How an Architecture Firm Was Able to Improve its Project Management Process with Microsoft Dynamics GP
Following a significant growth, an architecture firm was looking for a new financial management system (ERP) to support their increased level of activities. The company was having trouble keeping track of their work in progress and wanted to implement a more detailed invoicing process. With their data entry and financial analysis currently being completed manually, it became urgent to improve and automate their processes for monitoring project costs and their progress.
- Track project hours to date and expenses in real time
- Manage the work in progress more closely with the help of integrated timesheets to ensure that all billable hours related to a project are captured
- Monitor hours by project for each phase so that project managers can have a better understanding of the actual status of each of their projects
- Ensure a more detailed budget tracking at each project level and phase
This firm chose to implement a system that would help bridge the gaps within their current operational and financial processes. To achieve their objectives, it was necessary to have an integrated management system that could significantly improve the communication and flow of information between the different departments to ensure that the data was seamlessly flowing from the operations group to the finance department.
To meet these objectives, the firm decided to implement a timesheet, TEDI.SL, which has the ability to take the activities and time entered into the application and push the details into the project accounting solution, Project Suite. This application calculates the project revenues and costs which are then integrated to the financial system, Microsoft Dynamics GP, in order to ensure that all data is captured and allocated to the appropriate accounts which in turn will generate more accurate reports.
Activity time and expense tracking by project
With an integrated timesheet, the firm was able to automate its time and expense entry process, which reduced the amount of time spent entering the data and ensured the reliability of the information that was being entered into the system. With this new application, hours could now be recorded by the architects working on job sites, directly via the web at the end of each day. Resources could also code their time according to a predefined project structure (WBS) within the financial system. By doing so, the accounting team is now able to get all the details on project faster and with more detail when invoicing their clients and therefore fewer write-offs were needed due to discrepancies.
Improved tracking of the firm’s work in progress (WIP)
Prior to implementing the new system, company officials were well aware of revenue lost due to time and expenses that were not entered correctly or billed on time. With an integrated timesheet, once the data has been recorded into the system, it becomes available for review in real time and ready for analysis by management. Each week, time is transferred and the actual costs, work in progress and revenue are updated by Project Suite. By managing their WIPs more closely, it has helped accelerate the billing process since they now have a clear view of what was left to be invoiced to the client.
Increased accuracy on the actual hours coded to a project
Initially, the information was scattered across the entire organization. There was a lot of manual manipulations that were necessary in order to have a good understanding of the actual project status and of how many hours had been allocated to the project to date. It was highly beneficial for them to have an integrated system since all information was entered and extrapolated from the same system. The data was not only available in real time but it was also allocated and broken down by project and phase. This helped the project managers monitor the actual hours worked to date by milestone or phase.
More comprehensive reporting by project and department
The project managers and the executive team had trouble getting the reports they needed in order to properly analyze their projects and organization. This was another advantage of implementing an integrated system as it gave them the ability to analyze the project budgets. By integrating all of their data into one system, this allowed for project managers as well as the executive team to ensure better budget monitoring and to have a better understanding of their project costs.
With the new system, the architecture firm was now able to introduce better operational and financial processes to support their current growth. This PSA solution allowed the information to flow from one process to another, which significantly reduced the need for manual tasks and the time required for basic tasks. It has also helped the company become more profitable by avoiding write-offs and billing delays.