If you are an owner of a professional services firm, you definitely know how hard it is to manage the entire operation manually. There are just so many aspects to take care of, from handling sales leads and clients to organizing financial records and recruitments. Not simplifying these processes only adds stress, gives headaches, and slows down your business.
Fortunately, you can now automate your professional services operations by utilizing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. It is used by organizations looking to manage their business functions within a centralized and integrated system. There is so much value that this software brings to professional services firms. Keep reading to find out the importance of an ERP system for your business.
ERP software automates complex processes in professional service firms, from client management and accounting to project and human resources management. The more processes are automated, the more efficiency and productivity increases.
In addition, the ERP system also allows you to get any information about your business in real-time with a high degree of accuracy. You don't have to worry about human errors or miscalculations (for example, sales and financial reports).
Increased team collaboration
ERP software integrates all functions in an organization and allows everyone in it to collaborate with each other without having to be physically in the same place. It provides nonstop connectivity between siloed departments within your external and internal operations that supports the direct two-way transfer of crucial information that guarantees sustained value delivery. With information being centralized, all divisions and even branch offices can work together without interfering with each other.
For example, the marketing team can provide the prospect information they get from advertising to the sales team through the CRM module in an ERP system. The sales team can also inform the marketing team about qualified leads so that the marketing team can focus more on effective lead sources.
Greater operational visibility
ERP enables businesses to view data and insights across an organization on a single screen. It provides stakeholders with a dashboard that displays the information needed to make decisions quickly and accurately.
Since a cloud ERP system is updated regularly by the provider, no deviations can provide the team with conflicting data. Real-time reporting keeps everyone on the same page — an advantage that can eliminate problems and keep all employees “in the know” at all times. In addition, the drill-down architecture allows employees to reach any detail they need to change their work function.
For instance, since accounting is integrated into the various departments of the organization, the finance team can see where sales and marketing are focused, and those who work in these areas can attribute gains and losses to the efforts of those areas.
Enhanced client management
The more a company knows about its customer base, the better employees can serve clients’ needs. Likewise, the more satisfied the clients, the more loyal they are.
The best way to increase customer satisfaction is to provide client-centered goods and services. ERP delivers these in several different ways. First, ERP comes with customer relationship management (CRM) tools. With ERP, your CRM has access to data across all business functions.
Together with contact information, the integrated CRM can show you details such as order history and billing information. This allows your team to look at your clients more holistically to gain a better understanding of their wants and needs. In addition, increased customer visibility helps you formulate sales strategies to increase lead generation.
Reduced professional services costs
By integrating processes, you help your staff make the most of their time more efficiently. With ERP, they do not need to search for information in multiple systems. Moreover, your company saves money with ERP by eliminating the need for users to be trained on various systems. This not only reduces the amount of money spent on training but also reduces the logistical effort involved. Instead of scheduling multiple training sessions with several vendors, you only need to communicate with one vendor.
Simplified compliance and risk management
As your company grows and does business in different countries, keeping track of all the different regulations imposed on your business can be challenging. Even if you run a local company, you still have to worry about various environmental laws, information security, and human resources.
Fortunately, advanced ERP software is designed with these regulations in mind to help you maintain compliance at every stage. ScaleOcean, for example, provides internal audit tools to help document such matters as chemical use and tax provisions. This makes it very easy to formulate reports and submit them to the relevant regulatory bodies.
In addition, great ERP software provides tools to manage risk. The enhanced reliability and accuracy of this solution improves overall financial management as the chances of errors during accounting are less. For instance, forecasting tools allow users to predict events in terms of demand, labor, and budget. With this information, you can create more secure budgets, schedules, and product development plans.
Improved budgeting & resource allocation for projects
Professional services companies need to quote accurately and ensure they can come in at the projected amount. Employees working with cloud-based ERP solutions have the best opportunity to provide the best service.
ERP solutions provide consultants with detailed information around resource allocation, project budgets, and delivery dates. Keeping track of the actual project can help avoid costly overruns, which can be a black eye for those responsible for project management.
Most importantly, with systems that provide insights and detailed project-based reporting, teams can fully understand client profitability —both past and current, as well as forecasted future performance.