Keeping a project on budget is one of the key performance goals for service-based businesses.
Often in any business scenario, there is a time delay between the information being captured and the reports being distributed. Reducing the reporting delay is critical for professional services firms. For these firms, a usual information flow is that time sheets are submitted, administration and invoicing occurs and only then a report is given to management to review the results of the past. A proactive approach to monitor activity as it happens is the key to a successful project.
While there are many factors that affect a project’s budget (often out of anyone’s control), being able to monitor the status in real time allows you to respond faster and reduces the number of surprise overages you may encounter along the way.
When considering a software solution for project management, one of the key elements to look for is the ability to monitor budget versus actuals in real time.
Here’s an example:
This view comes from Exact’s PSA project management software (Exact for Professional Services Automation) which is updated in real time because it’s tied directly to timesheet entries, approvals and the invoicing processes.
Here’s a graphical version:
Below you see another view at the WBS (work breakdown structure) line level.
For each work task, this view shows you:
- Hours allocated (ETC)
- Hours planned
- Hour submitted
- Hours actual (approved)
- Hours invoiced
As project members enter their time, this shared status view is updated and the great thing is, you can see all of these views anytime on any device via web browser!
- Brings your data together in one place and
- Offers a flexible framework to structure your business processes and capture necessary data
For service-based business, your assets include your people and the knowledge they contribute your organization. By bringing your business data together into one place, you can streamline your processes, reduce overhead administration and promote visibility and collaboration across your business.
Exact’s PSA software for project and business management is one great example of an all-inclusive application. Because of the tight integration between all process, you have real-time visibility into your project and work assigned. The entire scope of a project can be physically represented within WBS lines, reflecting the project’s work tasks and potential cost. Planned versus actuals becomes readily available as time is entered and processed through your system, easily compared with your budget as well. The Exact hour entry app allows hours to be entered from a mobile device, which can promote the frequency and accuracy of entries. Invoices are automatically created as time is entered, forming your businesses bottom line accurately and quickly. The automation reduces wasted time on administrative processes minimizes your overhead costs.