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For all professional services businesses, both time and money are key to survival. No matter the project, a variety of factors have to be considered, from assessing the affordability and return on investment (ROI) to the timeframe it will have to be carried out.

The below tips will help you further understand what you can do to improve your own time and expense management, ensuring you are running as cost-effective and as efficiently for now, and in the future:

  1. Make sure your projects are streamlined and organised
  2. Ensure employees complete all expense forms accurately for better forecasting

  3. Understand where your team strengths lie for the right project, at the right time

  4. Utilise the power of new technology
  5. Stop using outdated, disparate systems
  6. The importance of having the right digital transformation partner

1. Make sure your projects are streamlined and organised

One way to improve your time management is by organising your projects, whether this is by low to high priority or the time it takes to complete. You’ll not only have better control over what tasks need to be carried out first but it’ll also help you assign the right people to the right task at the right time. This ensures your resources are being properly allocated to their maximum.

Additionally, organising and streamlining your projects effectively will benefit your cost projections. Budgeting inaccurately will make it harder for you to plan towards future projects and identify where you’re earning/burning money. By not having full visibility of your budget, you may end up with unexpected expenses which could lead to cash flow issues. Take a look at how budgeting software can help you organise your projects here.

expense management

2. Ensure employees complete all expense forms accurately for better forecasting

For any project to be a success, you need to know what activities your teams plan to carry out, so all expenses are accounted for from start to finish. By investing in Professional Service Automation (PSA) software , you’ll simplify time and expense data entry for your employees as timesheets and expense reports can be accessed from anywhere and filled out on-the-go.

Here are some other ways you can ensure employees expenses are completed accurately:

  • Regular one-to-ones and team meetings – by keeping up to date with your team about the activities carried out, this time can be allocated to fill in expense forms effectively so every detail can be accounted for, reducing the chance of leaving a cost out
  • Use software to report expenses in multiple currencies – instead of worrying about currency conversion, the right software can easily track employee expenses and convert them automatically, reducing the chance of human error
  • Ensure you use integrated payment cards – if you’re using one card across your organisation, reconciling important information from statements will quickly become overwhelming. Consider having payment cards for different departments to provide convenience and accuracy for better forecasting

3. Understand where your team strengths lie for the right project, at the right time

As mentioned above, better control over your time and expenses will allow you to find the right people for a project at the right time, increasing your efficiency and skillset for a particular task. Additionally, by understanding where your employees’ strengths lie, you can begin to save time looking for the appropriate individuals for the job, meaning you can focus on other aspects of your operations.

How can you do this? Many companies struggle with the visibility required for ongoing project demand, so by having access to real-time business intelligence, you can assign the best people where your demand is high to keep your projects on track.

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4. Utilise the power of new technology

Having the right technology is crucial to improving your time and expense management.. Consultants inputting their shifts and expenses manually is the last thing on their radar, and despite the importance of this on forecasting for the future, it’s usually pushed down the list of priorities.

Having a successful management software implementation eases this burden with a simple user interface. Whether employees are recording their tasks or filling in their timesheets, it can be streamlined for managers to easily access.

5. Stop using outdated, disparate systems

Using software such as Excel may be a great way of managing your resources effectively in the short term, however what happens when your business grows and projects become larger and more complex?

Relying on hard copies of data for projects can be a lengthy process for any consultant to sift through, and if any prints are lost, there’s no way of getting this information back. By implementing PSA software, you can compile information into a secure, centralised database resulting in less manual work to find out project resources, boosting your efficiency in turn.

6. The importance of having the right digital transformation partner

Having a digital transformation partner will allow you to get the most out of your new technology, allowing you to minimise downtime so you can perform to your best standards. The right partner should offer:

  • Additional support – if you don’t have the resources in-house , outsourced development teams can be utilised  to help you adjust to the new software. This reduces the chances of your employees using the solution incorrectly and helps them get the most out of your system 
  • Change management – not all consultants will be as willing to adapt to change as others. Therefore, a partner should understand how to incentivise your employees to get them on board with new ways of working. You can learn more about how you can do this effectively here
  • The right technology – the right partner will recommend appropriate technology stacks based on your requirements, from additional forecasting measures to employee tracking capabilities

expense management

Improve your time and expense management with Dynamics 365 Business Central for Professional Services

Although professional services companies can get away with using Excel spreadsheets and standard bookkeeping for a period of time, as the business grows so will the amount of administrative work, making these methods unsustainable.

Dynamics 365 Business Central for Professional Services reduces unnecessary cost and time by:

  • Taking control of your labour, project and travel related expenses
  • Empowering employees with timecards and expense reports that are easy to use
  • Tracking labour and employee expenses on a project-by-project basis

Want to learn more? Download our time and expense management factsheet by clicking the button below.

Download the project time & expense factsheet

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