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6 Reasons Your Professional Services Firm Needs an ERP Solution

6 Reasons Your Professional Services Firm Needs an ERP Solution

“Time is money:” an old saying but speaks to the truth especially for professional services industries.  Professional services firms need a system that does more than just “track time;”  they need an ERP solution to keep up with their complicated project accounting processes. Project-based businesses like architects, engineering firms, attorneys, accountants, and consultants need to satisfy a slew of accounting requirements while also meeting the needs of project managers and their customers. Make sure you have the tools to manage all kinds of projects, but that also have a full accounting perspective to provide real-time data and insights into your projects.

Let’s look at six of the amazing benefits you can expect for your professional service business with a modern ERP solution.

Best-in-Class Security

ERP cloud-based software gives you the best in security.  Sure, you might hear about data attacks and vulnerabilities, but usually those threats are obsolete with cloud subscriptions. Cloud-based backups allow you to restore your data to the instance from moments before any attack.  Think of it this way: rather than having your own in-house IT security expert, you are getting the security expertise from Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.  Rest assured, your data is safe from external security threats and hackers and is always available to your employees and departments 24×7. Not only are you getting an ERP solution, but you are also getting state-of-the-art security for your data.

Better Billing

Accurate billing is one of the most common issues for all professional service firms.  Due to the project-based nature of business, it’s crucial to record actual time spent on billable work.  If you don’t, you’re missing out on hard-earned cash.  With the right ERP solution, your business can track billable activities easily and accurately, knowing exactly how much time you spent on each client.  This is crucial for accurate billing and ensures you are not missing any billable hours.  With an ERP system in place, improved billing processes can help increase profits without extra work.

Stronger Internal Communication

Create a clearer decision-making process by having all departments share the same information in real-time.  Now, everyone will have up-to-the-minute data which helps to facilitate better communication between departments. Misunderstandings and communication gaps between employees can be costly for any organization.  Now, all departments can access the same reliable information and work in sync with each other without any barriers – a true single source of truth.

Simplify the Complex

Each client and every client project is highly unique, but they have things in common.  Whether it’s a legal firm or engineering engagements, all require a high level of detail, tracking progress accurately, timely expense reporting, and proper invoicing. With the right ERP solution, you can give all these unique projects and clients a single profile.  Assign and track expenses with ease.  Add in project notes to be shared with the team, manage change orders, resource levels, and get an overall picture of your project and business with a single dashboard.  You need a system that can give you visibility into your business for more effective and efficient decision-making.

Bucket of BrushesProject Management Toolset

Employees are most important asset for any professional service business.  Being able to choose the right people for the right projects are crucial, but so is tracking progress, performance and time.  Learn how a modern ERP solution, with built-in project accounting and project management tools can help give you greater visibility into the health of your business.  Easily monitor workloads and your resources, ensuring customer satisfaction is number one.

Automate Manual Tasks

One of the most advantageous benefits of an ERP solution is its ability to automate many time-consuming tasks that used to be done manually. Automating activities like invoicing, payroll, expense calculations, and timesheets not only saves time in the office, but also reduces the potential for human errors to occur.

We recommend Acumatica for your professional service business. This modern ERP solution offers everything you need to help run a smooth, successful, and growing business. Read how Acumatica has helped other Professional Services firms.

Learn why IntraCostal Environmental (ICE) chose Acumatica for their ERP platform. Or how choosing Acumatica for their ERP solution has helped Lifeway Mobility grow to be one of the top providers of accessible solutions and home modifications.

Acumatica vs. Sage for SMBs

Acumatica vs. Sage for SMBs

Overview

Choosing the right ERP solution for your business is a crucial business decision. Most ERP solutions cover the basic needs of financials but if you’re in the manufacturing, distribution, or construction industry, we find that for a lot of people, it comes down to choosing between Acumatica or Sage. Besides a full list of functionalities, our clients are primarily concerned about the “real” total implementation cost (TCO), vendor reliability, and user reviews. Let’s take a closer look at how Acumatica and Sage compare.

AcumaticaAcumatica Logo

Over the past decade, Acumatica has become a major player in the ERP space for all types of small and mid-sized businesses. Built on a true cloud architecture, Acumatica ERP provides the best business management solution for transforming your company to thrive in today’s economy. Whether manufacturing, construction, or distribution, everything integrates on one, single platform with open architecture for rapid integrations, scalability, and ease of use.

  • Unlimited user license model – pricing is on the level of transactions you process.
  • True mobile-ready platform – resizes automatically depending on mobile device.
  • Easy and powerful built-in reporting tools – KPIs, dashboards.
  • Scales as you grow, can easily be the last ERP you need. Acumatica calls this “future-proof”, and we agree.
  • Award-winning, intuitive interface, with familiar ribbons and buttons that your team is able to use from day one.
  • Low code/no code customizations, for users at every technical level from newbie to expert.

Sage

Sage products have been around for a long time.  They are traditional (legacy) ERP solutions for small- to mid-sized companies. Sage 100, Sage 300, and Sage 500 each have its own feature set, and each is targeted for a specific market segment. Sage products have a long history and can offer adequate functionality for small- to mid-sized businesses. However, when comparing to a modern-day ERP solution like Acumatica, there are a few significant drawbacks:

  • Sage licenses are priced per user, which becomes expensive for growing businesses.
  • Sage solutions were built using an older system architecture. This becomes a problem in scenarios designed for the latest technologies, including cloud deployment options, customizations using current development tools, and integrations with CRM and other external software applications.
  • All of the Sage products were developed independently on different platforms, meaning there is no direct or easy way to migrate from one product to another.

Total Cost of Ownership

The real cost of ownership (TCO) of any ERP solution looks at the cost involved from software licenses, subscription fees, software training, data migration, customizations, hardware if needed, maintenance, support, and other related services.  When calculating the TCO it is important to make sure you discover any “hidden costs” as well.  Depending on your needs these numbers can vary greatly.

A few areas that are notorious for incurring additional costs:

  • Internal resource costs – how much time your team (and you) will need to devote to making this implementation a success. This is easily the area clients neglect to calculate most often.
  • Testing – another huge area that clients often downplay, just because it often isn’t fully explained and planned. Testing is imperative to getting the most of your ERP investment – don’t skimp here.
  • Process analysis and improvement – if you are investing in a new system, don’t clog it up with old, manual work-arounds. Just because you’ve always done it “this way” doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it that way! Take the time to optimize your operations.
  • Integrations – really good ERP implementers have learned by experience that the better your integrations, the better your insight into your business. Do yourself a favor and list every single service, software and solution you use, from A to Z and ask if you’d be well-served if this system talked to your ERP. It will save you tons of time and headaches down the line.

These are just a few areas where hidden costs can lurk. Make sure you are working with a team that can ferret out all the items that can come back to bite you.

Let’s take a closer look at Acumatica and Sage features and functions for a true comparison.

Acumatica vs. Sage Functionality

Functionality Acumatica

Sage

True cloud (built for cloud)

“True cloud” means all functionality is accessible through the internet using a standard browser without the need for any software installation on the user’s device and no additional software licensing required. The bulk of the Sage product line uses older software development practices and platform architecture. These products were built for on-premises deployments and retrofitted for the cloud. Moreover, these products suffer from being unable to match the level of speed, functionality, and ease of use offered by a true-cloud platform. Acumatica was designed to leverage the capabilities of cloud computing and can run equally on-premises or in the cloud. You can even switch between the deployment models as well.

True mobility (supports all devices with no special apps)

Out-of-the-box, Acumatica can be accessed on the device of your choice. Acumatica is built to resize every page and every screen to whatever device you are using. Every screen has the same information and flow, whether it is on a PC, tablet, or phone. Sage online products support browser access on multiple devices, but the web pages do not automatically resize to accommodate mobile devices.

Flexible licensing options

Both products are available through subscription licensing. Sage allows licensing based on user count, using either concurrent or named user licenses depending on the specific product. Acumatica offers a choice of licensing options and charges based on the resources needed – not by user – so your business is not penalized for growth.

Multiple deployment options

Sage and Acumatica can support deployments on-premises, cloud, or hosted. Most Sage products cannot be deployed as true cloud because of their legacy architecture. This affects their accessibility, support costs, scalability, and functionality. Cloud-native Sage products (e.g., Intacct and X3) cannot be deployed in a private/hosted nor on-premises model.

Scale as you grow

Download the Comparison

Download this free report from Info-Tech. Use it to figure out which vendor is a better fit for your business.  The report directly compares Acumatica to Sage based on the most important criteria for SMBs.

Find out how Acumatica and Sage compare in categories such as:

  • Satisfaction of cost relative to value
  • Quality of features
  • Continual improvements
  • Net Emotional Footprint
  • The respect these vendors show to customers

Next, give us a call at 1-833-432-7278 to answer all your ERP questions.  Our team of certified specialists are here to help you.

How ERP Helps You Make Better Business Decisions

How ERP Helps You Make Better Business Decisions

Take the guessing game out of your business.  If you have multiple, disparate systems of data, or don’t have real-time data at your fingertips, read on.  Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, like Acumatica, is providing the tool every small to mid-sized business needs to base their business decisions on insight, not instinct.  This can make or break your business especially in today’s competitive landscape.

Critical Reporting with One Click

Long gone are the days of compiling data from multiple systems and departments, then trying to piece them together to analyze to get a current picture of the health of your business.  With Acumatica, you have a single point of truth and reporting is at the click of a mouse.  All your critical information is in one system, which gives you access to current dashboards and reports so you can easily identify your strong points and weaknesses.

Acumatica’s built-in reporting features are flexible for any business needs.  Reports are multi-dimensional by sub-accounts with segmented keys, have built-in security by roles, and are easily customizable.  They go far beyond balance sheets and cash flow statements, and you can break down the information into smaller pieces to even view items by color, price, size, location, etc.  This gives you instant ability to quickly spot problem areas and trends so you can act immediately.   Check out this quick video overview on reporting and dashboards in Acumatica.

Acumatica Reports

Additionally, with reporting in Acumatica, you can:

  • Schedule reports to run as needed.
  • Generate signed PDF documents.
  • Customize reports with your own branding and images.
  • Create reports in real time and apply filters as needed to get only the information you need now.
  • Use Generic Inquiries to access data for your reports and then share that data with other applications for more analysis.
  • Tailor report information by role.

Better than Reports:  At-a-Glance Dashboards

What could be better than reports?  Dashboards!  Dashboards color code your business based on charts, graphs, a KPIs.  Red to draw attention to an area to look closer at.  Green means doing great.  Acumatica dashboards are for everyone in your business.  For example, the information needed by shipping and receiving is different than the information needed for sales or the executive leadership team.

Acumatica Dashboard

Any way you can imagine visualizing your data, you can see it with dashboards:

  • Charts (line, column, bar, etc.)
  • Data tables
  • Data from external sources
  • Power BI tiles
  • KPIs
  • Shortcuts to Acumatica forms, reports, and dashboards
  • And more

Acumatica Mobile

The best part, all this real-time, clickable data with drill-down features is available on any mobile devices.  Acumatica was built on a true cloud platform.  It was built in the cloud, for the cloud.  So, it just works as we need it to.  No longer do you have to have add-ons or fight with apps to get them to work on a mobile device.

Better Decisions = Better Business

Do you have the tools to make better decisions on insight?  Do you know what data you need to track?  Is it pulled together in real-time reports and dashboards?  How do you make sound business decisions?  The answer to these questions will tell you if you need a new tool for your business.  If you’re unsure, try these things:

View your data in different ways

Gather the data you need and try to find patterns and trends.  Once you do, try other visualizations, missing and matching to provide a variety of views and find the most comprehensible overview you can.  Some trends can only be revealed through a line graph, while others are more visible in a pie chart. The more places you look, the more you’ll find.

Let the data guide you

Don’t manipulate the data to fit your preconceptions.  Keep an open mind and evaluate all the information before jumping to conclusions.  Allowing your assumptions to influence your decision making without the backing of solid and sound data patterns will put your business on the track to failure.  Analyze your ERP data with an open mind and evaluate all the information.

If you can’t get the insights into your business’s data, it is time for a new ERP solution.  Download Acumatica Datasheet on Reporting and Analytics.  

And, learn more about Acumatica and how it’s helped other businesses like yours.  Download the story of how Acumatica helped American Meadows achieve success.