There’s great software available to boost the performance of your professional services company. And probably the most impressive detail about NetSuite’s specifically designed solutions is that they start for firms of as few as 10 employees.
By now, you probably think we hate spreadsheets at Verde. That’s not quite true, as most of us actually use them ourselves daily. But here comes the BUT. Spreadsheets are amazing for certain purposes, but really not that good at all for others. When it comes to running a full-blown professional services company, you’re never going to get away from using spreadsheets. Of course, not (just like we’ll never quit the habit in our daily work). But what you do want to get far away from, is using them in the wrong places.
Some time ago, we went into some detail around the limitations of spreadsheets as they pertain to professional services companies (check it out here). Those limitations really boil down into a lack of transparency and a lack of visibility across your organisation. We even went as far as to say you’d probably be just fine with spreadsheets until you hit a critical mass of around 10 employees.
It’s at this point that the wheels will start falling off. Your consultants get bogged down in admin, management and control spirals, well, out of control, and there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Forget about growth or scale, because unless better systems are in place, you’re going to be too busy for yet more headaches.
This is where NetSuite’s solutions prove indispensable; cloud-based, you can kick off from around 10 consultants and then grow all the way to 20,000 without ever changing your back-end software system. Now THAT is scale (to give you an idea, New Zealand’s biggest company is Fonterra and it employs just over 21,000 people).
The devil of how you do that is in the detail.
It starts with NetSuite’s ‘cloud architecture’, which means the software grows seamlessly with your business. Growth is rarely linear, so it accommodates both increases and decreases, so that’s cool – you pay for what you need at any given time.
Of course, it all starts with the ‘base’ Enterprise Resource Planning solution you get from NetSuite (this covers the usual sort of things, like General Ledger, Accounts Payable and so on). As you’ll recognise, these are generic functions applicable to just about any business.
That’s why the real advantages come from things like Services Resource Planning and Professional Services Automation, built right into the NetSuite solution.
In combination, these functionalities deliver complete visibility of your business from ‘bid to bill’. It means the ability to accurately plan and allocate resources to every job, accurately estimate costings (and Project Accounting for professional services engagements is a practical must) and it takes out a ton of the admin which your consultants hate. This leaves every one of your people free to do more of what they love – consulting – and less of what they don’t love – timesheets.
For more on what NetSuite has (and how it can accelerate your business) check out the sales pitch here. You’ll see that it covers Project Management, Resource Management, Timesheet Management, Expense Management and of course Billing. There’s one more aspect, and it’s a biggie: analytics. This is particularly valuable as it provides the sort of visibility and insight which becomes increasingly crucial for managing a business at scale.
With NetSuite, you really can sort your company out so that it is ready for serious growth. And the best thing about it is you can make those preparations early on – with 10 or so consultants – and then grow as fast or as steadily as the market allows.
Get in touch if you’d like to discuss the challenges your business faces, and we’d be very happy to demonstrate how we can help.