The New Normal: Restoring Profitability

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PRACTICE LAW IN “THE NEW NORMAL”?

Simply put, it means lawyers will no longer be able to achieve financial success while operating with sloppy or ineffective business practices. For years, too many law firms have gotten by with marginal or inadequate management practices.

The practice of law is both a profession and a business, but lawyers can no longer hide behind the professional aspect as an excuse for failing to create an organization with good business practices. They can no longer consider themselves the exception to the rules that apply to other commercial ventures.

With access to seemingly unlimited information on the Internet, our clients are more educated and sophisticated in shopping for legal services. Whether they are businesses or consumer clients, they have had to focus more on cost savings and efficiencies.

It has long been the case that law firms with the best management practices return the highest profits to their partners. While careful client intake, clear client expectations, timely billing, high realization rates and strong collection policies have always been the goal, under the new normal those aspects of good management have become essential to a firm’s survival.

Law firms that are not able to conform to good business practices are becoming victims under Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. Follow these strategies to assess your firm’s performance and compete in the new normal.

To read more about these strategies, read the article by Arthur G. Greene here or Download below The New Normal Whitepaper to learn more.

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Top Considerations for Adopting an A&E Industry Specific Accounting Platform

The Limitations of Generic Accounting Systems

Generic accounting software programs, such as QuickBooks, fall short on providing the functionality that A&E firms require to be successful. This paper discusses the limitations of generic accounting systems and why A&E firms are moving to A&E Industry Specific solutions to help grow their business and increase profitability.

Download the Whitepaper below to read more

Get To Know Your Business. Find Tips For Using Real-Time Data To Grow

Over the coming weeks, experts from the consultancy world will be looking at how businesses can face up to the challenges of transitioning client needs in an evolving marketplace. They will be exploring the many economic challenges that companies face and sharing opinions and guides with valuable insights, designed to help companies overcome them. In this blog, Deltek looks at what the future holds for successful consultancies.

During the aftermath of the 2008 global recession, we saw many large consulting firms forced to become leaner just to survive. Consultants who suddenly found themselves out of a job, used this as an opportunity to set up their own, smaller firms, offering the same services as their former employers. How does the picture look now? The consulting services industry is thriving.

According to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) 2014 research, consultancy firm revenue is up by 41% and profit margins have grown by around a quarter between 2013-14. However, with more smaller firms in the market, competition is fierce. So how do you capitalise on this upward trend, gain the competitive advantage and grow your firm? It’s all about knowing your consultancy inside out.

Read the rest of the article HERE

How to Win New Business in Engineering

In the 2014 report “Trends and Needs in Engineering”; “winning new business” was deemed to be one of the biggest business issues faced in the industry today.

It’s an understandable viewpoint, after all your firm’s success hinges on its ability to raise the revenue it needs.

The temptation may be to simply throw more resource at your sales department.  But this could be an expensive and time consuming route that may not even yield the kind of results you are after.

Less is more

Is there an alternative? What if it’s possible to win more business by working smarter rather than harder?

Streamlining and automating the sales pipeline as well as improving your visibility and customer service is a great way of increasing revenue fast.

Through storing past, present and financial data all in one place, a project-based enterprise resource planning system has the ability to improve visibility for better decision making and enhance customer service at the touch of a button.

When it comes to winning business, it means more can be achieved for less.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Talent management best practices

by Kyle Ridley

PSMJ Resources Inc. held its annual architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) summit last week in San Francisco, Calif., where AEC professionals gathered to learn about best practices, industry trends, and how to thrive in an increasingly competitive market. More than 30 learning sessions were offered during the jam-packed event, with many presentations focused on effective leadership, innovation, and company growth.

Deltek was in full attendance at the summit as representatives took part in workshops and manned an exhibit featuring our widespread solutions. Senior Director of Product Marketing Brian LaMee led a presentation titled “Talent Management Best Practices,” in which he offered attendees a slew of tips on how to hire people faster and keep employees longer. The session resonated with much of the crowd feeling the pressures of high turnover, bottlenecked training schedules, and ongoing employee development.

The AEC industry is booming, but with that comes the need for dedicated, qualified talent. As noted in the PSMJ Summit’s keynote address by Director David Burstein, “AEC firms should move away from winning the war for clients and focus on winning the war for talent.”

LaMee launched his talent management presentation with the eye-opening statistic that 51 percent of workers in the U.S. are either actively seeking or are open to a new job – meaning 71 percent of all workers are on the market. This competitive atmosphere often gives job candidates the upper hand as they interview potential employers instead of the other way around. LaMee stressed that companies should “fight for talent and fight to keep talent,” starting with the hiring process.

It takes approximately 60-90 days to fill a job opening, not including onboarding or training. This is largely due to manual and inefficient hiring practices such as retaining candidate resumes in emails and repetitive application forms. LaMee noted that, too often, companies start the hiring process from scratch upon a job opening rather than returning to past potential candidates.

To improve these processes, LaMee urged attendees to establish a sortable database of candidates to easily maintain and review potential hires/resumes over time, as well as eliminating requirements to fill out information in an online application that is included in resumes. Many candidates will simply exit a job posting upon being required to manually enter these repetitive fields.

Once a hire is made, proper training is essential to keeping them on board. LaMee pointed out that 40 percent of workers who receive poor training leave within a year, and companies must stop having an “I learned on the job, they can, too,” mentality. For trainings deemed repetitive or cumbersome, LaMee suggested creating recordings to reuse with each hire rather than one-off individual sessions.

LaMee also highlighted the significance of continued training and development in employee retention. Many firms assume it’s all about the money, but only 12 percent of employees actual earn more money at their next job, while 30 percent of millennials leave for a better opportunity. Continued learning and recognition from management rank high on employee satisfaction; therefore, companies should invest in development programs and establish year-round rewards and recognition programs for employee accomplishments.

Career development outside of management is also crucial to employee retention, and employers with a management-only path risk losing key staff. Management is not meant for everyone, but that doesn’t negate employee talent nor should it limit their climb up the corporate ladder. Firms should create career tracks to advance employees outside of the management trajectory and ensure all employees are aware and have access to these documented options. Transparency is vital and will result in more employee engagement and stability.

Lastly, LaMee stressed the importance of succession planning and suggested firms use the 9-box method to identify top employees and what needs to be done to keep them on your team.

Fortunately, Deltek’s cloud-based Talent Management Suite can assist with establishing many of these best practices, from finding and landing talent, performance management, employee development, to compensation planning.

Please click here to learn more about this Deltek solution.

How to Manage Your PS Talent from Hire to Retire

Part of the Professional Services ‘Tough Questions’ Series – Don’t get caught unprepared!

Your company as just won a major contract that will require hiring and ramping 50 highly specialized people to work on the new project. As the senior director of HR and Recruiting you feel excited about the challenge – but a bit nervous at the same time because it’s high visibility and there are lots of unknowns.  The CEO has called an executive staff meeting which you were advised to attend.
During the meeting you are completely caught off guard when the CEO turns to you abruptly and asks:

…How fast can you hire the people we need and ensure we get the best candidates? 

…How long will it take for us to ramp these new employees to billable status without putting pressure on existing staff?

…What actions are we taking to minimize attrition and ensure key talent doesn’t leave?

Read the rest of this article here

Can Technology Help the Changing Marketing and Communications Industry?

‘A poor workman always blames his tools’ is a well-known quip but I would challenge that, actually, having the right tools at your disposal is a critical part of completing any project successfully.

Prepare your Agency in a changing industry

The new world of digital consumption is booming and this is particularly palpable in the fast paced world of Marketing and Communications, where creativity is key. In order to continue to be successful, Marketing Agencies must stay ahead of the trends and enable their greatest assets; their people , to be free to think creatively and not be stifled by outdated technology, wasting precious time and energy.

To continue to stay relevant and win new business, you have to portray to your clients that you are the most innovative, forward-thinking agency in your field of expertise, and that you are capable of capitalising on all the changes and advances within the industry in in order to help them to continue to reach their audience.

Read the whole article here

Do Consulting Engineering Firms Need An Aligned Business Culture?

Throughout the Consulting Engineering industry, we’re seeing a shift in the mind-set of business leaders to establish cross-regional and international support to provide a vision for a single, unified bottom-line organisation.

Developing this type of culture within Engineering Firms is key, but there are many challenges that stand in the way of achieving this. For example, many businesses are currently set up and managed at a local level rather than working as one cohesive unit. This leads to having multiple rates in multiple locations with no transparency across the business…

Read the whole article here

Top reasons why A&E firms are Moving Their Business Systems to the Cloud

Many Architecture & Engineering firms are now investing in business solutions delivered in the cloud rather than having an on-premise installed solution.

A&E firms are now seeing the value in having best practice software solutions that before were renowned for extremely high up-front capex investment which larger firms could afford, but perhaps not SME’s.

How does the cloud differ from on-premise?

Unlike on-premise applications, purchasing cloud solutions allows organisations to account for them as an operating expense rather than a capital expense. This is often more attractive for organisations that prefer a leaner, more flexible balance sheet. In most instances, the initial cost of obtaining cloud solutions is less expensive than acquiring traditional on-premise solutions. Organisations deploying SaaS and cloud solutions avoid large up-front application license fees, and there is no need for them to purchase and maintain servers to run the applications.

And that’s not all. Architecture and Engineering firms are turning to the cloud for a number of other key reasons…

Read the whole article here