Full Sail Partners Blog

Handling Write-Offs the Right Way

Posted by Lisa Ahearn on February 15, 2024

02-15-24 Handling Write-Offs - Banner

In a perfect world, professional services firms could invoice their clients for every charge to every project, and the clients would pay every invoice. However, in reality, nearly all professional services firms have write-offs. Write-offs can occur when your firm and your client agree that they don’t have to pay an invoice, when the client is unable to or refuses to pay an invoice, or when your firm is unable to bill all project charges to the client.

While writing-off charges is necessary sometimes, the good news is that each of these types of write-offs can be easily handled in Deltek Vantagepoint. Since write-offs impact the firm’s financial statements, it is crucial to have clear guidelines as to the accounting period in which they should be created/posted. In this blog, let’s talk a little bit about how to handle write-offs the “right” way to make the process as painless as possible.

Firm and Client Agree to a Reduction in an Invoice Amount

Did you accidentally invoice the client too much?  Did you send an invoice for a change order before it was fully approved? Or did the client argue about a portion of the invoice, and you agreed to a reduction in the invoice amount? 

When the client does not require a revised invoice, you may choose to do an invoice adjustment through the transaction center. It is recommended to use the original invoice number and date, and the WBS2/3 level from the original invoice. Doing so will result in the adjustment being applied to the original invoice, making receipt more efficient. One thing to consider when using this method is that if you keep invoices on file, the PDF invoice stored on the project will not show the adjustment. If the PDF invoice was later needed, it could be confusing that the total no longer matches the invoice amount that shows in the system.

If the client requires a revised invoice, or if you prefer to make sure the invoice on file matches the amount the system shows as billed, you may instead choose to void and reissue the invoice through Interactive Billing in Deltek Vantagepoint. Voiding an invoice reinstates the charges that were included with the invoice (which allows you the option to hold or write-off charges) and you would issue an invoice for the new amount. When voiding an invoice, it is best to post the void before running the revised one.

It is important to note that voiding an invoice will affect the financial statements, so be sure to void in a current, open accounting period. Another consideration with issuing a revised invoice is what invoice date to use. If it is agreed that the payment terms can start on the date of the original invoice, you can change the invoice date in the billing session options.

A Client is Unable to or Refuses to Pay an Invoice

Did your client go out of business? Did a portion of your work fail to meet expectations? And, did it result in the client refusing to pay?

Many professional services firms track an Allowance for Bad Debts against Accounts Receivable. When a client cannot or will not pay an invoice, it is likely that you will want to put the write-off against the allowance. The most efficient way to do this is to process a zero-dollar cash receipt. Select the invoice as though you are paying it, then enter an additional line in the cash receipt and select either the bad debt contra-asset or expense account.

Many firms use an indirect account for a bad debt expense. But, if your firm prefers bad debt expense to be a direct expense, you could set up a project as a regular charge type and a direct expense account to be used exclusively for recording bad debt.

If your firm reports on a cash basis, and you do not want to show any revenue or expense, Deltek Vantagepoint can accommodate that as well. In AR Mapping accounts, set up your Allowance for Bad Debts as an invoicing account (leave all other fields blank unless you also want a separate AR column). Then when you need to write off an AR invoice, process a negative invoice transaction using the original invoice number, WBS level(s), invoice section(s), and the Allowance for Bad Debts account.

If you do not have a bad debt allowance, you can void the invoice as explained previously and write off the transactions (explained in the next section). You could also choose to do a credit memo. The credit memo function reverses the invoice but does not reinstate the charges to Interactive Billing.

The Firm is Unable to Bill All Project Charges to the Client

There are several reasons you may not be able to bill all the charges on a project to the client including inefficiencies during work performance, going over budget, training new staff, and resource turnover. GAAP guidelines indicate that potential losses are to be recognized as soon as known. When it is known that charges cannot be billed to the client, use the write-off function in Interactive Billing.

This function will cause the items to be excluded from invoicing, thereby not recording revenue. If your professional services firm uses revenue generation, then to exclude write-offs, make sure the formula is set up accordingly. Using the write-off function for charges will not remove the charges from project reporting, except in cases where you choose to exclude charges to be written off such as on the Unbilled Summary report.

On reports where you can select to show the billing status of charges, items that have been marked for write-off have a status of W, and items that have been written-off have a status of X. If tracking/reporting of write-offs is desired, you could choose to use the project detail report. Then on the options tab, only include charges with the X or W status.

Visibility Around Write-Off Amounts

Using Deltek Vantagepoint, there is visibility around write-offs. As mentioned, to see the specific items written off, you can use a report such as a project detail and include only items with the X or W status. Since typically no revenue is recognized for written-off items, there are other areas that you can see write-offs and their impact as well:

  • As negative profit on the Project Earnings and Office Earnings reports when run at cost
  • As a negative variance on the Project Earnings and Office Earnings reports when run at billing
  • In Project Review at cost and billing in the profit/variance box

Use Deltek Vantagepoint to Manage Write-Offs

As discussed, there are several reasons that professional services firms experience write-offs. When write-offs are necessary, know that Deltek Vantagepoint can be set up and used to process them the “right” way, while also providing visibility so that your firm has a handle on its financial statements. If your professional services firm needs assistance in this area, don’t hesitate to contact us for more details.

 

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Improve Project Planning with Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Rana Blair on February 08, 2024

02-08-24 Improve Project Planning with DVP-Banner

For professional services firms, having a reliable project planning tool is critical to ensuring projects are profitable. In a competitive landscape, successful project execution hinges on the effectiveness of project planning, driving the need for firms to invest in tools that not only meet but exceed expectations. Therefore, a project planning tool needs to be intuitive for users and must improve project scheduling and resource planning.

With Deltek Vantagepoint, project planning has been taken to the next level with a focus on the features and functionality that project managers need. This advanced tool is carefully crafted to specifically cater to the distinct needs of project managers, making sure it not only meets, but also anticipates their requirements. Here are some key features of Vantagepoint that will assist project managers with delivering successful and profitable projects.

Start Early with Templates

Getting a project off to a good start needs a bit of an early boost. Luckily, Deltek Vantagepoint helps out by offering practical ways to help plan things out early. Here’s what you need to know to get a head start.

  • Successful Delivery: This starts long before contracts are signed so consider creating the plan when the project is first entered in a Pursuit Stage. Vantagepoint offers a variety of methods that can be used to efficiently create a preliminary plan.
  • Project Templates: Firms can create multiple templates for use in creating new project records or when adding structure to a project. Using Project Templates allows users to quickly add the phases of work that are typical for the projects.
  • Projects Used as Templates: Firms can create Project records that can serve as templates for creating new records. These records can hold typical Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) elements like Project Templates but can do much more. The records can serve as a plan template that will allow the user to instantly create a plan with Schedule Durations, Generic Resources, and Planned Hours.

Aside from the ease of creating a project plan, planning the project in advance allows professional services firms to proactively manage pricing and resourcing.

Keep the Schedule Updated

Keeping the project schedule updated is a pivotal aspect of effective project management, and Deltek Vantagepoint equips users with powerful tools for this purpose. The plan Gantt charts are a great tool for managing the dates in a plan. The Schedule Tab allows planners to visually manage dates, durations, and dependencies for project delivery phases. Users can also adjust the project schedule from any level of the project by simply dragging and dropping the timeline bars and reviewing the Critical Path on demand, ensuring a clear understanding of key project dependencies.

Beyond the convenience of schedule management, the real-world impact of keeping the schedule updated becomes evident in staffing discussions. Maintaining an accurate and current schedule is a crucial reference point for conversations surrounding short- and long-term staffing availability. By staying on top of the schedule, project managers can better address staffing needs, optimize resource allocation, and enhance overall project efficiency.

Anticipate Resource Usage Curve

The keystone of true resource planning is predicting resource demands as they will likely occur. All project delivery phases have a ‘curve’ that should be reflected in the resource plan. Deltek Vantagepoint’s Project Planning allows users to plan the hours differently in specific time frames. With the Distribute Hours feature, users can take a more precise approach to planning resource hours over specific date ranges by using hours or percentages per day.

This level of granularity in resource planning is not just about meeting requirements; it's a strategic move to decrease the chance of resource clashes. Understanding the intensity of resource usage during different phases of a project becomes a proactive measure to minimize conflicts and optimize resource allocation. By anticipating resource usage, project managers can navigate the intricacies of resource planning with precision, ensuring easy and efficient workflows that align with project objectives.

Review Performance Against the Baseline

The Baseline serves as the bedrock, outlining the assumptions upon which the scope, schedule, and budget of the entire plan are built. Saving the Baseline at the right time allows users to review the deviations and project the final outcomes.

Deltek Vantagepoint not only facilitates this review but also enhances it by allowing users to compare Baseline values with Estimate at Completion (EAC) values. This comparative analysis can be conducted seamlessly across various platforms, including the Plan, Dashboards, and the Project Review feature. This multi-faceted approach to reviewing performance against the Baseline ensures a complete understanding of how the project is progressing in relation to its initial assumptions.

Take Control of Your Project with Deltek Vantagepoint 

Deltek Vantagepoint Planning and Resource Management allows professional services firms to collaborate and analyze project performance from the pursuit through closeout. Maintaining the plan throughout the life of the project improves financial performance and enhances communication around schedules and resource needs. Furthermore, by using this advanced tool, project managers can proactively minimize resource clashes by anticipating resource usage and ensuring project objectives are met. Take control of your projects today!

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Resume and Project Information Management Using Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Lindsay Diven on February 01, 2024

02-01-24 DVP Resume and Project Info - Banner

In the competitive landscape of architecture/engineering (A/E) consulting, two critical assets set firms apart: their people and their projects. As a former marketing director for a large A/E firm, I fully understand the challenges involved in managing these assets effectively. Utilizing Deltek Vantagepoint, we offer streamlined solutions for managing both resumes and project information, ensuring your firm's unique strengths are showcased in every proposal, presentation, and marketing effort.

Strategic Resume Management: Capturing and Updating Professional Profiles

We perceive professional resumes not just as documents, but as dynamic profiles that showcase the strengths of your firm's most valuable assets: its people.

Starting Strong: Capturing New Hire Information

The journey of efficient resume management begins when a new employee joins your firm. This is a golden opportunity to capture their excitement and fresh perspective. Here’s how we recommend utilizing Deltek Vantagepoint and your HR processes to streamline this step:

  1. Coordinate with HR: At the point of hiring, collaborate with HR to integrate marketing and resume information collection into the onboarding process. Utilize HR’s existing data collection methods, adding specific forms or questions relevant to marketing needs.
  2. Gather Comprehensive Information: Collect essential data such as bios, previous projects, licenses, awards, special skills, software proficiency, languages, and contacts. For strategic hires, consider a dedicated marketing onboarding session to align their expertise with your firm’s marketing strategies.
  3. Automate with Deltek Vantagepoint: Leverage Deltek Vantagepoint to automate the information capturing process. This system can be set up to alert the marketing team of new hires, enabling the collection and updating of resume details seamlessly into your database.

Ongoing Updates: Keeping Resumes Fresh and Relevant

Regular updates are crucial to maintain the accuracy and relevance of resumes. Here's a streamlined approach:

  1. Determine Update Frequency: Decide how often resumes need refreshing. This can be annually, bi-annually, or aligned with each person’s work anniversary.
  2. Strategic Distribution: Utilize Deltek Vantagepoint to manage and schedule resume updates using email alert workflows. Provide current resumes to employees, along with clear instructions and deadlines for updates.
  3. Engage Personally: Consider conducting brief interviews or meetings, especially with key personnel, to ensure comprehensive and up-to-date information.
  4. Update the Employee Record: Once the updated information is gathered, use Deltek Vantagepoint to keep your database current. This ensures that any proposal or marketing material has the latest information at hand.

Case Study: Streamlining Annual Resume Updates at a Growing A/E Firm

A prime example of effective resume management was at my previous firm, a growing A/E firm. As the firm expanded to around 300 employees, we recognized the need for a structured yet flexible system for annual resume updates. Our strategy involved breaking down the updates into manageable monthly tasks, leveraging both Deltek and a work anniversary-based schedule. Here's an overview of our process:

Planning Phase: Leveraging Deltek Vantagepoint for Organization

  1. Monthly Employee Selection: Utilizing Deltek, we extracted a monthly list of employees based on their work anniversaries. This systematic approach ensured that every employee's resume was updated annually, without overwhelming our resources.
  2. Preparation of Update Materials: We compiled the existing master resumes from our database, along with a custom-designed resume update memo and instructions.

Gathering Phase: Personalized and Coordinated Efforts

  1. Distributing Update Materials: The update materials were personally delivered to employees in our main office. For our six satellite offices, we collaborated with marketing coordinators or office managers to ensure distribution. In cases where direct handover was not feasible, we used email as an effective alternative.
  2. Setting Deadlines and Reminders: A two-week timeframe was typically given for updates, with reminders set up in Deltek to keep track of deadlines.
  3. Scheduling Interviews When Necessary: For certain key roles or when detailed updates were required, we scheduled one-on-one interviews, adding a personalized touch to the process and ensuring comprehensive updates.

Updating Phase: Keeping Our Database Current

  1. Collection and Review of Updates: We gathered the revised resumes and additional information provided by employees, reviewing them for completeness and accuracy.
  2. Editing and Finalizing Resumes: Necessary edits and rewrites were undertaken to ensure that the resumes accurately reflected each employee's latest achievements and experience.
  3. Database Updating: Using Deltek, we updated our central database with the new information. This not only refreshed individual resumes but also ensured that our entire resume pool was current and ready for use in proposals and marketing efforts.

This case study highlights the efficacy of using a structured, technology-driven approach to manage resume updates in a large firm. By leveraging our Deltek database, we were able to streamline the process, maintain high-quality resumes, and ensure that our marketing and proposal materials always featured the most up-to-date and relevant information about our team members.

Project Information Management: Keeping Project Portfolios Up-to-Date

Just as vital as managing resumes is maintaining up-to-date project information. This includes project descriptions, milestones, and outcomes – all crucial for marketing and business development efforts. Here’s how to effectively manage this process:

  1. Diverse Update Methods: Consider annual updates, project milestones, pursuit-driven updates, award submittals, and initiative-driven updates. Choose the method that best aligns with your firm's needs and project types.
  2. Project Update Process: Establish a routine for gathering project information, such as sending out Project Information Profiles (PIPs) alerts to project teams and scheduling site visits for in-depth understanding.
  3. Automated Reminders and Checkpoints: Use Deltek Vantagepoint to set up workflow alerts for project updates at various milestones, ensuring no project goes unaccounted for.

Forward-Thinking Project Management: Begin with Your Goals in View

An essential aspect of managing project information effectively is to start with a clear understanding of how this information will be utilized. For instance, if a project is a potential candidate for a Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) award, it's crucial to collect comprehensive design and construction details right from the start. Anticipating the requirements of award submissions or other future uses can guide what data to gather throughout the project's lifecycle. Utilizing past award criteria as a template for data collection ensures you capture all necessary details for future submissions.

Case Study: Site Visit Program

A practical application of this forward-thinking approach can be seen in a construction firm in Florida, which has established an effective site visit program to collect robust project information. Their marketing manager shared insights into their process, which I’ve adapted to optimize using Deltek Vantagepoint.

  1. Pre-Visit Preparation: Prior to site visits, a Project Information Profile (PIP) is sent to the project team via an email alert workflow. The project engineer fills in key details like project costs, square footage, and client information into the project record linked in the email.
  2. Collaborative Meetings: The project's key personnel, including the project manager, safety manager, and quality control manager, convene to discuss the project with the marketing representative. These meetings, often accompanied by informal gatherings over meals, foster open communication and information sharing.
  3. On-Site Insights: The marketing representative tours the site, gaining a visual understanding of the project. This first-hand experience is invaluable when drafting project descriptions and stories later.
  4. Drafting the Project Story: Back in the office, the marketing representative uses the insights gathered to draft a compelling narrative of the project, which is then refined and stored in Deltek Vantagepoint.
  5. Final Review and Approval: The draft is sent back to the project team for final review and approval, ensuring accuracy and completeness.

Additional highlights of their site visit program include:

  • Continuous Engagement: A marketing representative is assigned to each project from start to finish, responsible for collecting initial information, attending key meetings, and ensuring all relevant documents are stored in Deltek Vantagepoint. Because Vantagepoint project records often get created in the pursuit stage, the marketing coordinator field is often populated in the project record.
  • Strategic Site Visits: Site visits are conducted at critical project milestones, such as kickoff, mid-point, and completion, to gather dynamic information, including lessons learned and design insights. Workflow alerts and reminders can be sent to applicable project leads when such milestones are met.
  • Leveraging Award Criteria: Award submission questionnaires are used to guide the questions asked during site visits, ensuring comprehensive data collection aligned with potential award submissions.
  • Integrated Photography Sessions: Marketing representatives coordinate with photographers during project photoshoots, ensuring visual documentation aligns with the project's narrative.

This case study exemplifies the benefits of a strategic, goal-oriented approach to project information management. By integrating these practices with Deltek Vantagepoint, marketing professionals can ensure their project portfolios are detailed, up-to-date, and ready to meet any marketing or proposal need.

Integrating Resume and Project Information Management

Combining the management of resumes and project information provides a holistic approach to showcasing your firm's capabilities. Both elements are integral to crafting compelling proposals and presentations, and their management should be interlinked for maximum efficiency and impact.

  1. Unified Database Management: Use Deltek Vantagepoint as a central repository for both employee and project information, ensuring consistency and ease of access.
  2. Streamlined Processes: Establish integrated workflows in Deltek Vantagepoint for updating both resumes and project information, reducing duplication of efforts and enhancing collaboration between departments.
  3. Regular Reviews and Updates: Schedule periodic reviews of both resumes and project portfolios to ensure they reflect the most current and relevant information, leveraging automated reminders and scheduling tools within Deltek Vantagepoint.

Transform Your CRM Practices with Deltek Vantagepoint Workflows

Mastering the art of resume and project information management is crucial for A/E/C firms striving for excellence. Full Sail Partners' expertise, coupled with the power of Deltek Vantagepoint, provides a robust solution to streamline these processes, ensuring your firm's assets are always up-to-date and compellingly presented. Embrace these strategies to transform your information management into a strategic asset, enhancing both marketing and business development efforts.

As a next step in your journey to CRM excellence, we invite you to watch our webinar: "Automating CRM Success with Deltek Vantagepoint Workflows." You'll learn how to build and implement effective Vantagepoint workflows for CRM information collection and management, gaining insights into streamlining updates for projects in pursuit, enhancing project information management for proposals, and optimizing employee data processes. Just click the image below to watch today.

 

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Management of Change Series: The Many Faces of Marketing in Managing Change

Posted by Evan Creech-Pritchett on January 18, 2024

01-18-24 Marketing Managing Change-Banner

Marketing is like the Swiss Army knife of a company. Whether it's analyzing market trends, crafting messages that resonate with customers, or collaborating with top-tier decision-makers, marketers are the glue that holds these diverse aspects of a business together. By actively embracing change, they not only stay ahead of the curve but also contribute significantly to the company's adaptability and long-term success. Let's explore a bit about what marketing entails and how it is beneficial for companies to embrace change.  

The Many Faces of Marketing in Managing Change

The External Researcher

Marketing serves as the economic detective, constantly staying ahead of industry and economic developments. The role involves continuous research and analysis, with a particular focus on external factors that impact the business. Marketing often uncovers the initial clues to market change, making it an integral part of the change detection process.

This role involves monitoring competitor movements, tracking consumer behavior shifts, and anticipating economic trends. By interpreting these clues, marketers not only provide early warnings about potential disruptions but also position the company strategically to proactively respond to emerging opportunities. In essence, they act as the business's radar, navigating through the dynamic landscape to ensure it stays on course despite the change in economic currents.

The Positioner/Communicator

Once change is detected, marketing's role evolves into that of a positioner and communicator. The task is to internally convey the change to the executive team and then respond through market communications to customers, essentially defining the company's market positioning. Internally, marketing collaborates with the executive team to determine necessary business changes, constructing communications that help employees understand the impact of the change positively and accurately. In positioning, marketers look into the perspectives of customers, competitors, and industry analysts, communicating through various channels such as social media, articles, papers, and presentations. These external communications demonstrate the company's awareness and capability to navigate a changing environment while providing value to customers. The Executive Team Participant

Marketing teams function as analysts, consistently monitoring the industry landscape to anticipate future business trajectories and align the company accordingly. Serving as the middleman of both customer relations and the company's positioning, marketing assumes a pivotal role in internal transformations. Effective communication stands as a cornerstone, entailing the reinforcement of core messages through systematically delivered and timely directives. Leveraging a proactive communication approach across various channels ensures that our workforce is well-informed at every step of the way, fostering an environment valuing input and feedback.

The Technology Evolver

While marketing spearheads internal changes, it must also adapt its own processes, especially in terms of technology. Forbes.com refers to this as "Adaptive Marketing," emphasizing that marketers must embrace change rapidly and radically due to evolving technologies. Implementing process changes and calculating organizational impacts become differentiators, emphasizing that technology alone does not solve problems; it merely highlights them.

One such technology is AI. Marketers use AI to make engaging social media captions and blogs, leveraging algorithms that analyze user behavior for optimized language and style. Additionally, AI tools curate video content by identifying and cutting out snippets of interest, intelligently captioning them for social media sharing.

This integration not only expedites content creation but also helps to build personalized connections with the audience. Embracing AI is crucial for marketers navigating evolving technology, offering efficiency and a competitive edge. The integration of AI into marketing processes allows for a responsive approach, aligning campaigns with ever-changing audience preferences. In the era of adaptive marketing, AI serves as a powerful ally, adding to human creativity and driving impactful, data-driven initiatives.

The Influencer of the Company Culture

Having a good company culture is important. It's like the secret sauce that helps our team do their best work. At Full Sail Partners, our organizational culture revolves around collaboration and adaptability to change, and we prioritize creating an engaging and fun work environment.

This commitment is evident in the events our marketing team organizes, both internally and externally. These events also serve several purposes. Beyond providing a source of enjoyment, they are designed to strengthen team bonds, encourage idea sharing, and even attract new talent. Whether it's a casual gathering or a virtual meet-up, these marketing events play a pivotal role in maintaining connectivity and enhancing collaborative efforts within our team.

Furthermore, we emphasize open communication as a fundamental aspect of our work culture. Ensuring that every team member has a voice is of paramount importance to us. We value the contributions of each individual, fostering an atmosphere where everyone feels acknowledged and appreciated. In our recent company get-together, we had everyone share where they were and what the weather was like. It was a cool way to get everyone involved, and since our team is all over the place it was interesting to hear the range of weather. Marketing also created the "Virtual Water Cooler" on our Microsoft Teams where folks can post birthdays, life events, and other non-work things. This positive atmosphere contributes to the resilience and adaptability of our work culture, particularly in the face of dynamic changes in the marketing and technology landscape.

Marketing Roles Organically Manage Change

Adapting to change is a constant in the business world, and marketing teams play an organic and pivotal part in ensuring smooth transitions. Marketers continuously engage in market research, create internal communication strategies, and position businesses effectively to keep them ahead. Functioning as early detectors, they monitor external factors, providing crucial insights for strategic adjustments.

Moreover, once a change is on the horizon, marketers collaborate with leadership to ensure a positive and accurate message to the team. And, as with our own team, marketing excels at fostering a positive company culture through organized events, both in-person and online, strengthening team bonds and fortifying our work culture. In essence, the many faces of marketing naturally set the stage for managing the ongoing challenges of a dynamic business environment.

 

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The Secret Sauce to Retrieve Deltek Vantagepoint Information - Searches

Posted by Amanda Roussel on January 11, 2024

2024 - DVP Searches - Banner

In today's fast-paced business environment, finding internal information quickly is crucial. Surveys reveal that professionals often spend a significant chunk of their time just searching for necessary data and files. Deltek Vantagepoint, with each update, continues to streamline this process, making it even more efficient for users to retrieve project data and contacts. The enhanced search functionality acts as a virtual "easy" button, empowering users in professional services firms to locate precise information swiftly, leading to more insightful dashboards and reports. Let's dive into how these improvements elevate the user experience in Vantagepoint. 

The Basics 

The Search field in Vantagepoint now offers an intuitive interface with an updated Saved Searches menu. This menu not only provides quick access to frequently used searches but also includes newly added filters and sorting options. 

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Custom and Shared Searches: A New Dimension

In addition to the standard searches like “Active,” “All,” and “My Company,” the updated Vantagepoint introduces more nuanced custom and shared search capabilities. Users can now create highly tailored searches that align with their specific project needs. Shared searches, curated by Vantagepoint administrators or power users, are now more refined, displaying results tailored to each user’s role and permissions.

Navigating Saved Searches with Enhanced Preview Options

The process of navigating through saved searches has been simplified. Clicking on a search now brings up an enhanced preview box, showcasing a more detailed snapshot of the results. This allows for quicker scanning and locating of specific records.

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Enhanced Record and List Views

Upon selecting multiple results, the updated interface presents a more organized record-by-record view. Users can toggle through records effortlessly and switch to the ‘List View’ for a comprehensive, sortable, and filterable table of records.

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At the top of the screen, it shows the total number of records. Each one has its own page, and users can toggle through each record using the arrows next to the record numbers. Users can also see the records in List View by clicking the List icon.

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List View shows all the selected records in a sortable, filterable format. They can also be edited or modified from the List View table.

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Streamlining Searches with the "Active Only" Toggle Feature

In Vantagepoint 6.5 released in fall 2023, a new feature streamlines the search process: the "Active Only" toggle. This convenient filter is present in the "Find [record]" field, enabling users to swiftly narrow down their search to only active records with a simple flip of the switch.

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The "Active Only" toggle remembers your preference even after you log out, ensuring a consistent and efficient search experience in subsequent sessions. This enhancement has been integrated into a variety of forms across the system, from Billing to Resource Management, ensuring that users can maintain productivity with ease.

Creating Custom Searches

Custom searches have become more user-friendly. The interface guides users through a straightforward process of defining search criteria with improved field lookups and operator options. This update ensures that users can pinpoint the exact data they need with minimal effort.

Basic Custom Search

In the Contacts Hub, click the New Search button, and the new search window will appear over the current screen.

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By default, it is auto-populated with “Active” in the Contact Status field. Beneath Contact Status, there are three columns. These columns are used to define the criteria for the search:

  • Field Lookup: Look up fields available within the Hub (in this case, Contacts).
  • Operator: The operator options tell Vantagepoint how to look for information. For example, if the Field Type is “Firm Name,” the operator options include options like “Contains” or “Is Empty.” Date-based fields include terms like “Is Today.”
  • Value: This is the “what” that the search engine is looking for, such as “ABC Company” or “March 1, 2021.”

Vantagepoint automatically generates results below the search bar. The ability to quickly preview search results allows users to tweak the search criteria until they find exactly what they need without having to open a new search each time.

From here, users can click “Apply All” to be taken to the record-by-record view of their search results.

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Advanced Custom Searches: A Deeper Dive

The Projects Hub now offers more complex search functionalities. Users can perform layered searches, combining multiple criteria to drill down to very specific project data. The interface intuitively guides users through setting up these advanced searches, making it accessible even for complex queries.

By default, the Project Status in the top row is set to Active. To view dormant or inactive projects, users can click the “X” next to the status and make another selection.

To perform a more advanced search, such as all the projects assigned to a certain project manager within a certain industry, users can combine search criteria.

  • In the second row, enter “Project Type” as the Field, “equals” as the Operator, and “Educational/Educational Facilities” as the Value.
  • Add a new row. Enter “Project Manager” as the Field and “equals” as the Operator. Enter the project managers’ name(s) as the Value.

Note that, based on this field type, the available options for Value will appear in the dropdown box. Results that don’t match the query will appear as well but are shown as grayed out.

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Advanced Search Settings: Tailored to Your Needs

The Advanced Settings in the search box have been enhanced to provide even greater flexibility. Users can now specify their search criteria at various levels – from the overall project to phase or task level, accommodating a broader range of search needs for different users.

In this case, if the project managers had been assigned to specific tasks or phases of projects, that would show up here, in addition to project-level assignments.

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Leveraging Power Search for Optimal Results

These enhanced search capabilities are just the tip of the iceberg. Deltek Vantagepoint's latest version offers a wealth of features designed to optimize data retrieval for project-based and professional services firms. To fully grasp these advancements, we encourage you to explore our mini demo, which covers both the basics of searching and some more advanced searching features.


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Running an Effective Meeting: 4 Key Strategies for Productive Collaboration

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on January 04, 2024

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In today's fast-paced professional services firms’ environments, meetings play a crucial role in fostering collaboration, aligning teams, and achieving organizational goals. However, ineffective meetings can be a drain on productivity and morale. To ensure that meetings are valuable and efficient, it is essential to follow certain best practices. In this blog post, we will explore four key aspects of running an effective meeting: setting clear objectives and goals, planning the meeting and agenda, employing a skilled facilitator, and having a diligent note-taker.

1. Objective and Goals of the Meeting:

The success of any meeting hinges on having a clear objective and well-defined goals. Before scheduling a meeting, it is crucial to determine how it aligns with the broader growth efforts and yearly goals of both the team and the organization. By doing so, the meeting becomes a strategic tool for progress. Participants can better understand the purpose of the gathering and how their contributions fit into the larger picture.

For example, the goal of a marketing, business development, or sales-oriented meeting is to ensure you are accomplishing the goals set out in your yearly business plan. Within the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, that includes ensuring you know what is going on with your project pursuits. Key objectives in bi-weekly meetings would include knowing recently won/lost pursuits, new pursuits and managing follow-up on upcoming proposals, along with understanding resource forecast projections. An example core objective in a quarterly meeting would be evaluating where you are against your goals.  

2. Meeting and Agenda:

To run a productive meeting, careful planning is essential. The meeting should involve the relevant team members and decision-makers who can contribute to the agenda items. The agenda itself should be thoughtfully structured, with a focus on deadlines and the outlined steps needed to meet them. By sharing the agenda in advance, participants have time to review and prepare, ensuring a more engaged and productive discussion. Balancing chit-chat time and getting down to business is important, as it fosters team cohesion while still maintaining a professional atmosphere. Coming out of the meeting, attendees should know their action items and tasks to accomplish.

3. A Good Facilitator:

A skilled facilitator plays a vital role in guiding the meeting towards its objectives while ensuring active participation and collaboration. The facilitator should encourage open discussion, allowing all voices to be heard. Additionally, the facilitator should review outstanding items from previous meetings to track progress, providing context for the current discussion.

Staying focused and time-conscious is crucial, as it helps keep the meeting on track and ensures that all agenda items are addressed. If new topics arise that are not on the agenda, the facilitator can suggest moving them to a "parking lot" list, to be covered either if there is enough time or in the next meeting. A good facilitator is like a good train conductor who sees the path ahead and knows when to slow down and when to speed up to accomplish the items that are most impactful to keep the department or company running smoothly.

4. Note-Taker:

An often-underestimated role in meetings is that of the note-taker. The note-taker should diligently document meeting minutes, capturing important discussions, decisions, and action items. By doing so, a reliable record of the meeting is created which ensures that information is not lost. Clear documentation of action items, next steps, and responsible parties is crucial for accountability and follow-up.

Furthermore, sharing the meeting minutes afterward is essential to keep all participants informed and ensure that everyone is on the same page. With the advent of AI, note-taking might become a thing of the past. I know our team has been exploring software that will assist with analyzing the content, offering summaries, outlining tasks with due dates, and even providing insights based on the discussion.

Follow Key Strategies to Ensure Productive Meetings

Running an effective meeting requires careful planning, active facilitation, and diligent note-taking. By setting clear objectives and aligning the meeting with broader goals, you create a purpose-driven environment. Thoughtful planning, involving the right people, and sharing the agenda in advance help participants prepare and contribute effectively. A skilled facilitator encourages collaboration, keeps the meeting on track, and addresses outstanding items. Lastly, a diligent note-taker documents important insights and ensures that action items are clearly defined. By following these strategies, you can transform meetings into productive spaces that drive progress and foster teamwork at your professional services firm.

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Top 5 Deltek Vantagepoint Mini-Demos of 2023

Posted by Evan Creech-Pritchett on December 28, 2023

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As Full Sail Partners launches another exciting new year, we thought it would be a great time to reflect back on the Top 5 Deltek Vantagepoint Mini-Demos of 2023! Chosen for their popularity, they showcase cutting-edge features that have resonated with users across diverse roles in professional services firms. Each leverages the expertise of our various presenters to create a profound impact on your use of Deltek Vantagepoint. Whether project managers, finance experts, or sales and marketing leaders, these mini-demos were designed to elevate your proficiency with Deltek Vantagepoint. So, without further ado, here are the top 5 mini-demos of 2023! 

#5: Finance & Project Accounting Oversight in Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards 

Kicking us off at number 5 we have "Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Finance & Project Accounting Oversight in Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards." In this demo, Theresa DePew, Senior Finance Consultant, showcases the transformative potential of Vantagepoint dashboards. She provides insights into navigating critical financial metrics such as revenue, expenses, and profitability. Theresa's expertise ensures that you not only gain a comprehensive understanding of these dashboards but also acquire the skills to make informed decisions and take proactive measures in managing your finances and projects adeptly. 

Some of Theresa’s favorite dashparts, including Profit & Loss (P&L), Accounts Receivable (AR), Cash Receipts, Billing Review, and Draft Invoice Approval, are featured prominently in this mini demo. These dashparts serve as integral tools, offering quick snapshots of income statements, simplifying collection tracking, and streamlining billing processes. Use this Deltek Vantagepoint mini demo to learn how to enhance your skills and leverage the ultimate tool for success in project management. 

#4: Different Ways to View & Manage Resources in Deltek Vantagepoint 

Learn the capabilities of Deltek Vantagepoint's Resource View with our fourth most popular mini-demo, "Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Different Ways to View & Manage Resources in Deltek Vantagepoint." Here, Principal Consultant, Terri Agnew, demonstrates how to make Resource View an essential asset in your resource management toolkit. 

She guides you through the three distinct capacity views offered by this powerful tool. Explore Planned Hours for a simplified understanding of your team's scheduled workload, utilize Scheduled % to identify resource allocation through a heat map, and delve into Utilization % to effectively track resource utilization against targets. This mini demo offers the insights needed to optimize your team's scheduling and utilization with Deltek Vantagepoint. 

#3: Utilize Schedule Dependencies for Resource Planning 

Coming in at our third most popular mini-demo is "Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Utilize Schedule Dependencies for Resource Planning." This time, Terri shows you how pivotal schedule dependencies can be for resource planning. This mini demo takes you through the creation of four distinct types of dependencies and illustrates three different methods for applying dependency relationships between phases, tasks, and labor codes. 

Terri also explains how schedule dependencies empower you to build meaningful relationships within your project, providing a holistic view of the overall schedule. This mini demo not only demonstrates the practical application of these features but also emphasizes their significance in easily updating schedules as dates change allowing you to elevate your project management capabilities. 

#2: Maximizing Efficiency and Accuracy in Invoice Creation with Vantagepoint's Mark-Up on Draft Invoices Feature 

For our second most popular spot, we have the mini-demo "Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Maximizing Efficiency and Accuracy in Invoice Creation with Vantagepoint's Mark-Up on Draft Invoices Feature." Here, Theresa DePew, Senior Finance Consultant, demonstrates the prowess of Deltek Vantagepoint's mark-up on draft invoices feature, showcasing how it can streamline your invoice review process, minimize errors, and enhance overall efficiency. The mark-up feature enables quick additions or removals of items, fee adjustments, and the inclusion of notes or comments for additional context.  

In this mini-demo, Theresa guides you through the creation of a draft invoice, demonstrating how to mark-up items, adjust fees, and incorporate vital notes, ensuring your clients receive comprehensive and accurate information. Also spotlighted are time-saving techniques such as reusing common billing items and tracking invoice status and history. See how Deltek Vantagepoint's mark-up on draft invoices feature can elevate your billing process and contribute to more effective client relationship management.  

#1: Project Management Oversight in Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards 

Last, but certainly not least, we have "Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Project Management Oversight in Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards” at our number 1 spot! In this mini demo, our expert, Rana Blair, Principal Consultant, demonstrates how these dashboards can revolutionize your workflows and provide invaluable insights. Whether you're a project manager, finance or project accounting professional, or a sales and marketing guru, this mini demo is tailored to focus on specific areas of business, driving your success to new heights. 

The number one rated mini demo offers visibility into crucial metrics such as budget, schedule, and resource allocation, allowing you to identify potential issues and take proactive steps to keep your projects on track. Rana also points out her favorite dashboards and dashparts, including My Team’s Project Performance Dashboard, My Project Performance Dashboard, and My Project Percent Complete Entry from Dashboards. Get crucial insights into budgets, schedules, and resources to elevate your project management game. 

Powering Your Project Success in 2024 

Now that you’ve been able to review the Top 5 Deltek Vantagepoint Mini-Demos of 2023, it is an ideal time to choose what topics best fit your professional services firm. Whether you're needing to sort out your finances, manage resources, create invoices, or keep tabs on projects, these top five mini-demos can help ensure you get better at fully utilizing your Deltek Vantagepoint system in the new year. They are available to watch on demand, and as always, Full Sail Partners would love to assist you in further exploring these Deltek Vantagepoint features.  

To find these mini demos as well as the others that are part of our Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint click the image below. 

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Tips From Our Full Sail Partners’ Experts on Wrapping Up Year-End for Professional Services Firms

Posted by Evan Creech-Pritchett on December 21, 2023

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The end of the year is just around the corner, and with so much left to do, we'd like to offer you insights from our team to ensure the transition into the new year is as seamless as possible. Each person brings a unique viewpoint, and together, we've compiled a practical guide for professional services firms. It's more than just a checklist—it's a roadmap to help you tackle the challenges and opportunities that come with wrapping up one fiscal year and starting another. So, let's jump into these tips from our experts and get ready for a smooth transition into the new year. 

Streamlining Your Project Pipeline in Deltek Vantagepoint CRM

As we approach the end of the year, we first must emphasize the importance of reviewing and refining the project pipeline in Deltek Vantagepoint CRM. This strategic move goes beyond database maintenance; it ensures a more accurate forecast of potential revenue for the upcoming year.  

Our Marketing Manager, Lindsay Diven, suggests focusing on these tasks: 

Assess Project Stages and Estimated Fees

Evaluate the current pursuit stages of each project and categorize them based on proposal status, shortlisting, or other decision stages. This step helps understand resource engagement and identify potential revenue stagnation points. Additionally, review estimated fees for relevance based on market trends and project scopes. 

Update Probabilities and Close Dates

Review and adjust probabilities and close dates to reflect the current likelihood of project success. Pay special attention to potential projects with outdated close dates. This ensures a realistic view of the pipeline's health and potential revenue. 

Take Decisive Action on Stale Pursuits

Avoid the common pitfall of holding onto pursuits unlikely to materialize. Take decisive action on pursuits with outdated close dates. Revive projects with potential, or close out those with no activity, allowing for a more focused pipeline. 

To prepare for 2024, cleaning up the project pipeline is an essential step for professional services firms in preparing for the new year. Ensure the CRM reflects the most current and accurate data, enabling a strategic approach and better resource allocation for 2024. 

Navigating Year-End Software Updates for Seamless Financial Operations

Regarding software, staying ahead of the curve will ensure the smooth continuation of your financial processes and position your professional services firm to adapt swiftly to any changes in tax regulations or reporting requirements. 

The Crucial Role of Software Version Management

Heath Harris, our IT Services Support Manager, underscores the critical role of software version management as we approach the year-end. Specifically, he emphasizes the significance of ensuring that your professional services firm is operating on the latest two versions of Vantagepoint. This strategic move is not merely a technical necessity; rather, it holds the key to unlocking seamless year-end tax and 1099 updates within the Deltek Vantagepoint system. 

The importance of this directive becomes even more apparent when considering the complexity of year-end financial processes. Staying current with software versions not only guarantees access to the latest features and enhancements but also safeguards your financial systems against potential vulnerabilities. In a landscape where regulatory changes can occur swiftly, being on the cutting edge ensures your financial team is well-equipped to handle any updates or modifications required for compliance.

Navigating Deltek Vision's Year-End Update

Heath also provides a heads-up about Vision's anticipated year-end update slated for mid-December. This message is particularly pertinent for those professional services firms relying on Vision for payroll processing and managing 1099s. Timely awareness of Vision's update schedule allows your team to plan and execute necessary updates and upgrades with precision.  

Financial Preparedness for the New Fiscal Year

In navigating the complexities of financial management, one of our Senior Consultants, Lisa Ahearn, imparts two beneficial tips that can significantly impact your professional services firm’s fiscal preparedness for the upcoming year. 

Initializing 1099 Reporting

Lisa's first critical tip centers on the initiation of 1099 reporting. After completing the Accounts Payable (AP) payment runs for the current fiscal year, and upon opening the new fiscal year, Lisa advises firms to proactively initialize their 1099 reporting. This strategic move is not merely an administrative task but a pivotal step in ensuring that your organization is well-positioned for accurate and timely reporting as you transition into the new fiscal year. By initiating this process before any payments are made in 2024, you pave the way for a seamless and compliant handling of 1099 reporting obligations.

Initializing the New Benefit Accrual Year

Lisa's second tip underscores the importance of initiating the new benefit accrual year. After finalizing all benefit accruals and adjustments for the current fiscal year, and upon the commencement of the new fiscal year, Lisa recommends taking proactive steps to initialize the benefit year. This strategic move is a proactive measure that ensures your firm is ready to handle benefit accruals in the upcoming year efficiently. By initializing the benefit year before any accruals are done in 2024, you set the stage for accurate tracking and management of employee benefits, contributing to a smooth and compliant benefits administration process. 

Elevating Year-End Efficiency with Vantagepoint 6.5 Features

Designed to enhance year-end processes and elevate overall operational efficiency, Joel Slater, our Client Solutions Manager, offers two game-changing features in Deltek Vantagepoint 6.5. These are invaluable tools that professional services firms should take advantage of during year-end transitions. 

Unlocking Efficiency in Invoice Approvals

Joel highlights the power of Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) in Vantagepoint 6.5, emphasizing its ability to perform Automated AP Magic. This cutting-edge feature streamlines the traditionally time-consuming task of invoice approvals. By leveraging ICR, professional services firms can automate the extraction of relevant data from invoices, saving substantial time and ensuring accuracy in the approval process. Joel's insight positions this feature as a cornerstone for organizations seeking to streamline financial workflows, a crucial aspect in ensuring a smooth year-end transition. 

Visualizing Crucial Metrics with Precision

Joel also invites users to step into a KPI wonderland with the introduction of the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Dashpart in Vantagepoint 6.5. This feature transforms data evaluation into a dynamic visual experience. Users can now highlight crucial metrics with conditional formatting, offering a comprehensive and visually engaging representation of key performance indicators. This not only enhances the clarity and insight derived from data but also empowers decision-makers with a more intuitive understanding of their professional services firm’s performance. As businesses navigate year-end reviews and planning, this becomes another invaluable tool for strategic decision-making and performance analysis. 

Cultivating Positive Leadership for Year-End and Beyond

Finally, in the realm of leadership and team dynamics, Sarah Gonnella, our VP of Marketing and Sales, shares some interesting insights on the importance of fostering a positive workplace culture, especially pertinent during the holiday season and into the year-end. Her guidance extends beyond conventional business strategies, emphasizing the pivotal role of positive leadership in shaping a thriving and motivated team.  

Advocating for compassion, active listening, constructive feedback, empowerment, and encouragement of self-care, she aims to create a supportive environment that acknowledges the human aspect of work. Sarah's holistic leadership philosophy serves as a compass, guiding teams not only through the holiday season but also into the new year, fostering resilience, innovation, and collective success. 

Position Yourself for a Prosperous New Year

As we wrap up 2023 and get ready for whatever 2024 throws our way, our team at Full Sail Partners wants to share some helpful insights. We aim to make it easier for our clients and other professional services folks to handle year-end stuff smoothly and start the new fiscal year on a good note. Whether it's simplifying how you work, keeping up with software updates, or promoting positive leadership, we hope these tips come in handy as you finish up your year and kick off a new one. Looking for extra tips to ensure a successful year-end? Explore our webinar, "Sleigh Your Year-End with Full Sail Partners," and get even more valuable insights from our team! 

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Deltek Vantagepoint CRM Workflow Examples to Streamline Data Management

Posted by Lindsay Diven on December 14, 2023

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For marketing professionals and business developers in project-based firms, managing client relationships effectively is critical. Deltek Vantagepoint workflows provide powerful tools to automate and enhance your CRM processes, ensuring your team stays ahead in your competitive markets.

Below are five different CRM workflow examples that you can create in Vantagepoint to help speed up and automate your data management processes. Read to the end to get a bonus tip and some additional information about workflow actions and maintenance.

1. Automate Role Assignments for Efficiency

Consider the setup of a new potential project within your CRM system. The usual process may involve manually assigning a client manager or principal based on client relationships and organizational hierarchies—a task prone to human error and time-consuming cross-referencing. However, with Deltek Vantagepoint workflows, these assignments can be automated.

CRM Workflow Example: When you enter a new potential project into the system, the workflow can automatically assign the client manager and principal based on predefined rules related to the client and their organization. This not only reduces the potential for errors but also streamlines the process, freeing up your team to focus on strategy and client engagement.

2. Proactive Alerts for Immediate Action

Alerts are a critical component of staying proactive and responsive. In Deltek Vantagepoint, workflows can be set to trigger alerts—both emails and notifications—based on specific conditions within the CRM.

CRM Workflow Example: When a project’s stage is changed to “Won” or “Awarded,” an automated email can be sent to the project team, finance, and operations, prompting them to continue the project setup process. This seamless communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and ready to move forward without delay.

3. Uphold Data Quality with ‘Data Police’ Workflows

Data integrity is a non-negotiable aspect of CRM systems. Workflows in Deltek Vantagepoint can act as your 'data police', ensuring that data quality is maintained without the need to make every field mandatory.

CRM Workflow Example: If a new contact is added without crucial information such as their title or email, a workflow can display an error message, prompting the user to complete these fields before saving. This enforces data integrity rules while maintaining user-friendliness. Similarly, if a field critical for project execution is missing—such as a contact’s role or key project detail —a warning can prompt the responsible party to complete this information before proceeding.

4. Automated Reminders for Timely Follow-ups

Workflows can also be employed to keep your team on track with their responsibilities, from updating records to renewing licenses.

CRM Workflow Example: If a proposal’s due date passes without a change in its stage, a workflow can automatically send a reminder to the responsible team member. Similarly, reminders for license renewals or contract expirations can be set, ensuring compliance and uninterrupted service.

5. Dynamic Field Requirements Across Pursuit Stages

Tailoring the amount of information required at different stages of a project pursuit can greatly enhance CRM efficiency, a strategy highlighted by Stacey Ho from Otak. In Deltek Vantagepoint, workflows can be set up to adjust field requirements as a project moves from an early pursuit stage to a contracted project.

CRM Workflow Example: At the “proposal submitted” stage, the workflow might prompt users for comprehensive data including estimated fee, project manager name, etc., while at the “lead” stage, it focuses on basic project information like client name and project name. This ensures relevant and timely data collection without overwhelming the user.

Implementing Stacey Ho’s approach in your Deltek Vantagepoint workflows means your data collection is as dynamic as your pursuits, ensuring you have the right information at the right time to make informed decisions.

Bonus Tip! Proactively Audit Your CRM Data with Scheduled Reports

Regular data audits are crucial for maintaining the accuracy and relevancy of your CRM system. While not technically a workflow, you can leverage the power of monthly scheduled reports to keep your data in check. Instead of overwhelming annual audits such as when you’re preparing your firm’s holiday cards, monthly reports break down the data review process into manageable segments. This allows for more frequent and focused evaluations of your CRM data, ensuring its ongoing accuracy and usefulness.

And a bonus to routine data auditing is that you can see who is creating the records and use these monthly reports as an opportunity to do continuous CRM training!

Example: Set up a monthly report in Deltek Vantagepoint to track new and modified firm and/or contact records. This report can highlight changes in contact details, the addition of new firms, or updates to existing records. You can also create these reports to show you who created the record. By regularly reviewing this report, your team can quickly identify and rectify discrepancies, update obsolete information, and confirm the integrity of new data entries.

These reports enable your team to proactively address data discrepancies and maintain a high standard of data quality. Regular monitoring ensures that your CRM database is not just up to date, but also a reliable foundation for your marketing and business development activities. Diverse Workflow Types to Enhance Your CRM Approach with Deltek Vantagepoint In the realm of CRM management using Deltek Vantagepoint, it's vital to recognize the different types of workflows available to optimize your processes.

User-Initiated vs. Scheduled Workflows

User-Initiated Workflows: These are activated by direct interaction—when a team member makes a change to a record and meets certain criteria, the workflow jumps into action. This hands-on approach ensures that workflows are triggered by deliberate updates, making sure that every client interaction is captured and acted upon.

CRM Workflow Example: A director of marketing updates the status of a marketing campaign. Upon saving, a user-initiated workflow can trigger a sequence of follow-up tasks for the team to execute, ensuring that no opportunity for client engagement slips through the cracks.

Scheduled Workflows: This workflow type functions autonomously, running at predetermined times regardless of user activity. It’s the silent engine in the background, keeping the CRM machine well-oiled and functional without the need for constant user intervention.

CRM Workflow Example: Imagine a scheduled workflow that evaluates project stages every Friday at 5 PM. If a project in an “In Pursuit” stage step has been idle for a certain period (more than 60 days, for example), the workflow can prompt a notification to the assigned business developer to take action.

Workflow Actions: The Muscle Behind Automation

Workflow actions are the actual mechanisms by which automation is applied within your CRM. While these may vary across different systems, Deltek Vantagepoint offers a robust selection of actions:

  • Errors or Warnings: These are crucial for maintaining data accuracy. If a field is incomplete or incorrect, the system can flag this with an error or warning—either as a simple notification or by preventing the user from proceeding until the issue is rectified.
  • Email Alerts: Tailored emails can be dispatched to specific individuals or groups based on their role or involvement with a record, such as notifying a Project Manager when a project is awarded.
  • Alert Notifications: Similar to email alerts, you can send a notification to a selected person or group when the conditions that you specify for the workflow are met, ensuring visibility and prompt attention.
  • Field Updates: Changes in one part of the record can trigger updates in another, keeping the data congruent and up-to-date without manual entry.
  • Activity Creation: A core function in Deltek systems, this action can, for instance, automatically schedule a debriefing meeting when a project is marked as lost.

Advanced users may also employ more complex actions such as executing stored procedures or SQL scripts, providing a level of customization and control suited to unique business requirements.

Incorporating these varied workflows into your CRM strategy with Deltek Vantagepoint not only increases efficiency but also provides a structured, error-minimized approach to client relationship management. Understanding and utilizing the full spectrum of workflow actions available in Deltek Vantagepoint is key to harnessing the full potential of your CRM system, turning routine data management into strategic asset management.

Regular CRM Workflow Maintenance

Maintaining the efficiency and accuracy of your workflows is as crucial as setting them up. Julie Huval from Beck Technology shares a proactive approach to ensure that your Deltek Vantagepoint workflows continue to function optimally.

Biannual Workflow Checkups: To keep workflows running smoothly, it’s important to conduct regular maintenance. Beck Technology implements a biannual cleaning routine, which involves revisiting and updating their workflows to ensure they align with current business processes and data requirements.

Example: Julie maintains a running list on their Kanban card of items to be reviewed and cleaned every six months. This list serves as a living document, constantly updated with new items identified by the team. When the scheduled cleaning quarter arrives, a new Kanban card is created from this master list to guide the cleaning process, ensuring nothing is overlooked.

Adopting a similar maintenance strategy for your Deltek Vantagepoint workflows, as practiced by Julie Huval and her team at Beck Technology, can significantly enhance the longevity and effectiveness of your CRM system. Regular maintenance not only keeps your workflows aligned with your current business needs but also paves the way for continuous improvement and efficiency in your data management practices.

Leverage Deltek Vantagepoint CRM Workflows for Competitive Advantage

By embedding Deltek Vantagepoint workflows into your CRM strategy, you can enhance the productivity of your marketing and business development teams. The automation of mundane tasks, timely alerts, strict data governance, and the setup of automated reminders can transform the pace and precision of your client management operations, ultimately contributing to a streamlined, efficient, and more profitable business practice.

As we've explored the various ways Deltek Vantagepoint can revolutionize your CRM strategy, remember that these insights are just the beginning. To truly harness the full potential of these dynamic workflows, firsthand experience and guidance are invaluable. We invite you to watch our webinar, where we'll dive deeper into the practicalities of setting up and optimizing various CRM workflows in Deltek Vantagepoint. Click the image below to access the webinar.

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What is the Difference Between Project Backlog and Project Forecasting?

Posted by Scott Seal on December 07, 2023

12-06-23 Backlog and Forecasting_BannerIf you're neck-deep in the world of professional services consulting, you know that staying on top of your financial game isn't just about counting beans; it's about smart planning and even smarter execution. That's where getting cozy with project backlog and project forecasting comes into play. They're like the dynamic duo of the project management world, and if you're in charge of the purse strings or the big decisions at your professional services firm, you'll want to give these two the attention they deserve.

So first off, let’s break each of them down:

  • Project Backlog: This is your bread and butter—it's all the work you've already won but haven't done yet. Think of it as your safety net; it's work that you can bank on in the short term. And it's a gold star for your marketing or business development team, too, because it means they've been doing something right. But here's the kicker: it's not just about having a backlog; it's what you do with it. Manage it well, and you're looking at a smooth road to profit town. Mismanage it, and well, it's a bumpy ride.
  • Project Forecasting: Forecasting, on the other hand, is your crystal ball. It's a bit more elusive, a cocktail of educated guesses and wishful thinking. The business development and marketing folks have their ear on the ground, listening for the rumble of potential projects. They're not sure bets like your backlog, but with a savvy mix of hope and pragmatism, they plot out what could be coming down the pipeline.

Now, when you put backlog and forecasting together, you get a killer combo that gives you the full picture: cash flow in the immediate future and what your workload might look like down the line.

Leveraging Project Backlog and Project Forecasting for Optimal Performance

Mastering your backlog and forecasting is crucial for various roles within your professional services firm:

  • For Project Managers: Clear visibility into the project backlog means you can allocate resources effectively, prevent scheduling conflicts, and maintain optimal workflow. Deltek Vantagepoint, for instance, can provide the granular insight you need to ensure that projects are adequately staffed and that timelines are met, minimizing the risk of underutilization or bottlenecks.
  • For Business Developers: Your backlog is your success story in numbers—it's proof of performance that you can showcase to potential clients. Knowing what's in the pipeline helps you strategize new business pitches and align offerings with market demand. When it comes to forecasting, having a robust prediction tool allows you to prioritize pursuits based on the likelihood of project acquisition and future revenue potential. Deltek Vantagepoint's pipeline management tools ensure you're targeting the right opportunities at the right time.
  • For Marketing Teams: Backlog data informs you when to double down on lead generation efforts or refine targeting strategies. It's a barometer for market engagement, guiding you on when to accelerate awareness campaigns or capitalize on high demand. With Vantagepoint Marketing Campaigns, you can gauge campaign impacts on your forecast and backlog, enabling data-driven marketing decisions.
  • For Financial Controllers: Backlog and forecast reports are not just numbers; they're predictors of your firm's financial health. They validate if revenue projections are on track and highlight discrepancies that need attention. The accurate and detailed reports from Deltek Vantagepoint can assist in adjusting financial strategies, whether it’s scaling operations or tightening budget controls.

By integrating tools like Deltek Vantagepoint to manage backlog and forecast, every role from project management to business development can benefit from increased visibility, better decision-making capabilities, and a stronger strategy for sustainable growth.

How to Implement a Backlog and Forecast Strategy

It is not complicated. The project backlog and project forecasting process needs only to provide a standard tool for company-wide project planning and review. Use the following three steps to initiate a project backlog and project forecasting process.

Step 1: Begin with a Detailed ‘Bottom-up’ Forecast

Project managers, your weekly routine should include a thorough review of your project backlog. Prioritize the projects with more than a 60% likelihood of commencement. Allocate your team members, estimate the required hours, and plan out the next eight weeks. It’s a practical exercise in resource allocation and workload management.

The benefits?

  • You'll balance team capacity against project demands, considering downtime for vacations or training.
  • You’ll monitor project progress and ensure you're on track with milestones.
  • You’ll forecast potential revenue by aligning upcoming work hours with billing rates.

Step 2: Consolidate Insights at a Management Level

Once project managers provide their data, it's time for leadership to analyze it. This aggregation step allows for spotting trends, potential resource sharing, future revenue projections, and early detection of budgetary issues or hiring needs.

Step 3: Validate Your Forecast

Compare your projected outcomes with the actual data. This step verifies the accuracy of your forecasting and provides a basis for adjustment and improvement.

With Deltek Vantagepoint, you can streamline these processes, enabling your leadership, project management, finance, business development, and/or marketing teams to detect trends, identify efficiency opportunities, and enhance decision-making with data-driven dashboards.

This approach is about more than just numbers; it's about using data to tell the story of your professional services firm’s trajectory, making informed decisions, and navigating your firm's path forward with confidence. Let’s get started on making backlog and forecasting integral parts of your strategic toolkit.

Ready to Navigate Your Firm's Future with Clarity?

Chart a course for success with Full Sail Partners. Our expertise in working with professional services firms and Deltek Vantagepoint positions your firm to master both project backlog and forecasting, transforming data into actionable insights. Connect with us to see how we can help you optimize your operations and elevate your project management strategy.

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