Synergist provides a complete range of standard reports. See the screenshot below. But how many are truly essential? Is it possible to run a busy project-based business by focusing on just a handful of these reports? If so, which ones?
When we talk with Synergist users, five reports keep being mentioned more than any others. They are the essential five you should concentrate on. Between them, they give you amazing real-time intelligence, control and visibility of the fundamentals of your business.
It shows financial performance by client, project and job over a chosen period, detailing gross revenue or net profit as needed.
ANALYSING TYPES OF CLIENTS
See at a glance which of your clients are profitable for you, and which are not. At times of contract renegotiation it is hugely helpful to know exactly how profitable a client has been for you.
What went right? What went wrong? Sometimes busy jobs don't turn out as profitable as you expected.
Unexpectedly-late cost increases from external suppliers will show up in the reports.
You need to know surprises like that, otherwise you're not getting the true picture.
STAFF UTILISATION is the analysis of the time that staff members spend on billable work. It is one of the two key drivers of profitability.
The Staff Utilisation Report shows the hours that staff members were available for the period selected, compared with the hours worked on chargeable and non-chargeable jobs, and gives analysis against targets.
KNOW WHERE THE PROBLEMS ARE LOCATED
Merely suspecting you've a utilisation problem isn't enough. You need to know the extent and the cause.
INVALUABLE DATA FOR DECISION-MAKING
Hire more freelancers? Or manage non-charged time better? Without the right information you're working in the dark. Targets only make sense if they're rational. What's realistic? What's needed for profitability? Good, real-time data enables you to confidently set rational targets.
Being in the dark about staff utilisation goes both ways. Which of your team are working way too many hours? Burnout and staff resentment issues are real.
MINIMISE THE NON-CHARGEABLES
It has been said that the key to increasing the chargeable hours is to fix the unchargeable hours problem. Nail that and the rest follows.
It reports on the status of your projects and jobs, comparing time and costs incurred vs the budget.
Proactive alerts of jobs running over budget give clarity to those still working on the job.
It focuses their minds on meeting the budget while there's still time to retrieve a situation that might have otherwise drifted
Alerts can be set at a specified percentage to give you the advance notice needed to manage the job well. For example, a milestone set at 70% of budget spend can be an invaluable wake-up call for team members.
PROFIT LEVER NUMBER 2
This report is one of two crucial levers at your disposal. If you're looking for the key levers in your business that drive profitability, when it comes to reporting there are two. This is the second of them. It keeps jobs on track. It's as fundamental as that.
Everything else flows from this.
WORK IN PROGRESS is work that has not yet been completed but has incurred costs such as staff time, purchases and materials.
The report shows the state of Work In Progress (WIP) at a certain cut-off date selected by the user. It selects the requested range of job phases and can be further filtered by client, account handler and many other options.
Many jobs end well before month-end. Sending out accurate invoices, with minimal effort, is a major time-saver and a significant contributor to improved cash flow.
It's all about chargeable time. If you know exactly where all the unbilled hours are sitting, you have a great grasp of the issues and the time to fix what needs fixing.
A MAJOR PERIOD-END TASK BECOMES AN AUTOMATED EMAIL
Pulling it all together manually is a major chore, as the accounting team would have to analyse each project in detail.
WHAT IT DELIVERS: THE BACKSTOP
Above all else, this is the report that ensures nothing gets missed. In that regard, in the hectic pace of a busy and complex environment, it delivers peace of mind.
The following are forecastable:
• Resource planned work, by person, role or team.
• Summarised capacity by role.
• Open opportunities and/or revenue forecasts shown against a timeline, typically by client and account handler.
• Estimated gross and net profit can be shown, and opportunity weightings.
UNEVEN BUSINESS LEVELS
Information like this helps the business to smooth inevitable peaks and troughs of business by pre-warning while there's time to act.
The process of stage billing is greatly simplified with the system, based on planned values.
AUTOMATION IN BILLING
Billing, a time-consuming and error-prone process when handled manually, can be semi-automated to give a speedy, accurate result.
Many parts of your forecast can be maintained automatically, based on other information held about your jobs in the system. Estimates and dates can be produced automatically if you want. It's your option.
Providing on-site demonstrations, training, experience and consultation.