Where information means insight


Why Project Accounting Benefits Architects

by Lucas HaydenArchitecture and Engineering, Project Management

Apr 28, 2021

Project accounting is—or should be—the lifeblood of all project-based organizations, but architecture firms are a special breed. Because these firms balance multiple complex projects at once, many of which have different costs associated with them, proper project accounting often provides an extra challenge—and extra reward when done correctly. What is project accounting for architects, and why is it so important? In this blog, we will take a closer look. What is Project Accounting? Project accounting includes monitoring the finances, profitability, and resources of projects. Every direct or indirect cost should attribute directly to a project. Project accounting must be done at every stage of the project lifecycle, from initiation to execution to closeout. There’s a lot of overlap between project accounting and project management; the finances of the project hold a direct line to the status of the project, and more and more, Project Managers are expected to keep a pulse on the finances of projects, not just the logistics. The Benefits of Project Accounting for Architects Turning the corner and beginning to put project accounting best practices into place is certainly an adjustment for your business—but it’s well worth it. Why? As an architecture firm, projects are your business. When project teams are confident in knowing where each project stands, they’re confident in knowing where the financial health of the entire firm stands. Let’s walk through the smaller benefits that come together to form this big picture. Clarity and Control Over Projects Far too many projects start out with good intentions and what seems to be reasonable deadlines, then surprises and adjustments occur. The project team didn’t have the information available to predict or suggest these unexpected events and are left scrambling. Before you know it, the project is totally derailed, and it ends up being late and over budget. But, when project teams take the time to manage the financials of a project, it unlocks a new world of insight for your stakeholders. Project Managers and executives now have all the information they need at their fingertips to closely monitor project status. They can see current project costs, upcoming expenses, and how profitable the project is at any given time. They can see when the project is starting to creep into the red and quickly course correct to bring it back from the brink. An integrated, project-based ERP tool with real-time dashboards and custom reporting puts all project accounting information in one system and makes it even easier to get this crucial real-time data in front of your stakeholders. We will talk more about the role an ERP plays in achieving the benefits of project accounting later in this blog. Assigning the Right Resources at the Right Time An architecture firm’s most important resource is its people. They make projects come to life—both in conducting the actual project requirements and organizing the project accounting and logistics. Whether a project succeeds or fails is all about getting the right people staffed and funded accordingly. With accurate project accounting, Project Managers will know exactly how much money is set aside for staff salaries and other associated costs. This enables them to compare how many people they think they need for a project with how many they can reasonably hire and take action accordingly. Even better, they can understand the staff budget in context with the profitability and financial status of the entire project. They may discover the 30 employees they set money aside for might actually be too many and they can course correct and choose to allocate the extra money to strengthening other parts of the project. On the other hand, they may suddenly discover that the project is understaffed and can assess the status of the entire project to determine if and where they can pull money from and resolve it or if they need to have a larger discussion of adjusting the project scope. Cloud ERP solutions with project accounting functionality enable businesses to optimize their critical resources while forecasting future demands, costs, and planning capacity—helping to take the guesswork and manual effort out of resource management. Reduce Errors and Redundant Work Proper project accounting requires strong organization and regular monitoring of all projects. Once a firm gets into the habit of updating the project financial status as soon as changes happen, it provides key project stakeholders with the latest information and can reduce errors. For example, once an outstanding invoice receives payment, it should be marked as paid and the income should be reflected in the project reports right away. This will help reduce the chance of the Project Manager reaching out to the client again asking for payment and either causing tension with that client or resulting in payment being sent again. Project-based ERP systems are helping to automate project accounting for architects. Project teams can rely on automated calculations and data updates, helping to reduce data entry errors and redundant work. How a Project-Based ERP Brings it all Together Acting on project accounting best practices and transforming your firm’s processes might seem intimidating, especially for firms that manage their projects and financials in spreadsheets or legacy solutions. Proper project accounting requires that teams see the whole picture—not an easy task when they have to navigate a dozen spreadsheets and even more versions of the truth. Project-based ERP solutions open businesses up to a new world of automated project management, financials, and project accounting. Project data across the organization is captured and stored in a secure, central database that’s easily accessible by authorized users from any connected device to eliminate wasted hours spent updating and managing individual spreadsheets or hunting for information. By managing transactions, costs, and revenue in one single solution, every dollar is tied to a project and is updated in real-time, so stakeholders have visibility into the architecture firm’s health on demand. “We’ve achieved return on our investment in Unanet A/E with efficiency improvements alone – we can get the detailed financial data we need quickly, right when we need it. Unanet A/E has also added visibility and accountability. Now, every Project Manager knows exactly how much money is in their project budget and how much they’re spending, which is critical when you’re working big projects with tight budgets.” —Joseph Courtade, Director of Finance & Administration, Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers To learn more about project profitability and how a project-based ERP can automate the process, download our white paper.


The Importance of Remembering Your Employee’s Birthday

by Sarah LorekAEC, Architecture and Engineering, Construction, Cosential, CRM

Feb 18, 2020

const t="undefined"!=typeof HTMLImageElement&&"loading"in HTMLImageElement.prototype;if(t){const t=document.querySelectorAll("img[data-main-image]");for(let e of t){e.dataset.src&&(e.setAttribute("src",e.dataset.src),e.removeAttribute("data-src")),e.dataset.srcset&&(e.setAttribute("srcset",e.dataset.srcset),e.removeAttribute("data-srcset"));const t=e.parentNode.querySelectorAll("source[data-srcset]");for(let e of t)e.setAttribute("srcset",e.dataset.srcset),e.removeAttribute("data-srcset");e.complete&&(}}{"image":{"layout":"constrained","backgroundColor":"#f8d8c8","images":{"fallback":{"src":"/static/b76c28e35ae921ae2cf3edbe4fc5329f/00d3f/birthday.png","srcSet":"/static/b76c28e35ae921ae2cf3edbe4fc5329f/13ce0/birthday.png 141w,\n/static/b76c28e35ae921ae2cf3edbe4fc5329f/5ecf3/birthday.png 282w,\n/static/b76c28e35ae921ae2cf3edbe4fc5329f/00d3f/birthday.png 564w,\n/static/b76c28e35ae921ae2cf3edbe4fc5329f/85beb/birthday.png 1128w","sizes":"(min-width: 564px) 564px, 100vw"},"sources":[{"srcSet":"/static/b76c28e35ae921ae2cf3edbe4fc5329f/facfe/birthday.webp 141w,\n/static/b76c28e35ae921ae2cf3edbe4fc5329f/eef95/birthday.webp 282w,\n/static/b76c28e35ae921ae2cf3edbe4fc5329f/e706e/birthday.webp 564w,\n/static/b76c28e35ae921ae2cf3edbe4fc5329f/97f81/birthday.webp 1128w","type":"image/webp","sizes":"(min-width: 564px) 564px, 100vw"}]},"width":564,"height":296},"alt":"","className":"wp-image-41187 aligncenter inline-gatsby-image-wrapper","data-wp-inline-image":"1"} In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie has his famous fourth principle: “Become genuinely interested in people.” And one way he did that was by remembering everyone’s birthday. Carnegie famously kept a birthday book where he wrote down people’s birthdays, and when their day came he would send them a telegram or a letter. “What a hit I made!” he declared. “I was frequently the only person on earth who remembered.” Remembering your employee’s birthday is a great way to show that you are interested in them.But we get it. It’s impossible to remember everything. You have 100+ employees on several projects going on simultaneously, so many of them being subcontractors that you haven’t worked within months, not to mention new people on the job that you don’t know all that well. And on top of all that you have to pick up your son from the mall, drop your daughter off at her friend’s house, and go grocery shopping before dinner. Wait, when was the last time you had a checkup at the dentist? Or went to yoga? And taxes . . . Geez! Did you file your taxes yet?!?! Look, we are certainly not judging. Instead, what we are doing is helping. In Unanet’s user-friendly modules you can keep track of both your employees’ and your clients’ birthday. In Contact Manager, along with their birthday, you can store all of your client’s necessary personal information: phone number, email, credentials, recent projects, and any other relevant information. In the Personnel module, you can do the same thing with your employees—all their contact information, project experience, certifications, leads, and so forth, so you never have to slap your head and say, “Did I forget your birthday? I’m so sorry!” Remember the last time you were at work on your birthday, walking with your head down looking at a file trying to perform some calculation in your head. The last thing on your mind was the fact that it was your birthday, and then all of a sudden someone says, “Hey! Happy birthday!” And what did you do? You looked up with a huge smile on your face. Doesn’t it feel nice? (Unless, of course, you would prefer not remembering your birthday. But that’s another story entirely . . .) Remembering your employee’s birthday is a great way to show that you care. It’s a way to show your employees that you have a relationship with them beyond the lead metrics and projected sales revenues, that they’re people, just like you. If you are in need of a solution for your data, proposals, or customer relations we would love to show you our CRM. Book your demo now! Feel free to also reach out to our sales team here or call 800-505-7089 ext. 1 with any questions you may have. Here are other articles that may be of interest to you: Here’s How to Get Free Construction Leads Transform your address book with Unanet CRM by Cosential CallerID. Expert Advice: How to Make the Right Go/No Go Decision


Quick Tips to Improve your Go/No-Go Assessment

by Sarah LorekAEC, Architecture and Engineering, Construction, Cosential, Uncategorized

Jun 11, 2019

Quick Tips to Improve your Go/No-Go Assessment When designing your Go/No-Go process, it’s helpful to leverage the metrics you’re already tracking like relationship strength, competitive analyses, teaming partners, internal resources, hit rates, etc. to make more strategic decisions on which projects to chase. These questions will guide you toward building a Go/No-Go form to identify your firm’s winnable projects: Is the project in alignment with our Core Values? Do we have the staff available to take on the project? Do we have the marketing resources available? Is this a strategic owner, client, or prospect? Do we offer all the services in-house or do we have to contract them out? What is our relationship like with the client? Are we prepositioned for the RFP? What is the client payment activity like? Characterize our competitors’ relationships with the client? Is the contract with a developer or any other entity other than the owner? Is the project funded? Is a bid bond required or surety letter required? What are the project’s risk elements (i.e. schedule penalties)? If you’re using Unanets Go/No-Go functionality, you may want to add a workflow that alerts all necessary parties. Notify leaders if the score is too low so they can decide whether the project should be pursued Staff can be alerted when the score passes a certain threshold to take on next steps If the score is too high, leaders can be notified to confirm that the form was filled out accurately We hope these quick tips can help you make more informed decisions in your Go/No-Go strategy. Our clients have reported an increased hit rate and decrease in wasted resources after implementing a successful Go/No-Go process. If you are in need of a solution for your data, proposals, or customer relations we would love to show you our CRM. Book your demo now! Feel free to also reach out to our sales team or 800-505-7089 ext. 1 with any questions you may have. Here are other articles that may be of interest to you: Expert Advice: How to Make the Right Go/No Go Decision How to Get free Construction Leads Unique Project Costing Challenges for Architecture and Engineer firms Don’t forget about our resources page. It is packed full of whitepapers, case studies, ebooks and other goodies to help out your business.