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Software For Consultants?

Pamela Twyman's Profile

software for consultantsI am in search of software for consultants to generate statements of work, track billable & non-billable consulting time, track resource capacity & utilization, and facilitate client invoicing.

Answers

Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

The category of software you are looking for is called PSA - professional services automation. There are a number of decent options you can review.

Bob Scarborough
TenSoft

Pamela Twyman
Title: Business Solutions Analyst
Company: BFDS
(Business Solutions Analyst, BFDS) |

Thanks Bob,

Do you have an opinion about any of the options available? I am not familiar with any of the vendors I have found thus far.

Thanks,
Pam

Pamela Twyman
Title: Business Solutions Analyst
Company: BFDS
(Business Solutions Analyst, BFDS) |

Thanks Bob,

Do you have an opinion about any specific options out there? I am not familiar with any of the companies that I have found thus far.

Thanks,
Pam

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

What's good for me, may not be good for you. What you track may not be of import to what or how I track.

Best bet is to make a full needs assessment of what you need and compare against the accounting software available.

Then research the vendors/dealers.

Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

Hi Pamela,

There are a number of providers, for different enterprise sizes and needs. One way to think about these systems is how they would work with your other business systems. There are PSA (Professional Services Automation) vendors who deploy with the mainstream CRM (customer relationship management) solutions, PSA vendors who are part of provider ERP stacks, and PSA vendors with stand-alone solutions. There are pros and cons to each, along with cost benefit trade-offs.

Here's some very brief background on the evolution of PSA solutions (I'm not familiar with your background - so I'll probably say some things you already know):

* During the initial dot.com boom, a number of PSA providers emerged, and I believe that the term PSA originated in that period (1996-2000). Those systems were built largely as stand-alone solutions, although they sort of integrate beyond their own boundries. Some of these providers, such as Changepoint and OpenAir/Quick Arrow, still exist but most have merged or have been purchased by other software providers.
* The main ERP players that focus in the technology space (think Oracle, Microsoft) have ERP versions specific to industries. These solutions tend to have enough functionality to look reasonable - and are usually intended to be starting points for company specific personalization.
* The main CRM providers (Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM) also have solutions. (Personally, I like the promx.net option for Microsoft CRM.)

For our organization and software industry / technology customers, the most beneficial links for the PSA solution are to the CRM system (help desk, customer asset register, 360 degree view of the customer, integration with opportunity management). ERP integration is helpful to transfer customer invoices and employee/contractor charges - and to mitigate master table challenges.

Hope this helps. If you have more insight, please share.

Bob Scarborough
www.tensoft.com

David Renaud
Title: Principal
Company: Renaud Advisors
(Principal, Renaud Advisors) |

A software that I found to be great for my practice is called "Complete Time Traking" at www.complete-time-tracking.com. I have been using this time tracing and loging software for 5 years now. It is very simple and clean. I do my billing using Peachtree in summary format and attached the time log to invoices to provide my clients with work details. It is very affordable.

David Renaud

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

I am not sure how big your organization is, but I have used Oracle in the past for a consulting/software organization. It was a very good tool. Because our entire organization was dependant on billable time, we switched to a 4-4-5 reporting cycle. The system allowed us to track all of the things you mentioned including non-billable (often called "beach time" for us). We used the reporting to do weekly reviews of backlog, bill rates and how we were progressing against the forecast/budget for the month or quarter. I know SAP has a small business version, but I am not sure if Oracle has a "light" version for smaller companies.

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