7 Things to Expect in your Project Management, Time & Cost Software
You have grown your business and you are looking for a project management software package that enables you to do more. Life is too short to be wasting time on a system that is not delivering.
So, beyond the cool graphics and seductive gizmos you don’t use anyway (that some vendors emphasize when pushing their product), here are 7 things to expect in your project management software.
Invoicing can be the bane of your life if you have to fiddle and twiddle and process ‘adjustments’ just to obtain the figures you want on your invoice. Even then, too many offices produce their invoices from a 3rd party tool, usually Excel, because their time and cost system cannot do it. Invoicing doesn’t have to be that hard.
You shouldn’t destroy your true time and disbursements data by adjusting WIP to balance your invoices. You want a system that retains two independent ledgers, one for time and disbursements and one for invoices. That way, the write-on or off is always visible.
In a project based office, you also need invoices out on time and accurate, and with the professional format you want, be they charge up, retainer, progress claims, percentage claims, lump sum, hourly rate or whatever. A decent system will save you hours. And you’ll go to bed knowing that you have the info to respond to any invoicing query from anyone.
2. Variable Charge Rates
Increasingly you’re having to cut deals with specific clients to retain them or to get them as a client in the first place. Your time and cost system should have a range of rates you can maintain, by employee, by client, by job, by activity, down to one employee on one job stage and more, so data is captured correctly and thus correctly portrayed in reports and on invoicing.
Reports themselves need to cover a range of options from the office management perspective, the project perspective and of course by employee, showing productivity, profitability and more. You need a system that ticks all the proverbial boxes based on what you currently need and at the same time, it needs to spark additional areas you can dig into to, taking your business to the next level.
And of course while disbursements are incidental to the revenue from fees, they are still important. They need to show in reports and you need the ability to query or invoice them however you want to. You also need your system to capture disbursements as easily as possible, if possible importing them en masse from an external source.
5. Planning and Management
Take it to the next level with a system that supports a business culture planning and managing jobs and people. No job nor person should run over budget without raising awareness amongst others who need to know. You want a package that will let you plan time and schedules as far ahead as you need, so jobs and stages, employee schedules and everything else that’s happening next week and next month is as easily managed as what happened last week and last month.
When you get stuck you want support. You need someone who knows what they’re talking about whether you telephone or email. You don’t want someone who will fudge their way through a response to your query or worse, put you crook. Check that support is managed by people who know their product and who provide answers ASAP. For a simple query, you shouldn’t have to wait 3 days or more. And you shouldn’t have to rely on ‘locals’ who often know less about your system than you do.
7. Accounting Package Integration
The revenue in your business comes from the applied time and expertise of the productive and administrative team in the office. Your time and cost system can help immensely support the combined effort in so many ways. Here’s a fact. By the time the information hits the accounting system, it’s history. However your time and cost system should integrate with your accounting system on as many touch points as possible. This will add further savings of time, reducing re-keying and the inevitable error checking required if the two systems are not talking to each other.
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The Abtrac team are writers, designers, engineers, consultants and analysts. Together we dream, build and deliver an amazing software solution for professional services.