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The Importance of Data for Project-Based Businesses

by Carrie MahonBusiness Development & Growth

Jun 03, 2021

Project-based organizations are built on and driven by data. Profit, cost, customer churn, pipeline, percent complete, win-loss rates—all of these and countless others are a vital part of the day-to-day. In order to make the important decisions that guide the business into the future, modern organizations need to harness and utilize data. It’s not enough to simply track this data, however; honing in on what metrics and KPIs are most valuable to your organization is what makes the difference between data overload and receiving actionable insights. As discussed in Unanet CEO Craig Halliday’s Inc. Magazine article “How to Find Metrics That Matter to Your Business,” organizations should learn how to strategically leverage the right data to drive the business forward: “Data should inform and galvanize, not confuse and paralyze. To get more of the former and less of the latter, my advice is to focus on a handful of high-level metrics that are simple, measurable and relevant to organizational objectives. Tune out the stuff that could be impactful but isn’t actionable, as well as the stuff that’s actionable but not impactful.” In the article, Halliday listed 5 of the big metrics SAAS businesses should keep an eye on: Customer experience metrics Employee engagement and experience metrics Annual recurring revenue Operating cash flow Community involvement Further, the metrics that organizations focus on must be informed by real-time data. If the data isn’t real-time, executives are left guessing on if they can trust the numbers in front of them. This makes it much harder to make the right strategic decisions. Only with real-time analytics can government contracting, architecture & engineering, and construction organizations turn information into insight, drive operational efficiencies, and connect and empower their people. To learn more about how real-time data can unlock insights and growth for your business, download our ebook, “The Business of Projects for Dummies.”

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Leveraging Good Data for Growth

by Kim KosterBusiness Development & Growth, GovCon

Apr 05, 2021

In general, GovCon firms either grow or shrink – no one stands still. Looking for an exit in a few years? Growth is essential. Looking for a capital infusion? Growth is essential. Shopping for a better deal on a line of credit? – Growth is essential. Buyers, investors, and lenders are all becoming more sophisticated and they are always risk averse. They want to see that you can leverage the data from your systems to produce information and use that information to fuel growth. They also want to see that you have tools and processes that are capable and scalable. And that includes keeping the cost of those processes as low as practical so you can win the contracts you pursue and use all the information at your disposal to pick the right targets to pursue. Bottom line: Growth is essential, and good data will get you there. Growth Driver #1: Good Decisions Whether it’s a decision on where to make the next training or BD investment, which of three or four or five opportunities to pursue, or even whether to continue chasing a procurement when conditions have changed, fact-based decision making is the only path to success. Your ERP system should be able to give you data on cost of past performance for the same or similar efforts. It should be able to tell you which customers are profitable (and which are not). In fact, it should be able to give you a broad range of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on everything from your current projects’ profitability to the trend of your indirect rates. These KPIs should be some of the factors you consider when deciding where to go next. Your win rate on previous proposal efforts should also be available – by customer, by line of business, or even by your internal business units. If not, why not? What you should know: Approximately 60% of firms use data analytics to boost process efficiency 57% of businesses leverage analytics to drive strategy Just over 50% of successful businesses use analytics to monitor and improve financial performance (Source: Business Analytics. Harvard Business School. 2019.) Data analytics can help GovCons target opportunities more accurately Analytics can also surface hidden costs and keep the indirect rates in the “win territory” How you can succeed: Make sure your systems can calculate your KPIs continuously and in real time so that information is available on demand when you need it and not “two weeks after the close” or “once a quarter.” Look for a tool that gives your users an experience with reports and dashboards that they can manage themselves Standardize your KPIs across teams and departments so everyone is looking at the same information Train your teams on reading and interpreting the KPIs to make the information actionable Whether it’s cost control, indirect rate trends, portfolio management or pipeline tracking, make sure the metrics you track actually matter. A few KPIs that deliver clear insights will be better than dozens that users have to dig through. Growth Driver #2: Better Proposals Proposal writing is always a challenge, always important, and increasingly difficult to manage. The RFP response is the difference between getting an award or not and many GovCon firms lack the processes required to consistently write a winning proposal. It’s not just the technical volume. Showcasing your subject matter expertise and experience is just the start. In today’s environment, you also have to price to win and that means knowing how your rates will be impacted by a win, what staff resources will be available to perform the work, and how a win might affect other ongoing work. Guessing at any of these factors, even if it is an informed guess, may not be a winning approach. Worse, even if your proposal is selected for award, a wrong guess could make your hard-won contract a losing proposition. It all comes back to what you know and whether you can leverage that information to help you win. What you should know: 77% of firms say individual awards make up a significant portion of their revenue Nearly 70% of companies win less than half the contracts they bid on 66% of GovCons still use Excel to estimate their costs, even though they realize a need for better technology Over 20% of contractors had a negative growth rate in 2020 Source: Unanet GAUGE Report 2020. How you can succeed: Understand the scope of the project and use that understanding to build a work breakdown structure (WBS) for it Estimate the resources required to perform the work and make sure the timing of resource availability works. If all the people with the right skill sets aren’t available when and where you need them, develop a contingency plan for their acquisition Pay special attention to your estimates of personnel costs for staff not currently available. You can use To Be Determined (TBD) placeholders in your proposal (assuming it’s not for key personnel) but be sure the cost rate for those resources is realistic. There should be a lot of cost information available from your ERP system on similar past projects. Use it to benchmark your cost volume. It may tell you that the work can be done for less than you think. It may tell you that your proposal is consistent with prior projects, but make sure conditions haven’t changed. If that kind of information isn’t available, ask yourself why not. Growth Driver #3: Proposal Responsiveness Proposals often aren’t “one and done.” No one would dispute that the initial proposal submission should be absolutely the best you can do. Sometimes there’s no second chance, especially if the evaluation is Low Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA). But just as often, there will be amendments to the solicitation requiring a revised proposal. Sometimes it’s just a matter of clarifications or a change in the terms and conditions. Sometimes there is a substantive change in the government’s requirements. It’s not as common as it once was, but a round of Best and Final Offers (BAFOs) still occurs and the larger the procurement, the more likely that may be. It seems sometimes that a BAFO is nothing more than a mechanism to drive the price down – especially if there are multiple rounds of BAFOs on the same procurement. (Yes, that does happen.) The point is, refining the estimate, confirming availability of resources, or looking for alternative resources that might be more cost effective are all activities that should continue even after the proposal is in the hand of the Contracting Officer. You wouldn’t do that on a 90-day delivery order, especially if it’s a follow-on. But on a major procurement for a new customer or a must-win recompete? Definitely. And when it’s time to reprice, restaff or update the technical volume, the one thing you can count on is that the time allowed will be about half what it should be. Be prepared. And part of that is using tools that streamline that process. Manually updating proposals for changes, whether it’s a minor time shift or a major change in technical approach, can be time-consuming and error prone. What you should know: LPTA made up 28% of proposals for the respondents versus Best Value Over 50% of firms say their BD teams are under-resourced Companies with the highest win rates recognize the need for BD reporting tools Mid-Sized Businesses are using GWACs, MACs and similar vehicles for more than 32.5% of their annual revenue Source: Unanet GAUGE Report 2020. How you can succeed: Research matters: Know the customer before the solicitation is on the street – at least enough to know if your capabilities and qualifications are a fit for what they need. If it looks like your services are a stretch, don’t spin your wheels and waste resources chasing a low probability win. Standardize the criteria for your Probability of Win (Pwin) assessments and make those part of your “go/no go” decisions at every step. And, yes, reassess at every step. Don’t hesitate to cut your losses if conditions change. Research matters: Don’t rely on the solicitation to tell you everything you should know about the customers’ requirements. Every SOW has an unwritten subtext. The more you know about the customers’ real, day-to-day problems, the better equipped you will be to read between the lines of that solicitation. Research matters: Talk to the customers even after the proposal is in – just be careful not to violate the communication protocols of the procurement. When a solicitation amendment comes out that changes everything, well prepared offerors already know why it’s happening and how to react. Make sure your tools are up to the job. Managing three, four, or even five simultaneous active proposals is possible even with a manual process. What about 10 or 20? Whether it’s for estimating and pricing or technical volume management, put the infrastructure in place before the process becomes a problem. Want to learn more about GovCon strategies for success? Download the 2021 GovCon Success Guide for tips and best practices that will drive your firm to increased profitability.

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Champions Conference 2021 to Deliver Value-Laden Sessions, Networking and Interaction at Revamped, Enhanced Virtual Experience

by Carrie MahonBusiness Development & Growth, Cosential, Unanet A/E News, Unanet News

Mar 26, 2021

Keynote to feature Chief Engineer for NASA Mars mission DULLES, VA, March 26, 2021 — Registration for Champions Conference 2021 is now open. This year’s Unanet and Cosential user conference will take place virtually June 15-16, 2021 and will demonstrate how the two companies’ solutions are Built to Win. The user conference will be the first time Unanet and Cosential combine forces for a comprehensive, interactive event that brings extensive ERP and CRM tools, knowledge and engagement to Unanet and Cosential users. In addition to the value-laden agenda, activities and sessions, Champions Conference 2021: Built to Win will feature Dr. Adam Steltzner, Chief Engineer for the NASA Mars 2020 Mission’s Rover Perseverance that successfully landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. Dr. Steltzner will present, “Into the Unknown: How Leadership, Ingenuity, and Perseverance Put a Rover on Mars.” “This year especially, our customers need energizing and useful ways to connect with each other via live video and audio. In addition to our exciting keynote speaker, this year’s conference will deliver a robust, engaging and interactive experience,” said Jeff Davison, Chief Customer Officer, Unanet. “With the important addition of Cosential, we have an even larger Unanet family now, giving us three times as many sessions as we’ve hosted in previous years and the ability to discuss integrations and future innovations. Customers will get unprecedented value.” Champions 2021: Built to Win will feature product roadmap deep dives, speed learning, access to Unanet’s experts as part of the Consulting Corner, peer networking and a virtual exhibit hall. Interactive sessions will allow attendees to hop from table to table, floor to floor, to engage in real-time with experts and peers. More than 1,000 attendees are expected to attend, all of whom will gain access to event sessions through a new online hub where they can easily navigate with search and filters. Guest speakers will share their best practices and innovation in using Unanet GovCon, Unanet A/E and Cosential to support every phase of the project lifecycle and improve growth. Topics include analytics and reporting, innovative integrations, business development, finance and accounting, project management, and more. Premier sponsors for the 2021 event include Cordia Partners, Paylocity, and OpenAsset. Additional event sponsors include GovConPay by Payroll Network, Cherry Bekaert CPAs & Advisors, Aronson LLC, Bloomberg Government, BDO, Strategic Consulting Solutions, BOOST LLC, Palmer Consulting Group, WJ Technologies, Outsourced Accounting Services, CKearney Consulting, LLC, Technik Solutions Group, CohnReznick, and NFP. For more information and to register for Champions Conference 2021: Built to Win, visit www.championsconference.com. Early bird registration ends May 15. About Unanet Unanet is a leading provider of ERP solutions purpose-built for Government Contractors, A/E, and Professional Services. More than 3,100 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 at @UnanetTech on Twitter and Unanet-Technologies on LinkedIn. About Cosential The industry continues to see upward motions of digital transformations and Cosential has been leading the charge in that movement by being the only growth platform that goes beyond a CRM in owning the pre-sales process for market leaders winning business in the AEC industry. Cosential has spent the last 20+ years tailoring their platform’s robust CRM, and powerful proposal generation features to the construction and related industries- empowering Business Developers, Marketers, Executives, and select Project Teams to own, enrich, and leverage their firm-owned data.

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Unanet Forms Exclusive Partnership with Flowtrac for New Inventory Management Functionality with ERP

by Lucas HaydenBusiness Development & Growth, Press Releases, Unanet A/E News, Unanet News

Mar 08, 2021

Integration provides enhanced management, payment and mobile capabilities for project-based businesses DULLES, VA, March 8, 2021  — Unanet, the leading SaaS project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provider, today announced a new technology partnership with Flowtrac, the leading inventory and asset management software. The partnership will enable Unanet’s government contractor (GovCon) and architecture and engineering (A/E) customers to seamlessly integrate the Flowtrac functionality into their project-based ERP for a more comprehensive project management experience. Flowtrac will be a preferred inventory partner for Unanet and will be integrated with Unanet Connect, the ERP industry’s first and only open integration marketplace and platform. Joint customers will gain operational efficiencies, access to real-time changes in inventory counts and KPIs to access inventory usages. “Inventory and asset management perfectly complement project-based ERP, and only Unanet has the real-time capability to maximize the Flowtrac integration,” said Stacy Tate, President, Flowtrac. “With our leading software, customers will have several benefits including simplified accounting, where assets and inventory information flows directly from Flowtrac into Unanet.” “Enterprises need the ability to connect and integrate their specialized software, while still having a complete, real-time picture of their business,” said Assad Jarrahian, chief product officer, Unanet. “We’re bringing best-in-class integrations directly to our customers to simplify the entire process so they have a seamless, plug-and-play solution. We’re proud to be the only project-based ERP provider to partner with Flowtrac so we can deliver the best experience possible to GovCon and A/E businesses.” Unanet Connect delivers more than 100 pre-built application connectors that can be implemented at scale with an accelerated time to value. Customers gain a highly automated enterprise with increased efficiencies across systems, processes and teams, from sales to projects, expenses to payments, hiring to payroll and operations. About UnanetUnanet is a leading provider of project-based ERP and CRM solutions purpose-built for Government Contractors, AEC, and Professional Services. More than 3,100 project-driven organizations depend on Unanet to turn their information into actionable insights, drive better decision-making, and accelerate business growth. All backed by a people-centered team invested in the success of your projects, people, and financials. Learn more at www.unanet.com

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Why We Chose Unanet: Melwood, Inc. 

by Kim KosterBusiness Development & Growth, GovCon, News and Announcements

Feb 24, 2021

Part of an ongoing blog series highlighting the decision to select Unanet’s ERP solution over other options.  The firm: A D.C.-area nonprofit that supports children, youth and adults with differing abilities to work and play where and how they choose. Melwood, Inc. provides employment, job training, life skill improvement, supportive and recreational services to more than 2,000 people with differing abilities each year.  To continue its mission and impact of helping train, employ and empower people with differing abilities, Melwood needed a solution to efficiently manage their projects and other operations.  When searching for the right software, Melwood looked for an all-in-one solution that would allow them to streamline their processes, and provide a people-centered support team that truly understood their unique needs and operations.  According to Greg Arteen, Melwood’s Vice President of the Information Systems Group, “With so many of our team members working on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, it was important to us that we streamline our processes without disrupting the normal course of business in order to help our employees stay focused on what matters – keeping our federal workforce safe by providing them clean and sanitized workspaces so they continue doing the work of the nation.”  Melwood will leverage Unanet’s ERP for a variety of important compliance functions including DCAA Compliance and SCA/CBA labor costing, and will also leverage Unanet’s contract management, finance and inventory functions, among others.   Melwood will also use Unanet Connect, the industry’s first and only open ERP integration platform, to incorporate Melwood’s existing timekeeping software with Unanet. Melwood employees frequently rely on punch clocks for timekeeping, rather than complex web or mobile applications, and by integrating Unanet with Melwood’s existing timekeeping functions, Melwood can easily maintain its existing procedures while more efficiently managing the outcomes.

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D.C.-based Nonprofit Melwood Selects Unanet for ERP Solutions

by Kim KosterBusiness Development & Growth, GovCon, Unanet News

Feb 24, 2021

February 24, 2021– Unanet, the leading SaaS project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provider, was chosen by Melwood, Inc., a D.C.-area nonprofit and one of the largest employers of people of differing abilities in the country, as its project-based ERP provider. Unanet will enable Melwood to efficiently manage projects and other operations so it can continue its mission of helping train, employ and empower people with differing abilities. As a nonprofit that receives federal funding, Melwood will leverage Unanet’s ERP for a variety of important compliance functions including DCAA Compliance and SCA/CBA labor costing. Additionally, the organization will leverage Unanet’s contract management, finance and inventory functions, among others. Additionally, a critical component of Melwood’s decision to work with Unanet was the software’s ability to integrate with the nonprofit’s timekeeping software through Unanet Connect, the industry’s first and only open ERP integration platform. Melwood employees frequently rely on punch clocks for timekeeping, rather than complex web or mobile applications, and by integrating Unanet with Melwood’s existing timekeeping functions, Melwood can easily maintain its existing procedures while more efficiently managing the outcomes. Another reason Melwood chose Unanet is for its attentive and professional service team, which took the time to truly understand Melwood’s needs and tailor a solution that worked for their unique and specific operations. According to Greg Arteen, Melwood’s Vice President of the Information Systems Group, “With so many of our team members working on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, it was important to us that we streamline our processes without disrupting the normal course of business in order to help our employees stay focused on what matters – keeping our federal workforce safe by providing them clean and sanitized workspaces so they continue doing the work of the nation.” “Melwood’s mission is extraordinary and it’s gratifying that Unanet’s ERP solution was chosen to help further their important work,” said Craig Halliday, CEO, Unanet. “We are the alternative to the status quo in ERP technology, and to impersonal service. For us, it’s rewarding beyond measure to have such an esteemed and important organization select Unanet as its ERP partner.” About Unanet Unanet is a leading provider of ERP and CRM solutions purpose-built for Government Contractors, AEC, and Professional Services. More than 3,100 project-driven organizations depend on Unanet to turn their information into actionable insights, drive better decision-making, and accelerate business growth. All backed by a people-centered team invested in the success of your projects, people, and financials. For more information, visit www.unanet.com.

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No Business Card? No Problem. Create Leads On-the-Go

by Kellye KingAEC, Business Development & Growth, Cosential, CRM

Jan 21, 2021

You need smart technology that fits in your pocket. According to JB Knowledge’s 2020 Technology Report, 92% of the construction industry uses a smartphone daily for work. Think about it, business developers and seller-doers are truly on-the-go while out nurturing prospects in meetings, or on calls – but how many of those Leads come with a business card, and if they do, which desk drawer are they getting stockpiled in after-the-fact?   No one wants to lose out on key opportunity data from the various contacts they’re interacting with by holding that lead information hostage in an email thread, jacket pocket, or piling it onto their institutional knowledge center (that’s right – keeping it locked in their memory). But, they also don’t have time to stop and create additional tasks for themselves at the end of the day. Manual data entry isn’t a very scalable or efficient way to pursue business. Over time, Business Developers forget, miss out, and rarely find the information needed to be put to good use.   Simply put – momentum to capture the market is lost when key pursuit data is stockpiled in disjointed systems.   You need a solution made for how you spend your time – we know the fastest way to bring teams and their data together is to enable the way you execute project pursuits today. Firms need a solution that meets Business Developers in the moment of capturing critical milestones in a pursuit, so no time is wasted chasing the wrong business or being strapped in at a desk manually inputting old business card data.   That’s why mobile matters when it comes to your CRM data, and Unanet CRM by Cosential’s take on User Experience is unmatched in the industry. In fact, since Unanet CRM by Cosential for Mobile’s debut in The New Business Development Experience, well over 20 enhancements have been dedicated to our mobile app alone, continuously up-leveling the on-the-go experience. Today, you can grow and enhance your Contacts, understand your connections and business insights, and now even create Leads right on the spot with Unanet CRM by Cosential for Mobile. No business card scan needed.   “Mobile matters. AEC needs smart technology that fits in their pocket. Our dedication to building an unparalleled mobile experience in AEC for our users enables them to take technology to-go. Unanet CRM by Cosential’s approach to meeting Business Developers and Seller-Doers where they are, in the real-life context of how they spend their day has been proven as the right choice to drive user adoption.” Lisa Pitts, Product Manager at Unanet     It just got easier to drive ahead with business pursuits while you’re on-the-go. With Unanet CRM for Mobile’s latest feature, you can take Leads to-go:  Create leads without a business card scan.   Search for a Lead while you’re on-the-go.  Create Call Logs from a Lead straight from your phone.  View a list of all Leads right in the palm of your hand.      Learn  how easy it is to drive ahead with business pursuits while you’re on-the-go with Unanet CRM  for Mobile: download the  Unanet CRM for Mobile Product Overview  for  iOS  and  Android.  

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You Can Now Do Even More With Your Pipeline

by Kellye KingAEC, Business Development & Growth, CRM

Aug 14, 2020

As a Business Developer, you need a platform that makes it easy to breathe strategic insights throughout the entire lifecycle of your project pursuits — but where does that happen during the key juncture when a casual business connection you’ve been exchanging communication with develops into a full-blown opportunity for your firm?   No surprises here, it’s likely your inbox. Email is a way of life. It’s so ingrained into daily habits that it’s hard to imagine how to nurture relationships and close business without it. The great thing is, with Unanet CRM by Cosential, you don’t have to.  Since the recent debut of The New Business Development Experience – introducing entirely new ways to drive forward with business pursuits – we haven’t stopped meeting Business Developers in areas where their daily habits already thrive.   “This is helpful. I’m an engineer, so this would be where I’m mostly involved. When you talk about the business development team… everyone who is an Engineer is in [Business]Development, so, in a sense we need to get a license for everyone here. [Unanet CRM for Outlook] tracks Leads and submittals that are related to Me.”–Strategy & BD Principal, at an award-winning geotechnical engineering firm. Unanet CRM for Outlook allows you to maintain your pipeline in one place and jumpstart growth by feeding your system of record up-to-date, accurate, information seamlessly– all within the context of your inbox. With over 15 dedicated enhancements to our Opportunity Management features, you can now do even more in your pipeline without ever leaving your email, including these new stand-out capabilities:  Easily drag and drop Opportunities to closed stages to streamline your pipeline view. Quickly identify which pursuit needs your attention and create Call Logs bringing key stats straight to the Opportunity card. Bundle up critical connection insights by linking Opportunity, Client Owner, and Company details to Call Logs straight from an Opportunity card within Pipeline view. Learn how easy it is to leverage Outlook and Cosential together to instantly access meaningful contact and pursuit data at your fingertips.  Download the Unanet CRM by Cosential for Outlook Overview.

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Could Your Small Business Benefit Big from Runway Rules for Government Contracts?

by Kim KosterBusiness Development & Growth, GovCon

Jan 15, 2020

Recent initiatives adopted by the U.S. Small Business Administration to act on 2018 legislation are expected to open the door for more small businesses to vie for federal government contracts. Enacted by SBA in January 2020, the long-awaited rules implement provisions of the Small Business Runway Extension Act of 2018. As detailed in a 2019 Unanet-sponsored webinar on recent legislative and regulatory developments impacting small businesses, the law extends the look-back period for calculating the size of a business (based on annual revenue using receipts-based size standards) from three fiscal years to five fiscal years. Here at Unanet, we expect this “runway” extension will be a positive for small businesses by essentially enabling more companies to stay within the small business size standard for the purposes of competing for federal contracts. In particular, it may enable companies that have experienced a recent surge in annual revenue to retain their small business status and thus their eligibility for small business set-asides. For more on the law and the new rules that implement it, check out this article in Government Executive. Want to tap into Unanet’s expertise in small business government contracting for a deeper understanding of the new rules and how your company may benefit from them? Get in touch! We’re here to help!

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Cash is King for Government Contractors: How to Accelerate Cash Flow

by Kim KosterBusiness Development & Growth, GovCon

Nov 05, 2019

The ability to generate positive cash flow is important for a government contractor to create value and for so many small businesses, lack of cash can result in failure. Profitability is a good sign, but it’s not sustainable if the profits are stuck in accounts receivable (AR). There are two important metrics you can use to evaluate cash flow: Days sales outstanding (DSO): the number of days between making a sale and collecting payment – calculated for the year by dividing AR by Annual Sales and multiplying by 365. Invoice cycle in days: the number of days between the beginning of the billing process and customer acceptance. Keeping these numbers as low as possible ensures that your company can put cash to use more quickly. Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) In the 2019 GAUGE Report, 70% of respondents reported DSO below 45. Contractors are focused on reducing DSO, which has improved from last year in the <46-day categories for companies of all revenue scales. Breaking it down by revenue scale, companies with higher revenues tend to have higher DSO. Among those with revenue up to $25M, 80% have DSO below 45, compared to just 37% of companies with revenue above $101M. Compare your DSO to others in your revenue band. Are you better or worse than the respondents? Invoice Cycles Since last year, invoice cycles are 12% better in the <11-day categories, which signals a concentration on process and tool selection. The faster you can invoice, the faster you can turn your cash. Errors in the invoice cycle can slow down the process and keep you from being paid. As government contractors, you will need to make sure you are current on the regulations and have all your I’s dotted and T’s crossed. Breaking it down again by revenue scale, we see trends similar to DSO. The speed of invoice cycles for companies with up to $25M of annual revenue surpassed the other revenue scales in the survey. Compare your invoice cycle to others in your revenue band. Are you better or worse than the respondents? Characteristics of an ERP with Cash Acceleration in Mind Cash is king for government contractors! As a GovCon, it is critical to be able to automate and shorten the bid-to-bill lifecycle and to keep revenue recognition and billing completely in lock step. When looking for a tool, it is important to have: A time application that is part of the project based ERP system so that billing can be done quickly Traceability of all transactions Multiple, standard invoice formats to be used across projects, showing summary or detailed level information Ability to hide or show cost element detail on Cost Plus invoices Ability to include Fixed Price, Time & Materials, Pre-Bill Labor, and Additional Items on the same invoice Ability to defer items from the current invoice for future invoicing Ability to add one-time items such as additional fees or discounts After switching to Unanet, Phase One Consulting Group completes all month-close procedures in 5 to 7 days, reduced their invoicing process from 20 to 7 days, and improved DSO from 60 to 50. To learn more about cash acceleration for your government contracting organization, read Unanet and CohnReznick’s 2019 GAUGE Report. The GAUGE Report is a valuable benchmarking tool for GovCons who seek deep insights into industry practices and metrics. Download your copy today!

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Unlocking Growth Strategies

by Kim KosterBusiness Development & Growth, Professional Services

Aug 07, 2019

Using your financials to make sound business decisions and craft growth strategies. Growing is the goal of most businesses. What is difficult is formulating a plan to make the growth a reality. Where do you start? The answer is in the financials, both past and current. Best in class companies know that using financial information and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) is the key to unlocking growth strategies. This blog will help you understand how to use financial information to find possibilities for growth. Data Quality Data quality deserves its own discussion because without it, there are no reliable KPIs. Here are some tips that will help ensure that you can gather reliable financial data that can be used confidently for making critical business decisions: Treat data like any other asset Use an integrated system (system = people, processes, and tools) Establish processes and procedures Train team members on tools and processes Have the discipline to enforce process adherence Have both historical and current data accessible to decision makers Good quality data can be put to work to help unlock growth strategies with the six steps below.  Define the KPIs that help drive your strategy Use internal and external benchmarks Look for trends in the data Account for Anomalies Take the time to probe deeper Utilize an Integrated Tool Set STEP 1 – Define the KPIs that help drive your growth strategy What is your overall strategy? Is it to grow a by a certain % over time? Or to grow a specific region or product line? Once a basic strategy is defined then associated KPIs can be identified. For instance:  If the desire is to grow 30% in 3 years the Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is a KPI that can be utilized. If the goal is to grow one product line then looking at profitability and CAGR for each of the business portfolios would be an indicator of which product line to invest in. STEP 2 – Use internal and external benchmarks Benchmarking is a great methodology to look internally and externally to see what others are doing to be successful. Internal benchmarking across divisions, departments, portfolios can be very helpful. Unfortunately, many companies are still siloed with varying processes and procedure and disparate systems making the exchange of information difficult. External benchmarking can be very powerful and there is no prep or manipulation of the data internally ultimately saving money and time. Why is benchmarking externally so important? Gives a perspective of the overall industry Provides an understanding of what others are doing to be successful Produces ideas for improvement Makes the company more competitive Helps win more business and grow the organization STEP 3 – Look for trends in the data Data analysis is the process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and modeling data with the goal of discovering useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision-making. It requires that you look for patterns and relationships within the data. For instance, when looking at labor forecasts or utilization there will likely be more vacation taken in June, July, and December. Looking at trends will help you have a better understanding of the data and what it is telling you. Step 4 – Account for anomalies Look for special occurrences in the data. Occurrences like a huge snow storm that shuts the office down for a week resulting in no billable work performed should be analyzed and understood. It may not snow that much for another 20 years so make sure that does not skew the data you are making decisions from. Step 5 – Take the time to dig deeper KPIs are great but is can be worthwhile to understand what the underlying data looks like. An example is that the overall company profit rate was 10% and that is great! It would be important to drill down further to see what each portfolios and project contribution is to that number. You may have one portfolio that is excelling and other that is dragging down the average. Growth will likely happen in the successful portfolios and projects. Step 6 – Use an integrated tool set A fully integrated system will assure that the data is linked together properly increasing the probability of the data being correct. There will be no manual efforts to mash the data together from disparate systems. The “mashing” takes labor to join the data into one source costing money and introducing human error. Integrated systems like Unanet give you an all-inclusive look at financial data and there are easy to use reports and dashboards that provide all of the information you need to develop a growth strategy backed by great quality data.

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Tips for Developing Key Performance Indicators for Your Organization

by Kim KosterBusiness Development & Growth

Apr 16, 2019

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it! And if your organization is not measuring its performance, how can you hope to improve? Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) serve as important measures of your organization’s progress. They provide actionable insights to help you run your business on one single screen. These can be invaluable benchmarks that your team can use to determine if you are on track to reach your project and financial goals, giving you a clear path to growth. The Advantages of Key Performance Indicators They allow you to focus on corporate and strategic goals Real-time information gives you the ability to be proactive vs. reactive You can study lessons learned so improvements can be made in the future They provide insight into what types of projects to chase Tips for Developing KPIs It is clear that KPIs can greatly benefit organizations, but how can you ensure your KPIs are the best for your company? Some organizations use common KPIs within their industry. While this can be valuable for gauging industry-wide success, your organization will not grow efficiently unless you develop KPIs specific to your company’s resources, needs, and goals. Naturally, no two organizations’ key performance indicators will look exactly the same, but here are a few general tips for making sure your KPIs are a good fit: Avoid KPI multiplying—KPIs should reflect overall corporate goals The data quality must be good to have accurate indicators The person responsible for the KPI must have direct control over results Relevance to all levels of the organization KPIs should be in simple terms Benchmark both externally and internally Collect lessons learned and learn from the past Utilize a system that has easy access to KPIs that are real-time and accurate Examples: Utilization, %Complete, Earned Value, Gross Margin%, Net Margin%, Burn Rate, etc. In addition, you must make sure that your KPIs are not vague, abstract goals you hope to achieve someday. You need clear, actionable performance indicators that your team will use as benchmarks on the path to success. Each KPI you create should have the following details outlined: Concrete, specific details about what you hope to achieve. Goals that are realistic for your organization. Many organizations think too big and cannot reach these goals within their current means. A way to measure your progress. Do not think in abstract terms. Establish a system where each KPI is measured with thorough, real-time data. A realistic deadline by which you will complete your goal. Define benchmarks by which parts of the project or goal will be completed to keep you on track every step of the way. Define and Measure Your Key Performance Indicators with Unanet ERP software like Unanet is designed to help your organization manage its projects, people, and financials to promote project success and company growth. Unanet provides real-time insights and data that project managers, directors, and CEOs alike can use to measure their organization’s progress and make changes when needed. With an ERP system streamlining your processes, you can watch your business thrive and break new ground. To learn more about how Unanet’s project based ERP system can benefit your business, download our ebook, The Business of Projects for Dummies.