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Automated Bank Feeds with Deltek Vantagepoint for Professional Services Firms

Posted by Joel Slater on August 17, 2022

2022-VP Automated Bank Feeds 02

Most likely of great interest to Vantagepoint users is that Deltek is continuing to roll out rapid enhancements to Vantagepoint in order to drive purposeful innovation and efficiency. One of the latest improvements being made possible is by a new partnership and integration with Plaid. This integration with Plaid offers professional services firms the ability to automate the update of transactions in Bank Reconciliation in Vantagepoint. Well, what is this all about, and how can professional services firms make this happen?

About Plaid

Plaid powers thousands of financial apps and this convenient integration will allow professional services firms to connect their banks to Deltek Vantagepoint in a secure way. With Plaid, firms can control whom their data is shared with and for how long. Additionally, whenever firms use a Plaid-powered app, their security is of the utmost importance meeting or exceeding industry standards. 

Bye-Bye Manual Entry 

Most Deltek Vision clients were already aware of the ability to manually upload a file from their bank to import bank transactions. The key word here, being MANUAL. Now check out the good news - with Deltek’s latest release of Vantagepoint, that process has now been vastly improved with automated bank feeds. That’s right! No more manual import is required. The integration currently supports over 11,000 banks across North America, with more being added regularly. As of the Vantagepoint 5.0 release, this integration is available to both on-premise and Deltek Cloud clients. There is no separate purchase or licensing required.   

 Instead of the more time-consuming, manually administered import process, a professional services firm’s latest bank transactions are seamlessly imported into the accounting system. After import, they are reflected in the Bank Reconciliation record. It is then taken a step further by automatically matching imported records to posted payments and cash receipts.  

Setup Using the Plaid Assistant 

Most Deltek Vantagepoint clients can get started with this convenient solution today. They will first need to connect their supported bank within Vantagepoint settings (Settings > Cash Management > Banks). From there, that process will guide them through selecting their bank, logging in using their existing bank credentials, and then selecting the account that they want to connect to all using the Plaid setup assistant.  

If their banks require multi-factor authentication or OAuth, the process will be similar, while still incorporating those additional security steps to enter needed credentials. For step-by-step instructions, professional services firms can reference this video, or the relevant Deltek Vantagepoint help file 

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After the connection is established, transactions which have cleared a professional services firm’s bank will automatically feed into Deltek Vantagepoint Bank Reconciliation on a nightly basis. System administrators can change the date on which Vantagepoint starts the daily transaction import into Bank Reconciliation in addition to the time of day that the import is run. Firms also have the flexibility to manually refresh transactions through the day.  

Automatic Bank Feeds in Vantagepoint

Need More Help with Bank Feed? 

 If there is ever an error related to a firm’s bank connection with Plaid, there are some messages now displayed in Vantagepoint to help with troubleshooting. Firms should note the IDs and let Deltek customer care know. Here are some common scenarios that have been dealt with already. 

Streamlined Bank Reconciliation  

Professional services firms using Deltek Vantagepoint now really have it made in the shade. With the Plaid integration and ensuing automatic bank feeds, bank reconciliation has become even more streamlined. Without the need for manual downloads, firms now have much more time to manage other financial matters, ensuring improved efficiency. Firms should get started with this latest enhancement today! 

 

Click the image below to learn about how Deltek Vantagepoint powers project-based firms. 

 

Image button link to the Project Lifecycle of Deltek Vantagepoint webinar

Outgrowing QuickBooks – 5 Reasons Professional Services Firms Need More

Posted by Joel Slater on January 26, 2022

QuickBooks serves as a logical starting point for SMB professional services firms. For good reason - it’s affordable, popular, and easy to use accounting software. Though, on the downside, it provides very little flexibility and accommodation for how a business actually needs to run 

Having difficulty looking at accounting report

Simply put, QuickBooks isn’t designed for project-based companies. It’s an entry-level accounting system, with purposefully generic functionality, intended to serve a diverse client base that spans various industry types. Consequently, the basic and straightforward nature of the product, which perhaps is viewed as a positive, can quickly become the opposite. Many professional services firms will eventually reach a point where the limitations of QuickBooks can hinder future growth. 

When might a firm reach that point? Below are 5 top reasons clients are choosing to trade in QuickBooks for an industry specific ERP that is purpose-built to meet the needs of a growing project-based business.     

Cumbersome Invoice Creation 

For a project-focused professional services firm, getting client invoices created and out the door can be considered one of the most critical functions. This process may have once been easy, but as the business has grown, projects have likely become more complex. With that means more complicated, multi-part, client invoice requirements.  

What used to take a couple of hours is now taking over a week, and accounting staff is burdened with cobbling together invoice-supporting data from various disconnected, error-prone sources. Not to mention the challenges of even getting the project management team to complete their timesheets in the first place. Once those bills have finally been painstakingly created and issued to clients, they still may not be correct.   

Incorrect invoices going out the door can slowly erode the trust of clients and lead to unnecessary, time-consuming, back-and-forth. On the other hand, accurate invoices, which are processed and paid quickly by clients, can provide various benefits to include reduction in DSO (days sales outstanding) and increased cash flow.  

Limited Visibility into Project Reporting

Do Project Managers and professional services firm leaders have a consistent and reliable source of truth to monitor the overall health and status of projects? For many who rely on QuickBooks, the answer is no. Just like on the invoice creation side, the necessary data to support project reporting is scattered among various spreadsheets. Answering what should be a simple question related to project status could take days to assemble a response. By the time of that response – odds are, the data is already out-of-date, and often irrelevant. The thought of any ‘real time’ project status, to include capturing data such as committed costs, may likely seem impossible when operating within these sorts of system-related confines.  

Not having a proper visibility into project timeline, budget, and other KPIs has consequences. It can quickly eat into profit margin and limit a professional services firm’s ability to make informed decisions in support of its projects and business.   

QuickBooks Lacks Support for the Entire Project Lifecycle 

Everyone needs an accounting system. However, even a relatively small, basic operation may quickly find that it needs more tools at its disposal. There are obvious functions like time keeping & employee expense reports, providing the ability to seamlessly allocate those costs to projects in support of invoice creation and project reporting. Additionally, perhaps there is a need to link the front and back-office operations to better manage the complete ‘project lifecycle’ (from initial lead pursuit through to project close-out). This includes a CRM (customer relationship management) module, or the ability to do more detailed project planning and resource scheduling.  

These are all areas and functions that a professional services firm is undoubtedly already actively performing, but just manually and “offline,” using spreadsheets and email to manage. The purpose of an ERP is to combine multiple functions within a single fully integrated solution that spans the entire business. More specifically, a project-based ERP is designed to do the same, but with functionality specifically geared towards a project-oriented company. 

Sure, QuickBooks capabilities can be expanded using external and 3rd party add-on tools that make initial claims around 'integration'. Yet, the result for many who go down that path can be a clunky, frustrating software experience – leaving many wishing they instead invested their time and resources into the lower-risk approach of just implementing a Deltek product.   

QuickBooks Can Limit the Ability to Pursue Projects

For many of the reasons already stated, professional services firms shy away from pursuing new projects they fear may be too taxing and burdensome on their existing accounting system. Simply stated, they don’t have the tools in place to responsibly graduate to the next level. Passing up new business opportunities can be painful, but unfortunately necessary, for those firms who are not equipped with the internal systems to support growth. 

Take WBS (work breakdown structure) requirements, for example. This means breaking down a more complex project into smaller components and deliverables. Many times projects require an invoice to reflect the way the project was bid. Providing a WBS ensures the estimate is managed and billed the way it was proposed. Unfortunately, QuickBooks limits the ability to pursue projects with more advanced requirements because it cannot easily track efforts in this manner. For many professional services firms, this is essential functionality needed to initially price/propose, manage, deliver, and invoice these projects.   

QuickBooks Hinders Growth 

The idea of a more ‘open ended’ system experience that can truly conform and adapt to evolving business requirements becomes more appealing. Those cascading menu options, check boxes, and configuration screens that may have once been viewed as intimidating and inaccessible may quickly start to make more sense. Deltek can easily accommodate growing firms. This is why 80% of AEC firms use Deltek. It has all the utilities, under the hood to handle the needs of future growth. As a professional services firm grows, its bookkeeping system should be able to scale and enable that progress, versus introducing hurdles and limitations.  

Grow Quicker with Deltek 

To reiterate, there is nothing inherently wrong with QuickBooks. If there were, it probably wouldn’t be the widest-deployed entry-level accounting system in the market. But the unique requirements of a professional services firm can still quickly create situations where to bring a firm to the next level, it needs to be re-tooled with industry specific solutions.  

ERP is not just for the ‘big guys’ anymore. The introduction of cloud-based applications (relieving clients of internal IT requirements), and also packaging and implementations catering to small firms, has opened many doors over the last several years. In fact, a majority of current day Deltek clients could be considered SMBs, who previously came from QuickBooks.  

Have additional questions? Full Sail Partners and Deltek got it covered. Deltek Vantagepoint is an industry-leading project-based ERP designed to support the entire project lifecycle. Having extensive experience with new system implementations (to include data migration, system configuration, and product training), Full Sail Partners has helped hundreds of clients graduate from QuickBooks. Please contact us to start a discussion.  

Image button link to the Project Lifecycle of Deltek Vantagepoint webinar

Searching for Unicorns with Deltek Talent Management

Posted by Joel Slater on May 05, 2021

Imagine this scenario, it is Monday morning, and you’ve just been notified that your business development team has secured a major high dollar construction project due to start in three weeks. While a core project team has been assigned, certain significant positions crucial to this project are not yet filled. You’ve been asked to find these key players immediately to round out the project team, and you can tell that the needs are quite specific maybe even unicorns. You take a deep breath, process everything for a minute, and think I got this. Why? Well, you’ve got the power of resume searches in Deltek Talent Management.

 

unicorn resume

The Hunt Begins

Deltek Talent Acquisition, a part of Deltek Talent, offers a resume search which allows you to check out your entire database of resumes using whatever criteria you need. You can choose a key word, specific skill certification or license and just filter the information as you need. When looking for those unicorns, having the option to easily find them is important and a real time saver.

Unicorns Don’t Stay Out in the Wild for Long

Once you’ve identified the unicorns you are seeking, finding them requires quick action so having immediate access to certain resumes is a priority. The Deltek Talent main dashboard can be configured with a search resumes widget which allows you to quickly search for your desired resumes. Once you find your unicorns, you must be able to track them down and catch them as soon as possible.

Newly Discovered Species

At times, your tracked population of unicorns is missing in your current database, but other species do exist. So being able to be notified when another unicorn meeting the specific needs appears is a nice feature to have. Resume Search Agents let you save a specific search, and you can choose the frequency of the emails coming in when certain applicants match your criteria.

Additionally, in the case of an immediate need, you have access to other databases such as Monster and Career Builder from directly within Deltek Talent Acquisition. You can import resumes from other sources right into your database. These options give you a great chance of finding a new species of unicorn.

Tag the Unicorns in Your Research

Surprisingly, you’ve been able to find and capture the unicorns you were seeking. However, you may have discovered that you didn’t need all of them at once. Since they are rare and special, you want to make sure you can find them again. In Deltek Talent Management, resume pools can be created to tag candidates that are great choices for future openings. Your Resume Search Agents can automatically populate these pools for you, keeping a list of those with the skills you are desiring.

Don’t Forget to Feed the Unicorns

Fortunately, you’ve been able to find the unicorns you needed with the power of resume searches in Deltek Talent. Your project team is now ready to go, and you can breathe a sigh of relief. However, don’t forget to feed the unicorns and keep them happy, including the ones on your team, since they are a valuable resource. As for the candidates that you tagged for future openings, using Deltek Talent Relationship Management, you can keep in touch so hopefully they will come when you call them. Maybe have some sugar cubes ready?

Deltek Talent Candidate Engagement link to demo

The Value of Deltek Talent for Human Resources Professionals

Posted by Joel Slater on December 23, 2020

Professional services firms have historically overlooked the importance of a formalized and systematic talent management process. However, more and more firms are now finding value in having a methodical human capital management (HCM) practice in place. In fact, 74% of AE firms reported that they are tracking revenue per fulltime equivalent and other financial metrics that are related to HCM according to the 41st Deltek AE Clarity Report.

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Even more interesting, technology companies have become aware of this desire for HCM, and a countless number of HCM software packages have flooded the market. Nonetheless, most of these HCM software offerings are generic to serve any industry. But Deltek, the leading software solution provider for professional services firms, noticed that this specific market vertical has unique needs and released Deltek Talent, an HCM designed for professional services. Here are some ways Deltek Talent adds value for human resources (HR) professionals.

Recruit and Hire Top Industry Talent

Finding and attracting top talent in the professional services industry is becoming extremely competitive. Essentially, firms are realizing that the quality and experience of their people has a significant impact on the quality of projects they deliver. Therefore, quickly enticing the “right” people is becoming priority.

Deltek Talent offers benefits such as:

  • Faster talent acquisition
  • Enhancing visibility and insight into the applicant pipeline
  • Improving communication with applicants, candidates and hiring managers
  • Putting new hires to work faster with an automated onboarding process

Firms likely receive numerous submissions from potential candidates for new job openings, and unfortunately, not every applicant meets the minimum job requirements. However, those applicants can still be good fits for different positions that may open in the future. With Deltek Talent, HR managers can create “talent pools” which organize applicants based on their qualifications and provide a group to target for new positions that are within their skill sets.

Provide Development and Advancement Opportunities

To retain top talent, firms must show that they are invested in their people. This could involve coaching and learning opportunities, certifications, or laying out a clear path for career development. Deltek Talent provides the perfect platform for firms to demonstrate that they are invested in the advancement and professional development of their employees.

The Learning Management System (LMS) within Talent allows HR professionals to:

  • Reduce compliance risks with expiring certifications
  • Create individual learning plans to ensure employees achieve their goals
  • Improve employee engagement

Even more, the Deltek Talent LMS is designed to support the continuous educational needs of professional services firms. Some key features of Talent LMS include:

  • Easy tracking of required industry specific training and certifications
  • Maintaining organizational compliance and managing certification programs
  • Using automatic reminders and notifications about expiring certifications
  • Creating and tracking individual learning plans with industry specific courses from RedVector
  • Storing internal training documents creating a one-stop shop for all learning materials

Performance Management

Long gone are the days of annual reviews. Today, HR professionals view annual reviews as an antiquated method for performance management. The trend now is for ongoing improvement by providing instant feedback about performance. With a continuous improvement model, firm leaders and managers can recognize positive or handle less than acceptable performance on an ongoing and regular basis. This ensures employees are always aware of areas they excel at or need to improve upon.

The performance monitoring tool within Deltek Talent significantly benefits HR professionals by:

  • Reducing performance management cycle times
  • Recognizing and rewarding top performers
  • Greatly improving employee engagement and motivation

Seamless Integration with Deltek Vantagepoint

A huge benefit of Deltek Talent for Vantagepoint users is that it fully integrates with the following Vantagepoint modules:

  • Accounting
  • Resource Planning
  • CRM
  • PSA

From the moment a new applicant’s information is captured, it is stored within the Talent platform. Once a candidate becomes an employee, Vantagepoint creates a new employee record from that information. The integration collects data such as first, middle, and last name, email, home address, phone numbers, and social security number, eliminating duplicate entry of information across firm departments which saves time and reduces errors.

Manage the Entire Employee Lifecycle with Deltek Talent

HR professionals will finally get the tools they require to make them more productive and efficient in their roles. With Deltek Talent, professional services firms can enjoy the benefits of an HCM solution designed to meet their unique industry needs. Is it time for your firm to formalize an effective talent management strategy? Find out more about how Deltek Talent can help create an automated, employee focused HCM plan.

Deltek Talent Management

The 41st Annual A&E Deltek Clarity Report: Human Capital Management

Posted by Joel Slater on October 14, 2020

Deltek Clarity 41st

Human Capital Management (HCM) is a vital process that must be taken seriously for firms to be successful. There are many aspects to HCM from talent acquisition, to employee learning and professional development to succession planning. Based on the findings of the 41st Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Report, talent acquisition remains a major challenge for A&E firms and they must embrace technology and improve practices to attract the best candidates. This year’s Clarity report also addressed a variety of other hot HCM topics for A&E firms.

Tracked KPIs for Human Capital Management

According to the results of the report, the top four KPIs tracked by A&E firms included revenue per full-time equivalent (FTE), voluntary turnover, involuntary turnover, and employee retention. Identifying these particular KPIs shows that firms are concerned with retaining employees once they are hired. As a matter of fact, 74% of firms tracked revenue per FTE which indicates that financial-related metrics are being connected to HCM. However, only a minority of firms tracked other financial-related metrics. Those firms willing to look at the whole hiring and retention process will ultimately have less costly HCM systems thus making them more successful.

Managing Talent

Seeing that the top KPIs tracked are regarding turnover, it is no surprise that employers continue to focus on their initiatives for managing talent. The report stated that the top two talent management initiatives remained the same, develop more formal career development programs and create/improve succession and career development planning. Creating and improving mentorship programs moved to the third spot going from 28% to 45%. It is becoming clear to firms that knowledge must be transferred to those employees with less experience if they are to continue operating successfully. Unfortunately, however, only 10% of firms prioritized investing in a HCM solution even though 40% of firms currently use outdated HR solutions.

Surveys of Employee Engagement

Again, focused on the topic of retention, this annual Clarity report addressed employee engagement surveys. The results from the report indicated that 81% of firms conduct employee exit interviews and surveys. Only 60% of firms stated that they do annual employee surveys which means that the opportunity to address employee concerns is often missed. If those concerns were heard and addressed, then turnover could be reduced. Gauging employee sentiment is important to keep retention high so firms should move away from more traditional methods of survey towards more frequent survey models.

Talent Acquisition

Back to the issue of talent acquisition, the top talent acquisition initiative reported in the survey was improving the perception of the firm (54%) which is important since reputation helps attract the best candidates. Additionally, 41% of respondents picked improving onboarding processes and procedures which went up from 37% the prior year. On the other hand, the report showed that only 40% of firms were considering an enhanced compensation offering. Besides compensation, firms should consider leveraging technology to offer flexible/remote work options to attract candidates.

Firms Care About Human Capital Management

Despite a tough labor market, it does appear that A&E firms continue to improve their HCM processes. Acquiring and retaining top talent remains a priority for firms. They must continue to improve talent acquisition by tracking KPIs, considering enhanced compensation and leveraging technology. There should also be focus on succession planning and career development to ensure employee engagement and retention. For more detailed information on the 41st Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Report, review it in full.

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How to Guide: Find the Best Talent for Your Firm

Posted by Joel Slater on May 27, 2020

Recruiting

If you’re an HR or recruiting professional, you’re probably tired and maybe completely annoyed with the overly used and abused term… “war for talent.” Today, we will bury that term deep into a grave with no headstone. Why do you say? Simply, because there isn’t a “war” to win. Instead, let’s think about recruiting like dating and the desire to attract the perfect fit. These days, many people meet their potential mates via relationship sites. Therefore, when a person is looking to find the right match for life, he or she goes to a source of available quality candidates. Shouldn’t a firm look for the best employee to meet its needs using a similar system? So, how does a firm go about finding the right mates for its business purposes?

Utilize Internal Resources to Attract Talent

We’ve all been there - single with a group of friends who want to help us find our soulmate. They always have someone in mind who is the “right” person to match with you, and they know you really well. All that has to happen is the introduction and finding commonality, and bam, you’ve got your fit.

Well, if your role at the firm is to find the right match for business purposes, sometimes the best place to look is internally. You’ll first want to let everyone know what you are looking for so fellow coworkers can be matched with these internal job requisitions. Employees might also know others from outside the firm that are good fits as well. Did you know that studies suggest that new hires sourced from internal referrals lead to reduced time to hire, reduced cost per hire, improved quality of hire and reduced turnover rates?

When internally advertising a new job requisition, here are some items to consider:

  • Can your staff easily access this information?
  • Are there incentives for employees to recommend your firm to their friends/acquaintances?
  • Are these new job requisitions advertised in a way to attract existing employees looking for internal change?

Use Your Website to Evaluate New Talent

Using your company website for matchmaking? That’s a bit creepy if you think about it. But there are people using TV shows to find their potential mates so not too much of a stretch, huh? In a world of fast-moving internet connections, why should firms miss out on “speed dating” for their new job requisitions? Firms want to quickly separate those who may potentially be good fits from those who are absolutely not worth pursuing any further.

Let’s focus on the careers section of your website. Here’s the shocker, and I genuinely ask you to visit with your webmaster to ask what percentage of your website traffic is driven by the careers section. You’d be surprised that up to 50% of your traffic goes to your career page if you’re a professional services firm.  

With that said, your careers section should not be controlled by your on-staff or contract website guru. As the HR or recruiting person at your firm, you want the control to create and update your job requisitions as needed and when needed. You must have a simple format that is easy for potential matches to input the required information. Additionally, you need to be able to track the analytics of this page to know how many are reviewing the job requisition postings and how many of those convert to applying for the advertised open positions. Above all, with these job applications accessible on your website, you should easily be able to evaluate who may jive with firm culture and who is definitely a no-go.

Using Social Media to Connect with New Individuals

“Hey, I’m single and #ready to mingle!” Or better yet, “I’ve never met you before, so let me slide into your DMs.” Believe it or not, this works great for finding a potential romantic mate and for generating interest in your new job requisition. The power of social media is amazing for so many reasons.

First connections see your post, then they share or like your post, and then their friends see and like the post, and from there…it continues to grow. Better yet, your firm probably uses several social media platforms on a daily basis. What better way to attract new talent than harnessing the power of social media? Additionally, social media allows your firm to add personality just like it does for an individual looking for a date or a mate. When using social media, you can make your messaging fun and personify your firm. Just think about the hashtags and who you might want to @ to bring more attention to your job requisition. Once you grab the attention of a perspective candidate, you’ll likely get them to apply.

Stand out Above the Competition on the Web

If you’re tired of being single, you’re likely trying everything you can to attract and find the right mate. This means you’re likely using multiple dating apps and websites. Even more, you are probably using the best photo you can find of yourself for your profile. You want to stand out, right?

Yep, there’s a connection here too with finding the right person for your new job requisition. First off, you probably want to post it to as many job boards as possible. Sure, this takes time, but the more the better, and having the right tools can make cross-posting a new job requisition across multiple job boards simple. It even helps ensure the posting is consistent across all listings. Most importantly, you want your job requisition to stand out among the crowd. Make sure to use exciting job descriptions that emphasize the benefits of working for your firm over the competition. Lastly, you want potential candidates to be able to easily apply for your open position.

Quit Playing Games and Get Serious

Just like dating unimpressive potential suitors, interviewing underqualified or less than desirable talent can be frustrating. Technology has changed how people find dates and potential mates. Similarly, firms have access to better hiring management platforms. For many, the concept of an applicant tracking system (ATS) is nothing new, but people are still unaware of the benefits and the time-saving capabilities that these platforms offer. It is time to get serious about attracting and hiring the best talent for your firm.

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