A professional services automation tool is the best solution to any project management tool. With accurate planning, careful monitoring, resource management, time tracking, invoice generation, business intelligence, and collaboration tools in a single application, they help in successful project deliveries on time.
What kinds of industries/businesses are likely to gain more by using PSA tools?
PSA tools are best suited for the business operating in the professional sector such as:
Chartered Accountants and Cost Accountants involved in Audit and Accountancy
Professionals like Company Secretaries and Advocates involved in legal and compliance services
IT experts including those involved in Computer software services
Marketing and Advertising agencies
Architecture and Engineering
Business and Management consultancy services
Key features of a PSA tool:
The basic features of a PSA software system are as under:
PSAs come with real-time reporting features
PSA software systems boost higher performance and reliability a comprehensive project management tool
Mobility is one of the important features of PSAs allowing Mobile users to access and work while on the go
PSAs also allow offline access to data to ensure smooth workflow in the absence of an active Internet connection
PSAs allows for Integrations with other business apps and tools
PSAs come with automated reminders to notify clients about approaching due dates
PSAs help companies to stay compliant with statutory regulations and guidelines
PSA tools come with an essential feature to provide appropriate access to every stakeholder of the project based on his/her role.
Latest trends in PSA
With technology breaking every barrier of innovation each passing day, the PSA software systems have also embraced the latest trends to cater to the growing needs of the customers. While investing in any PSA tool, the following trends are a must-have:
Cloud computing and mobility – Just like any other cloud-based software replacing the traditional on-premise solutions, PSA providers too are increasingly focusing on providing cloud-based computing solutions to their users. Reduction in the workload of the IT department, low costs due to reduced hardware use, offline access to the company’s database, and mobility are some of the features that cloud-based PSAs bring to the table.
Smart resource management– PSA systems help in smart resource management by ascertaining the interest and expertise of your employees and allocating projects based on the same. When their interests match with the job they are assigned, they stay more motivated to work on it.
Integrated accounting – Integrated accounting feature does away with the need to maintain separate systems for the same. With project management and accounting done through the same platform, chances of mismatches are reduced to a great extent.
Customer collaboration – The latest trends have introduced customer relationship management as one of the important features of PSAs. Companies can work collaboratively with their clients by providing them direct access to relevant data to stay updated with the progress of the project. With remote access to invoices through clouds, the payment cycles shortened.
PSAs streamline the manner of working in an organization. With everyone using the same tool, access to the projects is gained through the same interface. Anyone with the authority can have access to the real-time status of a project and pick it up from where it was last left.
Further, the integration with accounting and CRM software, the need for manual project configuration is minimized.
2. Real-time reporting and informed decision making
Taking timely and informed decisions is crucial for the success of any project. Informed decisions require project managers to be updated with up-to-date information. Without the same, they often land in stressful situations leading to hasty decisions.
With real-time in-built reporting and analytics features, you stay updated with every progress made in the project. Besides, with insights into the resource utilization report and comparison between actual the planned result, you can on the weaker performing areas. Users can also customize their version of reports to contain relevant information to know what they need to know.
3. Central database
PSAs help in maintaining a central database system for revenue, cost, deliverables, and project performance. You can track your revenue and costs through the same system and make future forecasts as well. The record of project deliverables gives you a clear picture of what is expected from each project and the timeline. Through project performance, you can measure the performance of team members and evaluate the same against set benchmarks. All these, through a centralized project management system.
With everything handled through a centralized system, streamlined working methods, and improved collaboration between departments, the productivity of your employees’ increases. No more time is spent on the locating required files and performing other mundane administrative tasks. Every focus is on delivering quality results to the clients.
5. Customer satisfaction and retention
Providing quality results to customers enhance their satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is the key to the success of any business. Further, PSAs with CRM helps in building better customer relationships with timely redressal of their issues and grievances. With customer collaboration features, they can also be granted access to real-time reporting of every step of the progress of their projects.
6. Steady cash flow
PSAs help users in easy invoice generation and faster delivery of the same to clients through the same platform. Clients can accept or request corrections in the invoice at one go. Once accepted, they can make digital payments directly through the system. This shortens the payment cycle and ensures a steady cash flow.
7. Budget tracking
PSAs help businesses in monitoring their budget by providing a detailed back up of the expenses involved at every stage in the project implementation. This helps in keeping a tight check on unwanted expenditures.
8. Business forecasts
PSA software help businesses to foresee problems that may arise in the future and take the required course of action to prevent them. They can modify their approach to a certain project or rearrange the resources to suit the changing circumstances to ensure successful project delivery on time.
Are you ready for switching to a PSA software solution?
If you are engaged in any of the above-mentioned industries and frequently struggling to achieve an effective project management procedure to deliver the desired results to your clients, then you must consider switching to a PSA tool.
However, you might have to deal with the following issues first:
PSA system will become the core operating system of your company. There will be substantial changes in the business processes and might lead to business re-reengineering as well. Convincing the top management for such a change will be daunting as resistances from top management is bound to occur.
You will have to arrange for the necessary training of the staff to help them seamlessly adapt to the new systems. Training should commence before the implementation process of the software systems and continue even after its completion.
Work out on some strategies to handle negative attitudes and employees’ resistance to the new systems.
You might also have to work on your financial strings because the initial investment will be a little on the higher side. It is better to work on a budget incorporating every step right from the purchasing to its implementation including staff training and appropriate measures to deal with change resistance.
Some of the topline professional services automation software of 2020:
Clarizen: Clarizen is a power-packed project management tool with all essential core features coupled with an additional social collaboration feature.
Mavenlink: a project management tool designed for the services sector suiting businesses of every size. It comes with 5 essential features, namely, project management, accounting, resource management, team collaboration, and business intelligence.
Quickbooks Enterprise: A complete package of financial management tools that cater to the accounting needs of different industrial sectors. Its core features include accounting, unbilled expense tracking, real-time reporting, mobile-optimized, scalability, cloud storage, payroll management, inventory management, multi-currency support, and many more.
Merlin Project: A robust project management software for Mac users. With Windows OS dominating most PSA systems, options for IoS users are quite less in the market. But this tool bears good reviews from thousands of Mac users across the world.
Clio: A comprehensive cloud-based PSA tool specially designed for the legal profession that allows for effective information management, documentation, client and case management, finance management, time-tracking, accounting, and real-time reporting.