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Using Multicurrency in Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Scott Gailhouse on June 13, 2024

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With Vantagepoint Multicurrency, transactions like employee expenses or accounts payable vouchers can be entered in any selected currency regardless of the company’s functional currency. Your firm can provide invoices to clients in foreign currencies as well. In a multicompany database, any company in the enterprise can be maintained in any currency. Deltek Vantagepoint holds the key to simplifying this process for your firm.

Vantagepoint Multicurrency allows you to:

  • Manage multiple currencies for transactions, accounting, and financial reporting
  • Enter and manage exchange rates, which can be done manually or can be automated to update daily exchange rates using an auto-feed subscription provided by XE.com.
  • Support daily, period, and period-end exchange rate changes
  • Revalue foreign currency accounts and automatically identify realized and unrealized gains or losses due to currency fluctuations

Considerations when Using Deltek Vantagepoint Multicurrency

With any changes to your standard accounting practices, there are always some items that need to be taken into consideration:

Revenue Considerations: Revenue generation will now use the billing currency fields in the project hub.

Project Considerations: Once you set a project’s currency and the project has transactions posted to it, the currency code cannot be changed on the project. It is very important to set the project to the correct currency upon initial setup. All lower levels of the work breakdown structure (WBS) will follow the currency codes set at the project level. A project’s currency can be set up to manage the project in one currency and a different billing currency can be used to invoice your client.

General Ledger Account Considerations: In Vantagepoint Multicurrency accounts can be left without a specific currency or set to a single currency. For example, a company with a functional currency of USD may have a checking account in Canadian dollars (CAD). In this example, the chart of account numbers associated with the Canadian Bank Code would need to be set up with a currency code of CAD. Once an account is set up in a currency that is different than the functional currency of the company, it is then considered a foreign-denominated account and will be included in the revaluation process.

Unit Considerations: You must specify both a project and billing currency.

Vendor Considerations: Vendor records are stored in the functional currency of the active company. There are several details to note for vendor records:

  • Functional Currency – the home currency or the currency in which the company operates
  • Transactional Currency – the currency in which a transaction is entered into Vantagepoint
  • Presentation Currency - used in reporting to generate a report with all amounts expressed in a single currency
  • Billing Currency - the currency used to generate invoices and billing reports for specific projects and their WBS
  • Project Currency – the currency in which the project is managed which can be different than the functional currency when needed (this currency should be used for all project management purposes including reporting)
  • Payment Currency – the currency in which the payments are made
  • Consolidated Reporting Currency – only available in a Multicompany environment and is used to create consolidated financial statements for multiple companies that are using different functional currencies currency directly through the account setup of the GL (if you specify an account currency that is different from the company’s functional currency, the account is then considered a foreign-denominated account)
  • Account Currencies – each account set for use as a bank account and mapped to a GL code can be set to a specific
  • Tax Currency – if tax auditing is enabled then a currency must be set for each tax code (this is generally the currency in which you report and pay the tax amounts to the proper tax authority)

Generally Accepted Accounting Practices in Deltek Vantagepoint Multicurrency

Deltek Vantagepoint Multicurrency complies with the Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) sections ASC-830-10-55-10 and 11. In section 55-10, the guideline states that it is acceptable to use averages or other methods of approximation. Accordingly, it is recommended to use a weighted average of the exchange rate for a period rather than applying actual day-to-day fluctuations.

Furthermore, section 55-11 states that the average rates used shall be appropriately weighted by the volume of functional currency transactions occurring during an accounting period. In other words, to translate revenue and expense accounts for an annual period, individual revenue and expense accounts for each quarter or month may be translated at that quarter's or that month's average rate. The translated amounts for each quarter or month should then be combined with the annual totals.

Why Use Multicurrency in Deltek Vantagepoint?

Multicurrency can be used for tracking currency exchange gains and losses. Having foreign-denominated accounts creates the need to track gains and losses based on fluctuating exchange rates. For example, if a European company has a bank account denominated in United States dollars and the value of the euro rises against the United States dollar, the value in euros of that bank account balance drops. This results in an unrealized loss to the European company. Using Multicurrency allows you to use the Gains/Losses and Revaluations process in Vantagepoint to calculate and post these currency exchange gains and losses. As a result, they appear on your financial statements per the generally accepted accounting practices under which you operate.

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What's New in Vantagepoint 7.0?

Posted by Evan Creech-Pritchett on June 06, 2024

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Deltek Vantagepoint 7.0 is finally here, and it brings a bunch of new features and enhancements aimed at improving automation, efficiency, and the general user experience. With a focus on providing better data visibility, integrating artificial intelligence, and enhancing the overall user interface, this update promises to change the way professional services firms manage their projects, finances, and resources. Let’s look at a brief overview of the things that’ll get you excited to jump into Deltek Vantagepoint 7.0!

Simplify PTO Updates for Plans

This update ensures more accurate project plans by automating absence requests and making staff availability more visible. This automation helps to improve resource management, allowing project managers to anticipate and plan for workload gaps effectively. The result is enhanced project delivery with fewer disruptions and more predictable outcomes.

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Streamlined Financial Processes

One of the standout features of Vantagepoint 7.0 is the automation of financial processes. This includes streamlining the procure-to-pay process and automating time-consuming billing processes. By eliminating manual, error-prone tasks, finance teams can focus on more value-adding activities, improving efficiency and accuracy in financial management.

Enhanced User Experience and Adoption

Next up on the list of improvements is the intuitive user interface with enhanced navigation menus, keyboard shortcuts, and fly-out menus. These improvements are designed to boost user adoption by making the platform easier to navigate and use. With features like explicit save in list view and bulk update capabilities, users can perform tasks more efficiently, leading to improved data quality and user satisfaction.

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Empowered Business Intelligence and Flexibility

Deltek Vantagepoint now supports stand-alone Analysis Cubes, allowing users to create and utilize multi-dimensional cubes for business intelligence and advanced reporting. This feature provides the power of cubes without the need for visualization tools like Tableau, enabling connections from various BI tools, like Excel. This flexibility empowers users to leverage their data more effectively for strategic decision-making.

Modernized User Interface

The updated user interface maximizes your screen real estate and simplifies navigation. With a redesigned navigation menu, fly-out menus, and an updated color scheme, users can access information quickly and efficiently. The ability to track new records and improve navigation among them will further enhance the user experience.

Advanced Usability Enhancements

Usability improvements include explicit save in list view, bulk update capabilities, and advanced WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) search. These features allow users to update multiple fields for multiple records simultaneously and simplify data imports. Additionally, defined hubs and mobile capabilities for Time & Expense (T&E), absence requests, and CRM touchpoints make the platform more versatile and user-friendly.

Project Smart Summaries™

Leveraging generative AI, new Project Smart Summaries™ transform project information into actionable intelligence. Users can generate concise summaries that highlight project financial health, recent activities, and plan status. This feature reduces the time spent on data review and enhances the ability to make informed decisions quickly.

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Timesheet Assist

This feature streamlines timesheet entry by suggesting projects based on user activity and resource assignments. By analyzing past timesheets, project plan assignments, and timesheet reminders, Timesheet Assist helps users complete their timesheets more accurately and efficiently.

Enhanced Accounts Payable Insights

Vantagepoint 7.0 delivers greater visibility into accounts payable (AP) details on dashboards. Finance leaders can quickly identify cash flow requirements, exception reporting, and company purchases. The ability to view details for pay-when-paid (PWP) and outstanding AP balances by the vendor on a single dashboard provides a clear insight into key AP metrics.

Streamlined Billing Terms Creation

New to Deltek Vantagepoint 7.0 is the ability to automate the creation of fee-based phase billing terms, making it easier to establish terms from the project work breakdown structure and compensation values. This automation improves the accuracy and efficiency of billing processes, reducing administrative overhead.

Opt-In Features for Controlled Rollout

Administrators have the option to enable a subset of new features for additional testing before full production deployment. This controlled rollout ensures a smooth transition and allows organizations to adapt to new functionalities at their own pace.

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Introducing Dela, Deltek's Digital Assistant

The newest and probably the most anticipated part of the 7.0 release is Deltek Dela – Deltek’s AI-powered Intelligent Business Companion. Dela is allowing those natural language interactions and prompts for users to take those and interrogate that data more intelligently, they can get answers without running reports. They don't have to dig through multiple dashboards, they don't have to open specific records.

You can have a conversation with Dela like you would with other AI software like ChatGPT. But it’s only your data, only your projects, only your clients so this data becomes much more relevant to your users, much easier to access, and gives your users that ability to interrogate and dig a little bit deeper when they just may not know where to go to get that information.

Today the focus of this is projects including project, financial details, employees, firms, contacts, and activities.

What else is new in Deltek Vantagepoint 7.0?

Deltek Vantagepoint 7.0 is set to revolutionize project management and business operations with its comprehensive enhancements and new features. By focusing on automation, efficiency, and improved user experience, this update promises to deliver significant benefits to users. From more accurate project planning and financial processes to advanced business intelligence capabilities and a modernized user interface, Vantagepoint 7.0 is a game-changer for professional services firms looking to enhance their project management and operational efficiency!

Want to see more on this update? We’ve got a webinar all about it! Click below to see What’s New in Deltek Vantagepoint 7.0!

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7 Fundamentals for Success When Approaching Software Customization

Posted by Peter Nuffer on May 23, 2024

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When considering an ERP system, a key challenge is ensuring that the chosen product not only supports your existing business processes but also offers enough extensibility to adapt to your evolving needs. Deltek Vantagepoint's open architecture provides a solution to this challenge by allowing you to effortlessly add fields to existing information sets in the native Hubs or create unique sets of records through User Defined Hubs with just a click of a button.

Moreover, the RESTful API offers easy access points for integration with other systems, while the consistency of the database design ensures that changes are made with stability in mind. Furthermore, the ability to schedule or trigger actions as simple as a column change or email alert, or as advanced as a stored procedure to manipulate data locally or webhook to an external application's webservice enabled platform, are all available within the Deltek Workflow engine.

With all the potential that Deltek Vantagepoint unlocks, when it comes to extending functionality through customized aspects, it's essential to build your project on a solid foundation for success. There are seven critical elements for approaching software customization to maximize your Deltek Vantagepoint system. Let’s delve into them here.

#1 Determine Whether There is a Need for Customization

It's the first thing to ask - do we really need this, or even better, is there a way to accomplish what we need natively in the Deltek Vantagepoint environment? Working with your Full Sail Partners consultant will help identify all the possibilities and leverage Deltek's existing features to their fullest potential.

#2 Gather Key Stakeholders

Making a software customization change for your business needs can often feel like venturing into the unknown. Your key project stakeholders are your ultimate end users – identify, cultivate, and leverage their needs and expectations. Identifying priorities early on enables your development team to create an actionable plan that has the most impact on the organization.

#3 Assign a Project Owner

Identifying a primary project owner is crucial for guiding your project to success. Be a “Leader of Change” in your organization by appointing the right captain to steer your ship on the correct course. The project owner acts as a representative for the overall stakeholders, providing visibility into day-to-day developments. Increased visibility helps identify and solve impediments quickly and fosters understanding between developers and stakeholders.

#4 Document Requirements

For many software customization projects, subject matter experts may not fully understand how extending the functionality of your Deltek system can benefit them, while your development and technology team needs to know what to deliver. Overcoming the technology-subject matter communications gap is essential. User stories complement business analysis techniques, making it easier to identify project requirements without adding extra effort. Focus on stakeholder requirements, needs, and goals for the solution, avoiding the trap of defining technical specifications.

#5 Define a Minimally Viable Product (MVP)

Identify the features you must have to see a return on investment. List out the must-haves from your requirements gathering and user stories to establish what is necessary to get organizational buy-in to the solution. Don’t be afraid to rough things up a bit – your end users won’t hesitate to critique the new system. Think outside the box and approach your solution from every possible angle. End users do unpredictable things, so it’s essential to anticipate their needs.

#6 Get to Work Stage Testing

Before releasing development efforts, your software customization should undergo a thorough testing process to ensure it works as intended. There are four main stages of testing: unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing. Keeping key stakeholders active and engaged during testing is crucial for detecting and fixing bugs, resulting in higher-quality software. Allow for internal testing to identify bugs and system flaws as early as possible from real-world usage.

#7 Plan the Release and Set Testing Guidelines

A successful software customization project requires careful planning for the release. Define a clear roadmap that outlines the timeline, milestones, and dependencies for the deployment of the customized solution. Ensure that all stakeholders are informed about the release plan and understand their roles and responsibilities. Regularly communicate progress updates and address any concerns to maintain alignment and momentum toward the release date.

Squeeze More Functionality out of Your Deltek Vantagepoint System

Now that you have reviewed the seven critical elements for approaching software customization to maximize your Deltek Vantagepoint system, are you ready to proceed? Full Sail Partners’ consultants are available to evaluate and discuss your needs. We can leverage our expertise in Blackbox Connector and our pre-built custom solutions to help you achieve your goals. Let us bridge the gap between what Deltek Vantagepoint offers and what you want your system to do.

 

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Simplifying Project Budgeting in Deltek Vantagepoint: A Comprehensive Overview

Posted by Terri Agnew, CPA on April 18, 2024

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In today’s world of project management, monitoring project costs incurred & projected, as well as forecasting project profitability, are crucial for the success of any project. Deltek Vantagepoint, a leading project management software, offers a robust solution for this by integrating contract management, project budgeting, and project planning tools. This article provides a comprehensive overview to help project managers and consultants effectively leverage this robust project management tool.

Contract Management, Project Budget, and Planning Integration

Deltek Vantagepoint stands out by allowing users to view and manage contract values, budget, and planning information simultaneously. This seamless integration is visible in the Project Review form, where important data such as contractual fees, budgeted estimated costs at completion (EAC), planned costs (ETC), and projected profits are displayed comprehensively. Users can drill down to the details in the work breakdown structure (WBS), allowing budget management from a high-level overview or down to any of the specific phases or tasks.

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Detailed Budgeting Process

The project budget tool in Deltek Vantagepoint enables detailed budget entries at the lowest WBS levels, facilitating accurate labor, expense, and consultant budgeting. This granularity ensures that every aspect of a project, from concept design to completion, is budgeted for. Users can switch between cost and billing views for reporting, accommodating different project management needs. Budgets are entered at the labor code level for labor hours. For expenses, budgets are entered into GL accounts for the expense and can be detailed out to the vendor, such as a subconsultant.

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Planning Tool and Baseline Budgets

Vantagepoint's project planning tool allows for establishing baseline plans reflective of the original contract. Project managers can update estimates to complete (ETC) based on real-time project developments, such as changes to the schedule, staff availability, and scope changes, ensuring that the resource plan reflects current project realities. This dynamic approach to project management allows for timely adjustments and re-forecasting, essential for maintaining project profitability.

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Analyzing Project Performance

The integration of budget and planning tools within the Project Review view facilitates a comprehensive analysis of project performance. At the bottom of the Project Review form, there are several key performance indicators (KPIs) such as effective multiplier, % expended, % earned, and profit margins which are automatically updated based on the latest budget and planning data. This real-time feedback enables project managers to identify deviations from the budget early and take corrective actions, such as requesting additional services or revising estimates.

Comprehensive Project Overview

By returning to the project review screen, users can evaluate the overall financial health, including profit margins, effective multipliers, % expended, % earned, and overhead. The system provides insights into how actual spending and planning adjustments impact project profitability, offering a complete picture of the project's financial status. This holistic view and real-time feedback enable project managers to identify deviations from the budget early and take corrective actions quickly to avoid major budget overruns, ensuring the project remains on track financially.

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Mastering Project Finances with Deltek Vantagepoint

Vantagepoint offers a powerful suite of tools for simplifying project budgeting and planning. By integrating these processes, project managers can maintain tight control over budgets, adjust plans in real-time, assist in decision-making, and ensure project success. For project managers and consultants looking to optimize their budgeting and planning processes, Deltek Vantagepoint provides a comprehensive solution. Click the image below to see how these tools are used effectively to manage project finances efficiently in a 15-minute demo.

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Understanding the Impact of the Organizational and Work Breakdown Structures in Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Jenny Labranche on April 11, 2024

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Welcome to the matrix, you have the power to build a solid structure and allow your data to flow.  However, it is beneficial for one to understand the difference between Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) before you lay that foundation. During both the implementation of Deltek Vantagepoint and throughout a firm’s growth, professional services firms should understand the connection between the Organizational Breakdown Structure and the Work Breakdown Structure.  

A typical first step is to consider whether the firm needs to re-organize these structures. Whether it be the uniqueness of each, or the relationship between the two, the attention paid to these early stages of development is instrumental to the flow and reporting of information in your Deltek Vantagepoint database. In the following, we’ll explore some areas to consider when designing these structures in your database.  

Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS)

When it comes to designing the Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) in Deltek Vantagepoint, it's important to consider the specific needs of your professional services firm. The OBS can range from simple to complex, depending on the size and requirements of your organization. Here are some examples of different OBS approaches.  

  • Location Approach: With this approach, the OBS is organized based on the physical locations of your offices or project sites. Each location represents a hierarchical level in the structure, allowing you to track and manage projects and resources across different geographic areas.  
  • Discipline/Department Approach: In the discipline or department approach, the OBS is structured around different functional areas or departments within your organization. This allows for efficient resource allocation, project assignment, and collaboration within specific areas of expertise.  
  • Market Sector or Business Development Driven: This approach focuses on organizing the OBS according to your firm's market sectors or business development strategies. Each market sector or business development unit can be assigned a hierarchical level, enabling you to analyze performance and profitability based on these segments.  

Deltek Vantagepoint provides flexibility in designing your OBS, offering up to five hierarchical levels to accommodate your specific requirements. It also allows for the allocation of overhead requirements within the structure of the database. If you plan to utilize the multi-company functionality in your database, it's important to reserve level one for different companies within your enterprise.   

Financial accountability is a crucial aspect of any professional services organization. When building your OBS, it's essential to consider the financial implications. For example, if you use a two-level OBS structure, such as office and department, each combination will generate an income statement. This means that someone within your organization should be responsible for reviewing and managing these statements.  

Deltek Vantagepoint also enables the extraction of various cross-sections for combined financial reporting. For instance, if you have a mechanical department in three offices, you can create a mechanical income statement that provides accountability at different levels:  

  • Office Accountability: You can track the financial performance of each individual office separately, gaining insights into the profitability and expenses associated with specific locations.  
  • Office/Department Accountability: This level of accountability allows you to analyze the financial performance of different departments within each office. It helps in evaluating the contribution of each department to overall profitability.  
  • Overall Department Accountability: By consolidating the financial data of the mechanical department across all offices, you can assess the department's overall performance and make informed decisions regarding resource allocation and strategic planning.  

The OBS in Deltek Vantagepoint offers the flexibility to design a structure that aligns with your professional services firm's needs. By carefully considering the OBS approach, financial accountability, and the ability to generate cross-sectional reports, you can effectively manage projects, resources, and profitability within your organization.  

Projects and the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a critical component that determines how a project is organized and how revenue and costs flow within a professional services firm. Most firms find it effective to build their WBS based on project budgets, aligning with the fee and scope defined in the client contract using a bottom-up approach. The best practice is to build your WBS to mirror your contract for smooth management of resources, budgets, and billing.    

Deltek Vantagepoint provides the flexibility to define up to three levels in the WBS, commonly referred to as Project, Phase, and Task. However, these labels can be customized to match your firm's preferences. Furthermore, the WBS allows for the assignment of accountability within a project. You can designate a project manager, as well as phase and task managers, based on their scope and budget responsibilities.  

It's important to note that project builds and WBS structures do not have to be identical across all projects. While each professional services firm may have its own unique requirements, it is generally recommended to have at least one WBS level 2 for every project, indicating another variation in the WBS. Additionally, projects can be built with no WBS level 3 or only certain portions of the WBS level 2 extending into the WBS level 3.  

The OBS and WBS structures function both individually and in tandem to support overall financial and operational accountability within your organization. At the lowest level, the WBS drives how revenue and costs are allocated within the OBS. Here are some additional factors to consider when working with the OBS and WBS structures:  

  • "Mirroring" the OBS in WBS for Overhead Projects: For projects involving overhead costs, it can be beneficial to mirror the OBS structure within the WBS. This helps ensure that the appropriate overhead costs are accurately assigned to specific projects, allowing for better cost tracking and financial reporting.  
  • Combinations of Cross-Charge, Intercompany Billing, and High Accountability in WBS: Consider how cross-charges, intercompany billing, and high levels of accountability will be incorporated into your WBS. Deltek Vantagepoint offers capabilities to support these requirements, allowing you to accurately allocate costs between different departments, offices, or business units within your professional services firm.  

By carefully considering these aspects of the OBS and WBS structures, you can establish a robust framework for financial and operational accountability within your professional services organization. Deltek Vantagepoint empowers you to customize and tailor the OBS and WBS to meet your firm's specific needs, ensuring accurate project tracking, cost allocation, and financial reporting.  

Is it Time to Update Your OBS and WBS Structures? 

In the ever-evolving landscape of professional services firms, it's crucial to regularly assess and update your Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in Deltek Vantagepoint. As your business needs change and evolve, it becomes imperative to optimize your system to ensure it aligns with your current requirements. This is where Full Sail Partners can help. There is no one size fits all, and with the guidance of our consultants, we can help you develop a solution.   
 
By combining project attributes, you can create a powerful framework that enables efficient project management, resource allocation, and financial reporting. However, implementing such changes requires expertise and guidance from both functional and data consultants to ensure a smooth transition. We specialize in Deltek Vantagepoint consulting services, including OBS and WBS optimization.  

Our experienced consultants can work closely with your team to analyze your current structures, identify areas for improvement, and design a new and more productive system tailored to your unique needs. Timing and cutover planning are critical to the success of any system update. Our consultants will guide you through the entire process, ensuring that the implementation is seamless, minimizing disruption to your operations, and maximizing the benefits of the new OBS and WBS structures.  
 
Now is the perfect time to get creative and strive to get the most out of your Deltek Vantagepoint system. Don't let outdated structures hold your firm back. Explore the possibilities of a Navigational Analysis and let us help you unlock the full potential of Deltek Vantagepoint and drive efficiency, profitability, and growth within your organization. Learn more about how a Navigational Analysis can help your firm by clicking the image below.  

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5 Mistakes Made During an ERP Search

Posted by Bryce Crosby on April 04, 2024

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Selecting and implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is a complex and critical process for any size professional services firm. Those investing in an ERP need to understand it can take significant time and is a decision that will impact your firm for many years if not decades. Here are five common mistakes made during an ERP search and our advice on avoiding them.

#1 Insufficient Needs Assessment

Mistake: Failing to thoroughly understand and document the professional services firm's specific business requirements and needs. It’s important to keep the “end in mind.” What are your long-term goals? How will you know if this project is successful or not? “Easier” isn’t a real goal. Easy is subjective. Business requirements should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART GOALS AND OBJECTIVE SETTING).

Consequence: Choosing an ERP system that doesn't align with the organization's unique processes both current and future needs, leading to inefficiencies and potential failed implementations. It is very important to be on the same page across the entire firm. The firm needs to come together as one, and not have fragmented processes for an ERP implementation to be successful.

Our Advice: Make sure that every department (from business development to project tracking to forecasting to billing) has their needs documented. Understand where there are inefficiencies and where you need improvement. What measurable results are you looking for from those improvements?

#2 Lack of Executive Involvement

Mistake: Not having strong executive sponsorship and involvement throughout the entire ERP process. This includes the evaluation process, selection, kick-off, key milestones, and ongoing commitment to improvement. Change Management really starts with the leaders of the company. As we all know, change is not always easy. Having leadership be an advocate and having strong communication downstream will ensure you reach the “end in mind.”

Consequence: Lack of commitment from top management may result in inadequate resources, funding, and overall support for the ERP project, increasing the risk of failure. Executive involvement can ensure that all departments are aligned and that everyone can see the bigger picture.

Our Advice: Ensure C-Suite is involved throughout the evaluation process, so they can be an advocate during the implementation, and they share the strategic vision and benefits this will bring to your professional services firm.

#3 Inadequate Vendor Evaluation

Mistake: Rushing the vendor selection process or not thoroughly evaluating potential ERP vendors. Many vendors can seem similar on the surface. Taking the time to dive into specific differentiators and finding the vendor that is best suited for your needs is important.

Consequence: Choosing a vendor without considering factors such as financial stability, support capabilities, industry expertise, and long-term viability, can lead to problems during implementation and ongoing use.

Our Advice: Make sure to consider your ERP vendor as a long-term partner. Make sure the ERP can grow with your professional services firm and that you have established strong relationships with the organization and consultants that will implement your software. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do the vendor and the consultants understand your business?
  • How long has this ERP provider been in business? Is ERP their primary focus?
  • Are there user groups and other references of similar companies?

#4 Overlooking Change Management

Mistake: Underestimating the importance of change management and employee training. This can mean different things to different departments. Some employees or departments may be affected more than others, and it is important to understand the micro level of the impact that any change may have.

Consequence: Resistance from employees, lack of user adoption, and increased likelihood of project delays or failure due to insufficient preparation for the organizational changes associated with ERP implementation. If users do not see the benefits of change, they might look at it as additional or unnecessary work.

Our Advice: Making sure to have executive involvement throughout the evaluation and implementation will help with change management a ton. Consistent reminders of the benefits this will bring both to your professional services firm and to each specific role are critical for the full adoption of a new ERP.

#5 Not Understanding the Time and Resource Commitment

Mistake: Focusing solely on upfront costs and not considering the long-term expenses associated with ERP implementation and maintenance. ERP is not a “one-and-done” investment. Consistent monitoring and evaluation of your internal processes is critical to stay on track with your long-term goals.

Consequence: Unexpected costs, and challenges in maintaining the ERP system over time, impacting the overall return on investment. Depending on how the software is deployed (SaaS vs. On-Premise), there are different ongoing costs to consider.

Our Advice: Have in mind who will be the champions of the implementation. Having a strong Project Coordinator will ensure things go smoothly. Training doesn’t end when you go live. You need to anticipate some ongoing training, periodic refreshing, and of course, new hire training. Think about questions like will there be an internal “power user” to conduct these, or will you be looking to hire consulting for this?

Carefully Tread When Doing the ERP Search

The choice you make for an ERP for your professional services firm is a decision that will greatly affect your firm down the road and must be done thoughtfully. To avoid these common mistakes when searching, organizations should invest time in comprehensive planning, involve key stakeholders, conduct thorough vendor evaluations, prioritize change management, and carefully assess the total cost of ownership throughout the ERP search and implementation process. Need help figuring out which ERP you should use? Let us give you a hand!

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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

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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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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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