What Is CRM for Architecture?
by Lucas HaydenA/E, CRM
Jun 01, 2021
As an architecture firm, customers and opportunities are always top of mind for your teams. With projects being the lifeblood of your firm, properly managing your customers and opportunities can make or break your success. This is where CRM comes in. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is simply the practice of managing how you interact with both current and potential customers. In this blog, we will review the importance of CRM for architecture firms, how a project-based CRM solution can automate the process, and what architects should look for when choosing a CRM solution. Why is CRM so Important? Architecture firms are in the business of projects. Because they sell projects and service rather than products, documenting client names, contacts, contact information and history is vital. Firms have long relied on repeat work from customers with whom they’ve had long standing relationships. As the competitive landscape has changed slightly, this is no longer the case. Firms can’t always count on the buddy system to guarantee work; they have to compete, which is where a CRM keeps them on their relational A-game. To do this successfully requires streamlined processes and clarity into all opportunities and customers. Some architecture firms are trying to achieve this level of insight with an endless array of emails, spreadsheets, Rolodex cards, and attachments that require constant consolidation and reconciliation. The more people keep separate siloes of data, the greater chance there is of crucial opportunity and customer data being incorrect or missing. There’s a better way. The Benefits of a Project-Based CRM Solution While the beloved Rolodex served the CRM needs of businesses before the days of software, modern architecture firms require modern solutions. Project-based CRM software provides a single source of truth for contact information, lead and opportunity pipeline management, and streamlines marketing efforts such as accessing historical project records for proposals and/or easily organizing email campaigns to clients, partners and prospects. Having a CRM that’s specifically built for projects is crucial because every project is unique. The details of the project, the team involved in executing the project, the relationships with Engineering and Construction firms—all of this and more needs to be tracked and it’s different with every project. A project-based CRM can do this. Let’s dive a little deeper into the main benefits of CRM for architecture firms can deliver several benefits. See Customer & Pipeline Information in Context of Projects Architecture firms are project-based, and their CRM solution should be, too. A project-based CRM solution allows firms to place the customer journey in context of a project, tracking it at every phase of the lifecycle. Projects don’t happen in a vacuum. Before starting a new project, project teams must assess required resources, the expected schedule, and where it fits into the existing list of projects. CRM software allows Project Managers and project teams to see the bird’s eye view of all current and future commitments and drill down into any opportunity as needed, allowing them to adjust their strategy. Take a look at this free guide, “The Business of Projects for Dummies,” to learn more. Gain Greater Insight & Decision-Making Capabilities A CRM for architecture houses accounts, contacts, telephone numbers, email addresses, and notes—the crucial data some firms are managing across multiple spreadsheets and bookmarked email threads—in one single solution for anyone to access. In just a few clicks, your business development and customer teams have a comprehensive view of contact history and information. No more pulling a contact name from an outdated spreadsheet only to later find that the contact left the company years ago. No more guessing the last time someone followed up with the prospect and what was discussed. Having real-time data places much-needed information at executives’ fingertips. The ability to know exactly where each deal stands and see the forecasted opportunities coming down the pipe is invaluable. Without this data, leaders are left to make important strategic decisions without the full picture. It’s much easier to steer the business into the future with a clear picture of the pipeline. Understand Customer Needs & Improve Relationships Project-based CRM goes beyond enabling better decision-making and increasing profit—though that is certainly one of the biggest benefits. A CRM solution can pave the way to teams improving their relationships with the customers and prospects they manage. It’s in the name, after all. Having the full set of meeting notes and emails for an account available anytime and anywhere makes it easier for Customer Success Managers to understand the full account history. They can see how the customer’s needs have shifted over time and make sure those needs are continuously being met—or course correct if they’re not. Architects know too well that truly understanding clients can mean the difference between retention or churn. Customer teams can compare accounts, notice that the pain points expressed by one customer are consistent across multiple customers, and introduce new opportunities to executives and business developers. What to Look for in a CRM for Architecture Firms Architecture firms are complex and unique, so finding a CRM tailored for them is crucial. So, what should architects be looking for in a solution? A Single Source of Truth Managing opportunities and existing contacts touches every aspect of the firm, and vice versa. The CRM solution should seamlessly integrate marketing, project management, business development and financial data into one location. The solution should meet project managers and executives where they are and be accessible from the devices—and tools like Outlook—that they already know and love. At any moment, executives should be able to keep a pulse on the entire organization and leverage the information they find to make smarter strategic decisions. Configurability & Scalability Firms must be able to trust that the CRM solution they choose will serve their unique business needs through crucial growth periods and beyond. The CRM system should be flexible and configurable enough for teams to have everything they need in the provided built-in tools. The firm should trust that the solution will grow with them instead of needing to migrate to and learn new systems each they make changes to their business model. Ideally, the CRM should also be able to integrate with financial solutions and other software. An integration enables project-specific marketing and financial data to quickly and securely sync and provide everything in one single source of truth. Proposal Management Ask any business development manager what one of their key priorities is, and they’ll likely say proposal creation and management. If proposals are a key part of a business, they must be a key part of the CRM tool the business uses. The CRM solution should provide the accurate data needed to consistently accelerate the proposal process, improve proposal data accuracy, and accurately track all certifications to include in proposals. Security It goes without saying just how crucial and sensitive prospect, customer, revenue, and pipeline information is. Customer contact information and profit figures that are kept in simple spreadsheets—or worse, scrawled on sticky notes—are at greater risk of being accidentally deleted or accessed by hackers who managed to guess a computer password. The CRM solution a firm chooses must have security top of mind. The best CRM solutions keep data secure and backed up. Administrators can set permissions and only allow the right people to access sensitive information. Responsive Support Firms shouldn’t just be handed a software and sent on their way—they need a support team backing the software. The CRM vendor should be a dedicated partner in the firm’s success, not someone who will restrict the value the firm gets out of the solution. The vendor should have several support options to meet the unique needs of the business. The best CRM for architecture firms in the world can’t provide value if it’s not supported. Check out the CRM by Cosential blog to learn even more about how to choose the right solution. Or, to learn more about how a project-based ERP solution can guide architecture and engineering firms into the future, download the Change Agent Playbook for A/E Firms.
Project Financial Management Best Practices to Follow
by Lucas HaydenA/E
Jun 01, 2021
Because architecture and engineering firms are in the business of projects, the financial health of their projects translates to the financial health of their business. Project financial management in a project-based business includes more than tracking assets, revenues and expenses; all this must be aligned to projects and customers. Let’s start with a quick definition of project financial management. Project financial management—in short—is the practice of tracking the financials of a project, which includes monitoring project profitability, revenue, costs, budget management, forecasting, and more. How do A/E firms do this? In this blog, we will explore 4 project financial management best practices. Establish and Measure KPIs “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it!” —Peter Drucker. This is certainly true with project financial management. While measuring every aspect of financials is important, establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and really focusing on a few metrics allows project managers to align on corporate and strategic goals, be more proactive instead of reactive, and better understand what defines true project success for the firm. Before A/E firms jump in and decide to establish some KPIs, it’s important to note that firms should prioritize the metrics that are the most meaningful and important. For example, it won’t be much use to the organization if project managers are only focused on burn rate. Yes, how much money a project is losing is one metric to keep an eye on. However, it may be more productive to track and set goals around earned value and project gross profit margin to give stakeholders a bigger picture of project performance. The most valuable metrics and where project teams should focus their KPIs might look a little different per firm, but the idea is the same. KPIs provide A/E firms strategic direction and the insight they need to course-correct as needed. Read more tips for choosing KPIs in our blog post. Standardize Project Financial Management Across the Organization All the employees and teams managing the firm’s project financials must follow the same practices and procedures to ensure not only consistency but accuracy in the numbers they’re working with. If one project manager is focused on different metrics than the rest of the team, or is managing their financial data in a silo, this causes a major disconnect in the information that is being communicated to stakeholders. If this is the case, executives might be trying to make strategic decisions and guide the firm into the future on different—and possibly contradicting—sets of financial data. Project management staff, executives, and other relevant stakeholders must be speaking the same financial language- reading from the same sheet of music. Anyone should be able to look at a budget report and be confident that this data is accurate and up-to-date. Speaking of reviewing the data, let’s discuss the importance of reporting for project financial management. Monitor Financials with Real-Time Reporting One excellent way to manage project financials? Reporting & Analytics. Creating reports and dashboards provides a bird’s-eye-view of the financial health of projects and prevents project managers and executives from operating in the dark. Reports and dashboards enable project managers to keep track of all the KPIs and other metrics that matter most, including profitability, earned value, project costs, and more. Plus, interactive analytic dashboards leave a data trail and allow project managers to pick up on patterns and look back to past projects for guidance on future ones. However—not all reporting systems are created equally. Firms keeping track of financial data in spreadsheets are missing out on the big picture. It’s easy for spreadsheets to quickly become outdated—or accidentally deleted. Not to mention the difficulty of trying to understand someone else’s spreadsheet and find the needed information. Even firms using financial software may find their system is not centered on projects and is not purpose-built specifically for A/E firms, therefore lacking in crucial functionality and insight they need. Modern A/E firms need modern reporting solutions. A project-based ERP that is purpose-built for A/E firms is essential for effective project financial management. It streamlines the project financial management process, allowing project teams to all get on the same page. All the information is automated and provided in real time. Anyone can pull up the dashboard and know exactly where any project stands at any given moment. Communicate with Stakeholders What good are financial reports if stakeholders aren’t using them? Once project teams have determined KPIs and used a robust ERP solution to track them, they must train and communicate with stakeholders on using the reports, too. Most modern ERP solutions are user-friendly, which contributes to higher stakeholder adoption. No more requests to pull data manually. Stakeholders can log in to the project-based ERP themselves and have all the information they need at their fingertips. Want to learn more about how real-time data in a modern ERP solution helps A/E firms keep a pulse on the finances of their projects? Download our eBook, “The Change Agent Playbook for A/E firms.”
Why We Chose Unanet: True North Solutions
by Lucas HaydenA/E, News and Announcements
May 25, 2021
Part of an ongoing blog series highlighting the decision to select Unanet’s ERP solution over other options. The firm: True North Solutions, a growing engineering control system design firm with offices in the U.S. and Canada. True North offers its clients expanded services in cybersecurity, IoT, analytics, commissioning, industrial telecom, electrical, mechanical and process engineering. True North Solutions previously used various basic and disparate solutions to manage their business, including QuickBooks, Tenrox and homegrown spreadsheets. This worked fine—at first. The company was growing quickly and it became abundantly apparent that they needed to upgrade to a more comprehensive ERP system that could provide actionable insights, business intelligence, improved reporting and better visibility into project health, resource management and more. So, how did True North decide on Unanet? Unanet A/E’s ease-of-use, service-oriented team, intuitive reporting and analytic capabilities, and overall transparency already set Unanet apart from the other leading ERP providers they assessed, but the benefits didn’t stop there. Because True North operates internationally, they have unique requirements to meet their overseas clients’ needs. Unanet A/E’s built-in multi-currency and multi-company capabilities will enable them to manage their growing business across borders with simple and seamless accounting and invoicing. Finally, True North’s commitment to honesty, integrity, and providing transparency for their clients align with Unanet’s core values and collaborative team approach. “As our firm expands, it has quickly become clear we needed improved reporting, project visibility, resource planning and management that simply wasn’t possible with the basic technology tools we currently have implemented,” said Blair Hanel, President, True North Solutions. “Unanet A/E will give us reports and dashboards with real-time information so we can easily and quickly track project updates and make decisions based on up-to-date information. And most importantly, as we continue to grow domestically and internationally, we know Unanet A/E will scale and expand with us.” True North expects to roll out Unanet A/E to their employees in Denver and Calgary by mid 2021. Read more about why True North chose Unanet A/E in our press release.
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.
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.
Latest Enhancements to Unanet A/E Driven By Customer Feedback, Requests
by Lucas HaydenA/E, News and Announcements, Product Releases
Apr 05, 2021
This week Unanet A/E released a new set of features that give A/E firms enhanced usability, new functionality and increased visibility into their project lifecycles and businesses. The most important part of these latest features is the fact that each and every one was designed specifically in response to customer feedback and communication. Unanet invites a two-way dialog with its customers to ensure they have the functionality they need to run their businesses. One unique way we are committing to customer engagement is by the launch of an upgraded customer suggestions portal enabling faster feedback loops to development teams to meet the needs of the customer community more quickly. Customers will benefit from real-time status updates on their suggestions and new unlimited customer voting. These upgrades position Unanet A/E as the most customer-focused ERP provider in the industry, driving project performance with full visibility to the status of A/E projects in real-time, all the time, from any device. Unanet Pay is one of the industry’s most innovative features built on a robust ERP. With Unanet Pay, A/E firms can automate and optimize invoicing, online payments and collections, accelerate AR resolutions and drive business growth. New fee functionalities allow customers to share the cost of merchant fees with their payers and provides flexible setup allowing label overrides for better customer presentation. Fees can be applied after a set number of days, based on percentage, and tailored to meet requirements on a client, project or invoice basis. Project Central enhancements provide project managers with clear insights to their projects with many new capabilities: an interactive project list view, flags based on personalized project performance criteria, customized aggregation, dynamic project search, and tailored row coloring for easier grid views. The Unanet A/E desktop user experience is a modern redesign of the user interface styling that offers updated look and feel for more intuitive workflow, a redesigned login screen for consistent experience throughout the application, and updated grids for better visibility and usability. To learn more details about Unanet A/E’s new release please visit Unanet A/E 2021.3 Release Notes (login required).
3 Ways to Improve Accounts Receivable Collections
by Lucas HaydenA/E
Apr 05, 2021
Firms like yours need new ways to improve Accounts Receivable collections to ensure an optimized cash flow, especially if these challenges sound familiar: Disparate systems lead to billing oversights and errors Lack of collaboration, process automation, and easy visibility within your firm fosters a longer billing cycle and makes collection efforts more difficult Spreadsheet chaos makes it difficult for your stakeholders to trust your financial data, hindering strategic decision-making Inefficient processes cause cash flow bottlenecks Why does this matter? Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of improving the AR process. The Benefits of Optimizing Accounts Receivable Collections Improving and optimizing your AR process opens your firm up to a world of possibility. Your finance team will have to correct fewer errors, resulting in a shortened, more accurate invoicing cycle, quicker payment approvals, and faster payments. All of these benefits work together to improve AR aging, AR Turnover (DSO), and of course, cash flow. The impact of optimized AR isn’t just financial. With automated and streamlined operations in place, your teams operate in tandem, fostering a positive impact on company culture as well as customer experience and engagement. So, how can your firm make all this happen? Let’s assess some strategies. At the core of these strategies is technology paving the way for collaboration, automation, and better decision-making. 1. Establish Bill Review Standard Procedures to Reduce WIP Without a clear, streamlined bill review process, your invoices take longer to get out the door, your WIP (or Unbilled) increases, and it takes longer for you to realize that revenue. It’s certainly worth spending time on creating standard procedures for time entry close and bill review- and specifically engaging your Project Managers in bill review. Establishing a smooth process can increase regular engagement from Project Management, ensuring they are regular participants in the process and able to make decisions at every step of the way. Your Project Managers are closest to the work and in the best position to ensure your invoices are accurate before going out the door. Once you’ve established standard processes, keeping stakeholder engagement up is key. Host regular refresher training for Accounting and Project Managers on process and procedures to retain adoption. Conduct mid-cycle Project Manager reviews to keep a consistent pulse and ensure that no WIP gets left behind. Finally, measure the success of your bill review procedures with key performance indicators (KPIs) using an integrated ERP and Analytics tool. Key metrics like unbilled per PM/Project and unbilled aging are what you want to keep an eye on. Your ERP solution can go beyond just measuring these metrics and provide a single system for accounting bill review and adjustments, enable seamless online bill review, and help align your Project and Accounting teams. 2. Adopt a System that Supports Invoicing Automation Adopting an ERP solution that supports automated invoicing is one of the crucial ways to improve invoicing and AR collections. Automated invoicing means that upon review, invoices can be queued up, processed, and delivered en masse with just a few button clicks. If your team is invoicing one at a time, this is a huge first step. An ERP will enable you to standardize invoice designs and templates, saving manual effort and time spent editing invoices in Microsoft Word while still meeting your clients’ individual needs. Automated invoicing also makes bill review a standard part of your invoicing process and encourages your PMs access invoice drafts themselves and stay in the loop. With an automated solution, you can email your invoices and get them into the hands of your customer faster, track their engagement, and set up automated invoice reminders to keep the process moving. An online payment solution allows your customer to easily pay your invoice via ACH and credit cards all in the same system, leading to a quicker AR resolution. Your ERP should also help facilitate accepting online payments. This allows your customer to easily pay your invoice via ACH and credit cards all in the same system—even automate the receipt posting back to the GL—all leading to quicker AR resolutions. 3. Gain a Full View of AR Collections to Reduce AR Aging Having a full view of AR collections is paramount to keeping tabs on AR and being strategic in your collection efforts. After all, more cash=more growth for your business. The key is using a solution that provides real-time insights into AR and financials. With an ERP solution, your Billers and Project Managers alike can view and track aging days, invoice amounts, project and client data, and PM or business units all in one solution. As discussed above, having access to all of this helps increase PM engagement and improves the AR collections process and strategy. Improve Collaboration, Break Through Bottlenecks, and Increase Cash Flow Adopting an ERP solution to manage and streamline your accounting processes will help your A/E firm move away from spreadsheet chaos and outdated systems and toward a fully integrated system with powerful insights. Learn how Gilmore & Associates, a civil engineering and consulting firm, reduced their DSO by 5 days, received a 2x increase in electronic invoice payments, and has saved 100+ hours per year with Unanet Pay. Download the success story. To hear about how M S Benbow, a multi-discipline, integrated engineering consultancy, leveraged Unanet A/E Analytics and Innovations to solve problems, gain efficiencies and put their data to work, watch our on-demand webinar: Achieving Operational Excellence with Analytics & Innovations.
Craig Halliday Shares Tips for Post-Merger Integration Success with Chief Executive
by Carrie MahonA/E, Cosential, GovCon, Unanet News
Feb 10, 2021
Unanet acquired Cosential in October 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and previously acquired Clearview Software in October 2019. Craig shared his insights and experience about managing a post-merger integration during COVID-19 in Chief Executive: “To say the Covid-19 pandemic has been disruptive to our integration efforts would be an understatement. But even in the throes of a pandemic, meshing the people, processes, infrastructure, products, customer base and most importantly, the culture, of an acquired company can be done — and done well, if a little differently than in “normal” times.” Read the full article on Chief Executive.
New ERP features give architecture and engineering firms simplified project management, enhanced payment options
by Lucas HaydenA/E, Product Releases
Jan 04, 2021
Today Unanet released several new industry-leading features and functions of its ERP platform purpose-built for A/E companies. The new capabilities clearly establish Unanet at the forefront of ERP functionality and ease-of-use, giving customers more visibility, analytics, and real-time project management tools than ever before. Customers gain best-in-class technology while also benefitting from the dedicated service and support Unanet delivers. For A/E customers, Unanet’s new features provide a more seamless deployment experience for project managers, accounting teams in both AP and AR, and all desktop users. Highlighting the latest release is a new web experience for Project Managers, enhancements to Unanet Pay, and updates to project planning and purchasing functionalities. Project Central for Web provides detailed project views anytime, anywhere with key metrics across all projects in one, single real-time source. Firms can customize the metrics to create personalized project views, search and export information, and monitor project performance dashboards with KPIs at the project and phase level. Unanet Pay, previously known as invoice delivery and payment facilitation, is an upgraded function powered by Stripe that streamlines invoicing, tracks customer engagement, and increases cash flow. Customers can copy/paste payment links for easier collections, flexibly email invoices, engage their customers with a seamless invoicing experience and collect payments via ACH and credit card more efficiently than ever before. New Enhanced Project Planning functions provide key updates to Unanet A/E’s full suite of enterprise tools for scheduling, budgeting and managing projects featuring enhancements for multiple rate analyses, and ETC and Percent Complete History automation for easier earned value management. Purchasing is also simplified with flexible configuration and approvals, support for process automations, and easy-to-use management. After a year of extreme uncertainty and varying market dynamics in the A/E industries, customers need insightful – and valuable – tools that help them gain a competitive advantage, and ultimately profitability. Unanet A/E has carefully tailored each of its upgrades to resolve a specific challenge faced by customers today, at their requests. These features help companies execute on their business goals. To learn more details about Unanet A/E’s new release please visit our Unanet A/E 2020.7 Release Notes (login required).
How a Project CRM Helps You Better Understand the Customer Journey
by Kim KosterA/E, GovCon
Sep 17, 2020
How’s your opportunity pipeline looking? What about the satisfaction levels of your current customers? Attracting new customers begins with understanding the needs of customers and improving their experience. The best way to do that is to establish a discipline for tracking and documenting customer touches and to have a method to analyze the data. This is where a project CRM comes in. What is CRM? Customer relationship management is a discipline for managing how you interact with both current and potential customers. These days, there are so many ways to get in front of or hear from customers: in-person meetings, blogs, social media, phone calls, webinars, emails, and so on. Project CRM software wrestles all of this information into one organized place and helps you better understand not only the roles and titles of who is buying your service or product, but the customer journey as well. Some of the benefits of a project CRM include: You gain instant access to prospects and customers in one central place. You can track the customer journey through the entire project lifecycle. You can gain insights into market trends and customer pain points and use this data to make better business decisions. You gain a better understanding of future revenue potential and resource forecasts. You can access a weighted forecast based on probability percentages. Our new ebook, The Business of Projects, is a guide to how ERP software can enable project success. Among the topics in this eBook is an introduction into CRM and the benefits of a project CRM solution. Download your copy of the ebook here and learn how ERP opens the door to capturing and winning more contracts.
For Third Consecutive Year, Unanet Earns Spot on Inc. 5000
by Carrie MahonA/E, GovCon
Sep 17, 2020
When you do right by your customers, your employees, and the communities you serve; deliver quality products; support those products with strong service; and do all this on a consistent basis; you get noticed. That’s the case for Unanet, which in August was named to the prestigious Inc. 5000 list for the third year in a row. This year, Unanet ranks no. 4,189 on the publication’s list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Earlier this year, Inc. also placed Unanet in the top 10% of fastest-growing private companies in the D.C. metro region. Consistently landing among the nation’s strongest private companies is largely the result of recent customer growth in the government contractor (GovCon) space, as well as the architecture and engineering (A/E) industries. Unanet has been particularly successful at attracting customers that are seeking a more service-oriented ERP platform. “One-third of Unanet’s customers have switched to us from a competitive product, and this trend is increasing,” said Greg Guelcher, Chief Financial Officer, Unanet. “Our growth is a result of the steady investments we’ve made in our software and our team, all due to collaboration with and feedback from our customers. Our customer-first, people-oriented strategy is paying off.” “The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 come from nearly every realm of business,” says Inc. editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk. “From health and software to media and hospitality, the 2020 list proves that no matter the sector, incredible growth is based on the foundations of tenacity and opportunism.” Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.
Helping A/E Firms Get a Better Grip on Project Cost, Profit
by Lucas HaydenA/E, Project Management
Sep 17, 2020
Newly published article by Unanet’s Lucas Hayden details how firms are realizing new efficiencies by gaining a clearer picture of overhead and job costing. As timely and helpful as government aid has been for many architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms during the COVID-19 crisis, our firsthand work with these firms tells us that firm leaders are well aware they won’t be able to rely on stopgap government programs forever, and thus must find sustainable ways to manage their businesses and their resources more efficiently. With the right ERP and analytics capabilities, uncovering and capturing meaningful new operational efficiencies is well within reach for AEC firms, Unanet’s Lucas Hayden explains in an article published in August on the PSMJ website. In particular, the right ERP and analytic tools can help firms gain a better handle on key factors like overhead and job costing so they can more accurately track and predict the profitability/financial performance of specific projects. That, in turn, enables firms to more efficiently manage their resources and plan for the future. In the article, Hayden details three capabilities that are proving particularly valuable to AEC firms in today’s volatile business environment: Integrated ERP tools that give firms flexibility in how to capture job cost.The ability to quickly and accurately track overhead by project is more critical today than ever before. The job cost rate/burdened pay approach and the overhead allocation approach are the two main methodologies for doing so. In the article, Hayden explains how each approach works, and how to determine which is best for your firm. Analytics to glean deeper data insight. Advanced analytics capabilities can elevate the depth and timeliness of the insight a firm gains from its data. Instead of basing decisions on outdated information and only using analytics to look at the past, the latest breed of analytics tools give firms a clearer picture of the future for forecasting, planning and the like. Interactive dashboards to make analytics insight more digestible and actionable. When a firm can package data from across the organization in interactive analytics dashboards, they gain the power to see key project costing information and other important data from various perspectives to uncover insights, anomalies and nuances they may not otherwise find. Hayden details some of the interactive dashboard features and functionalities that can maximize the insight gained from overhead data. To read the full PSMJ article, click here.
How ERP Software Drives Business Forward in the Era of Remote Work
by Kim KosterA/E, ERP Software Best Practices, GovCon
Sep 17, 2020
As executives fight to maintain efficiency in the remote-working environment driven by the COVID-19 crisis, one thing is becoming clearer: silos of information are a significant hindrance to business, particularly in this environment. Business leaders are increasingly worried about maintaining collaboration and visibility in their organization. ERP tools help enable that collaboration and visibility that businesses need, so there is one primary repository of up-to-date, meaningful information. Stacy Critzer, Unanet’s Chief Human Resources Officer, and Kim Koster, GovCon Expert and Unanet’s Vice President of Product Marketing, wrote an insightful article for Strategic HR Review about how ERP software fits into the context of the current remote work climate and how to banish silos, maximize resources, and improve outcomes. In the article, Kim and Stacy also review a case study of a healthcare operation in New York City that has been able to eliminate silos and enable collaboration even in the wake of COVID-19, a shining example of what other organizations can achieve. If you subscribe to Strategic HR Review, you can read the article here. Or, click here.
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.
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.
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.
How ERP Software Can Unlock Better Project Data, Insights, & Growth
by Kim KosterA/E, GovCon, Professional Services, Project Management
Jul 17, 2020
Do you have a complete picture of your project data? If your organization is stuck with multiple silos of project data, it’s difficult to access vital decision-making intelligence. Achieving project excellence takes strategic alignment of people, processes, and tools, which is no easy task. The most successful project-based organizations have learned to harness their project data by putting it into one place: the project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool. 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. Each chapter contains an overview of a key part of the business of projects and how, with the help of an ERP solution, you can open the door to more complete project data, insightful analytics, and greater decision-making. The basics of a project-based ERP Capturing and winning contracts Project management, planning, execution, and analytics Financials tracking Considerations for compliance for government contractors 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.
One-Third of Unanet’s Customers Made the Switch From a Competitor. Here’s Why.
by Carrie MahonA/E, GovCon
May 22, 2020
One of the questions we get frequently from customers and prospects alike is, “Why Unanet instead of Deltek?” We welcome this question each and every time because it gives us a chance to explain why one-third of Unanet’s customers made the switch from Deltek. They tried the competition’s solution, and for some compelling reason, decided our solution would better meet their needs. The most glaring difference between Unanet and other ERP solutions is that Unanet GovCon was built specifically from the ground, up, for government contractors. Likewise, Unanet A/E was purpose-built for architecture and engineering firms. This means there are no bolt-ons, incompatible features, or awkward forcing of disparate solutions, which is rampant among competitive products. Designing purpose-built software requires an extra level of understanding of customer needs, along with a commitment to developing and refining solutions that actually enable customers to address their business challenges through smart engineering and elegant design. In short, it’s about walking in our customers’ shoes to understand exactly what they want from an ERP solution. As one customer, Frontier Technology Inc., learned after making the switch to Unanet from Deltek, purpose-built means their new ERP is more capable at handling business needs and growth. “I have done a lot of enterprise data work, and I can see that the architecture of the Unanet system was done correctly to handle a company like ours with rapid growth,” said Tom Batty, Director of Corporate Staff Operations, Frontier Technology Inc. Another common reason customers switch to Unanet is the real-time data management and access it offers. Too often solutions that were cobbled together take extra steps, additional credentials, and even require two different systems to find one specific data point. Information doesn’t flow through from one point to another. Unanet’s GovCon and A/E solutions deliver real-time information that’s been completely synthesized automatically, giving companies one single source of truth. This creates incredible efficiencies and saves customers time. Just ask Chantelle Miner, Financial Controller for Magnolia River, who, after her firm made the move to Unanet from Deltek, said, “Having the real-time data makes us so much more efficient. The time that we have saved on invoicing alone has been dramatic.” Purpose-built software with real-time data are two critical reasons customers made the switch to Unanet, but the third is probably the reason we hear the most: Unanet’s service. The people of Unanet are dedicated to serving our customers. From your first interaction, to implementation, to training, to ongoing maintenance and updates, Unanet prides itself on treating our customers with friendly, knowledgeable service. Through Unanet University, we provide highly relevant training, market insight, and expertise to keep customers apprised of what’s happening in their industries that may affect things like their financial management, regulations, and human resources. We treat our customers with respect each and every time, and add value in every interaction. David Baker, President of the Rehancement Group, another company that made the switch to Unanet from Deltek, said, “We are no longer at odds with our software provider. We have a true partner who is there to ensure our success.” Bigger doesn’t mean better…it just means bigger. And in many cases bigger means bloated, unnecessarily complex, and not always attuned to customers. Unanet is 100% dedicated to our customers’ success, with purpose-built software that provides real-time accuracy and insight. Want to learn more about making the switch to Unanet? Read about these companies that switched from Deltek to Unanet: Frontier Technology Magnolia River Semper Fortis Relyant Global The Rehancement Group WBB To learn more about switching your ERP software to Unanet, please contact our sales team.
Timely Guidance for Architecture/Engineering Firms Pursuing COVID-19 Relief
by Lucas HaydenA/E
May 13, 2020
As welcome as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, and other federal programs have been to companies seeking a financial lifeline during the global health crisis, by accepting government COVID-19 relief, architecture and engineering firms in most cases also must accept the additional tracking and reporting requirements that come with that aid. An article written by Unanet Senior Vice President of Product Matthew Pantana and published in Construction Executive provides architecture and engineering firms with timely guidance to help them meet the unfamiliar and sometimes nebulous compliance requirements of PPP, the CARES Act and other of Uncle Sam’s relief programs. Pantana, a veteran of the A&E business, offers an in-depth look at the accounting, audit, and reporting capabilities that firms need to meet the compliance requirements associated with these new programs. In the article, he provides guidance on the following: The data that firms must track to support claims for CARES Act workforce retention credits The documentation required to support PPP loans The data firms must provide to comply with paid leave requirements and to claim any credits for the paid leave they provide to employees. To read the full article in Construction Executive, click here.
What You Should Know About SF1408
by Kim KosterA/E
Mar 29, 2020
Overview of the Pre-Award Survey & Manual When becoming a government contractor there are many new things to think about, including the DCAA pre award survey. You are introduced to what feels like over 1,000 acronyms, audit after audit, and project management requirements. If you are a prospective government contractor with an award looming that has cost type work, your first encounter with DCAA will most likely be the Pre-Award Survey (SF1408). In this section, we will provide an overview of the SF1408 survey and audit. Before that, however, let’s do a quick review of DCAA Manual No 7641.90: Information for Contractors, which is a great resource for new and prospective contractors. DCAA Manual No 7641.90: Information for Contractors Believe it or not, the DCAA doesn’t just loom over contractors with audits; they provide a lot of helpful resources for contractors to understand the various audits they may undergo and how to prepare! DCAA Manual No. 7641.90 provides an introduction to the DCAA and explains several audits including price proposals, incurred cost proposals, Pre-Award Survey, and more. This document is a must-read for anyone new to government contracting. Enclosure 2 of the document focuses on the Pre-Award Survey. If you are just getting started in the government contracting world, access the DCAA Information for Contractors. The DCAA Pre Award Survey and Audit Overview The pre award survey is not an audit. It is an evaluation typically made by your contract administration office of your ability to perform a proposed contract. DCAA may be requested to provide information regarding the adequacy of your accounting system to accumulate the type of cost information required by the contract. Before the contracting officer (CO) requests a DCAA audit of your accounting system, the CO will ask you to complete the “Pre-award Survey of Prospective Accounting System Checklist.” You can find that checklist by going to the dcaa.mil website, specifically the link below. The checklist provides documentation to the auditor on how your accounting system meets the criteria in the SF 1408. The CO will give the checklist to DCAA when they request an audit of your accounting system. To download the checklist, visit the DCAA website. The SF1408 or pre-award accounting system survey is an examination before contract award to determine the acceptability of your accounting system for accumulating costs for your prospective government contract. The audit scope is limited to obtaining an understanding of the design of the prospective accounting system so as to appropriately complete the SF1408 “Pre-award Survey of Prospective Contractor Accounting System,” and procedures essential to reach an informed opinion as to whether or not the design of the prospective accounting system is acceptable for accumulating costs and can generate the specific cost information that is required to execute a government contract. Organizations that are looking to get their first government contract may not want or need to install a new, more detailed accounting system unless awarded a contract. In this case, if the potential government contractor anticipates a contract award, it must have developed and designed a system that is operable, though not necessarily in use. You need to be in position to demonstrate the new system to the auditor and ready to implement the system prior to incurring any costs on the government contract. Sometimes the auditor may not think the system is acceptable. You and your CO will receive notification and typically will give you suggestions on needed corrections. Once you have incorporated the corrective actions, a follow up audit will be completed and hopefully the CO and DCAA will be satisfied. Once you have won the contract, you may be subject to an accounting system audit. The basic objective of this audit is to assure your accounting system is adequate for accumulating cost and passing those costs on through invoices presented to the government. This audit is requested by the CO when there is follow-up recommended from the pre-award survey or if no pre-award survey was done. Is There Such a Thing as DCAA Approved Software? Just to be clear, there is no such thing as DCAA Compliant Software! It is your organization and procedures that will be assessed for compliance. That said, software such as Unanet, that is purpose-built for government contractors can significantly help you with achieving compliance. DCAA compliance requires that your accounting and related business processes which collectively including 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 one thousand customer sites and, along with the customer policies and procedures, approved as supporting DCAA requirements. What the DCAA is Looking for in the SF1408 Segregation of direct and indirect costs Identification and accumulation of direct costs by contract Consistent allocation method for indirect costs to intermediate and final cost objectives Accumulation of cost under general ledger control A time keeping system that identifies employees’ labor by intermediate or final cost objectives A labor distribution system that charges direct and indirect labor to the final cost objectives Interim determination of costs charged to a contract through routine posting of books of account Exclusion from costs charged to the government contracts of amounts that are not allowable Identification of costs by contract line item and units Segregation of preproduction costs from production costs Far 31.202 defines Direct Cost FAR 31.203 defines Indirect Cost For the system to get an acceptable, all items above must be checked Yes or Not Applicable. Utilizing Unanet, you can be confident that you will meet the standards in FAR 53.209-I(f). Unanet Success Story With Unanet, Array successfully completed a DCAA audit that stated that their accounting system design complies in all material respects with the criteria contained in FAR 53.209-l(f), Standard Form 1408 (SF1408). “Unanet shone during our DCAA audit” – Bob Deegan, Senior Vice President and CFO Read the full success story The Importance of Using a Timekeeping System to Maintain Compliance One of the most important aspects of government contracting is maintaining compliance with a timekeeping system. As we touched on above and reviewed in our “DCAA compliant software” blog, remember that timekeeping software alone is not enough to ensure compliance. DCAA requires that the timekeeping process itself—collectively including policies, manual procedures, and tools—be compliant; timesheet software alone is not audited for compliance or certified, nor approved as DCAA compliant. However, timesheet software like Unanet has been reviewed by auditors at hundreds of customer sites and, along with the customer policies and procedures, approved as supporting DCAA timekeeping requirements. That said, let’s dive into the timekeeping requirements and what auditors are looking for. Keeping Track of Your Time Timekeeping procedures and controls on labor charges are areas are of critical concern for government contractors. The key to accuracy in labor charging is your employees. Training, training, and more training is critical so that employees understand the organizations policies and procedures and abide by them. Establishing a culture that understands the criticality of accurate and timely labor charging will encourage employees to get it right the first time. Timekeeping systems must meet the following requirements: There should be a segregation of responsibilities for labor-related activities. Internal controls must be established. An example would be that the responsibility for timekeeping and payroll should be separated. Policies and procedures must be crystal clear Controls must be monitored, and violations dealt with swiftly A culture emphasizing to employees the importance of accurate and timely timesheets. Reminders and training plans will help reinforce proper time charging. Employees need to have training and detailed instructions on completion of the timesheet: Record time daily Record time on the timesheet Time should be recorded by identifier (project, contract name, etc.). Employees should be able to access the description of the identifiers and their descriptions in the work authorization system. Documented process to change time sheet if needed Record all hours worked Certification that the number of hours worked and on what tasks are correct at the end of each period. A policy for timekeeping must be in place that includes the following: The supervisor should approve and cosign all timesheets The supervisor is prohibited from completing an employee’s timesheet unless the employee is absent for a prolonged period on some form of authorized leave. If the employee is on travel status, the supervisor for the employee may prepare a timesheet. Upon his or her return, the employee should turn in his/her timesheet and attach it to the one prepared by the supervisor. The guidance should state that the nature of the work determines the proper distribution of time, not availability of funding, type of contract, or other factors. The company policy should state that the accurate and complete preparation of timesheet are the employee’s responsibility. Careless or improper preparation may lead to disciplinary actions under company policies, as well as applicable Federal statutes. Unanet Success Story Burns & McDonell was able to gain greater project visibility with Unanet’s time keeping solution and the flexibility that they gained allowed them to establish more best practices around their business rules and processes. After implementing, Burns & McDonnell: Achieved a quick and ongoing return on their software investment Has more accurate entry of time that led to better visibility into project issues and an enhanced ability to forecast true costs to complete projects Is able to be compliant with DCAA requirements through an improved annual process Maintains ad hoc reporting tools directly in the hands of their project management team Experiences better control over timesheet review and approval without undue administrative overhead Read the full success story Why Unanet for Government Compliance? Unanet is purpose-built with the project or contract in mind. It is uniquely designed for government contractors and has been battle-tested for compliance rules and regulations. Our compliance features are built into the tool, making compliance part of the fabric of your business. Unanet currently has over 2,000 clients using and trusting the system. Unanet supports compliant accumulation and allocation of costs utilizing time keeping, expense accounting, cost pools, indirect rates, revenue recognition, and project management all in one truly integrated system. Whether you are a small new or a seasoned larger GovCon, you can count on Unanet for your compliance needs. Unanet is recognized by the audit agencies as being “compliant ready,” giving you an immediate advantage in the audit process. Make sure you’re prepared for a pre-award survey and an accounting audit. Learn more about SF1408 in our white paper, “SF1408 & Timekeeping,” or register for a demo to see how Unanet helps smooth the path to compliance.
Timekeeping Insights In The Palm of Your Hand
by Lucas HaydenA/E, Press Releases, Product Releases, Time & Expense, Unanet A/E News
Mar 26, 2020
Timekeeping Insights In The Palm of Your Hand Introducing Unanet A/E powered by Clearview 2020.1 Providing the real-time insight, efficiency, and accuracy to drive business forward. For architecture and engineering firms, time entry to billing is a critical process that must be efficient and intuitive. To maximize revenue and cash flow, many A/E firms are turning to integrated solutions that facilitate access and streamline the invoicing and payment processes. Accelerate your business with a user-friendly mobile web application. REDUCE ANNUAL REVENUE LOSS Make sure each billable charge is accounted for with on-the-go time and expense access. You can enter and approve from wherever you are, with added features such as geolocation to make it as effortless as possible. DECREASE IMPLEMENTATION AND TRAINING TIME Enjoy direct access to workflows and processes, with setup wizards for easy configuration of complex flows. GAIN INSIGHT INTO IMPORTANT BUSINESS METRICS Get quick and easy access to web-based dashboards with meaningful information on the fly, helping you manage your business with the utmost visibility and timeliness. Improve cash flow with enhanced invoice delivery and payment facilitation. STREAMLINE INVOICE DELIVERY AND TRACKING Save time and shorten your billing cycle with insight into invoice statuses from delivery to payment and automated due date reminders that let you focus your attention where it matters most. COLLECT PAYMENTS QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY Get paid faster by enabling secure, compliant invoice payments directly within the system, accounting for every transaction seamlessly and easing reconciliation efforts. Unanet A/E 2020.1 delivers crucial visibility into transactions, projects, and time. Unwavering Commitment This release is an example of our unwavering commitment to our customers and our continued laser-like focus on building efficient and innovative technology purposefully designed with customers’ needs in mind. Of all the attributes that Unanet embodies, customer-centric and purpose-built are the ones customers value the most. From software design to new features, everything we do is purposefully geared to the specific needs of professional service companies and based on direct customer feedback.
Alvine Engineering Innovates with Unanet A/E
by Lucas HaydenA/E
Jan 29, 2020
We recently had the chance to visit with one of our innovative clients, Alvine Engineering, at their home office in Omaha, Nebraska. Alvine was founded in 1961 as a mechanical and electrical systems design and consulting firm. They are a family-owned company with two generations of expertise in fire protection engineering, architectural lighting design, building commissioning services, technology systems design, and life support systems engineering. Alvine’s philosophy states that the best engineering involves equal parts science, art, and business. Unanet A/E powered by Clearview is honored to be a part of that mix. We are committed to partnering with them to continue enhancing their skills in project management, data analytics and accounting with our modern and flexible, project-based ERP. Here are a few words Alvine’s COO had on the importance of having a powerful platform to run their business: “I’m Brant Yantzer with Alvine Engineering. I’m the chief operations officer and oversee all daily operations of the firm, from the operational, technology and technical perspective. Alvine Engineering currently has 140 employees with 4 offices and licensed in 49 states across the country with active projects in 36. A robust ERP system is vital to the success of any professional services and design firm in the architecture engineering industry. Access to information about the clients, the design, the technical details, the communications, in a realtime fashion through multiple platforms and devices, is something that we require. This is due to the mobility that is required in order to meet our clients needs, project needs, and to close things out in a method that is clear, crisp, and concise for all parties involved. One of the things that drew us to the Unanet A/E platform was that of their Organizational Nervous System which we feel is imperative to our success. Not only does their software provide the necessary components that most businesses need, but also allows for the flexibility to move in areas to collect data and information and bring it into the system to transform it into information we require to make better business decision, satisfy our clients, and deliver our technical services. We feel Unanet A/E’s platform offers us the opportunity to enhance the experience of not only what we’re trying to accomplish, but meet the needs of our clients and design professionals alike.” Unanet A/E is proud to partner with Alvine Engineering on the future of project-based ERP. Their vision for project management and financial excellence as well as efficient training matches our passion for delivering a product that will help them reach these goals.
In Pursuit of ZERO Training
by Lucas HaydenA/E, Project Management
Jan 13, 2020
In my previous posts, I have tried to unpack a bit of our ‘untold story’ related to how powerful the Unanet A/E powered by Clearview engine is. Now let’s shift a bit to the end-user experience. We have learned so much from the many transitions we have done for clients moving from Deltek and BST. With this knowledge, we have created some amazing tools to speed up the migration and adoption process. In our initial meetings with firms – what we call our ‘Strategic Planning Summit’ – it was increasingly clear that firms had struggled with user adoption with previous software amongst their teams.In particular, those outside of accounting (think business development, project managers, and executives) just never really embraced their past systems. No matter how many box lunch training sessions took place, the legacy systems just weren’t intuitive. The “just go down to the project area, then to the 9th tab, then to the 24th field, then enter…..” learning model was just not working. Add to that the fact that these team members may only perform that one task occasionally, and frustration came quick (both for the end-user and indeed, the folks tasked with training everyone). Listening to that story over and over really led us to develop what we call ‘Interactive Actions’. What does that mean? Let me give you a few examples that may bring that point home: In pursuit of zero training: Recently, an engineering firm told us they wanted “Turbo Tax for Engineers”. They had used Deltek Vision for more than a decade and wanted something that would allow their end-users to interact with the system without learning database terminology. They wanted all of the complex logic and business rules of their business hidden behind easy, English based questions and responses that could be understood by even the newest member of their team. We worked with them to develop a feature that we eventually named “Interactive Actions”. We always had what we called Actions in Unanet A/E – wizard-like tools for quickly adding projects, clients and the like. With Interactive Actions, we took that to a whole new level and the user response has been overwhelming. Ask end-users simple questions and, based upon their responses, lead them down a path of questions and/or actions that are specific to their responses. Reduce the noise: Keep your end users laser-focused on the task at hand and don’t make them wade through screens and fields that don’t apply – or that don’t apply right now for the task they are trying to accomplish. For instance, maybe you ask a project manager that is creating a project a few basic questions and, when they select a particular market sector like Higher Education, you then ask them specific questions related to Higher Education and not another market sector. Maybe users are required to enter the number of students served, square footage, and/or put in additional information if the project is over a dollar threshold. The options are endless. That said, since we primarily work with professional services firms – and particularly, architecture and engineering firms – we see commonalities and continue to add those Interactive Actions to our ‘Starter Kit’ that we can deploy when we first migrate a firm off of one of the legacy systems in the industry. You can always adjust or add to what we provide as well and the personalizing of your Interactive Actions seamlessly moves forward with updates/releases too. Better Software. Better Company. The world increasingly works from a mobile construct and having your end users wait until they get back to the office to kick start a task/process just slows things down. In a worst-case scenario, they may completely forget about the task/process they wanted to finish or kick-off. You can leverage Interactive Actions from a mobile phone and/or tablet while out on the go. Remove the hurdles and barriers getting in your way. Increase your velocity and responsiveness. Better Software. Better Company. So now that you have made your end-users life easier, what’s in it for the administrator and operations team? A whole lot! Interactive Actions has the potential of drastically reducing your security settings (ie lots of security roles, options, and ongoing maintenance). Add to that the fact that data quality increases dramatically so you don’t have to constantly check and re-check whether the data was entered properly. If you have the right Interactive Action, the end-user can’t make a mistake. They win. You win. Better Software. Better Company. Give me a call and I would be glad to show you how Interactive Actions can revolutionize your business. There is a real sea of change happening. We would be honored to earn your business and have you join our rapidly growing list of customers. Thanks for your time and consideration.
On-site Project-Based ERP Training with Dunham
by Lucas HaydenA/E, Project Management
Jan 09, 2020
I have had the great privilege of watching more than 2,000 Architectural/Engineering firms operate over the past 25 years. In that time, I have gained great respect for firms that have the culture, discipline, and indeed, passion, to ‘walk the last mile’ and put in detailed project budgets, schedules and manage resources. Dunham, out of Minneapolis, is one of those firms in constant pursuit of project management excellence. At the same time, they recognize the need to not distract everyone with busy work and keep the project delivery and client satisfaction in focus at all times. Recently, Dunham wanted to give their project managers access to our VP of Services, Jason Bivens. Jason not only manages our support and services team he works daily in the project management and resource scheduling tools as we manage our projects with our own system. Jason provided tips on best practices and how to use our task dependency features to easily move out entire project schedules with ease. When a task start date slides out six weeks, simply click the taskbar and drag it to extend. All schedule resources are automatically moved with it. For critical path you can set and view task dependencies. We love showing how our software can dramatically increase your end-user adoption with low or zero training interfaces that make daily life easier for everybody. We always look forward to working with A/E firms who have a passion for excellence in project management, accounting, and of course architecture and engineering. Clients like Dunham help us move the ball forward and are continuously helping us identify ways to innovate our software and business overall. We enjoy meeting with our clients and hearing about how they utilize our software to build amazing projects around the world.
The Unanet A/E Engine: A Modern, Flexible ERP
by Lucas HaydenA/E
Dec 02, 2019
In a previous post, I reflected a bit on my first year and how thrilled I am to be here. I unpacked a bit around how well customers are supported and how fair our pricing and policies are as compared to other products in our space. I also hinted at how exciting it was to find a ‘Super Car’ engine under the hood when I got here. In my prior life at a large consulting practice, we prided ourselves on filling gaps and extending what was really a clunky engine in a legacy system that hailed from the late 1900’s. It could get the basics done – but it was just never built to run fast in a modern way. To be fair to the historical ERP vendors in the Architectural/Engineering/Professional Services space, part of the issue is having to migrate legacy firms forward that may have customized things around the edges and inside the product that wouldn’t port forward in an elegant way. It is hard to take a fresh approach with a clean canvas. Unanet A/E powered by Clearview was fortunate that they could really build their engine correctly from the ground up in an elegant fashion that allows us to run fast and play well in a modern world. Plus, customizations port forward the way our system was built. Engines matter. In fact, their quality will matter more and more in the coming years. You can add or change interfaces to look nicer and appear more modern. However, not having a solid engine that integrates well will eventually restrict your growth prospects. I know, I know, saying something like “built correctly” and “in an elegant fashion” sounds like marketing-speak. So, let me give just a few examples that may help you get a glimpse of the tangible aspects of that elegance: Unanet A/E supports an unlimited project work breakdown structure with an unlimited length alpha-numeric number/name. Granted, you don’t want to have a 12 level work breakdown structure (WBS) if you can avoid it – but it is nice to have if and when you need a 4th or 5th etc. level. We can also have multiple profit centers or companies share/split a node of a project without the need for you to add another level just to break out revenue/cost assignments. So, we can help you keep a simple/tight project structure while also having incredible flexibility where and when you need it. Better Software. Better Company. Adding to that first bullet, from day one, our opportunities and projects have been in the same table. Other vendors are just now catching up to the fact that you need to have them in one table so you can look at projected revenue across both under contract projects and potential projects. You need to be able to put time and expenses against an opportunity and plan/budget the project prior to it getting awarded. We have also always had client and vendor contacts in one table so you can look across the relationships you have. Better Software. Better Company. Our system is real-time. I am not talking about just labor here. Our analytic dashboards show what is happening right now, not pulled from a stored database or cube of data from last night or two hours ago. If your current system relies on stored data from the past it is a sign that it doesn’t have the structure or horsepower to perform. Better Software. Better Company. If you created a custom invoice or report in version 1 of our software back in 2008 it would still run fine in version 47 today, eleven years later! In fact, it is really more like ‘personalizing’ your system. This makes updates seamless. No re-implementations or having to stay on an old release to keep something working. We build enterprise, solid, stable software so you can worry and focus on other things in your business. Better Software. Better Company. Everybody claims that they have great technology. The ‘proof is in the pudding’ and eventually your engine will reveal its’ weakness. Give me a call and I would be glad to show you the difference. There is a real sea change happening in the industry. We would be honored to earn your business and have you join our rapidly growing list of customers. Thanks for your time and consideration. Steve McTavish 866-553-0330 ext 225
2/3 of Unanet A/E Users Migrated from Deltek
by Lucas HaydenA/E
Nov 07, 2019
Practice makes perfect and we have LOTS of practice migrating firms from Deltek to Unanet A/E powered by Clearview. Our implementation team is composed of experts from the Architecture/Engineering industry who have themselves traveled down the path of transitioning from Deltek to Unanet A/E at their previous firms or in their consulting career. They know their stuff – both the system you are coming from and the possibilities to ‘move the ball forward’ with Unanet A/E. Our team of project based accounting specialists can hold your hand throughout the process and work with you to get up and running quickly so that you can begin utilizing Unanet A/E’s tools like real time dashboards, project planning, Prospect Management, time and expense entries and others to manage your business in a new and exciting way. We have had so many users migrate from Deltek to Unanet A/E over the years – and indeed, an increasing number recently that have chosen Unanet A/E over updating to Deltek Vantagepoint – that we have developed data migration utilities that automate a large part of the data transfer. In fact, our utilities can typically bring transactional level, detailed history over from Deltek Vision with greater than 90% accuracy on the first rough cut pass. The last 10% gap closes quickly once we meet with you and your team and gain an appreciation for the user defined fields and the like that you want to bring over as well. We are hearing more and more often that Deltek customers are being pushed to Vantage Point when the features they need to run their firms aren’t ready for prime time. Due to the increased demand for a more modern and flexible project based ERP, Unanet A/E has added multiple support specialists, developers and implementation staff and partners in the recent months. Once you are up and running, we aren’t going anywhere. Unanet A/E offers unlimited, U.S. based support to help you get the most out of our technology. Our project based ERP with forecasting, planning, time and expense and other business administration modules are designed to keep architecture and engineering firms running quickly and efficiently so that you can focus your time and energy on the work that you love while keeping a close eye on the day to day projects, costs, sales and operations of your Architecture and Engineering business. We would love to talk with you about our cost saving software that allows you to do more. Reach out to us through the form at the bottom of the page, or read a little more about a 250 person firm that joined us after leaving Deltek here.
Unanet Expands Solutions for Architecture & Engineering Firms with Acquisition of Clearview Software
by Lucas HaydenA/E, Press Releases, Unanet A/E News, Unanet News
Oct 24, 2019
Unanet Expands Solutions for Architecture & Engineering Firms with Acquisition of Clearview Software DULLES and LYNCHBURG, Va., Oct. 24, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Addresses Demand from Professional Services Firms Seeking Alternatives to Legacy ERP Vendors Unanet, the leading SaaS project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provider, announced today that it has acquired Clearview Software–a leader in project-based ERP software for Architects & Engineers. The combined organization will serve nearly 2,000 Professional Services firms, particularly those in the Government Services, and Architecture and Engineering (AE) sectors. “Unanet has always been focused on meeting the unique needs of customers in the professional services market, and we are excited to welcome Clearview to the team,” said Craig Halliday, CEO of Unanet. “Clearview’s leadership in the AE market combined with Unanet’s resources accelerate our ability to deliver on the next phase of growth. There is tremendous appetite in the market for an alternative to legacy ERP vendors. And, Unanet and Clearview’s proven software coupled with our exceptional customer service, provide the ideal choice for organizations seeking a better option.” “This is a fantastic opportunity for two leaders in Project-Based ERP to join forces and help professional services firms achieve better project outcomes for their customers,” said Matt Pantana, President and CEO of Clearview. “Our team of talented employees bring many years of experience in the AE sector and we look forward to joining Unanet.” Clearview will operate as a division of Unanet based in its present location in Lynchburg, VA. Clearview’s Matt Pantana will remain in his current position joining the Unanet management team. All employees will continue in their existing roles. About Unanet: Over 1,200 professional services organizations trust Unanet’s ERP platform to scale their businesses while drastically reducing G&A in a “Single Source of Truth”. Unanet delivers resource scheduling, budgeting & planning, time & expense reporting, billing & revenue recognition, real-time project management analytics and dashboards, GL, AP, AR,purchasing, cost pool calculations, and indirect allocations, in one integrated system. About Clearview: Clearview Software is the developer of InFocus, a comprehensive ERP system built for AE firms. InFocus offers time and expense entry, billing, project management, business analytics, and full project-based accounting. InFocus delivers unmatched ROI by automating key business workflows and aggregating timely information necessary for critical business decisions. To learn more, visit https://www.clearviewsoftware.com. Media contact: Richard Hayden Senior Vice President of Marketing, Unanet 703-689-9581
Clearview and Unanet Combine to Accelerate Development of InFocus
by Lucas HaydenA/E, GovCon, Professional Services, Unanet A/E News, Unanet News
Oct 17, 2019
Unanet, a leading SaaS project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provider, has acquired Clearview Software to continue and accelerate the development of InFocus as the leading project-ERP software for Architects & Engineers. Why Unanet? This is a strategic decision that included many factors. We have had no shortage of interested investors over the years, and while past opportunities presented to us meant potentially losing our culture and control of the direction of our product, with Unanet we are able to maintain our focus with additional resources. Additionally, what separated Unanet from the rest was our similarity in our culture and goals. Both we and Unanet have been bootstrapped, founder-owned and operated companies, and we are walking through this door together as we look to maximize our potential. Will InFocus continue to be supported and developed? Absolutely. We’re very excited about the opportunity to put more energy and effort into further developing InFocus. It was one of the major factors in choosing Unanet. We also just released a major InFocus update to all of our customers who received new features at no additional cost. We have more releases already scheduled for next year and are continuing our commitment to product development and support. Will Clearview be shifting its focus away from A/E? Absolutely not. We were looking for a partner that would help us serve more of the A/E market. By combining our resources with Unanet, we will be able to compete with legacy vendors in our market more effectively. There’s a lot of work to do here, and we’re very excited about that. What if I just bought InFocus? You made the right decision and your investment just appreciated in value. We strongly believe that our partnership with Unanet will drive InFocus forward in ways that would have been more difficult otherwise. Who do I contact for support now that Clearview is part of Unanet? Is my account manager changing? Nothing has changed on that front, and all Clearview staff members remain in place. Our current and future customers will continue to reach us at all of our previous contact methods and you will have all the same contact personnel as before. We are dedicated to continuing our excellence in customer service and have increased our support and sales staff in the recent weeks to support our planned growth. What does the future look like for Clearview? The future is bright! Clearview will now have access to more resources to develop and support our software than ever before. We plan to continue adding staff, features and support tools to help our customers run their firms on the best ERP software in the A/E industry.