Full Sail Partners Blog

The Various Forms of Percent Complete

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Jun 19, 2019 @ 01:28 PM

Revenue At the beginning of 2019, Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) jointly implemented the Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. Essentially, ASC 606 now requires forms to recognize revenue from contracts with customers when goods or services are transferred. For professional services firms that use their expertise to sell their time, this has a significant impact on how firms recognize revenue.

About FASB ASC 606

With the new guidelines in ASC 606, firms must recognize revenue in their income statement during the period in which the revenue is earned and not when it is billed. Since professional services firms manage projects that can span across multiple periods, they might not bill until the project is complete. As a result, firms must use a form of percent complete for the project to determine how much revenue to state on their income statement for that period. For example, if during a specific period a firm completes 25% of the project, they must recognize 25% of the revenue that will be earned from the contract for that period.

There are three distinct ways to calculate percent complete:

  1. Billing Percent Complete
  2. Financial Percent Complete
  3. Physical Percent Complete

Billing Percent Complete

Using billing percent complete is the most common method. Typically, this is driven by the project manager during the invoicing process. There are two options:

  • Overall percent applied to the total contract value
  • Percent complete by phase used to invoice based on the various components of scope/deliverables and these phases are broken down using either internal or external contract value

For many firms, this also drives revenue or earnings. Furthermore, it is recommended for people to review the current FASB 606 regulations. This will explain why earning what you invoiced may not be an acceptable solution any longer.

Financial Percent Complete

Another common technique is the financial percent complete. The formula for this method is job to date/job to date + estimate to complete. This indicates how much of the total estimate at completion has been spent or burned. When applied to the contract value, we can calculate revenue. Deltek Vision can facilitate this calculation using Resource Planning.

Physical Percent Complete

Lastly, physical percent complete can be utilized. This is usually calculated when the user or project manager has entered and can provide the following:

  • Compared to financial percent complete, indicated whether the project’s progress is tracking with the financial burn
  • When begin to drive earned value
  • Have control earnings based upon contractual stipulations such as deliverables which can accelerate or slow down earnings and at the same time drive Work in Process (WIP) in tandem but that is separate from invoicing

Which Form is Right for Your Firm?

Let’s do some homework. Using a project your firm is executing, calculate/stipulate all three forms of percent complete and compare them. Then write a business case elaborating on the project’s health from these three statistics. You might surprise yourself with the results.  

Get Prepared for ASC 606

Topics: Professional Services, FASB 606

Preparing to Upgrade to Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Nicole Temple on Wed, Jun 12, 2019 @ 12:56 PM

Deltek VantagepointGreat news! Deltek Vantagepoint is continuing to expand its capabilities and more Deltek Vision users are able to upgrade from Vision to Vantagepoint. However, it seems some are either unaware of what Vantagepoint is or they’re hesitant to accepting change. Therefore, let’s take a moment to inform people about what Vantagepoint is and why you should be extremely excited about transitioning to Vantagepoint in the near future.

What is Deltek Vantagepoint?

In short, Deltek Vantagepoint is a Vision reimagined with several enhancements. When using Vantagepoint, users will find its new functionality easy to navigate. As a result, managing projects and driving business development will be much easier with more streamlined processes and workflows. With Vantagepoint, project-based business will see an increase in efficiency in all aspects of their business.

New Look and Feel

Deltek Vantagepoint is a web-browser based ERP that is built on the iAccess for Deltek Vision platform. When Deltek was creating Vantagepoint, a top consideration for them was creating a product that has a great user interface (UI). Studies have found that software products with an intuitive UI have a significant increase in user adoption. Therefore, Deltek knew that having a high-quality UI was essential, but they took it one step further.

“Hey Deltek”

Deltek is taking simple functionality to the next step. In today’s world, hey…Siri, Google, and Alexa are common features we use to access information from our smart device or the internet. Well, Deltek has created “Hey Deltek” to help users search through their database using voice commands. “Hey Deltek” utilizes natural language commands to help locate, open or create a new hub record, log activities and create reminders using a common phrase. Keep in mind, this product is still in development and the capabilities of “Hey Deltek” will continue to grow and allow users to update timesheets, expenses and more using voice commands. 

Improved Dashboards and Dashparts

Start seeing the information that is important for your role in colorful graphs and charts right on your dashboards. With an improved UI, Vantagepoint users can easily setup dashparts that allow them to make actionable decisions faster. Furthermore, they can select how they want to see the information. Now there are several ways to see your data. Users can select from different types of graphs and bar charts and tables to better visualize data.   

Get Prepared for Deltek Vantagepoint

While change can be scary, it shouldn’t be the case when upgrading to Deltek Vantagepoint. Deltek has taken very meticulous steps to ensure Vantagepoint is a vastly improved ERP product that is focused completely on helping project-based businesses improve their performance. If you’re a current Vision user, it is highly recommended that you start using iAccess (if your firm has it enabled) to get yourself comfortable with navigating around Vantagepoint as these are similar interfaces.   

Deltek Vantagepoint

Topics: Professional Services, Deltek Vantagepoint

How Do You Measure Your Firm’s Success?

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jun 05, 2019 @ 01:18 PM

Metrics Measuring your firm’s achievements and shortcomings are important to ensure continued future success. However, many firms are unsure of what factors indicate the health of their business. Also, some firm leaders believe one indicator, such as financial reports, is more important than other areas like talent management. Well, that is not necessarily the case. Let’s take a look at some of the indicators your firm should use to make informed decisions to improve business performance.  

Employee Recruitment and Retention Rates

One of the largest factors affecting the growth of architectural and engineering (A&E) firms is human capital management. Having the right people working on the right projects has a significant impact on the profitability and overall success of an A&E firm. From highlighting experienced staff members during the RFP process to actually delivering the project, talent affects all aspects of your business. Looking at recruitment rates, employee turnover rates and several other talent management metrics is essential to evaluating and measuring success.

Measuring Business Development

Wasted time on winning new business is very costly. Measuring win rates, revenue from top clients and net revenue growth will prevent wasted time. For some, this seems like a logical thing to measure, but many firms don’t track this information and they should. If you’re tracking these numbers and they continue to decline, then you know you have some major issues. You can quickly change this trend by evaluating what types of projects you’re winning and losing, and why.

Financial Metrics

Without a doubt, financial metrics are extremely important. Knowing things like total employee cost, overhead rate, and total payroll multiplier are necessary to keeping your finger on the pulse of your business. Diving deeper, measuring performance using metrics like operating profit on net revenue, utilization rate and the net labor multiplier from previous years can provide a clear picture of the performance of your firm. If these numbers slip in a negative direction, other metrics mentioned in this article could provide useful insight.

Overlooked Technology Needs

Historically, the A&E industry has been hesitant to adopt new technology. As a result, firms continue to use outdated technology that lacks the abilities to keep up with the changing A&E industry. This has become the number one hurdle for little firms to keep up with larger and faster growing firms. A&E firms need to evaluate their current technology.  Are your systems connected or is there a lot of manual entry from one software tool to another? Is your software up to date? Being behind on technology can greatly hinder your ability to even measure performance indicators.

Comparing Your Firm to Others

Ok, let’s assume your firm will measure these metrics and keep track of them. Even better, it will use current metrics and compare them to historical metrics to notice trends. However, does it compare itself to other A&E firms to determine where it stands in the industry? Well, it can. Make sure to download the Deltek A&E Clarity Industry Study to see how your firm stacks up against your competition. The Deltek A&E Clarity Industry Study is created in collaboration with ACEC, the Association Consulting Engineering Companies Canada, SMPS and AIA. The data collected comes from 386 US and Canadian firms and draws from over 250,000 data points.

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Topics: Professional Services, Deltek Clarity Report

2019 Mergers and Acquisitions Trends

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, May 22, 2019 @ 01:45 PM

Mergers and AcquisitionsWith growing global political tensions, trade wars and volatile markets, one would assume that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity would slow down. However, this has not been the case.  As a result of US tax reforms and a reduction in the US regulatory climate, firms are retaining larger amounts of cash reserves. Furthermore, according to a recent Deloitte survey, M&A activity will continue to increase throughout 2019. Here are some reasons for this trend.

Need to Diversify

Architecture and engineering (A&E) firms must diversify their service offerings to continue to win new business. Diversifying in the A&E industry is usually in reference to purchasing or merging with another firm that has a different set of skills. For instance, an engineering firm specializing in soil science has a desire to offer a different service like water control which requires it to acquire or merge with another firm. Therefore, M&A activity will continue to grow to meet these needs. 

Generate Firm Growth

Historically, firms have used excess cash flow to pay down debt, purchase shares back or simply retain cash reserves as a backup. However, A&E firms are now finding that acquiring another firm is a simple and lucrative way to grow business. Essentially, this allows a firm to increase its market share and acquire a competitor’s client base.

Demographics are Changing

Many A&E firms are private companies owned by baby boomers. These owners are starting to look for an exit strategy, and an easy solution is to put the business on the market. By doing so, owners can request for bids to purchase their firms and obtain a fair market value. As a result, owners can capitalize on their success and enjoy retirement with a nice-sized nest egg.

Preparing Your Firm for a Merger or Acquisition

A&E firms desiring to take the M&A path need to make sure they have their internal records clearly documented. This includes providing understandable project financial reports, presenting any risks a buyer should evaluate, and having records that are easily auditable. Lastly, and probably most importantly, firm leadership should communicate their intentions and the expected results of the merger or acquisition with their employees. Is your firm ready?

 Mergers and Acquisitions

Topics: Professional Services, Mergers and Acquisitions

Why a Good User Interface Matters?

Posted by Madeline O'Connor on Wed, May 15, 2019 @ 01:29 PM

computer_inside

In essence, a User Interface (UI) guides users – it is a chain of screens, pages, buttons, forms or any visual element that interacts with a user. It may prompt the user to seek further information, navigate the site, make a registration or purchase decision with a series of clicks. Having a good user interface can ultimately change the way you work and process information for your business. There are many different aspects that a UI can offer to make things more efficient, quicker, and easier to understand.

Clarity 

Clarity is one of the most important elements of a user interface design. The whole purpose of a UI design is to enable people to interact with your system by communicating meaning and function. Clarity throughout the application can make this easier and more efficient. One great way of simplifying an interface is to use whitespace which breaks up the content and allows the user to concentrate on the important areas.

Presentation

An interface that is poorly designed can drive incoming traffic away and leave a bad impression. Features such as attractive branding, color scheme, layout, graphics, tabs and other tools make a great design that users will want to utilize. You want the UI to look good while still having the right features to work well keeping users satisfied.

Easy-to-Decipher

Easy-to-decipher and consistent navigation that is simple to locate and browse through is the basic requirement for a good UI. If the navigation is complex for a user to work with, there is no way they will want to spend more time trying to figure it out. One way to make things better is to make buttons and options more easily recognizable by using the icons the users expect to see. A good example is the trash can as most users will understand what this does without further explanation.

Functional

In the end, it is all worthless if the UI’s functionality is not up to speed. A quality User interface focuses on making the user interactions simple and efficient. Having such a user interface can go a long way in ensuring an exceptional user experience. Every single second a user spends on the interface is directly attributable to the functionality of that UI.

Make Sure Your User Interface is Exceptional

The User experience is tantamount to business success, and the User Interface is the most significant touch point for your users. If your UI is user friendly, it will be used repeatedly increasing your business productivity. Without a quality UI, the opposite is true, and that is why having a good User Interface matters.

 Deltek Vantagepoint

Topics: Technology Solutions, Professional Services

Thinking Outside of the Box?

Posted by Wes Renfroe on Wed, May 08, 2019 @ 11:35 AM

Custom Solutions Do you have an idea that hasn’t been done before? Full Sail Partners can leverage our expertise to help build a custom solution to your specifications. Just let us know what you have in mind and be as detailed as possible. It will be worth the effort since it will expedite getting your project to reality. Here’s all you need to do:

Go to Our Website

First off, just go to the Full Sail Partners website then click on the Services tab. Next, click on Deltek Product Solutions. At the bottom of that page, we have a link for “contact us today” for unique business needs. Just click there and it will bring you to the list of questions to help us understand how we can help.

Motivations for the Custom Solution

The first few questions let us know the gist of your idea including the type of project you have in mind. Is it report driven, data driven or something else? What has brought you to needing this custom solution? Finally, are there certain necessary components that need to be part of your custom solution?

Give Us the Details

We want to understand exactly what you are looking for with your idea. So, in this next part we need as many details typed into the box as possible. Also, we want to know if your Deltek Vantagepoint or Vision is hosted or if you are maintaining it on site. Full Sail Partners does Vision hosting, therefore if you are one of our clients already that is even better.

Send Screenshots

Lastly, screenshots of what you are looking to accomplish are a big time-saver. They give us a good visual of what you have in mind for your custom need. There are directions provided to help you get that screenshot to us. If there are any additional mock-ups or samples of your idea, send those to us as well.

Submit and Full Sail Partners Will Get Right on It

Custom solutions are available for Deltek Vision and are becoming available for Vantagepoint to help your firm get the most out of your ERP solution. The process is easy and the effort very worthwhile. We are looking forward to seeing what out of the box ideas your firm has today!

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Topics: Technology Solutions, Professional Services

What Makes a Quality Business Software Solution?

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, May 01, 2019 @ 02:56 PM

Business Software

For those of you reading this, I’m glad that you have a desire to expand your knowledge. While you might be a great accountant, business development person, project manager, HR professional, or C-level executive, you might not have a high level of IT knowledge. Yet, you are the professionals that must use your company’s business software solutions. Therefore, you need to ensure these business solutions are allowing you to be more productive. So, let’s see if your current business software solution is a quality one or not.

Simple to Understand

This sounds like a no brainer-but how simple is the software solution you use? Simplicity is more than a friendly user interface. When thinking about simplicity, you need to imagine inputting data and extracting actionable information.

Even more, it means being able to share information with others within and outside your firm. Taking this further, how many clicks does it take to get to your destination? And let’s not forget being able to easily obtain support from the software provider with quick resolution for your problem.

Pleasant User Interface

Software companies have entire teams of professionals dedicated to human-computer interaction, or in other words, how humans interact with machines. A quality user interface does make a software solution simpler, but more importantly, it entices users to want to use the solution. A software interface should be visually appealing and provide an intuitive environment. The better the user interface, the more likely employees will adopt using the software.

Integrates with Other Software Solutions

The fact of the matter is that businesses usually use more than one software to deliver services. For example, business intelligence (BI) software, like Entrinsik’s Informer BI tool, is becoming a leading software product used by companies to better analyze data. However, a core software must be able to integrate with a BI software to be able to extract the data.

Moreover, businesses also often use piecemealed together systems that are created as a business grows and/or a new gap needs to be filled. As a result, these individual solutions must be integrated together so they can communicate. If they are not integrated, employees will then have to manually input information from one system to another which waste time and is more prone to errors.     

Get Your Job Done More Efficiently

Does your current solution meet the needs of your business? Does your software help you better serve your clients and streamline your business processes? Lastly, will the software solutions you use be able to grow with you and your firm? If the answer to any of these questions is no, let Full Sail Partners help!

Reach Full Sail Partners

Topics: Technology Solutions, Professional Services

What’s Trending in Mergers and Acquisitions

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Jan 09, 2019 @ 11:35 AM

Mergers and Acquisitions2018 was a banner year for mergers and acquisitions (M&As) across the A&E industry. If trends continue, 2019 should be even better. So, what is the driving force behind this increase in deals? Let’s check out why firms want to make these big changes.

Buying for Geography

Firms are wanting to expand their footprints. In many cases, a firm entrenched in a state or region has a desire to expand its services and brand to new territories. In some instances, this is driven by their clients who insist on a physical presence in order to win work. Additionally, there is an advantage to acquiring a firm in a desired territory since it comes with a backlog to help in absorbing the cost of becoming established and selling new work.

Buying New Disciplines

Often in tandem with geography there is a desire to grow a firm’s offerings and skill sets. This can be addressed in one of two ways:

  1. Acquiring a firm with parallel disciplines that are in different market sectors
  2. Acquiring a firm with a completely different discipline base

Both instances provide the opportunity for cross selling and talent development.

Acquiring the Competition

Another common occurrence in the M&A world is acquiring competitors. Simply, it’s a great way to see immediate market growth. When acquiring the competition, there is the option to absorb staff into your firm’s current workforce. Therefore, the need for acquiring resources can lead to buying the competition.

Selling to Private Equity

Another trend is selling to private equity.  This allows the firm being acquired to continue operating as is and use the infused capital to hire new talent or purchase assets, or to buy out members of the existing ownership looking for an exit strategy. Selling to a private equity group doesn’t come without its challenges though. These purchases often require a material change in accounting practices and reporting, and new ownership doesn’t always understand the operation or industry. In addition, follow on sales between equity firms are always looming.

What’s Your Firm’s Reason to Go Down the M&A Road?

Each firm has its own reasons for choosing to go down the M&A road. Is 2019 going to be the year your firm makes a move to gain a better hold in the A&E industry? If so, remember that it is always recommended to seek outside parties to help with the technical aspects of the M&A process.

Contact Us | Mergers and Acquisitions  

Topics: Professional Services, Mergers and Acquisitions

Organizations Professional Services Firms Should Join

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Dec 19, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

 

 

Professional Organizations Professional services firms focus on specific industries and provide a plethora of knowledge to their clients in the projects they undertake. For existing clients, professional services firms must continue to stay abreast of the most recent events or rules impacting that industry. They must also continue to build their client base with business development. There are numerous organizations available to professional services firms and many benefits to join them. Let’s take a look at some.

SMPS

The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) provides a creative and inspiring community to exchange ideas. Members can connect with A/E/C professionals from other firms and disciplines across the country. The information gleaned from networking with like-minded professionals can be applied to your firm’s business. Also, sharing your firm’s best practices can establish your company as a thought leader in the A/E/C industry. Additionally, the new connections in the A/E/C community that you make from SMPS can lead to future business opportunities for your firm. 

PSMJ Resources Inc.

The mission of PSMJ is to improve the business performance of A/E/C organizations worldwide. Membership in this organization provides several advantages. First off, member firms are offered advisory services from expert consultants who serve as coaches pushing firms to achieve greater success. Next, these experts annually conduct hundreds of bootcamps, workshops, roundtables, and networking conferences which provide industry education and a chance for business development. There are also numerous publications available such as articles and books which give solutions to A/E/C challenges. Finally, surveys are performed presenting accurate and relevant industry metrics that firm leaders rely on in making decisions. 

ACEC

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is another organization providing great value to professional services firms. ACEC’s mission is to strengthen the business environment for member firms through government advocacy, political action and business education. This organization addresses key issues impacting A/E/C firms and provides online classes and seminars. Additionally, there are networking conferences for firm leaders to develop relationships. ACEC communications cover important legislative matters, and a magazine with thought provoking articles on advocacy and other business interests is published bimonthly. 

Deltek User Groups

There are many Deltek User groups offered across the United States. The Large Firm User Group (LFUG), the Power User Group (PUG) and regional groups by state are ideal networking environments for all Deltek users. These venues provide great opportunities for users to network, trade Deltek experiences and examine best business practices. In these forums, users can grow both professionally and personally gaining information on industry trends, new product features and business processes. 

Join Some Organizations

Professional services firms have much to gain by signing up with a variety of organizations. From firm leaders, to marketers to regulatory specialists, everyone can benefit from being members of these groups. Take some time and think about which organizations are the best match for your firm needs. Once you know, joining is just a click away!

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Topics: Building Business, Professional Services

Top Reasons to Automate the Accounts Payable Process

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Dec 05, 2018 @ 11:47 AM

 

AP AutomationOne of the most time-consuming processes for accounting is accounts payable (AP). In fact, the entire process from receiving and reviewing invoices to paying the vendor is riddled with opportunities for errors. To make matters worse, 77% of invoices received by companies are in a manual format such as hard copies, PDFs and emails, and the average cost to process one invoice is $34. There is, however, a way to put an end to these ever-present accounting woes – automate the AP process.

Reasons to Automate the AP Process

Let’s look at the benefits of automation:

  • Save Time – Using optical character recognition (OCR) technology, AP automation software reduces the need for manually inputting information from an invoice into your firm’s accounting system
  • Eliminate Errors – With less reliance on manual input, the element of human error is greatly reduced
  • Faster Processing – AP automation software allows for faster approval since the software will flag invoices that have inaccurate information
  • Reduce Double Payments – AP automation software will flag a duplicate invoice when on the rare occasion a company accidentally sends two or more of the same invoices
  • Gain Greater Insight – With invoices in one system, firm leaders and the entire accounting staff can quickly evaluate spending using easy to read dashboards
  • Improved Relationships with Vendors – By paying invoices faster, your firm will have a better relationship with vendors and even possibly get an early payment discount
  • Better Staff Utilization – Instead of having accounting experts processing AP, they can work on more important accounting tasks

AP Automation Solution for Deltek Vision & Vantagepoint Users

For Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint, SAP Concur integrates with these ERP systems utilizing the Blackbox Connector integration. When you begin using Concur, you can have all your vendors email invoices to one specific email address. Concur will then use OCR technology to collect the information contained in the invoice which can be reviewed by a member of the accounting staff to approve or deny payment. Once approval has been given, a check or ACH payment can be made.

It’s important to note that Concur then uses Expense Types to link all invoices to the correct GL account. This information is then extracted on a nightly basis into your Deltek system keeping it up-to-date. See, it is actually quite simple. Let Concur AP automation work for your firm!

AP Automation  

Topics: Accounting, Technology Solutions, Professional Services