What the Heck is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation?

One of the most common questions we’ve heard from professional services companies lately is: What the heck is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation (PSA)?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM) solution. It helps professional services companies run their business more productively by bringing people, processes, and automation technology together through a unified experience. PSA is a powerful addition to Dynamics 365 that enables project management capabilities in Dynamics 365.

Simply put, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for PSA unites opportunity management with project planning and management. After the sales and planning stage, Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA excels at handling resource management, team collaboration, time and expense management, customer billing and service analytics.

Dyn 365 PSA

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation

I guess the first pertinent question might be, why do I need PSA? After all, we already have Microsoft Project which is an advanced project management tool! Microsoft Project is a great tool for project managers and in some circumstances, might be the only tool you need, Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA won’t be for everyone! But you will find that Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA has a slightly different focus, it is not “just” about project management. It is more focused on the engagement with the customer. By this I mean it covers the full life cycle of the project right from initial estimate to completion.

SBS Group has partnered with hundreds of professional services clients to help them utilize technology solutions that lower costs, improve visibility and enable efficient allocation of resources. Our solutions for project-driven firms are:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA for companies with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM)
Progressus for small to medium sized companies
AXIO for enterprise companies

All three products are based upon common data services, and interact seamlessly together, and with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Progressus and AXIO run on the back-office ERP side of the business, while Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA is on the front-office CRM side of the business.

We cover this in more detail in our webcast, 5 Reasons Project Driven Firms Switch to Dynamics 365. Interested in learning which solution is right for your company? Start a discussion with one of our business technology experts today. Contact us for a free evaluation.

Best Regards

Eric

About Eric Forgo

Eric serves as the Director of Business Intelligence and CRM for SBS Group. He is responsible for developing and driving innovative solutions, overseeing related services and ensuring SBS Group customers derive maximum business value from their technology investments.

Eric has spent more than 20 years in the Microsoft ecosystem, holding executEric Forgo, SBS Group Directors BI and CRMive positions with leading ISVs and consulting firms where he led teams in the deployment of Microsoft ERP and CRM. In addition to his technology background, Eric spent the early part of his career in financial management. He is a CPA with a BS in Accounting from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Boston University with a concentration in Finance.

 

The Real Answer to the Question Professional Services Have all Been Asking: Why Budget?

Why prepare a budget?

You may answer:
• My business has been going for many years and I have never had one before.
• I make pretty good money, so why do I need one?
• If I focus on keeping my billable hours up, everything else will take care of itself!
• I watch my debtors and WIP; this is enough to keep everything on track!
• I am a professional, with more than enough on my plate and I don’t have time for this financial stuff. My bookkeeper is on top of all of this.
• I don’t have time for this business planning nonsense. ¹

Many of the professional services firms we work with don’t place importance on budgeting. However, we believe that budgets are enormously important to the operation of your business; not only do they help you manage your costs, but they also help you determine whether your profit goals are within reach and keep you on the right road from month-to-month. In its simplest form, a budget is a detailed plan of future receipts and expenditures. Think of a budget as a tool for providing control. For example, by looking at next quarter’s budget you can anticipate peak periods and schedule stock and labor to handle the sales volume. You can also plan vacations, marketing activities and inventory taking for slow periods.

The resource planning cycle for a company typically consists of planning, budgeting, and forecasting activities. But how is this process different for a professional services company?

Learn how to budget in professional services, and the seven tips and practices for creating a budget that supports your project in our eBook: Why Budget, as well as information about our two professional services automation tools (AXIO for Enterprise companies, and Progressus for small and medium sized companies). Let us know if you have any questions in the meantime.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

Young Love, Project ROI and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Do you remember when you first started dating? Young love, holding hands, all of that business. You wanted to make sure that whatever you put into relationships, you would be getting back out of it. Did they make you laugh? Did they have a positive outlook on the world? Where they into the same activities as you? Hey, I did say YOUNG love. Or maybe you have kids who are going through this right now. It’s an investment. The same is true for any investment in life, as well as business.

Businesses are in business to make money. But when it comes to projects, calculating the true value of any project with respect to its impact on margin has always been challenging, mainly due to the ambiguity of turning notions into dollar values.

For instance, training employees will improve expertise and productivity, but how does that translate to bottom-line savings or revenue growth? Spending thousands of dollars on automated systems and software is likely to improve work efficiency, but what’s the dollar-value improvement of that efficiency?

Return on investment (ROI) is a key calculation in answering these questions, as well as showing the project value and its impact on the margin.

In a previous post, we talked about how a project-based environment helps companies better project a return-on-investment (ROI). Why is this important? Your customers want to know what their ROI is going to be if they do business with you. And you want to improve project profitability, as well as determine what ROI you are receiving from your own internal projects (when you implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 for instance 😊).

Project ROI

So what is Project ROI? It’s an indicator used to measure the financial savings/gain (or loss) of a project in relation to its cost. Typically, it is used in determining whether a project will yield positive financial benefits, and in turn giving approval to proceed. In six sigma, the formula is:

Project ROI = ((project’s financial gain or loss – project’s cost) / project’s cost)) X 100.

SBS Group has two products for companies who need project management, both based on Microsoft Dynamics 365: AXIO for larger, enterprise companies, and Progressus for small and medium sized businesses. Both products help you predict, manage, and track ROI.

axio-for-professional-services

AXIO helps you run your business and projects more effectively with enhanced resource management, invoicing, accounting, revenue recognition, collections, contract management, project budgeting and beyond.

Progressus monitors ROI every step of the way from project setup, budgeting, resource management, cost tracking, and time and expenses.

Let us know how we can help you measure ROI, and if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

SBS Group Presented with 2017 BI360 Platinum Partner of the Year Award

Leading Business Intelligence Software Firm Recognizes SBS Group for Excellence in Delivering Solutions

Solver, Inc. named SBS Group as the 2017 BI360 Platinum Partner of the Year Award winner. Solver honored their top partners for demonstrating significant customer impact by delivering the BI360 Suite to help customers optimize their corporate performance management processes.

Solver honored 8 companies for their achievements in 2017, across various partner categories both globally and regionally. Of the more than 300 partners worldwide, these partners were nominated and selected for their excellence in customer service and innovation.

“We are especially excited to announce and recognize our top-achieving partners both in the U.S. and abroad, as last year was deemed our Year of the Partner and we are now starting to see the results,” said Nils Rasmussen, Solver CEO. “Our strong partner channel is the main reason we are expanding domestically and internationally, faster than ever. BI360’s success has everything to do with the partner relationships we have built along with committed, hard-working product experts. On behalf of Solver’s global family, I would like to congratulate and thank our award winners for their achievements in the past 12 months and for their continued dedication and support of Solver and the BI360 product suite.”

“BI360 has been a tremendous solution that cuts across all types of financial and operational reporting, budgeting, and analytics with capability to scale from our smallest to our enterprise level clients”, noted Eric Forgo, SBS Director of BI and CRM. “Because of the integration to each of the four Microsoft Dynamics ERP platforms, the ease of deployment is high and has yielded a very satisfied group of customers. We look forward to growing with Solver to serve our customers and deploy best of breed cloud-based solutions.”

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a Microsoft Master VAR and Indirect Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) specializing in Microsoft Dynamics solutions and services for companies of all sizes. With more than 3,000 active customers served by over 300 employees across 40 locations in North America, SBS Group is a recognized leader in cloud ERP, CRM, productivity and business intelligence solutions. We simplify the cloud experience and help our customers realize business value faster with SBS Group AXIO solutions for Dynamics 365 and our streamlined RightPath approach. SBS Group is headquartered in Edison, NJ and has been a recognized leader in Microsoft business solutions for over 30 years. http://www.sbsgroupusa.com

About Solver
Solver provides BI360, the leading cloud and on premise Corporate Performance Management and Business Intelligence suite for Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, SAP, Intacct, Acumatica, NetSuite and other ERP systems. Solver is a Microsoft Gold ISV Partner and the winner of the Microsoft BI Partner of Year Award and has a presence on the Gartner Group CPM Magic Quadrant. BI360 is sold through a worldwide network of partners and is ideal for companies looking to find a user-friendly, yet highly functional Strategy, Forecasting, Budgeting, Reporting, Dashboard, and Data Warehouse solution to give them deep insight and actionable information across all facets of their organization. For any questions, visit Solver’s website or contact Solver at info@solverglobal.com.

The Truth Behind Sales Tax Audits

Repost from Avalara

With the myriad responsibilities involved in running a successful business, it should come as no surprise that preparing for a sales and use tax audit is not exactly a high priority or favorite topic of conversation among business owners. There are only so many hours in a day, and many companies choose to put examining their compliance process on the back burner; at worst, the idea is ignored entirely. Even business owners who are ready and willing to tackle the issue rarely know where to begin. But sales and use tax audits don’t have to be a specter that looms in the mind of every well-intentioned businessperson. Instead, in the same way, we are told the benefits of “knowing thy enemy,” knowing one’s compliance process as it relates to industry-specific audit risk can make all the difference in the world.

First, an important clarification: Auditors are not the enemy in this scenario, audit risk is. The current tax system is, for many, extremely complex and difficult to navigate, but auditors are simply those tasked with ensuring that business owners — with all the tools at their disposal — are honoring what’s owed to the state. Every year, it seems there are fewer states not suffering from a budget deficit, and as a result, states are finding more ways to maximize the number of sales and use tax revenue, including significantly increasing the audit workforce across the country. In short, auditing is easy money. Furthermore, not only are states adding to their audit divisions, but many of those newly hired auditors are setting up shop outside of their home state and auditing out-of-state businesses. With nexus legislation and use tax reporting requirements proving difficult to pass or enforce, it’s no wonder states turn to their audit professionals to save the day.

So, what do you do if you’re a remote auditor charged with bringing home the bacon? Easy: You target companies with an obligation to collect and remit your state’s tax, and you focus on the industries most prone to error when it comes to compliance. That list is shorter than you might think. According to a study Avalara conducted with Peisner Johnson & Company, nearly 60 percent of state audits are spread among just four or five industries: retail, manufacturing, construction, wholesale/distribution, and food service. This reality is the basis of the newest Avalara whitepaper, Sales and Use Tax Audits Uncovered: Who Gets Audited, Why They Get Audited, and the Impact on Companies.

As the whitepaper reveals, certain industries get targeted by auditors due to the nature of how they operate, like how food service companies are frequently audited because they’re cash-based and known to leave cash unreported. Beyond that, the primary reason these industries are targeted is that they historically fail to adhere to state and local sales and use tax regulations. In fact, according to the California Board of Equalization, the number one most frequent error of noncompliance made by businesses typically involves untaxed purchases from out-of-state vendors. Consequently, the data suggests that the bulk of audit assessments resulting from these errors came from use tax not being paid. And these are no small assessments: Avalara’s joint study also found that the average cost of an audit is approximately $114,000 including penalties, fees, and professional counsel. That’s quite a price to pay for something so avoidable.

Ultimately, when it comes to sales and use tax audits, the best offense is a solid defense. In the whitepaper, Sales and Use Tax Audits Uncovered, you’ll learn the most common audit triggers for each key industry, as well as how best to prepare and support yourself before or during an audit. Sales and use tax compliance may be tricky, but with the wealth of tools and information available today, business owners have never been in a better position to eliminate risk and safeguard themselves against a costly audit.

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