Modernized Design Meets Productivity with our Newest Navigation
by Kellye KingCosential, CRM
May 19, 2021
As a Business Developer, Seller-Doer, or Marketer in the AEC industry, your CRM is at the center of where projects are pursued and won, with research from Software Advice showing that over 70% of business professionals agree, there’s no doubt a CRM improves access to customer data. With your firm’s institutional knowledge and best practices, specific project records, and opportunities constantly growing, Unanet CRM by Cosential is an integral part of your day-to-day. So, when it comes to your experience as a user, it should be easy. You’re building relationships, responding to RFPs, and nurturing pursuits for the next big projects that are, sometimes, years in the making. We believe your platform should work with you in a meaningful way and remove the guesswork. An intuitive platform meets you in the moments you need it most and flows at the pace your business needs for success. We’re invested in building a rich experience for you, as our customer, and ensuring adoption of Unanet CRM by Cosential is easy with a streamlined approach across Mobile, Outlook, and now our Web application. “I love the new navigation in the web app because I’m constantly viewing opportunities and our pipeline, and now I can dive directly into Leads and Opportunities in a single click and even collapse the side panel altogether. This quickly gets me to where I need to be and gives me so much more real estate, making it easier to view my data across the page and find key information without needing to scroll.” – Misty Thurman, FSMPS, CPSM, CF APMP Business Development Director at BKL, Inc. A modernized navigation to enhance productivity in Unanet CRM by Cosential for Web is making its debut for you to have a simplified view, enjoy new search capabilities, and more at your fingertips. When setting out on our re-imagined interface, we started with one singular factor driving us forward: our customers. For the stretches when you’re not on-the-go, and dedicating time at your desk to grow or update key Contacts, jump into specific records while the pursuit is top of mind, or access reports to understand the big picture, your CRM should enable you to dig into your business and never stall your firm’s momentum. Unanet CRM by Cosential’s new navigation accomplishes that by bringing to the surface the core elements of what business developers, seller-doers, and marketers are executing on most often, making it easier to find what they’re looking for and complete daily tasks. “We’re focused on solving our customers’ specific challenges with a solution that’s tailormade for their needs. My goal is to ensure when customers come to our product, they feel like we understand them while they’re using it and know that we’ve thought about even the little details of their daily habits,” shares Julia Seltzer, Senior UX Designer at Unanet. Now in Unanet CRM by Cosential for Web, all customers benefit from: Streamlined left hand navigation highlighting key aspects of your day-to-day in Unanet CRM Access key modules in a single click without navigating away from your home screen. Enjoy cleaner organization with supplemental modules still at your fingertips. Easily clear visual space with a new collapsible sidebar and simply hover over icons to reveal familiar module names. Enhancements to Quick Search, making your data more accessible Narrow in on your results with over 5 different filters, such as Projects, Opportunities, and more. Pick up where you left off, with easy drop-down views of your most recently viewed records. New capabilities to jumpstart your day and make it easy to get work done Quickly create Call Logs, Contacts, Leads, and more in a single click. Know the details at a glance, with Personnel Records and Preferences nested for viewing with your profile photo. Dig into the details with advanced searches with finite lists or record searches. It just keeps getting better. “We know a great user experience with a key product can help transform our clients’ business and introducing our new navigation is the continued proof of a powerful combination: our dedication to building a product that meets the unique needs of AEC, and the partnership with our customers that continues to fuel our innovative approach,” shares Lisa Pitts, Product Manager at Unanet. We understand that user adoption is paramount to any platform’s success, making our new Navigation a major value to the way that users work inside of Unanet CRM by Cosential, as well as the first step in a completely revived experience coming to Unanet CRM by Cosential for Web. Interested in learning more about how our new look and key enhancements could bring to ease of use across AEC firms like yours?
Why We Chose Unanet: HDL Engineering
by Lucas HaydenA/E, News and Announcements
May 11, 2021
Part of an ongoing blog series highlighting the decision to select Unanet’s ERP solution over other options. The firm: HDL Engineering, a leading Alaska-based engineering firm, delivers responsible civil, environmental, geotechnical and transportation engineering, along with surveying and mapping, planning, material testing, and construction administration throughout the state. Having started with just two employees, HDL Engineering successfully managed their projects with spreadsheets and off-the-shelf software. Over the past 20 years, HDL has become one of the largest engineering firms in Alaska, and these disparate systems were not keeping pace with their project management and accounting needs. HDL knew that as they expanded their major client base and their services, they needed an enterprise-wide solution they could trust to handle their budgeting, forecasting, and job costing. As they searched for the right ERP solution to meet their unique needs, the HDL team had a few things top of mind: ability to access and utilize real-time data, robust integration capabilities, full data control, and a modern, easy-to-use solution. When HDL found Unanet A/E, it was clear they found a solution that can provide the advanced capability they need to drive their business forward and scale with them as they grow. “Our project teams were operating in silos with spreadsheets. Each had their own budgets, forecasts, and finances, meaning our accounting operations were being heavily relied upon for project reporting and constantly playing catch up with the project managers,” said Jeff Fuglestad, Principal, HDL Engineering. “With Unanet, we’ll have real-time information, one single source of project data, and much better insight into project costs and profitability, which will inform better decisions across our projects and company.” With Unanet A/E, HDL Engineering expects to streamline their processes, enable smarter decision-making with real-time data, and have a reliable partner that will grow with them. Read more about HDL in our press release.
DCAA Compliance: What You Need to Know
by Rich WilkinsonGovCon, Government Compliance
Apr 30, 2021
Who or what is DCAA? It’s an acronym, of course, for the Defense Contract Audit Agency. Their mission is to provide audit and financial advisory services to DOD and other federal entities responsible for acquisition and contract administration (straight from their website). The subtext of that mission is to ensure DOD gets the best value for every dollar spent on defense contracting. The agency was formed in January 1965 under the direction of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) in response to a study directed by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. William B. Petty, former Deputy Comptroller of the U.S. Air Force, was appointed director of the brand new agency. Previously, the various branches of the military had been responsible for their own contract audits, but there was little consistency in either administration or auditing. Joint audits began with the Navy and Army Air Corps in 1939 and a unified acquisition regulation, known as the Armed Services Procurement Regulation (ASPR) was established in 1947, but a single contract audit manual was not issued until 1952. Once DCAA was authorized, they took over maintenance of the manual and today the Defense Contract Audit Manual (DCAM) is considered the definitive source of detailed processes and procedures for all government contract audits whether the contracts in question are awarded by DOD or by a civilian agency. If DCAA is an Audit Agency, What is “DCAA Compliance?” It’s really shorthand for compliance with all the cost accounting regulations of the federal government. Because DCAA is the largest, by far, of all the participants in government contract auditing, the phrase “DCAA Compliance” has become synonymous with federal contract cost accounting compliance. It’s probably not very accurate, but it’s handy. When it comes to cost accounting compliance, there are really two sets of rules. The first, and the one that applies to pretty much everyone, is the Cost Principles found in Part 31 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Those principles guide the treatment of costs from labor and payroll costs to bid and proposal expense – in great detail. Part 31 also contains extensive rules about what kinds of costs are “allowable” and can be passed on to the government either as direct charges to a contract or in the contractors’ indirect rates, and which are “unallowable” and may not be passed on to the government at all. The second set of rules is known as the Cost Accounting Standards. Whereas the cost principles of the FAR are concerned primarily with allowability, the CAS is concerned almost exclusively with allocability – how the costs must be measured and allocated. “DCAA Compliance” has one other connotation. In a DCAA audit report, they express opinions on the allowability of costs (FAR), the allocability of costs (CAS) and on the reasonableness of costs or “quantum” in accountant-speak. A company is said to be “DCAA Compliant” when: Their policies say the right things about the cost accounting treatment of their costs, Their procedures describe the correct steps to do the right things with those costs, and Their actual cost accounting practices match their policies and procedures. The “who” and the “what” of DCAA auditing DCAA, as their name implies, audits government contracts. They also audit contractors, but only in connection with one or more contracts that are themselves subject to audit. DCAA would not audit a contractor that supplied goods exclusively on competitively awarded firm fixed price contracts. If those same contracts were cost reimbursable, the contractor would almost certainly be subject to audit as an organization. The contracts and contractors they audit are primarily those awarded by the DOD. But DCAA does perform a significant portion of the audits of government contracts awarded by civilian agencies such as NASA, DOE, EPA, DHS and the VA. DCAA is reimbursed by those agencies when they audit on their behalf. The other agencies have historically contracted for audit services to be performed by commercial audit firms such as CPA firms. All the audits performed by DCAA, whether on behalf of DOD or a civilian agency, are governed by a written audit program. That program specifies every step of the audit process in excruciating detail from the notification of the contractor and the conduct of the entrance conference to the formulation of the report, its findings, and its distribution. DCAA’s audit programs are also utilized by civilian agencies as part of their own statements of work when they contract for audits by commercial firms. All of the audit programs are made available to the public at DCAA’s web site here. All of their internal guidance to the agency’s auditors is also public and may be found here. A visit to the Directory of Audit Programs should be the very first action by a contractor on receipt of a notification that DCAA will be auditing some aspect of its operations or one of its government contracts. If the type of audit described in the notification is unfamiliar, the contractor should ask which specific audit program will be performed prior to scheduling an entrance conference or auditor visit. The program will detail not only the steps of the audit, but the data and reports they may request during the audit. Forewarned is forearmed and knowing exactly what DCAA is likely to ask for before they ask can be worth its weight in gold. DCAA does not audit the Department of Defense. DOD has its own audit agency for internal audit as do all the uniformed services and most other DOD agencies (such as Defense Intelligence Agency). Neither of these does DCAA compliance with labor laws such as the Service Contract Act (SCA) – the Department of Labor does that even in connection with a Defense contract. The primary audits performed by DCAA DCAA is required to provide a report of its activity for the previous Government Fiscal Year (GFY) to Congress by March 31st each year. In the 2019 report, published March 31st, 2020, DCAA described the audits they perform as four basic types: Forward Pricing: Forward pricing audits are generally completed before contract award where DCAA evaluates a contractor’s estimate of its proposed cost to provide goods or services to the government. Forward pricing includes demand work—proposal audits, forward pricing rates, and estimating system audits. Incurred Cost: Incurred cost audits determine the accuracy of a contractor’s annual allowable cost representations. Based on the findings of such an audit, DCAA expresses an opinion as to whether the costs are allowable, reasonable, and allocable to the contracts performed that year, based on government accounting and acquisition provisions. Special Audits: Special audits are largely conducted after contract award. Most of the reports in this category are issued in response to requests from contracting officers. Special audits are associated primarily with costs arising out of claims and terminations. Other Audits: Other audits can be requested by a contracting officer or initiated by DCAA. These audits focus on adequacy of the contractor’s Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) Disclosure Statement, compliance with cost accounting standards, review of contractor business systems, or compliance with the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA). If an audit is in my future, DCAA or otherwise, what should I look for in a cost accounting system? DCAA compliance requires that your accounting and related business processes which collectively include policies, manual procedures and tools be compliant. Software alone is not audited for DCAA compliance or certified, nor approved as DCAA compliant. However, Unanet software has been reviewed by DCAA auditors at more than 2400 customer sites and, along with the customer policies and procedures, approved as supporting DCAA requirements. DCAA compliance should be a result and a state, not a project of its own. Unanet is a well-designed system with features to enforce the GovCon rules and automate the GovCon specific processes (like calculation and application of indirect rates and project-based billing and reporting) can accomplish just that. Unanet is purpose-built in-house by GovCon professionals, and is the only native integrated Cloud ERP solution built from the ground up to serve this unique market. DCAA compliance and audit confidence are foundational, not simply a goal to achieve—Unanet features support DCAA requirements at each stage. See what Unanet can do for your organization. “Posting revenue by type of contract saves time so that financial periods can be closed quickly and efficiently. We know that everything is closed on time and correctly. Unanet shone during our DCAA audit.” —Bob Deegan, Senior Vice President and CFO, Array Information Technology Want to learn more? Our 2021 GovCon Success Guide explains why building a robust, strategic business and technology foundation is the key to unlocking your firm’s full potential and will give you practical steps to improve your competitive posture in 2021 and beyond.
CAS Compliance: What You Need to Know
by Rich WilkinsonGovCon, Government Compliance
Apr 30, 2021
What is CAS? CAS is an acronym that stands for Cost Accounting Standards. CAS is one of two primary sets of “rules” about how government contractors are required to do their cost accounting. The other is the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Cost Principles, contained in Part 31 of the FAR. The Cost Accounting Standards consist of a set of 19 separate standards, commonly referred to by number, and numbered from CAS 401 to CAS 420. There is a missing standard (419) that was proposed, but never issued. Each of the 19 standards addresses the cost accounting treatment of a separate type of cost or practice. The standards are: CAS 401 – Consistency in Estimating, Accumulating, and Reporting Costs CAS 402 – Consistency in Allocating Costs Incurred for the Same Purpose CAS 403 – Allocation of Home Office Expenses to Segments CAS 404 – Capitalization of Tangible Assets CAS 405 – Accounting for Unallowable Costs CAS 406 – Cost Accounting Period CAS 407 – Use of Standard Costs for Direct Material and Direct Labor CAS 408 – Accounting for Compensated Personal Absence CAS 409 – Depreciation of Tangible Capital Assets CAS 410 – Allocation of Business Unit G&A Expenses to Final Cost Objectives CAS 411 – Accounting for Acquisition Costs of Material CAS 412 – Composition and Measurement of Pension Cost CAS 413 – Adjustment and Allocation of Pension Cost CAS 414 – Cost of Money as an Element of the Cost of Facilities Capital CAS 415 – Accounting for the Cost of Deferred Compensation CAS 416 – Accounting for Insurance Costs. CAS 417 – Cost of Money as an Element of the Cost of Capital Assets Under Construction CAS 418 – Allocation of Direct and Indirect Costs CAS 419 – [Reserved] CAS 420 – Accounting for IR&D Costs and B&P Costs The purpose of the Cost Accounting Standards is to promote consistency and uniformity in the outcomes of federal contractors’ cost accounting systems, especially in the following areas: How costs should be allocated or assigned How certain kinds of costs should be measured Requirements for covered contractors to comply with the standards Requirements for covered contractors to adjust contract prices when there is a change to a cost accounting practice Requirements for covered contractors to formally disclose their practices to the government in a prescribed form and format (forms available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/CASB_DS-1.pdf) How is CAS different from FAR? The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) are very different. First, FAR is concerned primarily with the “allowability” of costs in a GovCon’s books. It specifies whether or not you can pass those costs on to the government in your contract costs, either directly or as indirect costs. The FAR is managed and maintained by an organization within the General Services Administration (GSA), the FAR Council. The Council itself is administered by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and that office publishes a list of all pending or proposed changes to the FAR. CAS is all about the “allocability” of costs. The standards govern how a GovCon firm may assign costs to a project, or “final cost objective” in accountant-speak, especially concerning allocations from cost pools or service centers. The standards are promulgated and amended, from time to time, by a Board authorized by statute (41 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) and consisting of five members; the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, who chairs the Board, and four members with experience in Government contract cost accounting, two from the Federal government (DOD and GSA), one from industry, and one from the accounting profession. The DOD representative is currently the Director of DCAA. The full text of the standards is codified in law at 48 CFR § 52.230-2 – Cost Accounting Standards. An excellent reference to the standards may be found at the Legal Information Institute of Cornell University. FAR and CAS also differ rather significantly in their approach. FAR is directive. It specifies exactly which costs may be passed on to the government and which costs may not. CAS is outcome-based. It sets standards for the required results of a contractor’s assignment and allocation practices, but it does not specify how the practices must be performed. The practices are up to the contractor and may be anything desired so long as the results meet the standards. There is one more rather significant practical difference. There are more than 40 changes to the FAR pending which could reasonably be expected to be issued in the next year or so and four of those will have some impact on cost accounting practices. The CAS Board, on the other hand, has not issued a new standard nor made any significant change to existing standards since 1978. What does it mean to be CAS Compliant? A contractor is said to be “CAS Compliant” if the results of its cost allocation practices meet all of the standards. Like compliance with the FAR cost principles, CAS compliance is not dependent on tools or software. It is measured strictly by looking at the results achieved by a contractor’s policies, procedures and actual accounting practices. A cost accounting system purpose-built for government contractors like Unanet’s GovCon ERP, with built-in functionality for calculation and allocation of indirect rates, segregation of direct and indirect costs and segregation of allowable and unallowable costs, will make CAS compliance not only much easier, but much more consistent. Trying to be compliant without a purpose-built software tool with automated processes and practice enforcement rules would be burdensome at best. Trying to do it with no tools at all would be simply crushing. Who audits CAS compliance? Like compliance with the FAR cost principles, compliance with the CAS is audited by DCAA for DOD contractors and a number of other agencies which use DCAA for their auditing (such as NASA and DOE). Other civilian agencies will sometimes use a CPA firm to audit CAS compliance when required. CAS audits are usually triggered by the initial submission of a contractor’s CAS Disclosure Statement when they first become covered. When a contractor becomes CAS covered is another topic all its own. If CAS is in my future, what should I look for in a cost accounting system? You need automation for processes like indirect rate calculations, application of indirect costs to direct costs, and internal controls. You also need a chart of accounts with enough flexibility to properly segregate direct and indirect costs and to segregate allowable and unallowable costs. In short, you need a project based ERP that is purpose-built for the needs of government contractors and their unique cost accounting processes. Purpose-built in-house by GovCon professionals, Unanet is the only native integrated Cloud ERP solution built from the ground up to serve this unique market. CAS compliance and audit confidence are foundational, not simply a goal to achieve—Unanet features support DCAA requirements at each stage. See what Unanet can do for your organization. “Posting revenue by type of contract saves time so that financial periods can be closed quickly and efficiently. We know that everything is closed on time and correctly. Unanet shone during our DCAA audit.” —Bob Deegan, Senior Vice President and CFO, Array Information Technology Want to learn more? Our 2021 GovCon Success Guide explains why building a robust, strategic business and technology foundation is the key to unlocking your firm’s full potential and will give you practical steps to improve your competitive posture in 2021 and beyond.
Why Proper Time Tracking and Billing is Important for Engineering Firms
by Lucas HaydenA/E, Time & Expense
Apr 28, 2021
Engineers know all too well that time is money—and they don’t have extra to waste on chasing down timesheets or resolving billing issues. And yet, many firms find themselves in this very position. Engineering time and billing can be a different beast than other industries. Engineering firms balance a wide variety of projects all at once, each with its own unique requirements, scope, budget, and staff. Any one firm likely has a wide range of staff types—some with allocated billable hours, and others without. On top of this, the industry is in a near-constant state of change. The complexity of engineering firms requires careful, accurate time tracking and billing to keep the cash flowing and the business running smoothly. In this blog, we will dive deeper into why this is so crucial and discuss the role that technology plays in timekeeping and billing. Profitability & Cash Flow It can be easy to overlook just how important accurate time tracking is to the bottom line. Some engineers may have asked themselves questions like: “How much does it really matter that a few hours here and there go unaccounted for? The time spent tracking down that information would be greater than the missing hours in the first place.” It’s important to keep in mind that time tracking greatly affects profitability. Having as many employees as possible spending the right amount of time on the right projects not only prevents double or extra work, which cuts down on costs, but helps projects run smoother and the firm see payment faster. Ensuring all hours are billed or allocated correctly leads to a healthier and more accurate bottom line. Without accurate time tracking, the finance team is left guessing if the important numbers they are seeing are truly accurate. They can’t confidently make financial decisions based on an incorrect bottom line, and have difficulty steering the firm into the future. Productivity & Efficiency The importance of proper engineering time and billing isn’t just directly profit-based (although that is certainly the overarching priority that everything boils down to). How employees are spending their time provides a wealth of insight all its own. Firms currently using disparate software or manual processes—or worse, the honor system—to keep track of time don’t have an accurate gauge of the efficiency of their organization. A certain project or task may be top priority for one team, and they spend most if not all of their hours completing it. Meanwhile, upper management is expecting that an entirely different project is being accomplished—a project that is high priority for them. When upper management asks for an update, the team is suddenly behind on a project they did not have on their radar. This should ideally be avoided with a larger discussion and alignment before the projects begin, but proper timekeeping allows stakeholders to see where employee hours are actually being spent at every step of the way and help inform the discussion of what projects are higher priority. Insight Into Project Status Like being able to monitor employee productivity, proper timekeeping and billing is necessary for gaining crucial insights into project status. If employees assigned to Project A, which had a maximum of 40 allotted employee hours per week, are working more hours than expected and allowed, this indicates that the requirements of the project may be more demanding than predicted. This can alert Project Managers that the project is heading for the red and they can take action to correct the ship before it’s too late—hiring new staff to support the project or adjusting the project scope or schedule, for example. Clarity Across the Enterprise Employee timekeeping reaches into every part of the organization—so engineering firms should be prepared to do it right. With accurate timekeeping, it’s easier to know what work has been accomplished and needs to be billed, providing valuable information to the finance team. Project Managers better understand how the project is progressing and are able to keep a close eye on hours worked on a project and adjust staff as needed to stay on track. This enables upper management to assess which projects are high priority—or should be if they aren’t already. All of these come together to show the status of and provide insight into the entire organization. Modern engineering firms require a modern project-based ERP that automatically gathers all the pieces to form this big picture. The Power of a Project-Based ERP for Time Tracking & Billing Engineers need a solution that is purpose-built for them and ready to lead their firm into the future—and spreadsheets and legacy software won’t get them there. Cloud ERP software allows engineers to automate engineering time and billing and feed valuable timekeeping information to the rest of the organization. Purpose-built in-house by engineering professionals, Unanet A/E is the only native integrated Cloud ERP solution built from the ground up to serve this unique market. Unanet A/E’s web-based time and expense software enables the collection of project and effort anytime and anywhere. By automating these processes, Unanet A/E helps firms eliminate human error, reduce time spent on manual tasks, save money, and provide stakeholders with real-time insights into the financial health of their organization. “Unanet A/E tied everything together for us in a way that’s incredibly useful to helping us manage our business more strategically. This is an amazing piece of software that has given us the ability to understand each and every part of our business in ways we never had before.” —John Gifford, President, FORECON, Inc. To learn more about how a project-based ERP solution can guide engineering firms into the future, get your copy of our Change Agent Playbook for A/E Firms.
Why Project Accounting Benefits Architects
by Lucas HaydenArchitecture and Engineering, Project Management
Apr 28, 2021
Project accounting is—or should be—the lifeblood of all project-based organizations, but architecture firms are a special breed. Because these firms balance multiple complex projects at once, many of which have different costs associated with them, proper project accounting often provides an extra challenge—and extra reward when done correctly. What is project accounting for architects, and why is it so important? In this blog, we will take a closer look. What is Project Accounting? Project accounting includes monitoring the finances, profitability, and resources of projects. Every direct or indirect cost should attribute directly to a project. Project accounting must be done at every stage of the project lifecycle, from initiation to execution to closeout. There’s a lot of overlap between project accounting and project management; the finances of the project hold a direct line to the status of the project, and more and more, Project Managers are expected to keep a pulse on the finances of projects, not just the logistics. The Benefits of Project Accounting for Architects Turning the corner and beginning to put project accounting best practices into place is certainly an adjustment for your business—but it’s well worth it. Why? As an architecture firm, projects are your business. When project teams are confident in knowing where each project stands, they’re confident in knowing where the financial health of the entire firm stands. Let’s walk through the smaller benefits that come together to form this big picture. Clarity and Control Over Projects Far too many projects start out with good intentions and what seems to be reasonable deadlines, then surprises and adjustments occur. The project team didn’t have the information available to predict or suggest these unexpected events and are left scrambling. Before you know it, the project is totally derailed, and it ends up being late and over budget. But, when project teams take the time to manage the financials of a project, it unlocks a new world of insight for your stakeholders. Project Managers and executives now have all the information they need at their fingertips to closely monitor project status. They can see current project costs, upcoming expenses, and how profitable the project is at any given time. They can see when the project is starting to creep into the red and quickly course correct to bring it back from the brink. An integrated, project-based ERP tool with real-time dashboards and custom reporting puts all project accounting information in one system and makes it even easier to get this crucial real-time data in front of your stakeholders. We will talk more about the role an ERP plays in achieving the benefits of project accounting later in this blog. Assigning the Right Resources at the Right Time An architecture firm’s most important resource is its people. They make projects come to life—both in conducting the actual project requirements and organizing the project accounting and logistics. Whether a project succeeds or fails is all about getting the right people staffed and funded accordingly. With accurate project accounting, Project Managers will know exactly how much money is set aside for staff salaries and other associated costs. This enables them to compare how many people they think they need for a project with how many they can reasonably hire and take action accordingly. Even better, they can understand the staff budget in context with the profitability and financial status of the entire project. They may discover the 30 employees they set money aside for might actually be too many and they can course correct and choose to allocate the extra money to strengthening other parts of the project. On the other hand, they may suddenly discover that the project is understaffed and can assess the status of the entire project to determine if and where they can pull money from and resolve it or if they need to have a larger discussion of adjusting the project scope. Cloud ERP solutions with project accounting functionality enable businesses to optimize their critical resources while forecasting future demands, costs, and planning capacity—helping to take the guesswork and manual effort out of resource management. Reduce Errors and Redundant Work Proper project accounting requires strong organization and regular monitoring of all projects. Once a firm gets into the habit of updating the project financial status as soon as changes happen, it provides key project stakeholders with the latest information and can reduce errors. For example, once an outstanding invoice receives payment, it should be marked as paid and the income should be reflected in the project reports right away. This will help reduce the chance of the Project Manager reaching out to the client again asking for payment and either causing tension with that client or resulting in payment being sent again. Project-based ERP systems are helping to automate project accounting for architects. Project teams can rely on automated calculations and data updates, helping to reduce data entry errors and redundant work. How a Project-Based ERP Brings it all Together Acting on project accounting best practices and transforming your firm’s processes might seem intimidating, especially for firms that manage their projects and financials in spreadsheets or legacy solutions. Proper project accounting requires that teams see the whole picture—not an easy task when they have to navigate a dozen spreadsheets and even more versions of the truth. Project-based ERP solutions open businesses up to a new world of automated project management, financials, and project accounting. Project data across the organization is captured and stored in a secure, central database that’s easily accessible by authorized users from any connected device to eliminate wasted hours spent updating and managing individual spreadsheets or hunting for information. By managing transactions, costs, and revenue in one single solution, every dollar is tied to a project and is updated in real-time, so stakeholders have visibility into the architecture firm’s health on demand. “We’ve achieved return on our investment in Unanet A/E with efficiency improvements alone – we can get the detailed financial data we need quickly, right when we need it. Unanet A/E has also added visibility and accountability. Now, every Project Manager knows exactly how much money is in their project budget and how much they’re spending, which is critical when you’re working big projects with tight budgets.” —Joseph Courtade, Director of Finance & Administration, Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers To learn more about project profitability and how a project-based ERP can automate the process, download our white paper.