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5 Ways Deltek Vantagepoint Simplifies Billing, Time, Expense, and Transaction Entries

Posted by Theresa Depew on July 21, 2021

Why do project-based firms struggle with billing, time, expense, and transaction entries? Simply stated, firms lack the systems to support the unique challenges of professional services firms. Accounting professionals at project-based firms depend on the timely billing of their projects for the success of their firms’ bottom line. By streamlining accounting processes with Deltek Vantagepoint, project-based firms can increase cash flow and profitability.

Deltek Vantagepoint logo

1. Efficient Entering of Timesheets and Expense Reports

Using Deltek Vantagepoint, project-based firms can reduce the time it takes for employees to enter timesheets and expense reports using the Time & Expense Mobile App. Using the Vantagepoint Time & Expense App, employees can submit timesheets and expense reports while travelling. As a result, there is no more waiting until employees are back in the office to scan receipts; just snap a picture on a mobile device and the app will use intelligent character recognition (ICR) to start the expense line. Now, submitting and approving time and expenses on the go is simple which reduces the burden for employees as they enter time and expenses. Ultimately, this improves the process of client invoicing.

2. Improved Firm Cash Flow with Document Management

Project-based firms can improve their cash flow with Deltek Vantagepoint by speeding up the invoice process with document management. Within Vantagepoint, users can utilize the database to store receipts and AP Invoices by attaching them to each transaction. Additionally, they can utilize billing terms to include back-up documentation with the client invoice which greatly reduces the time it takes for billers to search and copy all supporting documentation that needs to be sent to the client.

Another added bonus of a virtual document management solution within Deltek Vantagepoint is that there are no more piles of papers needing to be recycled. If receiving AP invoices electronically or journal entry requests via email, there is no need to print; simply save and attach in Vantagepoint. Documents can be attached in AP vouchers, expense reports, units and journal entries. Vantagepoint is bringing firms a lot closer to a paperless and remote-working world!

3. Digitized Client Invoices Speed Up Billing Process

The interactive and batch billing tools in Deltek Vantagepoint digitize the client invoice process which speeds up the billing process and shortens average collection time. Vantagepoint allows billers to submit draft invoices electronically and use saved searches in batch billing to group invoice by project manager, principal, or by invoice approver. The billing tools notify invoice approvers electronically that a draft is ready for review, and approvers can use the draft invoice approval feature to mark-up and enter comments using the new PDF editor function.

Approvals also happen electronically with no more paper approval or emails to keep track of any longer. The system will keep an approval audit trail, and billers can see all comments and mark-ups made to drafts in Interactive Billing. Billers make the changes and produce the final invoice in either Batch or Interactive Billing. Ensuring all firms have a billing contact, invoices can be emailed, with back-up attached, directly to the billing contact out of the database.

4. Reduced Manual Data Entry with Workflows and Approvals

With Deltek Vantagepoint, leveraging workflows and approvals streamline transaction processing, and reduce manual data entry. Vantagepoint users can utilize electronic approvals for timesheets and expense reports. Furthermore, approval workflows are flexible and can accommodate many steps if needed, and approvers can approve timesheets and expense reports anywhere by using the mobile app. The accounts payable workflow provides an electronic approval audit trail and document management within the database leaving no stacks of papers. Even more, the absence request workflow allows managers to keep track of each employee’s schedule which helps with ensuring coverage on projects when needed.

5. Streamlined Repetitive Tasks Using Recurring Transactions

Recurring transaction entries can be done to streamline repetitive tasks for Deltek Vantagepoint users. Utilizing recurring transactions in Deltek Vantagepoint will reduce the time it takes each month to enter the same transaction. Additionally, using transactional imports for multi-line transactions will ensure accuracy and allow more time for other tasks.

Save Time, Save Paper, Save Money with Deltek Vantagepoint  

Interactive billing, automation, and leveraging workflows means less wasted time and more time to focus on the bottom line. These features are all available with Deltek Vantagepoint, and with this intuitive solution, managing billing, time, expense, and transaction entries becomes that much easier saving firms lots of money. Not to mention so many trees! Don’t forget to check out the other features offered to users by Deltek Vantagepoint.

Link to webinar about Vantagepoint 4.0

 

6 Marketing Trends That A/E/C Firms Shouldn’t Ignore in 2021

Posted by Lindsay Diven on July 14, 2021

As 2021 comes through its halfway point, it’s a good time to take pause to see what marketing trends are emerging for A/E/C firms. One thing that 2020 did for A/E/C marketing was accelerate the strategies marketers have wanted to bring from other industries. Highlighted here are six marketing trends A/E/C firms shouldn’t ignore in 2021.

modern AEC digital marketing trends

1. Increased Leads from Online Sources

High growth A/E/C firms generate half their leads from online sources according to a Hinge Research study. They looked across the entire industry and found that 50% of new business leads were generated from digital sources including website, email, social media, and digital advertising.

The report goes on to say that a third of high growth A/E/C firms report having mature marketing and sales software automation strategies in place, which make their digital lead generation more efficient.

This can’t be ignored. Marketers should be leading these marketing efforts and making sure the backend systems are in place to track and attribute the leads appropriately.

2. Hybrid Asynchronous Events Will Flourish

2020 was the year of Zoom meetings and virtual events. While there will continue to be a place for these types of events, they will become more hybrid. An example of this was the SMPS Southeastern Regional Conference. About 150 people attended the in-person live event in Nashville, TN while another 100 attended the virtual event during the same time.

Marketers will be tasked with finding ways to engage with their prospects with this type of event through multiple means. Often times, this is showing up in the chats of the video replays during the virtual portion while someone else attends the in-person event. Or, savvy marketers will create their own virtual experience dovetailing the organized hybrid events. Think about how private, in-person client dinners the night before a traditional conference can be transformed into a virtual experience.

3. The Emergence of Community Marketing

Speaking of hybrid events…the large industry event where all firm clients are in one place might be gone for a long time, if not for good. Most, if not all, annual conferences went virtual in 2020. But these large annual conference hosts are finding other ways to support their industries. Rather, the organizers are developing smaller, intimate, and more topical gatherings – both online and in-person.

Take for example, CXps. This once annual conference has transformed into a multi-day online experience with six, smaller regional events.

Marketers can help their subject matter experts by preparing them to be active contributors and bring practical value to the more intimate gatherings.

4. What’s Old is New Again – Email Marketing

While we might be tired of getting emails, the data doesn’t lie. Email marketing isn’t dead and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to Full Sail Partners’ own research, 20% of respondents increased their email marketing efforts and another 8% started email marketing during the past year. And, a HubSpot study found that roughly 80% of marketers have reported an increase in email engagement over the past 12 months.

This is probably the easiest marketing strategy to begin for A/E/C marketers. Many firms have a database full of contacts and prospects through the normal course of doing project work and regular sales and marketing interactions. And, many A/E/C firms already send out a holiday card or other types of email promotions. Email marketing is a no-brainer then for distributing the content the firm is already creating and publishing to blogs and social media.

5. Content Repurposing

One of the biggest challenges marketers face is to get good content from their technical staff, and many of these strategies rely on value-packed content. Quality content is essential to drive traffic to a firm’s website, to engage on social media, and to send in email marketing. Repurposing content is the proactive process of reusing all or a part of an old piece of content to expand its reach. It’s really about doing more with less content. And, target audiences have different learning methods. Some like to listen or watch while others like to read. Repurposing the same piece of content ensures that all preferences are being met while needing less original content from technical staff.

For example, take one long blog article and repurpose it into a few short YouTube videos, an audio file, several social media graphics, or a slide deck that can be shared on LinkedIn. A series of blog articles can be packaged into a whitepaper that visitors to a firm’s website can download after entering their email address.

6. Increased Investment in Martech

All of the previous trends have one thing in common – the need for integrated, marketing technology (martech) solutions. This new technology is not only critical for the deployment of these strategies, but for the tracking and proper attribution to the appropriate strategy. And, it’s not just the purchase of the software but adequate training for both the marketers and the end users to understand the importance of using the software correctly. When marketers get the software and the usage correct, then they can start tracking and reporting. This step is critical for both marketers and firm leadership. Marketers can quickly determine what’s working and what’s not and adjust, and firm leadership can see what their return is on the marketing investment.

Stay Abreast of Marketing Trends

While 2020 was a year no one wants to revisit, it did accelerate many trends that A/E/C marketers have been trying to implement for years as noted in the 42nd Deltek Clarity report. This tipping point will change marketing in the A/E/C industry like nothing else. While only six marketing trends have been presented here, it’s not exhaustive. Though every A/E/C firm is unique, all should stay abreast of these current marketing trends for 2021 and those moving forward.

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42nd Deltek A&E Clarity Study Finds Business Development Embraced New Strategies

Posted by Ryan Felkel on July 07, 2021

Overall, the majority of respondents to the Deltek A&E Clarity study shared an optimistic view about opportunities and growth potential in coming years. Conversely, the long-term effects of the global pandemic did shock the industry with handshakes and face-to-face meetings becoming collateral casualties. As a result, the loss of these interpersonal connections was far greater and impactful than many could have imagined, and this sudden mandate and frankly need to socially distance inevitably left its mark on the way people interact and nurture relationships. As a result, this year’s Deltek A&E Clarity results are that much more significant as they shed light onto the future of A&E business development tactics that firms have embraced and will likely continue to utilize well into the future.

Deltek Clarity Report logo

Top Three Business Development Challenges

Finding time to nurture client relationships seems to be a list leader year after year for the A&E industry. However, the number of respondents that listed this as a top challenge grew five percent from prior years. Increased competition is second on the list with 22% of respondents putting this as their top BD challenge. While the third top challenge was identifying new prospects, with 15% of respondents listing this as their top challenge.

Interestingly enough, 14% of respondents indicated that their firm’s business development model has dedicated BD staff, 39% have a seller/doer model, and the remainder a combination of both. Even more, firms reporting having a formal business development process declined from previous years. Identifying the exact correlation on how these different BD models and lack of processes impacts these top BD challenges is difficult to measure, however there is with some certainty a direct relationship.  

Bidding to Winning

This year’s Deltek A&E Clarity study found that more firms are employing a formal go/no go process with an increase to 75.7% with 51% stating they use a formal process for all opportunities. For firms not using a formal go/no go process, 25% are considering implementing one in the future.

For small and medium A&E firms, proposal win rates decreased by nearly two percent from last year while large firms had an increase of almost two and a half percent. On the contrary, firms of all sizes saw an increase to their capture rate with a cumulative increase of three and half percent. These differences between win rate and capture rate can be attributed to the type of work firms are pursuing and the use of a more strategic go/no go process.    

Deltek Clarity on A&E Marketing Techniques

Respondents to the 42nd Deltek A&E Clarity study indicated that they predict traditional marketing techniques like in-person trade shows and exhibits, and public relations initiatives will see a sharp decline in utilization with a transition to more modern techniques. Specifically, firms stated they will increase the use of client-specific marketing, social media, thought leadership and content marketing as the core to their overall marketing strategy. This is not to say that trade shows will be abandoned, but these will likely become more virtual and/or hybrid versions which can reduce their benefit and importance to A&E firms. Overall, it’s encouraging that A&E firms want to adopt more modern marketing techniques, but their willingness to make significant investments into these changes has yet to be seen.  

Deltek Clarity on the Future Outlook and Forecast of A&E Industry

Small firms expressed a bullish outlook when reporting on their revenue growth forecast while medium and large firms expected to experience gains in the coming years. When asked to look further out to nine years, respondents expected to see growth of five to six percent in most years indicating there is still some level of uncertainty in the market, but still being sanguine there will be an upward trend in the years to come. Generally, A&E firms are optimistic about the markets they serve and believe they will be able to increase their position within them.

Significant Deltek Clarity Business Development Findings

In summary, the 42nd Deltek A&E Clarity study found that firms are going to need to continue to rely on passive sources for new opportunities which will require nurturing existing client relationships to win more work from them and to gain referrals as well. Firms will also need to embrace business intelligence tools and strategic business development models and processes to remain competitive. Additionally, the pursuit process itself has changed and became more virtual and digitized. As a whole, A&E firms have recognized the need to revolutionize their business development strategies if they want to remain relevant and viable in the future.

Understanding the full business development findings of the 42nd Deltek A&E Clarity study truly requires comparing the results to one’s own firm. Make sure to download your free copy and use the Clarity Scorecard to benchmark your firm.

Link to download the 42nd Deltek A&E Clarity Report

Reduce Data Analysis Time: Exception Reporting for Exceptional Professional Services Firms

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on June 30, 2021

In the professional services industry, reporting is key. The common complaint amongst professionals is they don’t have time to analyze the data, since they need to just get the job done. Time is always of the essence, but true efficiency incorporates being proactive and taking the time to evaluate the data and determine what to pay attention to or worry about. This is where exception reporting comes into play. 

Many times, though, professionals aren’t really aware of the robust capabilities of exception reporting and how it can save firm leaders and employees valuable time. Oddly, there seems to be some disconnect about the real benefits of exception reporting to their firm’s bottom line.

Reports and Graphs

What is Exception Reporting?

Simply put, exception reporting can indicate a red flag to a business. Within the professional services industry, it is especially important to receive exception reporting related to projects and people. An exception report can be a report, alert and/or dashpart that notifies a user, department, or business about data that is outside of a defined expectation of what is typically acceptable. This notification indicates action should be taken. With an ERP or business intelligence system, exception reporting can be programmed to highlight parameters of values that appear outside of a defined criteria range. 

Why Use Exception Reporting?

With growing professional services firms, the more projects a firm wins, and the more employees hired, means managing more projects and employees. Anyone in the professional services industry knows that there is no such thing as a perfect project. Whether managing projects or employees, it’s important to know what needs closer attention and when to adjust a project or processes. With the ebb and flow of projects and availability of resources, those adjustments can come at any time. When done right, exception reporting can ensure a firm is addressing potential problems or weaknesses before they wreak havoc on the bottom line. 

What Are Examples of Exception Reporting for Professional Services Firms?

Exception reporting can be simple or more in-depth for professional services firms. Below are some examples of the most commonly used exception reports along with some that are less common, but highly effective within the professional services industry.

Identify Unsubmitted Timesheets with Ease

Having timesheets completed on time allows for timely billing and improved cash flow. Additionally, having the ability to list the staff who have worked less than expected hours for a selected time period lets managers know who to focus their efforts on and helps avoid mass emails to the entire company. Below is an example within Deltek Vantagepoint. Managers can identify which of their employees need to receive notifications or reminders and can quickly send one. Accounting and principals will also find it helpful to know which managers are underperforming. Additionally, business intelligence tools, like Entrinsik Informer, can provide insight in a visual way to alert those department managers who have the most employees slacking on their timesheet.

Deltek Vantagepoint Unsubmitted Timesheets - Floor Check

Draw Attention to Accounts Receivable (AR) at Risk

Accounts receivable “at risk” refers to the likelihood that a client or project is beyond the expected timeframe. For some firms, this may be 45 days and others may deem more than 60 days as being unacceptable. The longer the DSO (days sales outstanding) cycle, the more likely a business is offering credit to its clients. The longer the bill goes unpaid, the more likely a firm may not collect 100 percent of what is owed. Providing accounting, project managers and principals a list of “at risk” accounts allows a firm to focus just on those that are beyond the normal threshold. 

A project manager might be managing 50 projects. With an exception report, the PM can quickly see that they have 10 projects that need attention related to AR. For accounting and principals, an exception report may be one showing which project managers, principals or divisions have the most AR “at risk” to narrow down individuals or groups that need further attention.  

Entrinsik Informer At Risk AR

Resource Allocation Balancing

Another example of an exception report is one providing management information to demand the resources they need. With a resource allocation report for a project-based business, it outlines competing priorities required to execute on projects. It provides those overseeing projects the ability to determine who is over and underutilized allowing them to readjust those out of balance to maximize the effectiveness of the firm’s resources.

Deltek Vantagepoint Resource Allocation ReassignmentSpotting Projects in Trouble

A projects in trouble report is another exception report that identifies variances from the plan or project data. This type of report identifies the reason(s) a project may potentially be in trouble. The Blackbox Connector for Entrinsik Informer has an out-of-the-box BI reporting solution that can report on common reasons a project may be in trouble and includes:

  • Over budget or approaching budget
  • Low gross margin ratio percentage
  • AR is at risk or getting old
  • Percentage of time used is beyond expected days
  • Actual hours exceed budget
  • Low expected revenue
  • Project past expected completion date
  • No current activity

4 Entrinsik Informer PMs with Potential Projects In TroubleProject Feedback to Manage Expectations

Listening to feedback from clients about a project is essential to ensure project success. Projects require adjustments along the way and the best way to ensure a project is meeting client expectations is to provide a method for clients to provide quick feedback. The most effective method for professional services firms we have seen is the Client Feedback Tool by Client Savvy. This electronic feedback is quick, effective, and provides indicators when someone records a low score. As a result, an exception report alerts the team and leaders that follow-up is required, and potential mentoring of their employees is needed.

Client Feedback Tool Surveys Needing Follow-upReduce Employee Turnover with a Burnout Report

In professional services firms, a commonly used phrase is “our employees are our greatest asset.” This is true for so many reasons as they are often the primary contact with our clients. They also have the project knowledge as well as the technical skills required for project success. Having to replace an employee on a project costs time and money and can potentially result in a poor product or project delays. Ensuring that employees are maintaining a work life balance goes a long way to keeping productive staff. Providing executives and managers an exception report on identifying employees that may potentially be burnt out can help reduce turnover. In a burnout report, criteria might include employees that have:

  • Not taken PTO in the past 6 months
  • No PTO scheduled for the next 6 months
  • Consistently working more than 8 hours a day

Entrinsik Informer Employee Burnout IndicatorBeing Proactive with Exception Reporting Adds to Bottom Line

Training project managers, principals and teams on project details to look for across the board is essential. Exception reporting is a great way to quickly identify variances between what is expected and what is happening to help identify potential issues sooner. Utilizing business intelligence like exception reports offers firms the chance to proactively make adjustments and reduce data analysis time. Exception reporting can be a positive thing to help achieve better processes or avoid costly issues and should be a part of professional services firms’ operational strategies.

Key Performance Indicators

Preview: Email Marketing Trends for Professional Services Firms Survey Results

Posted by Lindsay Diven on June 23, 2021

In May 2021, Full Sail Partners conducted its first-ever email marketing trends survey. We wanted to gain insight as to how many firms have fully embraced email marketing as a proactive marketing strategy. And, if the effects of the worldwide pandemic, when many face-to-face meetings and conferences have been canceled, adjusted firms’ email marketing strategy and results.

Email Marketing

General B2B Statistics

Before the results from the Full Sail Partners’ survey are previewed, let’s take a look at some other statistics focused on email marketing and business to business (B2B) marketing strategies.

  • Billions of emails are sent every day. 306 billion to be exact. And, according to The Radicatti Group, that number is expected to reach 361 billion by the end of 2024.
  • Email helps you reach your clients as fast as possible. With the popularity of social media, you might think it has overtaken email as the fastest way to reach new and current clients. But the truth is that 21% of opened emails are opened within the very first hour of delivery.
  • In the annual research conducted by Content Marketing Institute in 2020:
    • 85% of B2B organizations use email marketing software to assist with content marketing
    • 81% of B2B organizations use email newsletters as part of their marketing strategy
    • 87% of B2B organizations use email to distribute their content
    • 90% of B2B organizations used email engagement as the top metric to measure content performance
  • That same research also found that email is the most reliable channel for nurturing leads to sales throughout the funnel.

Email Marketing Trends Survey Results Preview

So how do the responses from our email marketing trends survey compare to some of the national trends? Full Sail Partners invited our clients, prospects, and partners to complete the survey. The invitation was sent via email and shared on our social media channels.

Survey Demographics

The survey responses were from firms that provided mostly either engineering (41%) or construction (28%) services. Half of the responses were from firms that had either 1-50 (36%) or 51-100 (25%) employees. The other half of the responses broke down into the following: 101-500 (29%), 501-1000 (2%), and 1001+ (8%) employees.

Full Sail Partners is a Premier Partner for Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint. So, one of the questions asked if the firms responding were users of either software. Of the responses, 40% are either a Deltek Vision or Vantagepoint user, 58% were not users, and 2% said other. The one “other” response indicated that they are currently using another CRM software system.

Overall Firm Marketing Strategies

Before we asked about email marketing strategies, we asked respondents what marketing channels their firm currently uses. They could respond with multiple answers. The top three marketing channels included website, social media, and email. This seems to be consistent to the other independent research noted above.

Email Survey Image 1

Today’s Email Marketing Strategy

The survey also wanted to gauge how professional services firms are using email marketing today. We asked questions including goal/purpose for email marketing, frequency, type of email campaigns, and how the firms track success of their email marketing efforts. These were asked in a combination of quantitative and qualitative questions.

The biggest goal/purpose for email marketing is for brand awareness (41%) with lead nurturing well behind at 26% of the responses.

Email Survey Image 2

The main types of email marketing campaigns sent by the respondents included regular newsletters (33%), highlight emails (23%), and promotional emails (23%).

When asked for a brief overview of the firm’s email marketing strategy, objective responses ranged from simple holiday greetings to organized targeted campaigns. Some of the consistent qualitative response themes include:

  • Holiday greetings
  • Announcements such as new hire, employee promotions, new office, or office move
  • Sharing content produced by the firm like blog articles
  • Teaming and bid opportunity alerts to contractor and subcontractor lists
  • Event invitations around either webinars or attending conferences/tradeshows

Email Survey Image 3

When asked how frequently email campaigns are sent, nearly half of respondents send their email campaigns quarterly (46%) with another 21% sending monthly. Some of the other responses included bi-weekly sends as well as sending depending on specific promotions.

Email Survey Image 4

Email Marketing Changes Due to Pandemic

Another reason for conducting this survey was to gauge how email marketing strategies and engagement have changed, if at all, during the pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many face-to-face meetings and conferences have been canceled or transformed into virtual events. Staying in front of clients and prospects is critical for maintaining relationships for professional services firms. And, email marketing may be one way the pandemic has affected this.

First, we wanted to know if the firms’ email marketing strategy changed during the pandemic. Nearly half of the responses said their email marketing strategy DID NOT change (45%) while 20% indicated that they did increase the amount of email marketing efforts during the pandemic. Interesting is that 23% of the responses were not doing any email marketing before the pandemic and still haven’t started.

Email Survey Image 5

Next, we wanted to gauge the results of the firms’ email marketing efforts during this past year, regardless of any changes to their email marketing strategy. According to the responses of this survey, the majority said that everything has stayed about the same (38%). However, 18% did say that their email engagement has increased.

Email Survey Image 6

What’s Next

This is just a preview of the email marketing trends for professional services firms’ survey results. More results and recommendations will be shared on the June 30, 2021 webinar. During that webinar, Full Sail Partners along with a very special guest will be talking about:

  • Why email marketing is a must-have for professional services firms,
  • What’s working right now for B2B firms,
  • How to get started in email marketing,
  • Resources available from Full Sail Partners and SubjectLine.com

To register for this free webinar, click the image below.

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Why Should You Join the CXps Community?

Posted by Full Sail Partners on June 16, 2021

Simply stated, strong client relationships are fundamental for thriving professional services (PS) firms. Therefore, proactively creating a positive client experience (CX) should be at the core of a PS firm’s mission. As simple as this effort may seem, many firms fall short in terms of meeting client expectations which inevitably becomes detrimental to their bottom line. However, there has been an influx in forward looking PS firms that are now dedicating resources to CX.

With this rapid growth and interest in CX for PS firms, the creation of a community dedicated to connecting likeminded individuals and firms has risen. CXps is the only client experience association dedicated to professional services firms. What once began as an annual conference has now evolved into so much more. The CXps community is now a nationwide network that offers monthly virtual meetups, regional in-person events, a rapidly growing library of CX content and so much more.

CXps community logo

As a client-focused firm, Full Sail Partners is a dedicated partner of the CXps community with several members of the staff actively participating in the network and others joining this year. Furthermore, the 2021 CXps annual conference was hosted virtually from May 25th to May 27th. During this year’s annual conference, trends and ideas were presented and breakout sessions allowed attendees to collaborate and share their perspectives. Additionally, Ryan Suydam with Client Savvy discussed the evolution of the CXps community and the future outlook of this rapidly growing network of CX professionals. If you are wondering what you missed, here’s what some of the Full Sail Partners’ crew members had to say about the CXps annual conference and community.  

“As a CXps newbie, I learned a lot!”

As a first timer, I have long understood the necessity for firms to ensure a good client experience, however the 2021 CXps virtual conference was the first time I was introduced to the idea of firms actually focusing on the concept of CX in their overall business strategies. During the small group breakout sessions, I was able to discover several things about CX. First, firms appear to always be seeking to increase profits whether they consider themselves to be mission, vision or purpose driven, therefore CX is significant for that reason alone. Next, that employees, no matter what level, need to have a good employee experience (EX) in order to facilitate a good CX. We also learned that a great story about a positive experience goes a long way in CX and encourages both employees and clients to be loyal to the firm. Attending this virtual CXps conference offered me new insight and perspective on the real complexity of CX.

              Jennifer Renfroe, Marketing Associate

“The CXps conference is one I look forward to every year!”

The Client Savvy team did an excellent job revamping the traditional conference format into a truly virtual experience. In this experience, you worked hands-on with a community of peers to build your CX program together.

One session of the conference took us through making the business case for a CX firm initiative. We were inspired by Ryan Suydam to “win the heads” of our firm leaders to begin a CX program. Then we broke into small groups to discuss the challenges/opportunities of how a managed CX program can create value for our specific firm. We were provided a list of different options that ranged from easier ones like pricing our work to value, not market, and reducing non-value-added project work to more advanced methods like increasing share of wallet with clients and measuring client lifetime value. We were asked to pick one or two ways we can demonstrate the value that a managed CX program could provide.

During another session, we were challenged to “win the hearts” by using stories. Our firms have dozens of stories like the one great story of how a client was won or kept through extraordinary conditions. Andrea Mac from Prequal, LLC showed us how CX stories can optimize the value of client experience initiatives among colleagues and leaders. Again, we broke into peer groups to begin developing our story element library and how to use them.

The best thing about the CXps virtual experience was that it took somewhat nebulous ideas of client experience and put a framework and system around it. And, when you can do that, it helps A&E firms develop and grow a proactive and thoughtful client experience program at their firms.

Lindsay Diven, CPSM, Blackbox Connector Sales and Marketing Manager

“Being a member of the CXps community gives you access to a wealth of knowledge!”

I’ve been participating in the CXps community for over a year after joining the 2020 annual conference. My first conference and the 2021 conference were both outstanding with great presenters. Whether it was your first time being exposed to CX concepts, or if you are a seasoned CX veteran, the conference has an incredible depth of knowledge for all experience levels.

Additionally, as a member of the CXps community, you are able to access the knowledge base that the Client Savvy team continues to grow and fill with reliable informational resources and contributions from members of the community. I personally contributed last year by creating a video, “How Marketers Can Use Client Feedback” for the Knowledge Sharing Modules (KSM) which Client Savvy releases on a monthly basis. Make sure to check out all the KSM sessions on their YouTube page.

This year, I’m looking forward to the regional meetups. During the “Making CX Happen” regional events, CXps community members will meet in-person to explore challenging CX problems PS firms face. I’m also a sucker for Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Ryan Felkel, Marketing Manager

It’s Never Too Late to Join the CXps Community

Did you miss the 2021 CXps Conference? No worries! You can join the CXps community whenever you’re ready to take the first steps to improving the client experience your firm delivers. There are several levels of membership, and your level of commitment and participation is completely up to you.

Join the CXps Community

Revelations of the 42nd Annual Deltek Clarity Architecture & Engineering Study

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on June 09, 2021

This year’s Deltek Clarity Architecture & Engineering (A&E) Study came on the heels of an unprecedented event with the global pandemic. However, the 42nd Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Study showed that despite the challenges presented in 2020, many firms were able to persevere by focusing on fundamentals, maintaining contact with clients and managing costs. The move to remote operations, changes in workplace policy, and greater use of technology identified new areas for improving processes. Additionally, the Clarity Study indicated that firms are optimistic about future opportunities and growth potential moving forward.

Deltek A&E Clarity Report lol

The 42nd Annual Deltek Clarity Study collected responses from A&E firms of all sizes in North America based on 2020 fiscal data. Here is an overall look at what was reported this year, but for more detail, the 42nd Clarity Study can be reviewed in its entirety.

Clarity on Technology Trends

Throughout 2020, firms continued technology adoption and deployment as well as migration to the cloud according to the 42nd Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Study. The top technology challenges included cost of technology, prioritizing which technologies would be most beneficial and dedicating a champion to evaluate which technologies would achieve firm goals. Furthermore, the Clarity Study noted that firms expect to increase investments in emerging technologies in project management and execution to reimagine ways of working to increase profitability. Not only will finding ways to leverage technologies in project management be important but also teams will need to be well versed in it to utilize it effectively and efficiently to bring significant returns.

Clarity on Financial Statements

Despite the use of tighter controls and leaner spending in 2020, the financial stability of firms was maintained according to this year’s Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Study. The results of the Study indicated that operating profits and utilization rates increased as net labor multiplier went down, and firms demonstrated no material drop-off in the ability to secure projects or maintain a strong pipeline. The key financial challenges for firms addressed in the report were finding and retaining top talent, in addition to driving and managing growth into the future. Learning during the last year, firms went back to basics and focused more on financials leading to improved operational efficiency and increased profitability.

Clarity on Business Development

The results of the 42nd Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Study noted that business development (BD) resources were being stretched with responsibilities shared among staff, and cross-training employees grew in importance. Another challenge to BD was finding ways to nurture client relationships as in-person meetings and events were cancelled. Furthermore, competition increased for pursuits which caused a slight decline in overall win rates yet electronic proposal submissions freed team members up to focus on other projects. Firms also indicated in this year’s Deltek Clarity Study that they needed to carefully target their marketing efforts to meet client interests and needs. Additionally, using business intelligence (BI) tools and investing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems would help prevent missed opportunities better positioning firms to win.

Clarity on Project Management

As workers went remote during the pandemic, keeping projects on track became a great concern. Coordinating with clients and keeping teams connected virtually was a new concept and firms needed to come up with a project delivery system that focused on meeting client needs. 2020 did not allow for focusing on enhancing project management best practices or finding experienced talent. Based on the survey results of the 42nd Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Study, going forward, firms appear to be getting more serious about project management. Firms cannot afford to have project managers (PMs) without the necessary training, and a clearly defined process for PMs will help improve project success. Moreover, visibility into and better understanding of project financials can help PMs analyze performance and manage projects proactively while integrating with accounting staff.

Clarity on Human Capital Management

According to this year’s Deltek Clarity A&E Study, Human Capital Management (HCM) KPI tracking decreased overall in 2020 most likely because managers were having to support a remote workforce. Talent acquisition continues to be a top HCM challenge and firms need to find the right balance between in-office and remote workforce practices. Any steps that firms can take to help make the work/life balance more attractive will benefit future recruiting efforts particularly after a year of remote working. Additionally, investments in talent acquisition and performance management tools will help to tackle the ongoing challenges of recruiting, onboarding and retaining quality staff.

The 42nd Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Study Reports Positive Conditions

Even after a very challenging year, the industry outlook and market conditions are positive based on this year’s Deltek Clarity Study. In order to maintain financial stability and keep projects on track, the study shows that A&E firms focused on the fundamentals and stayed close to their clients. From the experience of this past year, new opportunities for improvement have presented themselves across the board. Firms have shown an interest in investing in the training and development of their PMs which will greatly impact project profitability. Realigning strategic marketing initiatives to incorporate virtual interactions when face-to-face are not always feasible will help firms continue to connect with their clients. Furthermore, firms began to provide remote and flexible work options for their staff which going forward will only encourage retention and attract new talent.

Link to download the 42nd Deltek A&E Clarity Report

Accounting Made Easier for Project-based Firms with Deltek Vantagepoint 4.0

Posted by Scott Gailhouse on June 02, 2021

What is better than a purpose-built modern ERP with functionality to streamline and consolidate business processes? More features! With the latest release of Vantagepoint 4.0, Deltek offers even more features to make it easier for firms to deliver better projects, analyze business performance, and create more accurate invoices. Let’s check out some of these new features and see how they will be beneficial to Vantagepoint users.

Deltek Vantagepoint logo

Digital Markup of Draft Invoices

Clients have been asking for the ability to markup draft invoices for some time. Now with the latest Vantagepoint release, draft invoices can be digitally marked up. This allows the biller to view and edit annotations within interactive billing and markups are saved for future reference. As a result, the digital markup feature allows for improved collaboration between project managers and accounting.

Expanded Interactive Billing Capabilities

This newest version of Vantagepoint continues enhancing the user experience and ease of use. With enhanced interactive billing, you can view marked up drafts including comments from final invoices in prior periods. Also, when invoices are voided, Vantagepoint will keep a record of the void and the date the invoice was voided.

Store Final Invoices as PDFs in Vantagepoint

With Deltek Vantagepoint 4.0, final invoices can be stored as a PDF when they are accepted in interactive billing or final creation in batch billing. Since a PDF is created at the time of final invoice creation, you actually have a duplicate record of what you sent to the client originally. Now, with this enhancement, all invoices stored in Vantagepoint will exactly match the invoices that you sent to your client.

New Expense Report Screen Designer Capabilities

Deltek Vantagepoint 4.0 features now help with increasing expense report accuracy. Now, the Expense Report has a “lite” screen designer. This allows users to build in business rules within the expense report. Also, you can add additional columns or choose the columns you want to display on the expense report and change their descriptions. You can even make tool tips to help with accurate reporting by users. Additionally, screen designer changes apply to mobile expenses as well.

Expanded Expense Approval Features

The latest version of Vantagepoint focuses on increased usability. For expense report approvals, there is a new toggle to show all approval types or completed approvals. This gives the approver the ability to just see expense reports that need to be approved. Also, there is a new Print Lines Approval Report button for both timesheets and expense reports. This report gives the approver, at a glance, line items that still require approval.

Timesheet Status Update with Floor Checks

Vantagepoint 4.0 also helps with managing employee timesheet completion. If you are responsible for making sure employee time entry is completed on time, you can do a “floor check” to review the status of time entry for your employees for a specific timesheet period or day. This feature allows users to quickly see which employees still have outstanding timesheets and includes the ability to create a reminder email template to send to employees.

Mobile Enhancements Including Biometrics

In previous versions of Deltek Vantagepoint, users could upload receipts from a mobile device using Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR). With 4.0, users can now automatically match a line created from a receipt with a credit card charge. Biometric authentication has also been added to Time & Expense and CRM mobile capabilities. Using this new feature, users can now utilize fingerprint ID or face recognition to make it more convenient and more secure to access their Vantagepoint system. These new enhancements simplify the process making it easier for end users to complete their expense reports. Therefore, allowing for more accurate reports which benefits accounting.

Dashboard Enhancements for Clearer Insights

With Vantagepoint 4.0, Deltek continues to provide more improvements to filters, dashparts, and dashboards for ease of use for the end user. The latest release provides further visibility into project details and labor planning. One of those enhancements to dashparts is the ability to drilldown to the details to see unposted labor hours at cost and/or billing rates.

Always Looking Forward with Deltek Vantagepoint 4.0 

With each release of Vantagepoint, Deltek seeks to reimagine functionality and leverage innovation to provide usable and practical value for accounting. The latest release steps up with features that work on improving user experience, ease of use and accuracy. As always, the newest Vantagepoint 4.0 enhancements make managing and delivering projects that much better for all users and there are many more to come.

Link to webinar about Vantagepoint 4.0

Is My Firm Getting the Most Out of Deltek Vantagepoint?

Posted by Theresa Depew on May 26, 2021

Congratulations for upgrading to Deltek Vantagepoint, the reimagined and greater version of Vision! For starters, you’ve probably already noticed that Vantagepoint is different from Vision in its appearance. This new and greatly improved user interface just scratches the surface though. Did you know that there are several process enhancements designed to streamline your firm’s day-to-day operations?

questions marks in bubbles

 

While Deltek Vision was the gold standard for project-based ERP systems, its successor, Vantagepoint, is raising the benchmark. Check out what you may not know Vantagepoint can do to improve your firm’s processes.

Did you know Deltek Vantagepoint can…?

Did you know you can customize the timesheet approval process?

Do you need one or more approval steps? No problem!  Do you need line-item approval? No problem!  

Using a Vantagepoint timesheet approval workflow is simple and flexible. Additionally, using an approval workflow tends to shorten the time it takes to get timesheets approved and posted, everything is done electronically either from a desktop or on a mobile device. Timesheet approvals have never been easier!

Did you know that Vantagepoint now allows for draft invoice markup?

Say goodbye to emailing and/or printing draft invoices for approval! With the new “Markup on Draft Invoices” feature, approvers can review, markup and approve directly in Vantagepoint. The draft invoice will show all the information needed for an approver to verify billing. The approver can also use the PDF editor that is built into Vantagepoint so they can make notes right on the draft and resubmit. Waiting days or weeks for invoice approval a thing of the past!

Did you know that you no longer need to post batch transactions?

Have you ever wanted to post one Voucher or one Cash Receipt without creating a whole batch? With Vantagepoint’s new “Single Transaction Posting” option, this is now possible. If this option is enabled, control totals will no longer be needed. As a result, there is no need to leave the transaction entry screen to post, just enter your data and click post. With Vantagepoint, entering and posting transactions has never been this quick and easy!

Did you know that you can have multiple dashboards in Vantagepoint?

Since Project Managers often wear multiple hats in a firm, they can now have different dashboards to represent those different hats. For example, there can be a dashboard for business development activities and pipeline management in addition to a separate dashboard for project financials. Thus, allowing Project Managers or other firm employees that wear multiple hats to have critical decision-making information at their fingertips.

Did you know that information from the project budget and project planning tool are in one view?

In the Project Hub in Vantagepoint, the Project Review option allows project managers to view the Contract Fee, EAC Budgeted Cost, ETC Planned Cost and the Planned Profit in one single view. Additionally, Key Performance Indicators can be tracked on the same view and are continuously tracked and updated as information is changed in the budget and project tool.

Did you know that the professional licenses that your employees hold can be tracked in Deltek Vantagepoint?

For professional services firms, there are often credentials that must be held for some types of work. Examples include professional engineer, professional land surveyor, registered architect, and more. It’s imperative that licenses such as these and other certifications are kept active. Some firms rely on the employees to maintain their licensures while other firms may ask their human resources or marketing teams to capture this information.

Deltek Vantagepoint allows users to capture and track this information in the Credentials grid in the Employee Hub. Available fields cover the credential description, type of credential, license number, state and country, date earned, expiration date, last renewed date, and a check box for proposal use. With the use of workflows, employees can be notified 60 days, 30 days, or another chosen number of days prior to an expiration date.

Did you know that Vantagepoint has a seamless transition process from project pursuit to award?

In Vantagepoint, there are no more mapping exercises after a project is won. You can enter estimates, plans, budgets and contract amounts at any tine in the project lifecycle. As a result, project information is already captured and ready to use at the start of the project.

Get the Most out of Deltek Vantagepoint!

Simplifying and improving your firm’s operations is the intent and purpose of Deltek Vantagepoint. But with anything new, a lot of these enhancements may never be utilized if firms are unaware that they exist. If you’re interested in learning more about the features and tools that are part of Vantagepoint, check out our Vantagepoint video demonstration series. Additionally, make sure to read our monthly newsletter with a new “Did You Know” in each edition.

Reach Full Sail!

How to Use Client Feedback to Improve Client Experience

Posted by Ryan Felkel on May 19, 2021

In a recent study by Dimension Data, 84% of companies that strive to improve their client experience (CX) report increases in their revenue. Another survey completed by Gartner found that 81% of businesses compete primarily on CX. Even more, PWC found that 32% of customers are willing to walk away from a brand they favor because of one negative experience. While there are endless amounts of statistics that directly correlate CX to company revenue and growth, many companies are still falling short in terms of their clients’ standards.

Client taking survey

 

Typically, the common denominator for businesses that are providing subpar CX is the lack of asking for feedback from clients. Certainly, your firm’s team members are meeting with clients and sharing ideas about their projects and expectations, but these conversations are merely that…just talk. However, creating a formalized client feedback process can revolutionize the CX and take your firm’s brand to the next level.

Understanding What to Measure

For professional services (PS) firms, measuring a client’s satisfaction with the final product ignores the process of delivering a project from start to finish. Therefore, the quality of the process is what determines CX for project-based firms. In other words, PS firms need to be more focused on asking for feedback about the project delivery process. When determining what questions to ask about the process, it’s important to keep in mind that there are two categories that need to be evaluated about the process, subjective- relationship metrics and objective-deliverable metrics.

In terms of subjective or relationship questions, firms need to understand how helpful they were during the process. Additionally, they need to ask for feedback regarding how the client felt about their responsiveness and their abilities to make the right decisions at critical moments during the project.

For objective or deliverable feedback, PS firms need to know how clients feel about their ability to manage budgets and schedules. Overall, objective feedback measures the accuracy of quantifiable standards and expectations that were set prior to the project starting.

Cadence of Asking for Client Feedback

Waiting until a project is completed to ask for feedback is too late. At this point, fixing any negative perspectives is a moot point as it’s hard to correct something in the past. For PS firms, it is critical to ask for feedback early on and often.

It is often encouraged to begin the feedback process at the project kick-off. During this time, the project teams need to make sure milestones and KPIs are aligned, and all parties are clear on the path to success. Once the first milestone has been met, there is now an opportunity to request client feedback and to begin to assess the process your firm is using to deliver a project. As the project continues and various milestones or percent complete points have been met, feedback can once again be requested. Finally, client feedback needs to be requested upon project completion.

Asking Clients the Right Feedback Questions

Providing a great CX requires asking the right questions to gain feedback about the project delivery process. Additionally, each client feedback inquiry should include six to eight questions that are shorter than 12 words. Questions should also be different for each phase of the project, and they also need to be tailored to the role each stakeholder has in the project. Most importantly, the goal is to create a great CX, therefore questions need to be geared toward measuring expectations and not satisfaction. Since satisfaction cannot be controlled, but expectations can be managed.

Moreover, avoid questions about an individual since they are only part of the process. Also, ask questions about things you can control and change. For instance, asking a client if they think a budget is sufficient is pointless since the budget was predetermined prior to the project. Most importantly, reevaluate questions that use the word “and” as this is usually becoming two questions with the use of a conjunction connecting two clauses or thoughts.

Take Action on Client Feedback

Well, now you’ve asked for feedback which means you likely need to respond and address the client feedback. In many cases, positive feedback only requires a small acknowledgement. When the feedback indicates expectations are not being met, it is imperative to reach out to the survey respondent to understand why they feel the process is falling short of expectations.

It is equally important to note that the person requesting client feedback needs to the person reaching out and acknowledging the responses whether they are positive or negative. Additionally, the person requesting feedback needs to not take the information personally since the questions and responses are about the process. Lastly, when discussing feedback with a client, the person requesting feedback needs to practice empathy as to avoid creating a conversation filled with attacks and defenses.

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