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Professional services firms, or businesses that sell their knowledge – do not generally consider their accounting or ERP systems as mission critical to their growth, they are! This article will explain the reasoning why…

A professional services organization is really only as good as its staff and its clients – making it crucial to implement the right systems to attract and retain the right people. The right system also helps keep clients on track.

Every professional services business faces challenges in trying to find and retain great staff including:

  • Fierce competition for the top talent within the market
  • Providing sufficient pay and benefits to have them join your team
  • Generating enough income to provide them with appropriate benefits, and office accommodations

Of course, this is in addition to your ongoing challenges in effectively quoting new business, tracking the profitability of existing projects and accurately recording your important business data.

Just as products are marketed and sold to specific customer segments, professional services firms must also provide the right services to its clients at the appropriate time. With the help of the right business or ERP system, your organization can create an ‘inventory’ of internal skillsets and availability to properly match resources to the needs and requirements of current and/or future client projects. The right business or ERP system can also help to identify gaps in available skills - driving specific recruiting efforts and resulting in better client service and improved satisfaction ratings.

However, before researching and/or implementing a new system, take a moment to think over the following questions:

  • Are you on schedule with your client projects?
  • Are you consistently meeting your budget/quote to your clients?
  • Are the staff on jobs and projects performing as expected?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, it may be time to re-evaluate your current system. Without the right information available and that is easily accessible, it will become increasingly difficult to accurately set and meet expectations with your client.

For example, a single client engagement may be comprised of many projects in multiple locations. Your engagement manager would need visibility into each project, as well as a view of the entire project, to successfully manage progress, task completion, outstanding items, and potential risks. The right business software can provide your firm with the tools necessary to effectively allocate time and resources to the right activities – activities that will nurture new business opportunities and better support existing projects.

The main idea here is really quite simple – take time to invest in people and technology that will allow your businesses to grow. Choose vendors with staying power and avoid small one-point solutions where possible, as they may complicate your world in the future, despite low costs or fees.

Choose to partner with those vendors and software publishers who have both vision and expertise – companies that will continue to expand and grow your system as the business and technology environment changes. A company with the ability to support your system for the long haul will serve you well and allow you to reap the most reward from your investment.

If you would like to learn about our dedicated business management solution, visit our website.

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