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Bring the Parts of the Project Lifecycle Together With a Project-Based ERP

by Kim KosterA/E, GovCon, Project Management

Aug 03, 2020

For too many organizations, the various parts of the project lifecycle are not treated as being part of one single system and data is kept in individual silos. This is a recipe for project failure. Before we discuss these crucial parts of the project lifecycle that your organization must learn to incorporate together, let’s level-set on what exactly a project is. A project is a planned piece of work that provides either a good or service and has a scope, schedule, and cost. Each project has a lifecycle, a series of elements that contribute to a project’s completion. These elements include: CRM Opportunity pipeline Resource management Budgeting, planning, and forecasting Time and expense Project accounting Billing and revenue recognition Financials Payroll Purchasing Real-time reporting, analytics, and dashboards So, how do you get the parts of the project lifecycle to flow together and increase your chance of project success? Utilize the power of a project-based ERP. A project-based ERP is the ultimate project management control center. It places all the necessary information into the project manager’s hands and brings together every part of the project lifecycle. Our new ebook, The Business of Projects, is a guide to how ERP software can enable project success. This eBook spells out in detail the nature of project-based work, the concept of enterprise resource management, and how organizations capture new business. Download your copy of the ebook here and learn how ERP opens the door to better planning, execution, and financial management through more robust project data.

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New Unanet A/E Release Includes Features to Drive Efficiencies for Business Development, HR and Accounting

by Lucas HaydenA/E, Product Releases

Jul 27, 2020

A fresh update to Unanet A/E powered by Clearview, the flexible project-based ERP software purpose-built for the architecture and engineering (A/E) industries, includes new features designed to help A/E firms on the HR, accounting and sales sides of their business. Announced in late July, the software release includes three notable new features and functionalities that are simple to use and immediately impactful: Enhanced Prospect Management. This web-accessible, mobile-friendly feature is designed to streamline how A/E firms track sales and nurture customer relationships, enabling them to prioritize high-value opportunities in their pipeline. It also gives them new tools to help manage job cost, visualize and track opportunity updates, and manage the entire lifecycle of an opportunity on any device. Line-item web approvals. We’ve added a new web feature to help firms ensure more accurate time and expense entry and readily catch errors prior to billing. The enhancement makes approvals intuitive and natural for managers. And again, it’s accessible from any device. Secure payroll integration. This new feature gives our customers robust integrations with trusted payroll vendors, enabling them to seamlessly transfer data bi-directionally in order to more efficiently run, automate and manage payroll and employee information, reducing HR costs and labor. “These new features were developed and integrated into Unanet A/E based on customer input,” said Assad Jarrahian, Unanet’s chief product officer. “We are committing to ongoing collaboration with our valued customers so they have the industry’s best tools for managing their businesses at their fingertips.” The Unanet development team is busy working on additional enhancements to the initial Unanet A/E software release unveiled earlier this year. So keep the feedback coming and stay tuned, because you’ll be the first to know about additional releases as soon as they become available. In the meantime, find out more about Unanet A/E’s latest feature release here.

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Unanet A/E Releases New Features to Help Architecture & Engineering Firms Drive Sales Efficiency, Accounting

by Lucas HaydenA/E

Jul 27, 2020

Dulles, VA, July 27, 2020 – Unanet A/E powered by Clearview, the flexible project-based ERP software purpose-built for the architecture and engineering (A/E) industries, today released several new features that help A/E firms improve HR, Accounting, and Sales processes. Today’s release further demonstrates Unanet’s commitment to investing and enhancing Unanet A/E so customers can drive efficiency in their businesses. Unanet A/E has three new features: Enhanced Prospect Management is a web-accessible, mobile-friendly feature that helps Unanet A/E customers improve sales tracking and nurture their customer relationships, so they can prioritize high-value opportunities in their pipeline. Additionally, customers can manage job cost, visualize and track opportunity updates, and manage the entire lifecycle of an opportunity on any device. Enhanced CRM eliminates siloes and fosters integration across multiple business functions. Line item web approvals ensure more accurate time and expense entries and readily catch errors prior to billing. This feature makes approvals intuitive and natural for managers with mobile access from any device. By streamlining and more intelligently executing line item approvals, A/E firms eliminate excessive labor hours, and also reduce the need for additional training. Secure payroll integration with customers’ trusted payroll vendors helps run, automate, and manage payroll and employee information, reducing HR costs and labor. This feature seamlessly transfers data bi-directionally so A/E firms can have improved confidence in their payroll information across the company. “These new features were developed and integrated into Unanet A/E based on customer input,” said Assad Jarrahian, chief product officer, Unanet. “We are committing to ongoing collaboration with our valued customers so they have the industry’s best tools for managing their businesses at their fingertips.” “Ashley McGraw Architects creates spaces where people are inspired to work, live, learn, collaborate and play. Relationships are at the core of what we do, and now that Unanet A/E has CRM in the web, we couldn’t be more excited,” said Deborah Rhea, Chief Operating & Finance Officer, Ashley McGraw Architects. “We love the team at Unanet A/E and look forward to their latest release.” Today’s release builds on the robust features delivered earlier in 2020 that included new integration capabilities for online payment processing, streamlining invoice delivery with enhanced invoice tracking, and an easy-to-use web app. Unanet A/E also delivers powerful analytics that allow A/E firms to predict, forecast, and model scenarios with virtually unlimited variables. “By working collaboratively with our customers, we work to identify precisely what tools they need and then develop innovative solutions to help them excel in the dynamic architecture, engineering, and construction industries,” said Matt Pantana, SVP of product, Unanet A/E. “Unanet’s investment in A/E solutions are demonstrating results and we’re committed to continuing this success.” To learn more about Unanet A/E’s new features, please click here. About Unanet Unanet is the leading provider of ERP solutions purpose-built for Government Contractors, A/E, and Professional Services. More than 2,000 project-driven organizations depend on Unanet to turn their information into actionable insights, drive better decision-making, and nurture business growth. For more information, visit unanet.com. Follow Unanet A/E at @UnanetAE on Twitter and Unanet-AE on LinkedIn.

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Analytics Capabilities for Government Contractors Highlight Latest Unanet Release

by Kim KosterERP Software Best Practices, GovCon

Jul 23, 2020

How to improve what is already the standard-bearer for project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for government contractors? By adding several features that enable GovCons to unlock new efficiencies and insight within their data. Announced in late July, the latest enhancements to Unanet’s purpose-built ERP software are analytics-focused — and designed to be simple to use and immediately impactful. They include: Analytics+, a capability we expect to quickly emerge as best in its class for its dashboard and reporting functionality. The new analysis and reporting capabilities build upon the software’s real-time data visualization features that enable GovCons to aggregate data from multiple sources across finance, accounting, and project management for automatically generated reports, including statements of cash flow. It’s included in customers’ cloud subscription. Analytics Studio, which is tailored to GovCons whose businesses demand advanced analytics and custom reporting to further mine their data for real-time insight. It provides a deeper level of interactive analysis and drill-down capabilities, with embedded, eminently customizable and feature-rich dashboards, including dashboards designed specifically for the C-Suite. Automated Invoice Attachments is a feature that gives finance teams a tool to shorten time to cash, with its ability to automatically generate required or supporting documents for invoices. Unanet’s new release is designed to equip government contractors with more tools to meet mounting business and compliance challenges, explained CEO Craig Halliday. “From the C-suite to the project management level, finance to operations, our new analytics capabilities allow for better decision-making across virtually every function.” The July software release is the first in a series of enhancements that Unanet expects to unveil over the course of 2020. You’ll be the first to know what our development team has in store to simplify life for our valued GovCon clients. In the meantime, to learn more about the latest software enhancements, click here.  

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An Up-Close Look at DCAA’s Ambitious Audit Plans for 2020

by Kim KosterGovCon, Government Compliance

Jul 16, 2020

Government contractors, prepare for closer scrutiny from the Defense Contract Audit Agency in fiscal 2020 and beyond. Having cleared its longstanding audit backlog, the DCAA has returned to performing a full range of audits, the agency’s director, Anita F. Bales, declared in a recent letter to the U.S. Congress. In fiscal 2019, the DCAA “focused more effort on other audits such as business systems, Truth in Negotiation Act, Cost Accounting Standards, and labor and material reviews,” she said in the letter, which accompanied a report summarizing the agency’s activities last fiscal year. “We also successfully met the Congressional requirement to complete incurred cost audits within one year of adequate submission as well as contracted with seven independent public accounting (IPA) firms to perform 101 incurred cost audits.” The DCAA’s renewed commitment to timely audits is expected to continue in the current (2020) fiscal year, putting the onus on government contractors to prepare for a busy compliance season. In particular, DCAA said it “prioritizes the audits that pose greatest risk to the government,” namely contracts that “involve significant costs, significant audit findings in the past, or circumstances that reduce the incentive to control costs, such as those inherent in cost-type of contracts.” Here’s what the agency says about various types of audits: Incurred cost audits “continue to be a priority to meet both the adequacy review (60 days) and completion (12 months) timelines.” Forward pricing audits “net the highest rate of return and are time sensitive because to be of value they must be completed before contract negotiations.” Special audits are prioritized in coordination with contracting officer needs. Other audits become a high priority “when DCAA or the contracting officer identifies a high-risk area such as inadequate business systems. DCAA assigns priority to additional audits based on individual contract and audit risks to the government.” To maintain timeliness with its audits and prevent another backlog, the DCAA indicated it plans to continue using IPA firms to conduct select incurred cost audits. To support a more aggressive audit caseload, the DCAA said it is focusing on recruiting, developing and retaining high-quality auditors and support staff, such as with hiring events and internship programs aimed at bringing college students into the fold and grooming them to become full-time employees. As it ramps up its caseload, the DCAA also has increased its industry outreach. In July 2019, it adopted the materiality guidelines from DoD’s Professional Practice Guide to “help oversight professionals plan their work and provide the information contracting officers need to make reasonable business decisions.” The agency also has been regularly engaging with industry groups, resulting in a proposed FAR change and improvements to the incurred cost electronic (ICE) model. It also is working with the acquisition community to mitigate the risks associated with using Other Transaction Agreements, or OTAs. The goal: ensure cost reasonableness “without hindering the speed that makes OTAs so valuable.” Moving forward, expect the emphasis on Truth in Negotiation Act audits to continue. The DCAA said it is stepping up efforts to train and educate its staff about TIN audits, and that beginning in fiscal 2020, its field audit offices will join its headquarters TIN team in conducting TIN audits. ”These collaborative, proactive efforts are vital as DCAA will double the number of hours dedicated to these audits in FY 2020.” Also expect the DCAA to continue to leverage technology — data analytics, “intelligent documents,” etc. — as it moves away from outdated Excel and Word-based audit tools. Looking ahead to fiscal 2020 and beyond, DCAA said it expects to “move away from complex, specialized audits performed by dedicated teams, like TIN and business systems, to performing these audits with our FAO staff.” The agency also plans to finalize its strategic plan in FY 2020, meaning more changes to audit processes and procedures could be forthcoming. We closely monitor the DCAA here at Unanet, so stay tuned to this space for updates.