Full Sail Partners Blog

Deltek Vantagepoint Clarity Report

Posted by Lindsay Diven on June 29, 2022

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The Deltek Clarity report is the longest running, most comprehensive study in the architecture and engineering (A&E) industry for North America. The report digs into benchmarks, market outlook, and industry trends to help A&E firms identify where they are and how they compare to other firms in the industry. The 43rd Annual Report provides both surprising and not so surprising findings, as well as positive firm indicators for financial strength and project management excellence.  

Deltek Clarity has participation from more than 540 companies and delivers more than 100 benchmarks and industry insights across the business. The study focuses specifically on architecture and engineering firms and other firms who support the design firms. The 43rd Annual Deltek Clarity Study collected responses from A&E firms of all sizes in North America based on 2021 fiscal data. Here is an overall look at what was reported this year, but for more detail, the 43rd Clarity Study can be reviewed in its entirety. 

Consistent Challenges Across Departments 

This was one of the report findings that was not surprising. The two biggest challenges across company departments were related to staffing and time. Business development is challenged to find the time to nurture client relationships while technology departments have a lack of time to invest in learning. Moreover, project management, human resources, and finance departments all cited staff shortages, finding, and retaining qualified staff as their top challenge.  

In fact, 78% of the financial leaders identified that finding and retaining qualified staff is the number one financial challenge. This has been very different than what previous Clarity reports have shown in the past few years. In addition to staffing challenges, other consistent themes included business process automation and managing strong backlog and pipeline. All of these have an underlying theme of technology and how best to leverage technology to address some of the challenges companies are facing. 

Purposeful Investment in Technology 

This begins by measuring the digital transformation and maturity levels now and in the next five years, and how this aligns with the goals of the business. Then aligning business goals and IT goals to have that culture of efficiency and culture of innovation. According to the report, most firms identify themselves in that early or exploratory phase of maturity but nearly 70% of firms expect to be mature or advanced within the next five years. This is less optimistic than the previous year’s study. Some factors attributing to this may be that the pace of technology is moving so fast that the ultimate end goal seems to be constantly changing and/or not attainable.  

The top three challenges related to technology were lack of time to invest in learning, cost of technology, and prioritizing which trends are most applicable. Companies are struggling to understand not only what the new technologies are, but how to apply them in projects and business improvements. Top emerging technology cited by the firms were geolocation, augmented reality, and Internet of Things.  

These are often externally focused and can be leveraged in managing and executing projects. Not far behind in the cited top technology was big data and data science. Both can help firms to provide greater visibility and insight into what’s happening inside the firm.  

What this all leads to is purposeful investment into technology. Firms are looking to invest in the right technology to meet firm goals, not necessarily the newest technology. Deltek calls this purposeful investment. It’s critical, with the challenges of lack of time and resources, to look at the firm’s current systems with the technology in place and make sure it’s using them to their maximum capacity.  

Strong Market Forecast 

As noted earlier, the report indicates a really strong market forecast for the North American A&E industry. However, there are limited resources to both pursue and perform work. With these issues in mind, firms are going to have to be more strategic about how best to capitalize.  

Fortunately, the report does show a net revenue growth forecast of 17.6%. This is the highest that growth has been in the last ten years, and this is very optimistic over last year at an increase of 13.4 percentage points. Small firms were drivers for a lot of this positive push. In last year’s report, small firms had a negative forecast but now are rebounding back to a 14.6% net revenue growth forecast.  

The overall percentage of firm revenue from the top three clients has decreased slightly from the previous year to 35%. This could show good or harmful trends. Firms may be strategically and purposefully diversifying their client base or competition may be winning work away from the top clients. This is a great time to lead these types of discussions internally to see how the firm compares. 

Thus, while the forecast remains optimistic, it doesn’t come without challenges. About half of the firms said they are struggling to find the time to nurture client relationships. Combined with increased competition, firm leaders are trying to keep existing client relationships healthy and strong while looking for new prospects and revenue sources.  

Project Delivery Keeps Improving 

Projects are the core of what architecture and engineering firms do. The 43rd Annual Deltek Clarity Study indicates that, overall, A&E firms are becoming more confident in their project performance. 67.8% of projects are on or under budget, more companies (59%) are doing internal performance evaluations based on projects not waiting for an annual review, and 15% of firms are sharing their best practices through either a center of excellence or a project management office. Firms are focusing on project management as a discipline.  

While more projects are staying on track or ahead when it comes to budget (67.8% of projects), they aren’t performing as well from a scheduling perspective. Just over half (58.5%) of projects are on or ahead of schedule according to the report. This number decreased by 6 percentage points from the previous year. These are areas that both firm leaders and project managers should evaluate to strategize, understand, and determine what is happening. Does the firm need additional training for project managers or is the schedule being driven by the clients but at the cost of the firm’s profitability? 

One challenge could be access to timely data around projects. When asked about visibility around schedule variance, half the firms report low or very low visibility for project managers and principals. It’s challenging for project managers to proactively manage and keep the project schedule on track if there is a lack of visibility. This is a good opportunity to ask the firm’s project managers how visible their project schedule variance is and how better to improve that visibility.  

Similar to other firm departments, top project management challenges include staff shortages, competing priorities, inexperienced project managers, and accurate project cost and timeline forecasting. When it comes to project management, how is the firm handling project schedules, are the schedule changes internally or client driven, how quickly can the firm train new project managers, how can technology improve the project delivery gaps, and do the project managers need more visibility and access to project data? Discussing these internally will help to continue to improve the firm’s project performance. 

A&E Talent Staying, but Not Enough 

While the talent shortage is not new news, the Deltek Clarity Study digs in a little deeper to see what’s exactly happening in the North American A&E Industry. One surprise finding was the employee turnover rate. This was expected to be high, but it’s 13.6% which is low compared to the 18-19% that is shown in the Deltek Clarity Global report. Additionally, the findings show that talent isn’t necessarily leaving the industry but rather moving to other A&E firms. This might be good for the industry, but maybe not for the firms struggling to refill the positions. 

Medium-sized firms experience the highest turnover at 14.7%. Large firms are just below at 14.4% with small firms even lower at 11.9%. This lower turnover might be because smaller firms could have better employee engagement or be able to give different opportunities to grow.  

Nonetheless, with the high turnover, firms are experiencing the biggest challenge with filling open positions. The majority of firms are seeing more open positions than they had last year (65% of firms) while a third (30%) have about the same number of open positions. For nearly half of the firms, it’s taking 60 to 90 days to fill a position.  

With this talent challenge, it might be a good time for the firm to look at external factors such as candidates available in the market. Firms could also look internally to make sure their processes are as efficient as possible. This would include leveraging technology to streamline the recruiting process.  

The top talent acquisition challenges noted in the study were the availability of good candidates in the marketplace, ability to offer competitive compensation to candidates, and matching qualified candidates to open positions. This is even trickling over to the finance department. Finance leaders are feeling the increase in labor costs, higher salary demands for candidates, and additional costs to keep employees engaged. These higher labor costs could affect the future profitability of projects.  

In last year’s Deltek Clarity Study, succession planning and performance management were the top human resources’ challenges. This year, the challenges and priorities have changed. Now the top challenges for managing human resources are retaining employees, employee engagement/experience, and workforce capacity and planning.  

Relatively Stable Financial Statements 

The financial management section of the Deltek Clarity report is the longest running section of the report, with many findings showing a 10-year trend line. Firm financial leaders should review this section and analyze the trends and changes. For this year’s report, the financials are relatively stable but there are a few noticeable declines to note.  

Operating profit on net revenue declined after a decade of growth to 12.8% from 19.0% from the previous year. Deltek Clarity sets a threshold of 15% operating profit on net revenue for its high performing firms. In this year’s study, high performing firms had 23.9% operating profit on net revenue and large firms were near that threshold at 14.6%.  

Net labor multiplier is another key financial metric of the Deltek Clarity Study. This year’s multiplier increased just slightly to 2.99. The high performer firms had an average of 3.41 net labor multiplier. Something also to note is the top quartile net labor multiplier of 3.36. 

Overall, the utilization rate has decreased but is hovering close to 60% at 58.5%. This is not a surprising finding because of the increased labor costs, number of open positions, and maybe the increase in business development or other non-billable activities. Small firms saw the biggest decrease from 63.9% last year to 60.9% this year.  

Firms are seeing a strong backlog of nearly nine months. Large firms saw the biggest increase last year from 8.3 months to 9.94 months, and the top quartile is nearly 12 months of backlog. So, this is positive news for firms, if they are making sure that they can actually deliver on the work with the right resources.  

44% of the reported top financial challenges listed finding and retaining qualified staff as the top challenge. This was a big jump from the prior year’s report. Other challenges for financial leaders were managing firm growth and increasing profitability. These top challenges are interdependent. Finding qualified staff and having to compensate for that top talent will affect the firm’s ability to increase profitability and grow the firm.  

Diving Deeper 

This has just been a glimpse of some of the findings in the 43rd Annual Deltek Clarity Study. Firms should download the report (click the image below) and dig into it to understand what’s happening in their business, how they are leveraging technology, and where there are opportunities for additional training and awareness. This will allow these firms to better educate their teams, make sure they understand what their process is, and how they contribute to the overall success of the firm. 

 

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Driving Growth with Digital Marketing - Marketing Content Promotion for AEC Firms

Posted by Lindsay Diven on June 22, 2022

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So far in the “Driving Revenue Growth with Digital Marketing Series,” firms have developed their content plan and created content. However, creating great content simply is not enough. AEC marketers need a promotional plan that strategically shares content with the people that benefit the most from it. This article shares some common and uncommon promotional tactics.  

Search Engine Optimization 

Search engine optimization or SEO is a series of techniques firms can deploy for their content and on their website to rank higher for certain keywords on search engines like Google. Click here for a basic introduction to SEO. 

SEO should be the first strategy to be used as part of the promotional plan and should be considered when the content is being created, especially if that content is a blog article. Marketers should optimize the piece of content for the specific topics or keywords it wants to be found for. Another way to look at it is to think about the person that marketers want to read or consume that piece of content. What types of phrases or questions would that person be typing into a search engine as that person searches for answers? Make sure that marketing content has those phrases and key words included naturally throughout the content piece.  

Email Marketing 

This is the most overlooked and underutilized promotional tactic in the AEC industry. As a Premier Partner for Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint CRM, Full Sail Partners works with hundreds of AEC firms across the country specifically advising them on CRM and marketing strategies. So many of these firms have databases full of thousands of contacts but fail to have a consistent email marketing strategy.  

By using email marketing, there is a real opportunity for AEC firms to easily, affordably, and routinely get in front of clients and prospects with the content that is often difficult and time consuming to create. With tools like the Blackbox Connector for Mailchimp or Constant Contact that connect Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint to those email marketing services seamlessly, AEC marketers can get a leg up on their competitors just by using email marketing.  

Social Media 

This is probably the most popular and utilized promotional tactic. AEC firms often promote blog articles, white papers and case studies through their social media channels including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Each social media channel has its own pros and cons in terms of reach and engagement as well as best practices when it comes to getting in front of the preferred audiences.  

Finding out the social media channels where the ideal clients and personas spend the majority of their time is key for AEC marketers to develop the content, and they should focus their time on that channel first. Once that channel or channels are identified, marketers can research hashtags to utilize and optimize the visual content plus write engaging captions that keep both the tone of the social media channel and the brand voice.  

Live Events 

With a digital marketing campaign, often the content that is created is online. This includes blog articles, videos, case studies or white papers, for example. So, it isn’t a surprise that promoting this type of content is often forgotten when attending or presenting at live events. If the firm has technical experts or subject matter experts (SMEs) who present or speak at industry events, it’s a great opportunity to also promote the online content.  

Most recently, presenters have been including a slide at the end of a presentation with a QR code. The audience can snap a photo of that QR code, and it takes them to either a specific piece of content or to a webpage/landing page that has links to several pieces of content. Below is an example of a slide with a QR code from a recent conference. 

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It’s not just for in-person conferences or events either. If the firm’s SMEs are guests on podcasts or webinars, those can be other great opportunities to promote marketing content. AEC marketers should help SMEs prepare for these appearances, including identifying what marketing content to promote.  

Creating Great Marketing Content Simply Isn’t Enough 

Thinking about the content promotion while developing it is a great way to make sure that content performs well and meets the digital marketing goals. The content promotion plan should list the ways in which the content will be promoted including SEO, social media, email marketing, and live events.  

This article is part of the Driving Growth with Digital Marketing and will walk through how to gather and analyze the results for the digital marketing campaigns.  

 

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Deltek Vantagepoint’s Approval Center Keeps Business Moving

Posted by Theresa Depew on June 15, 2022

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Although not one of the most glamorous parts of Deltek Vantagepoint, the Approval Center has been designed to keep project-based firms’ business moving. The Approval Center allows supervisors to quickly access, review, and approve important business approvals including timesheets, expense reports, and absence requests. Users can visibly see any approval alerts outstanding and go directly to the records to approve.  

Let’s break down each approval area and type in the Approval Center so that project managers and supervisors can make quick approvals and keep the firm’s vital business moving forward. 

Easily See When Approvals Are Needed  

In Vantagepoint, there are two areas where Approval Notifications can be found. The first and easiest place is in the Notifications Center in the top right corner of the application. This Notification Center is used to notify users of many things, but for supervisors and managers, it shows an action item for each item awaiting approval. The user can easily go to that approval item by clicking on the hyperlinked blue text such as “Expense Reports” or “Absence Request” as shown below. 

Another area where approvers can see what needs to be approved is by selecting the Approval Center option in the My Stuff on the left-hand navigation. This takes them to the Approval Center where they can toggle between the different approval types, as dictated by the workflow set-up and role security. 

Screenshot of Approvals Notification Center

 

Quickly Review Each Approval Type 

Inside the Approval Center, when the drop-down is selected, each approval type will be displayed. Again, only timesheets, expense reports and absence requests are found in the Approval Center. Also, what is displayed will depend upon the users’ workflow setup and security role for the firm’s Deltek Vantagepoint instance. 

Screenshot of Timesheet Approval Center

 

Approve Specific Lines or Entire Reports 

One option in Deltek Vantagepoint is to be able to approve specific line items and/or entire submissions for both timesheets and expense reports. The columns that are displayed in each approval area can also be customized to the approver’s preferences using the Grid Settings (the gear icon in the top right corner). All approval rows can be filtered to see certain items such as Employee Name or Project Name (if in the Line-Item Approvals). The approval lists can also be downloaded into .csv or Excel. 

When ready to approve, the approver can select each row individually, or all rows by clicking the checkbox in the top left. Once the check box is clicked, the reviewer can Approve, Reject or Reassign the selected rows using the buttons at the top or the reviewer can Approve, Reject or Reassign all records under the Approval Options button.  

The Approvals look and act the same for both timesheets and expense reports as for the individual line approvals. However, when in Timesheet or Expense Report view, not as many of the details will be available. To see the details, the user must click on the Period Ending Date. From there, the user can review all the timesheet and expense report details along with the same Approve, Reject or Reassign options.  

Screenshot of expense line approvals

 

Review Expense Lines Without Opening the Reports 

With the Expense Report Lines approvals, all of the information needed to approve the expenses is shown without having to go into the actual expense report. The needed information is displayed in the columns including the Employee Name, Project Name, Report Name, Date, Category, Description, Amount if the expense line is billable and if a receipt is attached. If the reviewer clicks on the Detail icon for expense items like mileage, the actual mileage and the locations traveled will be displayed. If a receipt is attached, a paperclip icon will appear. The reviewer can click on that to access the receipt detail and view a photo of the receipt if provided. This makes it easy to approve expenses directly from this screen without having to go anywhere else. 

Similar to other approval functions, Expense Lines include the ability to select the columns to be displayed, filter the rows to show and download to a .csv or Excel file. In addition, there is the Print Lines Approval Report. This report shows us all expense lines grouped by expense reports and all lines not approved yet. 

The process of approving, rejecting or reassigning Expense Line is the same as above. 

Screenshot of Expense Lines Approvals

 

View Employee Absence Requests 

Deltek Vantagepoint’s Approval Center has absence requests submitted by employees. An added benefit is that the approver can not only see each absence request but quickly review the time off remaining for each employee by clicking on his or her name. When clicking on the employee’s name, his or her Employee Card is displayed. From here, the supervisor can verify that the employee has enough hours to cover the time requested by clicking on the absence hours tab. This shows the current available balance by benefit type. 

Screenshot of Employee Card

Absence requests can be approved individually by checking the box in the row and clicking Approve or all requests can be approved at once by checking the box at the top to select all and clicking Approve. Another way to approve all is to click the Approval Options button and select either Approve All, Reject All or Reassign All without checking any boxes. 

At-a-Glance Absence Requests for Entire Firm 

The supervisor can view the absence requests for the entire firm using the Absence Request Schedule. This shows all the absence requests that have been submitted, approved or rejected. The statuses are color-coded so the reviewer can quickly identify each type. Yellow is for submitted. Approved is in green and red is rejected. The non-working days are displayed in gray and the holidays are in blue. Users can scroll back in time or into the future using the left and right arrows accordingly. See the screenshot below. 

Screenshot of Absence Request Schedule

 

Keep the Professional Services Firm Approvals Moving 

Using Deltek Vantagepoint’s Approval Center streamlines reviewing and approving vital business processes including timesheets, expense reports and absence requests. This fully integrated system reduces processing times and provides visibility into the status and conditions of these key areas. To see this in action, click below to watch the Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Approvals Center. 

 

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How These Project Based Firms Prepare for the Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint Upgrade

Posted by Lindsay Diven on June 08, 2022

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Just how was the Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint upgrade for project-based firms? As consultants, Full Sail Partners can speculate on how the process will be for firms but feel it’s better coming from the clients who have been through it.  

This article is the first in a three-part series where clients, in different stages of their upgrade journey, share different aspects including how to prepare for the upgrade, the Vantagepoint features that are most liked by users, and best practices that other firms can use as they upgrade. Hear from clients who work at small, medium, and large professional services firms throughout the series. 

Featured Clients 

The clients that are featured in this series are a mix of small, medium, and large firms. Also highlighted are specific contacts who serve in different roles within their firms. They each were in a different phase of the upgrade process when we met with them. The clients providing their feedback include the following: 

Argus Consulting, Inc.  
Nancy Smith, Project Controls 
Karen Pattison, Controller  

CSHQA 
Andrea Kier, Business Development 

RIOS 
Jessamyn Davis, Chief Operating Officer 

Structural Integrity Associates, Inc. 
Paul Arnone, Applications Support Manager 

Ware Malcomb 
Brad Mathias, Director, Financial Planning & Analysis 

When Should Our Firm Upgrade to Deltek Vantagepoint? 

A common question that Full Sail Partners gets asked by clients is when their firm should upgrade to Deltek Vantagepoint. Here are a few perspectives from Deltek clients. 

Jessamyn – We first learned about Vantagepoint and how it is a vast improvement to Vision at the Deltek conference a few years ago when it was in Florida. It was then that I realized that we needed to get on a path to upgrade. But for us, the question about when the upgrade would take place was when Vantagepoint had enough functionality to make it worthwhile, and we made the upgrade in March 2021 after working with Full Sail Partners for about four to five months to prepare. 

Karen – We started looking at Vantagepoint about three years ago at the Deltek Insight [now ProjectCon] conference. Similar to Jessamyn, we were waiting for more functionality, especially with the accounting features. We got serious about the upgrade process in 2021 and that is when I selected Nancy to be the project manager for this effort.  

Andrea – We decided that because Vantagepoint had been out for a while already, the major kinks were worked out. So, our firm made the decision to move forward.  

Paul – The upgrade was on our radar beginning the spring of 2020 and by that summer we had a test environment set up. We had established a task force and were meeting regularly, mostly weekly, to get the Vantagepoint preview environment set up the way we wanted it. However, things got put on hold when we decided to wait for newer features to be added to Vantagepoint.  

Brad – We were in a very similar situation to Paul, waiting for the features that we needed to be available in Vantagepoint. We utilized Full Sail Partners’ Vantagepoint Readiness Report to identify all the things that we needed to pay attention to. We were originally supposed to go live in April 2021 but based on that report we had a massive data issue that we needed to clean up. We decided to focus on that before the upgrade. We also decided to bring CRM into Vantagepoint after using another CRM system for a couple of years. So that combined with the data cleanup has delayed our upgrade a bit.  

Who Was Involved in the Upgrade Process? 

Once the firms decided it was time to begin upgrading to Vantagepoint, the next step was to determine who in the firm and other outside resources, if any, to involve in this effort. 

Nancy – We established a core team with a representative from each user group. My recommendation would be for each of those people to be positive and tech-savvy.  

Andrea – We have three accounting people and three marketing people. Vision wasn’t widely used by a lot of people at our firm. It was seen as more of an accounting tool and the upgrade to Vantagepoint was seen as a marketing thing because it was very CRM-focused. I would agree with Nancy to have a representative from each user group because having only accounting and marketing limited our transition to just the training on the CRM and accounting aspects. Because we were the only ones involved, we were the champions and were the people who could ask questions. So, I think the level to which our staff embraces Vantagepoint would have been boosted more if we had had project managers and principals as part of the core team involved from the beginning.  

I think our challenge is that the project managers and principals did not really use Vision before. So having them on the transition team did not really make any sense for us. However, I would recommend that if you can include them, that do you include them, especially if you are creating new processes. We basically took this opportunity to start over and do a lot of new stuff that we never really did before. So having users be able to contribute to those new processes and provide additional insight would have been even more helpful for us.  

I have been involved in migrations and upgrades in other past positions outside the AEC industry. I have seen a number of times when you do not involve the right people, you end up with this giant mess afterward. Then it takes a lot more time and money to fix and you end up getting frustrated and burnt out.  

So, I would recommend involving a small group but trying to get equal representation from different user roles.  

Paul – Over at Structural Integrity, we established a task force of about 15 people representing all the different departments. We tried to identify all the processes in Vision that we have now. Then the goal was to make all those same processes continue to work in Vantagepoint.  

Brad – This upgrade was handled a little bit differently than what we did for the last upgrade in Vision. The upgrade when we went from the earlier Vision version to Vision 7.6 was a heavy lifting exercise that we did all by ourselves.  

Like a lot of companies, marketing is a very powerful piece of your operation, and marketers tend to have their own tools and software that gets connected to Vision. Part of the exercise this time was bringing marketing into Vantagepoint which brought in a whole new team and a whole lot more mojo. If you can find a way to embrace Vantagepoint as an option for CRM, in addition to your backbone of accounting, you are going to get a lot more attention and a lot more buy-in. That is what I can suggest – having marketing and accounting being on the same team and working on the same initiative was refreshing.  

Jessamyn – We had a core team that was our project accountants and our project planner because we use resource planning heavily. Since we also use CRM, we also had three people from our marketing team. We held some workshops with our project planners and project managers to understand what they would like to see out of dashboards and what they felt they were not getting now. We did not include them on our core team, and I think that was for the best. We delivered Vantagepoint to the project managers as a finished product rather than including them in the “making of the sausage.” I think it went really well. I think it was very successful, and then we did a lot of training when we went live.  

What Resources or Support Did You Need for the Upgrade? 

Having helped over 200 firms make the upgrade from Vision to Vantagepoint, Full Sail Partners understands that there can be different levels of support and resources that firms need. This can be due to the unique modules or features which the firm uses or to the amount of customization the firm has built into Vision. Hear from a few clients about what resources and/or support they utilized, if any, to make the upgrade. 

Brad – There was no way we could do this upgrade on our own. We are a large firm with over 600 employees. Accounting, marketing and HR, plus our support teams, are always understaffed. We also have customized Vision quite a bit. It would be very difficult for us to make any type of upgrade alone. We utilized the Vantagepoint Readiness Report and help from Full Sail Partners because of this. 

Jessamyn – The Vantagepoint Readiness Report shows you the exceptions or areas in your system where something is going to throw back a problem. Things like duplicate records for vendors and clients, project plans that have something wrong with them or all the customized reports and when the last time they were used - All these types of information. The first time we ran the report, it was overwhelming because we had years of data that had probably never been cleaned. We had two interns work full-time for four months cleaning up the data. Then we ran the report again and just kept doing that until we felt like we were at a manageable place.  

Andrea – We set up significant training time beforehand. We really didn’t understand Vision very well, and we didn’t use it in the way that it was designed to be used. We had years of different processes and data with different people in and out who decided they wanted to do something one way, and there wasn’t global communication. So, we had a lot of training before the upgrade. I was focused on the CRM stuff. I worked with the CRM specialists at Full Sail Partners for a while because we really needed to transform how we use the database. I wanted to make sure that I understood the logic behind how the system was supposed to work. If your organization is really organized, you have clean data, and you’ve got someone who has time to lead the efforts, then it’s totally possible to do this on your own. Yet even with the skills and having a strong foundation that would normally make this kind of transition seamless, it was helpful and time-saving (which can also be money saving) to have a team of Full Sail Partners’ people to help us.  

Just looking at the Readiness Report can be overwhelming. You realize that maybe the data is not as good as you thought. You spend a lot of time on that cleanup, and with so much time you are investing, you want to get it right. So having a team of experienced people to help guide us through was definitely useful for us.  

Paul – We are a firm of about 300 people, and I cannot imagine going through this on our own without the help of a company like Full Sail Partners. I have worked with Full Sail Partners in the past on several different customizations and we have always been happy with them. When Vantagepoint got on our radar, it just seemed like a great fit to just work with them and use the tools to help make this upgrade an easier process.  

Karen – I would highly recommend getting support. There is just no way we could have upgraded on our own even though we are only a 70-person firm. We needed the help of Full Sail Partners. We have used them a lot. We get all our questions put together. Then Nancy and I worked with a Full Sail Partners’ consultant to help us answer the questions. There are a lot of things that we just would not be able to figure out on our own to make this happen in our timeframe. 

Hear More from Your Peers 

This article is the first in this series where different project-based firms share their Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint upgrade experience. Future articles will include topics like the favorite Vantagepoint features of users and upgrade best practices.  

To learn more about upgrading to Deltek Vantagepoint visit the page linked below. 

 

 

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How AEC Firms Can Stay Ahead of the Talent Game with Reskilling and Upskilling

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on June 01, 2022

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IIn life, the good news must always be taken with the bad. In the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, the good news is that a massive federal infrastructure bill was signed into law that will help keep the industry growing in 2022. The question, though, is whether bad news will outweigh that good news for the AEC industry. Much like the impacts of the 2008 recession, according to an article in Civil Engineering Source, throughout 2021, supply chains, high prices for construction materials and labor shortages were affecting the entire AEC sector. So how can Human Resources departments address some of the trends that are being seen?   

AEC Trends and Tackling the Challenges 

Many leaders in professional services firms are tackling labor-related obstacles by evaluating their retention and talent acquisition programs. With the ongoing retirement of Baby Boomers, the increasingly technical (and digital) nature of work, rising wages and the “Great Resignation” of 2022, many employers at professional services firms are faced with skill gaps, problems attracting and hiring top job candidates and employee engagement retention problems.  

 Let’s take a closer look at each of these challenges:  

  • Feeling the Boom: With the departure of Baby Boomers, replacing the most senior and experienced professionals is an overwhelming challenge facing the industry. Most firms agree they can find new graduates, but their employment doesn’t replace those with 40 years of experience.   
  • Transform or Die: The pandemic required firms to rethink their digital adoption, but much of the AEC industry is still managed on paper including blueprints, design drawings, supply-chain orders, progress reports, punch lists, etc.  
  • Under Pressure: In the past, the main challenge was finding the work. Now one of the main challenges is how to keep the workers. Employers are feeling the pressure to raise wages or be forced with losing key talent. 
  • Gap-o-Rama: Graduates unfortunately don’t learn all of the necessary skills required for real-life work in the AEC industry. Additionally, with the constant change in technology, existing employees require learning new technology skills to stay competitive.  
  • Retaining Talent: During the pandemic, many employees re-evaluated what they wanted in life and from their employers. Many firms learned this lesson the hard way.  

Despite these talent woes, there is a solution for Human Resources professionals that is right up under their noses. Reskilling and upskilling are trending talent management tools that are being explored and implemented to address these challenges and ensure that growth stays consistent and progressive. Let’s take a deeper dive into what reskilling and upskilling are and the benefits each can bring to the professional services industry.   

Reskilling Versus Upskilling 

Reskilling is theprocess of employees learning new skills to move onto new roles within their current company while upskilling is a workplace trend that facilitates continuous learning by providing training programs and development opportunities that expand an employee's abilities and minimize skill gaps. The primary difference is that reskilling prepares an employee for movement into a new role within the company whereas upskilling prepares an employee for movement in their current career track within the company. Reskilling and upskilling are not just trendy or popular remedies. The professional services industry has found benefits for both the employers and employees, so it ultimately is a win/win. 

Benefits to Leaders 

  • Improves retention. Employees stay longer when they see evidence that their company is invested in learning and development. 
  • Keeps up with the industry. Maintaining highly skilled and knowledgeable employees keeps the organization competitive in the industry. 
  • Moderates recruiting costs. With the increasing costs of backfilling positions, reskilling might be a good alternative to letting go of current employees and hiring new ones with a different skill set, if the needs of the organization change.  
  • Attracts desired talent. Offering continuous staff training enhances the company’s reputation and brand image as an employer. 
  • Improves employee engagement. Potential and current employees want professional development and training opportunities in their job, and they will look for opportunities that provide these options. Upskilling satisfies these employee demands. 
  • Optimizes employee productivity. Improving employee engagement will ultimately increase productivity. 
  • Bridges the age gap. While generational differences can sometimes be a source of conflict in the workplace, when managed effectively, they can be a powerful source of innovation and adaptability.  

Benefits to Employees 

  • Feel more valued. When employees believe that the company is investing in them to improve their professional profile or give them new opportunities, it reinforces their loyalty. 
  • Have more opportunities for career advancement. Upskilling focuses on improving current employees' skill sets, usually through training, so they can advance in their jobs and find different roles and opportunities within the company. 
  • Increases their professional confidence. One of the primary benefits to employees is that upskilling can help to boost confidence anddevelop stronger, more capable teams in the business. 
  • Builds better relationships between employees and managers. As managers and employees collaborate on their employees’ career paths and provide leadership and mentoring during the training and development process, knowledge sharing, trust, and respect evolve organically.  

Repurpose Talent 

The bottom line is professional services firms are in the best possible position with continuous technological advancement, growing leadership flexibility, and external financial resources to successfully develop and implement upskilling and reskilling programs. Executives, senior leaders, human resources professionals, talent acquisition professionals, training & development specialists, or even HRIS experts, should join the upcoming webinar “Rebounding and Staying Ahead of the Game:  Attract and Retain Top Talent using Reskilling and Upskilling” on June 9th. During this webinar, find out what the so-called “Great Resignation” of 2022 is, hear case studies about other firms (especially in the AEC industry) who have successfully implemented these programs, and learn steps that organizations can take to develop a program that caters to firms’ talent management needs and goals. 

 

 

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Driving Growth with Digital Marketing - How to Analyze Digital Marketing Campaign Results

Posted by Lindsay Diven on May 25, 2022

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If the results from the digital marketing campaign efforts are not tracked, how will the marketers know if it’s working or not? It seems simplistic when written like this, but for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms, collecting and analyzing the results of digital marketing efforts is often the hardest part. And, because the results are often not collected, not analyzed, or not presented to the firm’s leaders, it’s hard for marketing professionals get buy-in for additional digital marketing resources.  

This article is part of the Driving Growth with Digital Marketing and will walk through how to gather and analyze the results for the digital marketing campaigns.  

Select the Metrics During the Planning Phase 

At this point, the digital marketing campaign is created and has been promoted. At this point it’s time to analyze the results and compare them against the original goals to determine the performance of the campaign. 

The hardest part about selling digital marketing strategies to firm leadership is showing the results. And choosing what to measure and how to measure the results is where AEC marketers often get stuck.  

The best time to select the metrics to be used in analyzing the marketing campaign results, is in the planning stages. Thinking through this while in planning, allows the tracking software or infrastructure to be put into place to gather the correct results.  

Using the original campaign goals along with thinking through how those goals can be measured, is the best place to begin.  

For example, if the original goal was to increase brand awareness in the Texas market by increasing web traffic in Texas by 25% in the first 2 quarters of 2022. The marketing department will want to make sure that they can track web traffic, including geography, and have a baseline number for the web traffic from Texas before the campaign begins. 

If the marketing department doesn’t have that ability or information before they begin the campaign, it's going to be very difficult to gather and analyze the results.  

That's why having very SMART goals outlined and agreed upon by leadership is critical to be able to track, analyze, and progress to achieving goals.

Understand that AEC Metrics May be Different 

AEC is different than other industries when it comes to marketing. It isn’t e-commerce. The AEC industry doesn’t provide online stores. AEC firm clients typically don't buy their services through their websites. So, this means that typical marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) like Cost per Acquisition, Customer Attrition, or even marketing-originated customers really aren't relevant.  

That’s why it so important to get the marketing campaigns SMART Goals determined. When those goals are clear, written down, and agreed upon by firm leadership, the metrics to determine that campaign’s performance become more clear. 

Possible AEC Marketing Campaign Metrics   

So, what should AEC marketers measure? How should they measure the results of their digital marketing campaigns? 

Marketers should identify quantifiable metrics that aligns with the goals of the organization and the SMART goals as mentioned above. These metrics should be either new leads (new to the firm’s funnel) or more interaction with current contacts to “nurture” the relationship until that content needs the firm’s services.  

And because each AEC firm’s goals are all going to be different, this article cannot simply provide a list of 10 example metrics. However, listed below are some potential metrics (KPIs) that could be considered. They are listed to help AEC marketers brainstorm metrics that are relevant to their specific digital marketing campaigns and firm goals.  

Possible AEC Marketing Campaign Metrics: 

  • Website traffic 
  • Search traffic/keyword rankings 
  • Backlinks 
  • Click-through rate 
  • Conversion rate 
  • Email sign-up rate 
  • Delivery, open, click rate 
  • Engagement/interaction rate 
  • Follower growth rate 
  • Brand mentions 

Marketers can then take those metrics and compare the marketing performance to a previous time such as: 

  • To the previous month, 
  • A 3-month average, or 
  • Specific goal(s). 

Metrics That Shouldn’t be Measured 

The things or results that the AEC marketer can’t impact should not be measured. If the marketer or firm can’t change it, there’s no point in tracking it or making it a KPI.  

Vanity metrics should also not be tracked, or at least, have too much weight or emphasis placed on them. Marketers are sometimes tempted to track vanity metrics like the Facebook page likes or Twitter followers, but if the marketing department is not currently implementing a social media campaign with the goal of getting more likes or followers, why track it? It’s not an effective KPI. 

Best Practices for Collecting and Analyzing Digital Marketing Campaign Results 

The following are some best practices that marketers should keep in mind as they plan for, implement, and analyze the results of their digital marketing campaigns.  

  • Use the campaign goal as the basis for analyzing the results. Marketers should tie what the goal of the campaign is to what metrics they collect and analyze.  
  • Connect marketing platforms. By starting with the goals, marketers can list what metrics they need to collect. But, this is also the time to evaluate what systems can be connected and automatically share information. A great example of this is the Blackbox Connector for Mailchimp or Constant Contact. These connect the email marketing statistics to the Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint CRM systems. A marketer can easily pull in the statistics for one email campaign or an email campaign series into the Deltek Marketing Campaign.  
  • Limit KPIs to only those that are needed. Marketers might be tempted to collect more data or statistics than necessary to see how the campaign is performing. Especially when first getting started, limit to collecting and analyzing only those metrics or KPIs that are needed to see how the performance is measuring to the goal.  
  • Tailor the KPIs to the audience. If the marketing campaign performance needs to be presented to firm leadership, make sure to tailor what is shown to that audience to just what they need to see how it’s performing to goal. For example, the marketing manager may be tracking email newsletter opt-in rates and email bounce rates. However, if that’s not a goal of the specific marketing campaign, don’t report those metrics in a presentation to the firm principals.  

How to Use the Digital Marketing Campaign Results to Improve Performance  

Collecting and analyzing the performance of the marketing campaigns is only half the battle! The next step is optimizing the campaign’s performance to get even better results. And the next article in this series share a few different areas to optimize when it comes to the firm’s digital marketing efforts. Subscribe to the series below to get the next article.  

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Easily Change Project Plan Dates and Hours with Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Rana Blair on May 18, 2022

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For professional services firms, projects often don’t go according to the original plan. This forces the project manager to spend time updating the project plan to reflect new project dates, adjusted hours, and resources needed to complete the project. With Deltek Vantagepoint, this doesn’t have to be a burden on the firm’s project managers. These changes are easily and automatically made, allowing the firm to focus on serving clients instead of constantly updating plans.

Typical Project-Based Firm Planning Scenario 

Let’s say the Natural Sciences Building at Northwest project was originally scheduled to take place from January 2021 through September 30, 2021. The phases at the beginning were Master Planning and Project Management. Then the project goes on hold for a few months, which happens often for project-based firms. Now, the project is restarting with a new phase in a new date range. The project manager wishes to set a proper baseline on the original schedule, and then review the new plan against the baseline.  

Let’s walk through each of these steps separately. Then, at the end, learn about how to see this in action.  


Changing Project Plan Dates at Various Project Levels

Changing the plan dates is always the first step. To change the dates at a phase level, click the ‘kabob’ at the far right of the phase and select the Reschedule dialogue. Using this tool, users can shift the entire phase to the left or right or change the duration by dragging it longer or shorter.  

For this example, the new duration for the Sustainability Planning phase will begin on March 1, 2021, and end on July 31, 2021. At this point, Vantagepoint will ask to replace the child dates – those dates of the individual resources beneath the phase. In this case, the answer is yes, replace child dates.  

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Another way to change dates is to go into the Schedule tab. When clicking on the phase to change, put it into edit mode. This will allow the user to simply drag it to the new dates and duration desired. Users can drag the bar right or left and/or hover over to get the bi-directional arrow to expand the duration. Again, the system will ask to replace the child dates or not. 

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Redistributing the Planned Project Hours 

Now that the project dates are correct, it is time to go to the Labor tab to work on the planned hours. Going back to the example, the master planning phase was scheduled to begin on January 28 and end on September 30. Its planned hours are 175, which matches the baseline, so no changes are needed. 

However, on the Sustainability Planning phase, there are some changes needed because there are no baseline hours saved. The planned hours also look low. To look at this further, users can go into their grid settings and turn on different columns such as Contract and Planned Billing. Doing this, the project manager sees 164 hours, the planned value is coming up at $37,980 but the contract value is $65,000. This will be the first place to start changing planned hours. 

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To do this, go to the phase level and select the ‘kabob’ at the end of the row. Select Redistribute Hours and Change Planned hours. For this example, the project will change those 164 hours to 275. Choose to do this for the entire assignment date range and spread hours evenly over the time period. By choosing to redistribute here, the project manager can now see that the planned hours are 275 and the value is calculated at $63,534 which is closer to the contract value.  

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Setting a New Project Baseline  

Now let’s plan forward or true-up this project plan. In the screenshot above, the master planning phase has a baseline of 175 hours, with 52 hours exhausted but only 77 hours remaining in the Estimate to Complete (ETC). The Estimate at Completion (EAC) hours is settling around 130 hours, and the project manager knows that the project will use most, if not all, of the 175 budgeted hours. So, the hours in the master planning phase will need to be redistributed using the ‘kabob’ at the end of the phase row. This will help push forward the hours and then allow the project manager to fine-tune them as the project progresses.  

In the redistribute planned hours dialogue box, select the option to replace the planned with actual hours and replace those hours in total. Use the hours from the job to date (JTD) range, choose to spread the differences, and choose to spread both the positive and negative differences in the ETC assignment date range. Then choose to spread the hours evenly.  

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The project manager would do this for each phase that changes the duration or timeframe. Also, with this example, the project manager would make the changes for the sustainability and project management phases. Once those changes are made, the EAC billing is $104,000 and the contract value is $124,000, which looks like the project will perform rather well. The last step is to publish the plan and start working on the project.  

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See Project Plan Changes in Action 

While reading about how easy Deltek Vantagepoint makes it for project managers to adjust their project plans, seeing it in action is even better. Click the image below to watch a 16-minute demonstration to understand how Vantagepoint’s Resource Planning makes it very convenient to plan for unplanned project changes. 

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Full Sail Partners is Celebrating its Silver Anniversary

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on May 11, 2022

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For the last decade, Full Sail Partners has been a recognized project-based technology leader in the Deltek professional services ecosystem. We have much to celebrate and we attribute that success to our company culture -- fun, fast-paced, flexible and collaborative. Our team members comment every day how they feel privileged to call many of their co-workers true friends and even family.  

Since our inception, the number of employees has expanded 131%, and over our 10-year history, revenue has increased 145% while completing over 4000+ projects. The firm launched its Blackbox Connector product in 2015 increasing the team’s integration capabilities by being able to connect clients to outside solutions. Deltek and other industry leaders have recognized our firm with 15 awards over its history because of our relentless commitment to cultivating strong customer loyalty and focusing on the customer experience. We accomplished this and more all while being 100% remote, before it became popular.  

We plan to recognize this huge milestone with our clients at Deltek’s Annual Conference, ProjectCon, in November in Nashville, TN. Additionally, as part of our continuing 10-year anniversary celebration, Full Sail Partners will be selling a cookbook filled with recipes from its employees. Each employee that submits a recipe will be nominating a charity of his/her choice. Any funds raised will be then given to the charity that is voted upon by Full Sail Partners’ clients.  

While viewing our accomplishments, you can truly experience the fun side of our culture. We would love to hear from you, our clients, about any experience that stands out over the years in the comments or on social media. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of our journey. We are excited to continue this celebration and enjoy the moment while looking forward to our next milestone accomplishment. Cheers! 

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Review our recent press release to learn more about our firm and our accomplishments over the past decade. 

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Business Development Calls Made Easy with Deltek Vantagepoint CRM

Posted by Cate Phillips on May 04, 2022

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Before the pandemic, I used to volunteer to judge high school debate and often found myself sitting in a public-school library on a Saturday morning staring at those cheesy posters where the words say “Attitude is Everything” …those have not changed by the way. Except 25 years later, those words still ring true. I do not know about you, but if I am rolling into a Zoom business development (BD) call with a bad attitude, it is doomed to fail. Since attitude is important when it comes to developing relationships with clients, how can the new and improved Customer Relationship Management (CRM) power of Deltek Vantagepoint make it easier to keep those business development calls on track? 

Attitude and Deltek Vantagepoint CRM? 

I started writing this on a debate kick, and it therefore must continue… As any good debater will tell you, something should not be fully considered until it has been argued from both the pro and con sides. So, how can business development calls be made easy with Deltek Vantagepoint CRM? Let us compare how it would go from both attitude perspectives. 

Bad Attitude Scenario 

5am – snooze 

5:30am – snooze again, since I went to bed later than normal last night, that is the mental self-justification I will go through this morning. 

6am – wake up, grab phone, check calendar. Okay, good, first meeting is not until 8am, I can sleep more, reset alarm. 

7:15am – grab phone, what? Why? I should have gotten up earlier so I could work out and do my morning stuff. I am grumpy about it.  

7:45am – showered and dressed, sitting down, I must scramble to review a prospect’s info in Vantagepoint. I glance at some fields. I notice that I am about to be talking to the Facilities Director at an airport. My engineering firm has done the type of project they are looking to do but only in Europe. My job is to impress the Facilities Director and get him to introduce us to the architect and then hopefully she will want to bring us in on this massive project.  

8am – meeting starts, I am not as ready as I should be. It goes okay, but it is not a slam dunk. He agrees to let me call him back, but I know in my gut he is not going to be calling the architect immediately to sing our praises. 

8:30am – I guess I should get the notes in the system. I am super discouraged and annoyed at this point, but I try to rally myself to get my activity recorded with enough detail so that I can perhaps salvage this a bit when I do my follow-up. 

Here is the rub folks. The Deltek Vantagepoint CRM is there to help me, and it is a great tool in my toolbox. I did not use it here to my full advantage. 

Good Attitude Scenario 

5am – snooze 

5:30am – I am up! I am not necessarily happy about it, but it happened. I get started on my morning stuff. 

7am – sitting down in my office now, I will not bore you with the details of my morning ritual, but I fed my mind, body and soul before I walked in the door. I am happy I have an entire hour to prepare for my call.  

Here is what I do to prepare using Deltek Vantagepoint CRM: 

Since the project will a subcontractor opportunity to the architect that is always the prime at this airport, she is the contact record I want to peruse. I know I have only got 30 minutes to get this Facilities Director to agree to introduce me to her. From my networking, I know that if he says give this firm a shot, she will consider it. I immediately then go to look at the projects associated with these two contacts. 

I also know that she has been a little unhappy with the engineering firm they used from a well-placed cold call by my Business Development Representative (BDR) last year. How do I know this, you ask? I have an excellent memory, and it simply always unfolds perfectly when needed. NOPE. My team and I always track everything inside Deltek Vantagepoint.  

I read my Activity notes from three years ago when I had drinks with someone that reports to the Facilities Director at a conference. She was the one that clued me in to how key the Facilities Director was in terms of getting the architect’s attention. Then I reviewed the notes our BDR had in there from the cold call. Those notes were in an Activity from the call placed and on the Competition tab of my project.  

Next, I double checked his and her LinkedIn pages and saw no new connections between us that I did not already know about in advance. My project is at a Lead stage and being the awesome Relationship Manager that I am, I enjoy seeing my projects get into our system, and I lovingly monitor the data associated with them. 

I also have a custom field in my Deltek Vantagepoint CRM that gives me something to brag about here. I can query my CRM to find past airport references, and I have 2 or 3 case stories (bragging rights) ready to tell if I get the opportunity in the call. 

8am – The meeting starts, and I am ready to kill it. During the call, the Facilities Director mentions another two of his colleagues that I was not aware of, and their roles could be important should we get this project to the awarded stage. I jot down their info so that our Marketing Associate can fill in the gaps with some research and get them entered in the system.  

8:30am – The call is over. It was the slam dunk I deserved. He was impressed with the stories I was able to tell, and since I was aware of the pain that the current engineering firm is creating with the Architect, this allowed me to effectively differentiate our firm. He said that he would be emailing her right away before he forgot, to ask her to get coffee and discuss what we can bring to the table. We scheduled our next steps. I was able to use the Outlook Connect to immediately get the appointment calendared and tracked in the CRM in one fell swoop. 

Which Attitude Won the Debate?    

Obviously, this debate was destined to go for the Pro - we all knew that, right? The bad attitude not only set me up to perform poorly, but it also affected my ability to leverage my Deltek Vantagepoint CRM correctly. So, here I have proven a good attitude + a great CRM = successful business development efforts. Ready to maintain a positive attitude in your business development efforts by fully embracing Deltek Vantagepoint CRM?  

Stay tuned for future blogs on this topic that cover other parts of the sales cycle and project lifecycle prior to the awarded stage. 

 

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Underused Accounting Features of Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Scott Gailhouse on April 27, 2022

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Believe it or not, but there are several applications in Deltek Vantagepoint that go unused simply because end users really don’t understand the concepts behind them. Labor Cross Charge, Consultant Accruals and Overhead Allocation are a few of those applications. This high-level overview is intended to make the user more informed about useful accounting features within Deltek Vantagepoint. These features are designed to provide the user the best view of a project’s overall health as well as the health of the professional services firm as a whole. 

Consultant Accruals

When invoicing clients each month on percent complete or lump sum type projects, oftentimes the percent complete billed on behalf of subconsultants does not really reflect what the subconsultants have actually invoiced the project. Consultant Accruals is a way to account for the differences. The Consultant Accruals account shows the difference between what the prime firm has billed the client versus what the subconsultant has billed the prime firm on the balance sheet. 

Consultant Accruals uses either the Project Budgeting Worksheet or Project Plan as the budget source to calculate accruals. The user must complete the Expense Costs tab of the Project Budget Worksheet for each subconsultant at the lowest level of the WBS. When the user receives an invoice from the subconsultant, it is entered in the Transaction Center, AP Vouchers using the same expense chart of account number and WBS level that is set up on the Project Budget Worksheet.  

When posted, the user will see a debit for the voucher amount to the expense chart of account (COA) number and a debit to a COA number called “Accrued Consultant”. Prior to running Consultant Accruals, enter the percent complete for each vendor on the Expense Costs tab of the Project Budget Worksheet or the ETC or EAC percent if using the project plan to calculate the accrual. 

Once Consultant Accruals is run, Deltek Vantagepoint will adjust the original posting to the expense COA number if there is a difference between the percent complete entered in the project budget worksheet and the amount entered in AP for that subconsultant. An adjustment will also be made to the Accrued Consultant COA number with an offset entry to the Consultant Liability account. The “Accrued Consultant” account will show the difference between the percent billed on their behalf and the amount the subconsultant billed the firm.  

Usually running the Consultant Accruals routine is part of the month end processes. 

Overhead Allocation    

Professional services firms have a variety of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used to closely manage a firm’s financial and operational performance, and profit margin should be one of them. The Overhead Allocation utility in Deltek Vantagepoint is used to assign indirect costs to regular, revenue producing projects to measure net profitability. 

Overhead Allocation must be configured in a firm’s Vantagepoint database and should be run on a timely basis – usually after timesheets are posted or at month end. Overhead Allocation can give the user a true understanding of a project’s profitability. 

There are two options for applying overhead to projects – multiplier or proration. Overhead can be applied to a project’s revenue or direct labor. 

The multiplier method applies a multiplier that is determined to every dollar of direct labor spent on a project. The proration method uses a firm’s actual, year-to-date indirect expenses. Firms generally prefer the multiplier method because of its consistency. Project managers always know how much overhead is being applied to their projects. The proration method, because it is based on actual indirect expenses, will change month to month. Deltek Vantagepoint uses total overhead expense divided by total direct labor to determine the multiplier used when Overhead Allocation is run. 

There are a number of reports including the Project Progress, Office Earnings and Project Summary report that when run at cost will display overhead. Running the Overhead Allocation process will return a report detailing the amount of overhead applied to projects and the actual overhead rate of the firm. 

Overhead allocation can be run anytime as it is used for reporting purposes only. 

Labor Cross Charge 

Firms using organizations within Deltek Vantagepoint, may want to consider using the Labor Cross Charge utility. A cross charge occurs when an employee in one organization works on a project owned by another organization. The professional services firm can choose a revenue share, where the borrowing organization is charged revenue based on an agreed upon price by the loaning organization. In this scenario, the loaning company would see an increase in revenue and the borrowing organization would see a reduction in revenue.  

A firm may also choose to bill the borrowing organization indirect cost reducing the loaning organization’s direct/indirect expenses and increasing the borrowing organization’s direct/indirect expenses. By default, when time is posted, the labor cost follows the project’s organization. The user may choose to have the labor cost transferred back to the employee’s organization during the labor cross charge process. 

Labor Cross Charge can be used on Regular type projects or both Regular and Overhead type projects. Labor Cross Charge is run as part of the month end process after billing to clients has been completed. Having a clear understanding of how these applications work in Deltek Vantagepoint will help the firm decide if it could benefit from their use. 


Get the Most out of Deltek Vantagepoint 

Deltek Vantagepoint was designed with project-based users in mind. So, it is important for users to be knowledgeable about all the helpful accounting features within Vantagepoint that can provide them with an overall picture of firm projects. For professional services firms seeking guidance on how to get the most out of their investment, Full Sail Partners offers a complete Navigational Analysis. Click the image below to learn more.  

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