How Consulting Firms Leverage Professional Services Automation (PSA) to Drive Profitability

Consulting firms today require a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution to power and ensure project success. This eBook will share the eight ways consulting firms can leverage automation to deliver top quality engagements and improve their profitability.

How Consulting Firms Leverage Professional Services Automation (PSA) Solution to Drive Profitability
How Consulting Firms Leverage Professional Services Automation (PSA) Solution to Drive Profitability

Discover these 8 essentials to improve your business, including why it’s important to:

  • Narrow your focus to increase win rates
  • Precisely track engagement finances
  • Gain visibility and control end-to-end

Content Summary

Narrow Your Focus to Increase Win Rates
Maximize Resources
Boost Profits with Precise Tracking of Engagement Finances
Streamline Payments to Increase Cash Flow
Gain Visibility and Control End-to-End
Make Best Practice, Standard Practice
Improve Pipeline Management
Enable Teamwork and Collaboration
Professional Services Automation underlies Consulting Firm Success

Consulting firms deal with innovative and challenging client engagements every day. However, the very things that make the diversity of work enjoyable can also make managing these engagements more difficult. From winning the right new business, to pricing and delivering high value work, firms require a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution to power and ensure project success.

Here are eight ways consulting firms are leveraging PSA solutions to deliver top quality engagements and improve their profitability.

Narrow Your Focus to Increase Win Rates

When you can tell which clients and types of engagements are the most profitable for your firm, your business development efforts will be more efficient because you can narrow your focus and create better cost estimates. Better information will also help you focus on the business that best matches your skill sets, so your win rates go up.

With PSA you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd and really impress prospective clients by providing past performance information that shows you excel in the type of work that matches their needs.

Maximize Resources

Your workforce is your most valuable asset, so it’s important to ensure this resource is being used effectively on revenue-generating work. Your profitability rates will increase significantly when you’re able to see how your staff is being utilized and ensure they’re assigned to work that’s generating revenue.

A PSA solution will help you schedule and manage resources and teams efficiently to increase the profitability of each engagement. Look for a solution with integrated time and expense tracking that is able to capture time with mobile devices.

Boost Profits with Precise Tracking of Engagement Finances

Pricing can be super-competitive these days because more businesses are competing for fewer engagements. Setting the right prices for bids will help you achieve better profit margins. To do so, you need visibility into historical project costs, performance, and risks. You also need to ensure your engagements are planned and executed well and that costs are in line with what you’ve forecasted.

A PSA solution will help you create accurate forecasts that support profitable bids, and ensure your engagements are delivered in a way that maintains margins, even as projects change. For full project financials, general ledger and revenue recognition capabilities, firms can add that to their PSA solution.

Streamline Payments to Increase Cash Flow

You’ll spend less time waiting for payment when you’re able to quickly create invoices that ensure labor and material costs are connected to the right level of each engagement. Transactions can be validated at the point of entry, which makes invoice creation more accurate, automated and predictable.

The right PSA system will streamline your billing and payment processes and provide the accuracy you need to ensure customers pay invoices on time, which will help to accelerate your cash flow.

Gain Visibility and Control End-to-End

If your existing systems are siloed, it can take days or weeks to pull together accurate information about schedules, costs, and profit by engagement. This frequently results in missed deadlines, budget overruns and backlog problems which can torpedo the profitability of an entire organization.

The right PSA solution will give you complete and timely visibility into engagement status and all the related risks and opportunities. It provides alerts to warn you about potential cost overruns and schedule slippages without having to wade through lengthy reports. With timely information, you can take proactive steps before issues have a chance to impact schedules, costs, revenues and margins.

Make Best Practice, Standard Practice

Staying on task and within budget requires project planning and budgeting tools to help you plan out the phases, tasks and budgets for each project. This level of detail is necessary to give your project managers the visibility they need to stay on task and within budget.

An integrated PSA system will help your firm implement strong, repeatable processes for delivering high quality engagements on time and within budget. It will enable you to establish best practices for project management, financial management, resource management, client management, forecasting, budgeting, and billing. PSA will provide real-time insight into all aspects of your business to help you manage risk, capitalize on opportunity, and drive profitable growth.

Improve Pipeline Management

Unlike standard customer relationship management (CRM) solutions that are designed for product-driven businesses, project-based pipeline management is designed to build estimates and quotes, and manage, track and forecast opportunities especially for consulting firms.

With PSA, your business development efforts will be faster, more targeted and more efficient. The end result? Higher win rates, more lucrative contracts and faster growth for your business.

Enable Teamwork and Collaboration

Although communication and collaboration tools make it easy to share information across the firm, organizing and acting upon all of this data can be challenging, especially for consulting firms. Often there are many people involved in a project, often in multiple locations, that need accurate, timely information to keep the engagement on track.

A PSA system with embedded social collaboration capabilities connects people working together on a project wherever they are and enables them to share conversations, tasks, events and files. When teams can collaborate effectively it streamlines project delivery and increases the likelihood projects will be completed on time and within budget.

Professional Services Automation underlies Consulting Firm Success

The SPI Research 2019 PS Maturity™ Benchmark study found that the top performing PS firms invest in PSA solutions to increase their focus on developing profitable new business and maximizing the profitability of every project. According to the report, “PSA improves service delivery, resource management, project management, and collaboration, while ensuring accurate and timely time and expense capture and billing. It provides the systems basis for initiation, planning, execution, control and close-out of projects.”

Service Performance Insight
Service Performance Insight

Source: Service Performance Insight, March 2019

The leading professional services firms experience 38% fewer project overruns than the rest.

The best professional services firms are able to pick and choose which projects they work on.

Source: Deltek