoint Transition Services Webinar

The Value of Vantagepoint for IT Departments

Posted by Wes Renfroe on Wed, Dec 16, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

For professional services firms, IT departments seem to have limited resources with one or a few people managing the entire technology infrastructure for the firm. This is a lot of work and can be very stressful for the IT person or team. However, you can alleviate a major burden for the IT department if your firm has a purpose-built ERP solution to support all of your business functions.

Value of Vantagepoint - IT

Deltek Vantagepoint offers a robust, comprehensive system that has been specifically designed for project-based firms. The Vantagepoint solution provides flexibility, scalability, and accessibility to everyone at any time and from anywhere. With Vantagepoint, several of the common burdens IT departments face can easily be eliminated. Here are some of the ways IT departments benefit from Vantagepoint.

Robust Modern Architecture

Having a robust IT infrastructure ensures information can easily flow between all the systems that support a business. Deltek Vantagepoint is one of the most modern, feature-rich, and high performing systems being deployed for project-based firms. With Vantagepoint, IT can rest assured that every department will have access to what they need when they need it. With ease of use for all users, the work of the IT department will be greatly simplified, and priorities can be reevaluated and reestablished.

Scalable Framework

IT departments are quite experienced with sudden personnel changes and growth due to mergers and acquisitions. They are also keenly aware of the importance of having a system that can grow with the firm. Deltek Vantagepoint is a solution with an evolving and scalable framework. No matter the ebb and flow of users, IT will be able to accommodate technology needs appropriately with this flexible, fully integrated system.

Cloud Flexibility

Cloud technology does more than allow for real-time access of data and systems which supports a more mobile workforce. Leveraging the cloud also reduces the burden on the IT department and decreases overall business costs while ensuring reliability. With the cloud, hot fixes, patches and other upgrades are performed seamlessly and uptime is essentially ensured. Solutions like Full Sail Partners’ Blackbox Connector, which fully integrates Deltek Vantagepoint and other third-party software,  are also provided in the cloud.

Be More Strategic with Deltek Vantagepoint

With Deltek Vantagepoint in place, IT departments at project-based firms will have the chance to focus on the future and strategically plan technology resources accordingly. With easy user adoption and a scalable framework, IT can make well informed technology decisions rather than having to constantly put out fires. Additionally, with reliable cloud offerings and Blackbox Connectors in play, there will be more efficient business processes and reduced downtime increasing productivity.

Reach Full Sail Partners

The Value of Vantagepoint for Business Development

Posted by Lindsay Diven on Wed, Dec 09, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

For professional services firms, business development can be completed both with dedicated resources and/or “seller-doers.” Because our firms have touchpoints with multiple people at our client organizations, information gathering and sharing becomes a critical piece to the success of our business development. When our firms can successfully manage the numerous interactions, identify projects that add to our pipeline, and collect the right information to position our firm better than our competitors, we win more projects, improve client satisfaction, and increase loyalty.

CRM on the go

The abilities of Deltek Vantagepoint CRM can provide business developers, project managers, marketing staff, and executives with real-time information on all of the client touchpoints, project pipelines, marketing and service efforts. This ensures all firm goals are being met and provides for the shared resource of firmwide data. Deltek Vantagepoint’s CRM strengthens your business development in the following ways:

Record Interactions On-the-Fly

The power of a CRM comes when everyone records conversations or information related to interactions with clients and contacts. Vantagepoint CRM provides users several ways to record these Activities and Touchpoints.

  1. Web Brower – You can access Vantagepoint to record a contact interaction from your computer, laptop, tablet or phone using any web browser.
  2. Hey Deltek! – Watch out Alexa, because there’s a new voice command in town! Deltek has developed its very own voice automated service. You can use this now in the web browser and coming soon to the CRM mobile app. Simply record an activity by speaking to Hey Deltek!
  3. Mobile CRM App – The Vantagepoint CRM app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Access all of your Firms, Contacts, Activities, and Projects inside the app. You can use your phone’s native talk to text feature to automatically log activities and meeting notes.
  4. Outlook Connect – Coming in early 2021 is the new Vantagepoint Outlook Connect. This integration includes a contextual email pane to view contact details, search Vantagepoint and create new records from your email. You will also be able to sync your contacts and calendar directly from Outlook to Vantagepoint. Connect also includes a scheduling assistant to help you find the perfect meeting time without all of the back and forth emails.

Vantagepoint makes it easier than ever for busy business development and technical professionals to log the critical information needed to build strong relationships with your clients.

Easily Uncover Client and Contact Relationships

Vantagepoint associates its Hub and Record information throughout the database. There are Hubs for Firms, Contacts, and Projects that are all interconnected. This means that you can associate any firm that is involved in a project – from teaming partners to program managers and general contractors. And, each time a firm is associated to a project, that project then appears on that firm’s record in the Firm Hub. This same association works for contacts and employees as well. It also gives your business development team the insight into the relationships of your firm with your clients, contacts, employees, and projects – all in one location!

Support the Entire Business Development and Project Lifecycle

The business development process often begins with targeting clients, then getting to know contacts at those client organizations. Through this effort, projects are identified. At this point, your team begins preparing for the pursuit of that project through teaming, proposals, and/or presentations. The goal is to win that project and perform so well that you are awarded with repeat work.

Deltek Vantagepoint is designed specifically to support the entire project lifecycle beginning with the earliest business development stages. When you are targeting clients, you will be utilizing the Firms, Contacts, and Marketing Campaigns Hubs. In those you can begin to gather information about contacts and activities.

Then as a project is identified, it’s logged into the Projects Hub in a pursuit stage. You will continue to use this same record through the pursuit and proposal stages. When this project record is created, a plan is also created so your project manager can begin to allocate resources and develop estimates.

When you are awarded the project, you will continue to use that same project record and update the stage and budget. All of the intelligence gathered in the pursuit of the project remains in the same project record you will continue to use to perform the project. This gives your business development and marketing staff the complete picture and history for that entire project.

Bring Everything and Everyone Together

Not only does the Vantagepoint solution encourage a collaborative environment, but it brings all your firm’s business development processes into one unified platform. This enables business developers to do their jobs better. Be sure to check out our entire Deltek Vantagepoint mini-series to see how the product can help your employees and firm.

See Deltek Vantagepoint now!

2020 Year-End Processing in Deltek

Posted by Rick Childs on Wed, Dec 02, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

2020 year end

2020 has been quite a year, to say the least! If you are like most of the people I talk with, you are looking forward to the new year. But, hold on a minute! Those of us in accounting roles generally dread year-end processing and, therefore, year-end itself! Either way, time marches on and we will find a way to deal with it! After all, that’s our job, right?! So, let’s talk about what we can do to make year-end as painless as possible!

Get Your Calendar and List Ready

The first thing to do is to make a good list of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and what it is going to take in time and resources to accomplish! When I think of this type of endeavor, my mind always goes to my Accounting Calendar. That calendar is my guide throughout the year and contains all of the relevant milestones – timesheets and expense report due dates, payroll processing, AP processing, billing, month-end close, etc. My calendar helps me to keep everything in balance throughout the year, rather than waiting until year-end to take it all on.

At year-end, we need to add some items to that list – benefit year initialization, 1099’s, and W-2’s to name a few. Additionally, the tax accountants and auditors (if applicable) will be asking for substantiation (sub-ledgers) for the primary account balances – cash, AR, fixed assets, AP, revenue, for example – on an accrual basis and cash-basis, if needed. Whew! It is a good thing we got to work from home this year! Not having to commute to work freed up plenty of time to get everything done, right?!

Ok, back to the job at hand – year-end close! As mentioned earlier, the accounting calendar will be a big help. One other item, that you should be checking on a regular basis, is the File Reconciliation Report in Deltek (Utilities, Advanced Utilities, File Reconciliation). This report lets you know if you have possibly mis-coded any revenue, direct, reimbursable or indirect expenses. Additionally, it will let you know if your AR, AP and/or unbilled services accounts agree with the sub-ledgers. Remember, the auditors are on their way. Therefore, your Full Sail Partners consultant can help you troubleshoot and correct any issues that this report might point out, as well as helping you run the best reports to troubleshoot any other issues you may find in your assets, liabilities, capital and/or income statement balances.

Other Key Year-End Notes

What about those special year-end items I mentioned, you might ask? Let’s address those now, before another year has come and gone.

Benefit Accrual Year-End 

  1. Validate that you have run all necessary accruals for the benefit year. Remember, accruals may be made at or around timesheet end dates, payroll dates, month-end, etc. But they are not reliant on those dates. Your benefit year has a life of its own and you, as the administrator, just need to be sure that you accrued the proper number of hours for each employee for each benefit.
  2. Validate that employees have recorded all benefit hour usage for the year on their timesheets. If you are using weekly timesheets and your benefit year ends on December 31st, you may not have all benefit hour usage recorded into the system until early January. That is not a problem, you just need to make sure everything is recorded.
  3. Run – and print to PDF/Excel - an Accrued Time Report for each accrued benefit code to document the balances validated in steps 1 and 2 above.
  4. Run the “Open New Benefit Year” Utility.
  5. Run – and Print to PDF/Excel - an Accrued Time Report for each accrued benefit code to document the new balances after the new-year initialization. This is necessary to be sure that all carry-over rules and pre-accrual rules are applied properly and that each employee is starting the new year with the hours that they deserve.
  6. Don’t Panic! Any issues found in the above process can be remedied via accrual adjustments and/or benefit accrual history loading.

Accounts Payable 1099 Initialization and Printing 

  1. Let all appropriate personnel know the last date that AP checks & disbursements will be issued to vendors. Also, let everyone know when the first check run for the new year will be run. Yes, I know, everything changes at year end, but, with a plan, you can work with the changes.
  2. Once all 2020 payments have been processed, and before any 2021 payments are processed, run the 1099 Initialization Utility. This utility modifies two fields in the Vendor Info Center Firms (Vision) or Hub (Vantagepoint) – paid this year and paid last year. The utility moves the paid this year amount to paid last year and zeroes-out the Paid This Year Amount. Now you are ready to cut checks in the new year.
  3. Run a Vendor Ledger Report for all 1099 vendors and validate the Paid Last Year Amount. Once validated, you can then run 1099’s prior to January 31st.
  4. Don’t Panic! If you find discrepancies between the Paid Last Year amount and the Vendor Ledger Report, you can validate the proper amount and modify the field in the Vendor/Firm setup, then generate/regenerate the work file in 1099 processing (accounting, accounts payable) and process your 1099s.
  5. Keep an eye out for a Cumulative Update in the mid-December, 2020 to mid-January, 2021 range that will include an update to 1099 Processing to include the 1099-NEC form for Vision 7.6 and Vantagepoint 3.0 and above. If you haven't done so yet, please be sure to subscribe to Knowledge Base Article #39799 – Master Hot Fix List for Vision.

New Fiscal Year Initialization 

  1. This time, I am going to start with “Don’t Panic!” Although this one seems like a huge deal, opening a new year does not close out the old year. Changes will be made to the previous year balances throughout the year-end close, tax season and audit season. So, just plan to open the new year as soon as feasible.
  2. The primary consideration for opening the new fiscal year is that this process resets the Year-to-Date “tracking mechanism” in all overhead projects. Because of this, you might reserve the morning of January 2nd for finishing up the postings of 2020 items (AP invoices, etc.) that might have come in during the holidays and then open the new year so that you can record new cash receipts that also might have arrived.

Don’t Panic about Year-End

As you might have noted, the overall theme is “Don’t Panic!” Year-end does not need to be stressful! And, if you take advantage of the processing options available in Deltek Vantagepoint or Vision, you can save yourself a lot of time and money come year-end, tax-time and audit-time. How? By maintaining and following a good Accounting Calendar and by setting up General Ledger Account Groupings to present your financials in the formats that your CPA and auditors prefer. Don’t wait for them to ask for sub-ledgers to prove AR, AP and Revenue, have them ready and balanced all year.

Additionally, Deltek’s Recurring Transactions can help to make it easy to take care of accruals and depreciation, etc. on a monthly basis. As always, if you have any questions or need assistance with any of the setup, processing or recording discussed here, just send an email to Consulting@FullSailPartners.com. Furthermore, Deltek has several resources available through the Deltek Customer Care portal including:

  • Year-End Resources such as knowledgebase articles, videos and documentation
  • The Deltek Community which allows users to connect with peers to ask questions and exchange knowledge and ideas
  • Live Chat with a customer care analyst to get answers regarding year-end

This may not have been the happiest of years, but at least now, year-end does not have to be stressful! Happy New Year!

Deltek Customer Care

The Value of Vantagepoint for Accounting

Posted by Theresa Depew on Wed, Nov 25, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Value for Accounting

Accounting teams are typically some of the most engaged users of Deltek software having extensively worked with Vision and now Vantagepoint. With its cohesive environment, accounting teams can benefit so much from Deltek Vantagepoint, and if utilized properly, it can streamline accounting processes and promote transparency throughout the system. Let’s take a look at the value of Vantagepoint for accounting.

Creating Value for Your Team

Deltek Vantagepoint offers meaningful dashboards that give independence to executives and project managers alike. In doing so, this allows for accounting data to be viewed in real time, without the need to process reports and send to project staff. Some of the benefits that result from streamlined processes include:

  • Approval workflows keep business processes moving
    • Using approval workflows to automate daily tasks can reduce the time it takes to send final client invoices and process vendor payments. Vantagepoint allows for streamlined approvals on most functions in the system – timesheets, expense reports, accounts payable and client invoicing.
  • Intuitive search functionality allows for more timely record retrieval
    • Vantagepoint makes finding information quicker. Using Find on the menu allows you to quickly access a hub or area in the system.
    • When searching in hubs or reporting, simply type part of the field name and get a list of everything containing that name.
  • Financial statements and reports are available for timely and informed decisions
    • Dashboards are a great way to get a quick snapshot of your business regularly. Vantagepoint dashboards are intuitive and easy to create. Also, Vantagepoint is preloaded with the most common dashboards by role.
  • Firms in one location (clients and vendors are consolidated) allows accounting to view one record and understand the bigger picture.
    • The Firms hub in Vantagepoint allows you to view all clients and vendors in one hub. Clients and Vendors are linked in one record, allowing users to view client invoicing and vendor payments in one area. The records can be kept separate for reporting, if needed.

Bringing Teams Together

Tracking down employees to submit timesheets is typically an endless story that firms experience. With mobile time and expense, teams can get excited about more timely submissions because employees can use this to enter and submit timesheets and expense reports from anywhere. Receipts can even be uploaded from a mobile device, and an expense line can be created using Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR). With Vantagepoint, submitting timesheets and expense reports is not such a daunting task after all.

Another way that Vantagepoint brings teams together is streamlining and expediting the invoice review process. Accounting can quickly and easily issue draft invoices, and project managers can mark them up promptly. This clean process keeps the invoice cycle moving along. Other benefits include:

  • Automate bank reconciliation

    • Downloading transactions from the bank and importing into the Bank Reconciliation in Vantagepoint greatly reduces the time it takes to reconcile the bank. Setting up the import is quick and only needs to be done once.

  • Billing Made Easy
     
    • Use Batch Billing to run draft invoices and email directly to project staff for approval. In batch billing, once all options are selected, they can be saved to use for future batch runs. Example, if billing is run by project manager, Options can be saved by PM.
    • Streamlining of the invoice approval process, all approvals can be done within Vantagepoint. Project staff can view, make changes, view invoices after changes and approve all in Draft Invoice Approvals in Project Hub.
    • Flexible Billing Terms can be based on the project contract. Vantagepoint allows creation of the fee billing grid at the top level of the project but linked to each level. When you have a mixed project, Fee Based and Hourly, use sublevel terms to set up billing at different project levels.

  • Transaction Entry
     
    • In Vantagepoint, transactions are created and posted in the same area. Batch processing is no loner necessary. All transactions can be viewed in one screen, using the filter option to easily search.

Simplify Processes with Deltek Vantagepoint

Deltek Vantagepoint offers the tools and functionality to streamline processes between groups in an organization. The improved accessibility and collaborative features break down process silos and allow for a continual flow of information. Since invoices must be sent to receive payment, the streamlined process can shorten the billing cycle and keep cash flow in check.

Deltek Vantagepoint Visuals

The Value of Vantagepoint for Project Managers

Posted by Rana Blair on Wed, Nov 18, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Project management view

Project success is vital to any professional services organization, so project managers must be given every resource to ensure their projects are done on time and within budget. In Deltek Vantagepoint, there are numerous dashboards and ways to view information easily so project managers can access what they need to ensure that projects run smoothly and are on target. Let’s check out the benefits of Vantagepoint for project managers.

Greater Visibility

Deltek Vantagepoint offers enhanced visibility to all users. Vantagepoint provides a major way to engage people with the system, specifically non-accounting users like project managers. With built in dashboards showing important numbers and graphs, plus a more intuitive reporting interface, every role in the project team can participate with the details regarding projects to ensure they are managed efficiently.

Focus on Project Health

The planning application itself is the most efficient tool to review project health and activity. Here, users can review profitability or billing multipliers with instant feedback while updating resource assignments. Additionally, Vantagepoint has detailed reports as well as a variety of standard dashparts to provide relevant information.

Flexible Project Management

Resource forecasting is all in the same house with Vantagepoint. With the resource view, project managers can control the resources for each project. In addition, with the Vantagepoint heat map, utilization of staff can be evaluated, and action can be taken based on those utilizations. Now there is a whole new interface for resource planning, and resources can be added from several different places. For example, resources can be added using the Resource view or the Project view. With these flexible options, project managers can easily see all details and can focus on resources and proper management of those resources.

Future Forward

Resource planning early in the process allows for better forecasts for resource allocation. With Deltek Vantagepoint, project managers can look at resources in line with awarded projects and pursuit projects out six or eight or even ten months. Also, there is a redesigned project review which is easier to read and has KPIs with calculations that make sense. Project managers have a one stop shop where they can see the performance of their projects which can be done in Project View.

Improve Collaboration with Deltek Vantagepoint

Deltek Vantagepoint has been designed to be more approachable, with simplified processes, enhanced visibility, and improved accessibility which has created a new willingness to contribute by all users. With a variety of dashboards and different ways to access important data regarding projects, project managers now have a much easier time keeping an eye on their projects. They can quickly see the results of their contributions to project management and rest assured that their projects will be successful.

Deltek Vantagepoint Visuals