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Budgeting & Forecasting

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What to Look for in a Billing and Invoicing Tool

by Kim Koster Budgeting & Forecasting, GovCon

Jun 06, 2019

As a professional services company, it is critical to be able to automate and shorten the bid-to-bill lifecycle. Professional services organizations need revenue recognition and billing to be completely in lock step. The concept of billing and invoicing does not need much explanation as we deal with bills continually in our daily lives. Billings/Invoices typically are a form that contain information like name, address, payment terms, a unique id, elements of cost, direct costs, and indirect costs applied. Choosing a billing and invoicing software can help you maintain accuracy and efficiency. But how do you find billing and invoicing software that will give your company all the features it needs for success? When looking for a tool, it is important to have… A time application that is a part of the project based ERP system so that billing can be done quickly Traceability of all transactions Ability to create multiple, standard invoice formats to be used across projects, showing summary or detailed level information Hide or show Cost Element detail on Cost Plus Invoices Include Fixed Price, Time & Materials, Pre-Bill Labor, and Additional Items on the same invoice Defer items from the current invoice for future invoicing Add one-time items such as additional fees or discounts   The Benefits of Billing and Invoicing Software Once your organization finds the right system, you will enjoy the following benefits: Billable expense markup ensures company or project-specific markups can be applied. Manage different contract types including Time & Materials, Fixed Price, Pre-Bill Labor and Cost Plus. Estimate and record what is billable, billed and earned. Enable review of draft invoices by project management roles. Manage bid-to-bill lifecycle in Unanet, or feed data to other systems Feed other systems with accounts receivable, or journal transactions at summary or detail level. Flexible invoice formats per project to reflect client needs and level of detail.   Streamline Your Billing and Invoicing Process with Unanet When searching for the perfect billing and invoicing software for your organization, Unanet is the clear choice. Our software can automate the “bid-to-bill” lifecycle, allowing your organization to forecast and track revenue across different contract types, and provide authorized managers with real-time insight. Our software promotes faster invoicing which in turn results in a faster closing of the books and reduced DSOs. By providing a single integrated system to manage the entire services bid-to-bill cycle, Unanet gives businesses the opportunity to replace their disparate standalone systems, resulting in greater productivity, fewer errors, lower costs, and less stress for your team.

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The Characteristics of an Adequate Project Budget

by Kim Koster Budgeting & Forecasting, Project Management

May 01, 2019

What is a Project Budget? A project budget is what a project based organization believes is financially achievable. The budget is a target which the organization sets for itself, and becomes management’s commitment to action. Establishing a comprehensive and realistic project budget is rarely a simple task. After all, how do you accurately predict and outline all the moving parts that are required for project success—such as resources, billable hours, and additional expenses—and allot enough money for each of these? An added challenge is that many of these necessary elements will change before the project reaches completion. The project may take longer than expected, a staff member involved with the project may leave the company, costly errors may need to be remedied, and more. Every project should have a performance management baseline (PMB) that becomes the basis for variance analysis to plan (Budget–Actuals). The budget is a living and breathing document and should be adjusted as scope changes. If the budget is out-of-date, it will not provide the metrics needed to analyze variances.   What Makes a Great Project Budget? How do you accomplish all this in your project budget? How do you anticipate all the potential changes and errors that will need to be fixed? While nobody can see the future, there are a few key qualities you can use to create your budget so that it can best adapt to any scenario. The characteristics of an adequate budget are: All scope is included—Budgeting tools have user-defined-fields (UDFs) so you can track the SOW or IMP references, ensuring you have all the scope budgeted. Scope comprehension is a big challenge. Correlated directly to the WBS which serves as a foundational structure for reporting on the project. Correlated directly to the schedule. The schedule also has a PMB and the schedule and the budget should correlate as far as time periods and resources. Time phased through the life of the project. The best practice would have the budget broken out at a minimum by month but could be done by week. The units (month or week) needed are driven by the nature of the business. The baseline assumptions are current, and changes are included as required. You want this to be a current representation of the work you are to accomplish. Who influences the project budget?   How Unanet’s Budgeting & Forecasting Software Can Help Is your team struggling to create a realistic, comprehensive budget that can adapt to the unknown? Budgeting and forecasting software can make establishing the project budget much easier. This software has quite a few benefits: Streamline project reporting by offering managers insight into true margin Provide capability for planners and project managers to budget using indirect rates Expedite real-time information and decision-making Forecast direct, indirect charges, and revenues Integrate Budgeting and Forecasting data with workforce assignment and actuals labor and expenses Achieve effective resource utilization and improved service levels, with lower overhead Understand capacity, revenue, cost, and work schedules Identify and load level overbooked resources Unanet offers budgeting and forecasting software for project based organizations to ensure their projects stay on track and they can reach their financial goals. Our software has helped over 2,000 customers stay on budget while achieving project success. Learn how we can make this happen for you in our ebook, Selecting an ERP for Professional Services Organizations.