The project-based business faces unique challenges that many product-focused business do not. From grant management for nonprofits to DCAA compliance for government contractors, to multiple-hourly-billing rates for professional services firms, the considerations and challenges are unique, and these organizations need to take the right steps to understand and overcome these challenges.
In a recent Brittenford webcast, Brittenford CEO Shereen Mahoney joined Dynamics SL Product Manager Jeff Suwyn to share the challenges that project-based businesses face on an everyday basis, and how Microsoft Dynamics SL can provide an intuitive option to overcome these challenges.
Mr. Suwyn brings nearly two decades of Dynamics SL experience, knowing the ins and outs of the platform like few others and understanding the new features and how they affect businesses today.
Top Needs for Project-Based Businesses
When a company’s consultants or employees are out on a call, it all comes down to tracking, reporting, and expensing effectively—knowing the costs and drilling down in order to understand and optimize spending on each project.
- Track Labor, Overhead, Fringe, G&A, and Indirect Costs: Being able to track and assign costs is critical for the modern project-based business. Looking into each of the costs that service-providing and non-service-providing professionals accrue, are your margins acceptable? Can you provide information immediately in the event of audit? Track multiple rates by person, project, customer or any combination of these (and more).
- Time and Expense Collection: When your consultants are out, how are you tracking their expenses? Can you look into the costs by project, ensure the spending on travel is within policy limitations? Are you tracking the costs against project budgets as they happen? For those completing the projects, can they simply submit time and expense entries for project managers and accountants to approve and add to the project cost?
- Project Budgeting: Take control throughout the life of the project. Create, modify, and manage project budgets, compare budgeting to actuals, and view each change’s impact on profitability.
- Employee Utilization: Are billable employees being used enough? Too much? Project managers need to be able to retain tight control over the information available to improve productivity, profitability, and utilization of each service professional. Within the next three months, how well-booked is each service professional on staff? Being able to see a deeper schedule in the future including time-off and project scheduling allows organizations to improve utilization of professionals.
- Allocation to different tasks: How are costs being allocated? Will certain costs need to be transferred? Will you be able to account for work-in-progress costs? Best-in-class project-based businesses are able to gain precise control over their projects with flexible, multi-tiered hierarchies based on their unique labor rates and billing cycles, recording data accurately and posting to GL accounts.
- Flexible Billing and Invoicing: Depending on the type of project, do you have control of unbilled receivables? Can you automatically generate invoices for clients by taking advantage of simplified workflows, noting needed corrections, finalizing and posting with the click of a button? With a flexible billing and invoicing process, top organizations are able to build, review, and post approved invoices simply, shortening collection time and improving relationships with clients.
- Contract Management: Contract management is time consuming, challenging, and often a drain on your team. If you’re working with subcontractors, ensure you are paying them properly, billing for their services, and collecting on your contracts. Take control over change orders, document and payment tracking, and subcontractor disbursements in order to ensure timely, productive, and cost-controlling project completion to boost profitability and client satisfaction.
In Dynamics SL, each of these features is a module in itself, built around the Project Controller. Project Controller is designed around the way that your organization does business, allowing unlimited tasks and subtasks while providing insight into costs, revenues, margins, and offering accountability to project managers and accountants.
Above all, Dynamics SL offers the flexibility to manage completely different projects in their own unique way, but also to set up standard project templates and copy standard billing functions from one task to another.
Learn More: Watch Automation for Project-Based Businesses
Every industry is different, each with its own unique challenges, considerations, and functionality needs. In Dynamics SL, project is at the core. This differs from many software offerings, whose project modules are considered ‘add-ons’ to the main software. Dynamics SL has, for the past 16 years, been focused entirely on the project-based business, built to suit the financials, distribution, and service requirements held by companies in the professional services, nonprofit, government contractor, and engineering fields.
Learn more about overcoming the challenges faced by businesses in the professional services, engineering, nonprofit, and government contracting industry, including how Dynamics SL can tackle the aforementioned challenges head on, provide information as needed, and simplify the lives of project managers, accounting professionals, and those completing the projects.
Register here to watch Automating Your Project Needs with Microsoft Dynamics SL.