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Professional services automation (PSA) software has become an essential part of professional services firms, helping them run projects efficiently and predictably.

However, you can’t just choose any PSA solution on the market and expect outstanding results. You need to do thorough due diligence to find out which solutions are best suited your business’ needs.

Let’s take a look at the six features you need to look out for when choosing PSA software.

  1. Effective time and expense management
  2. Resource planning capabilities
  3. Level of integration
  4. Contract management capabilities
  5. Deep financial insights
  6. Delivered by a reputable vendor

1. Effective time and expense management

Tracking employee time and external expenses separately from other projects/operational costs is a vital part of managing the costs of a project. With the right solution, you can access time and expense data on any device, at any time.

Leading PSA software will allow you to track project labour and expenses effectively thanks to accurate and timely cost information. This gives you the precise data needed to increase productivity and make better, more informed business decisions. Plus, the timecards and expense reports will be single-point and easy-to-use for your employees.

2. Resource planning capabilities

The right tool will make it easier to manage and view all resources across your organisation. This helps your project managers ensure the right resources are being assigned to the right projects at the right times.

Other benefits include:

  • Full visibility of resource implementation and employee skills analysis
  • Identify and focus in on the metrics that matter to your business e.g. hours worked on a certain project

3. Level of integration

On average, a business unit uses almost 100 different cloud services on their own. So, find a PSA solution that can integrate with the tools your teams need to help them work more productively and efficiently.

For example, internal productivity tools like Microsoft 365 are widely used by people working in the industry on a daily basis – from administrative and line staff to executives and IT teams.

By investing in PSA software that provides a familiar interface and range of capabilities, you can further boost employee productivity. Not only will it remove the need for your users to get used to another way of working or learn another system interface, they’ll also gain access to one source of data truth.

PSA software

4. Contract management capabilities

The right solution will make it easier to manage every aspect of contracts across every project – including people, expenses and billing methods. This helps you ensure operational success and increase profitability.

5. Deep financial insights

Make sure you choose PSA software that gives you deep insights into your finances. This will ensure you have the funds needed to achieve success on each project you’re working on while improving cash flow on a continuous basis.

Other advanced features of leading PSA software include:

Real-time insights

  • Make swift and informative business decisions with up-to-date data and insights

Sophisticated budget tools

  • Track your budget effectively from creation through to completion with clear visibility
  • Easily track unlimited budget revisions and automatically update project statistics such as net profit and margin percentage
  • Plus, use budget matrices to create budgets based on quantity and to see available capacity while creating a budget

Cost allocation capabilities

  • Track, view and analyse costs and revenues for individual projects that are still in progress
  • Monitor project status with predefined and customisable stop light charts
  • Also, improve project productivity with flexible project structures, billing rates and more

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6. Delivered by a reputable vendor

You should look for a solution that’s being provided by a trustworthy vendor who has a proven track record of helping businesses like yours. The last thing you want to do after investing your time into researching PSA software is gamble on working with a vendor that doesn’t have the right experience.

As you research your options, consider the vendor’s reputation. You should be looking for a solution that’s being provided by a company that’s less of a vendor and more like a partner.

Some key attributes include:

  • They’re honest and direct – good partners won’t always say “yes”. Instead, they won’t be afraid to say “no” when it’s not in your best interest. They’ll provide the reasons behind why they said “no” and work with you to find new, more impactful ways to help achieve your goals
  • They’re determined to see your succeed – the right partner will be someone who’s passionate about your success and not simply interested in being paid. They’ll also understand success is about long-term sustainability
  • They’re not afraid to challenge your thinking (with your best interests in mind) – good partners will always work with you to set clear expectations from the start and manage those expectations throughout your partnership. But they won’t be afraid to challenge your thinking along the journey to help you achieve the best results possible
  • They’re transparent – the best partners won’t have a bunch of hidden fees. Instead, they’ll be priced fairly and competitively so you can be sure your partnership is a sustainable one

How PSA software can transform your operations

At Columbus, we understand that choosing a software solution is a major decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The right PSA software should not only have the features we’ve mentioned above, but also be delivered by a partner who’s committed to your success.

Download our guide below and discover what you should be looking for in a professional services solution.

Learn more about our solution


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