Is your Business Project-based and you Don’t Even Know it?

SPI Research has seen a strong trend toward making virtually all work, project-based work. Companies in every industry have turned their focus toward projects. A project focus makes sense as organizations plan work with a beginning, an end, and all steps in between. The key with projects is that there are cost and time associated with every phase or task, and there should also be value delivered. Every dollar spent on an initiative must be tracked to determine whether it was worth the investment.

If we were a project-based company, someone would tell me, right?

Projects are easier to qualify and quantify
A project-based business environment makes perfect sense to executives. Projects begin neat and orderly, with specific start and stop dates, projected cost and expected value. Not a bad way to present yourself to your customers – right? Leading organizations have also incorporated a structured delivery methodology into the project-based work to track everything related to it more closely. This environment helps companies better project a return-on-investment (ROI), which in today’s economy has become increasingly important to customers and clients purchasing products and services.

But very few projects go exactly according to plan, as unforeseen conditions, or changes by the customer impact the project or service to be delivered. Those organizations that have taken a project-based approach to work can more easily change the scope of what is to be delivered, as well as its cost and expected change in duration. Again, this gives executives greater comfort in the work being delivered and its value to both the organization delivering it and its customer.

Better tools are now available for customer and client facing organizations
Tools for small and midsized businesses can increase billable utilization, increase profitability per consultant, and increase customer satisfaction as projects are completed more frequently on-time and on-budget. Additionally, Professional Services Automation software increases employee satisfaction, as they better understand what is required of them and the value they must deliver. Companies also have greater financial governance, tracking all costs associated with project delivery and comparing them to the revenue generated.

Progressus – Built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 – is next-generation Professional Services Automation and ERP software, mobile-enabled and architected for the Microsoft cloud. Monitor the pulse of your projects, and work smarter. Bring all your data together and create personalized dashboards in seconds. Use predictive analysis to drive informed, data-driven decision making across projects.

Progressus provides all the capabilities needed to manage professional services and project-based businesses of any size – operating in any geography. Functionality spans all the important processes in your firm – resource management, project management, sales and marketing, and financial management – to give you unparalleled insight and control of all of your critical business functions. Built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform, it is constructed for cloud and provides role-based clients optimized for any browser or mobile device.

Taking a project-based approach to work will provide executives, employees, customers and clients with greater visibility into work conducted, its cost, revenue, and ultimately value delivered. If you aren’t already using projects to manage your business, consider shifting today. Check out our upcoming webcast, 5 Reasons Project-Driven Firms Switch to Dynamics 365.

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Best regards,

Dave Drouin
EVP of Professional Services, SBS Group

About David Drouin

David is a graduate of Wharton School of Business with a B.S. in Accounting and Economics.  After graduation, he began a twenty year career in public accounting, including five years as a partner where he built a successful systems advisory practice and managed it as partner-in-charge.

David joined SBS Group in 2006 as the Executive VP of Finance before taking on his current role as Executive VP of Professional Services.Dave Drouin, Executive Vice President, Professional Services at SBS Group

In addition to his business and accounting background, David has strong technical skills which he has leveraged in helping hundreds of small businesses and large enterprises evaluate and implement ERP systems in his nearly thirty years in technology services sector.​

https://www.linkedin.com/in/daviddrouin

2017 Mid-Year Sales Tax Changes

Repost from Avalara

Dealing with change is standard operating procedure for many companies: employees leave and are hired; new products are introduced and old ones phased out; there are booms, and there are busts. On top of all that, companies need to account for sales and use tax changes. Significant changes in rates, regulations, and product taxability often take effect July 1, which is the start of a new fiscal year in all but a few states.

At the end of 2016, we shared many of the sales tax changes set to occur January 1, 2017. These included state sales tax rate changes in California and New Jersey, the expansion of sales tax to certain services in North Carolina, the prohibition of taxing more services in Missouri, and a bevy of recently enacted soda taxes and tampon tax exemptions. At mid-year, we’re seeing a few propositions that signify a dramatic shift in online sales tax revenue.

States want to collect more tax revenue from remote sales

Perhaps the most notable trend of 2017 is states’ push to obtain tax revenue from remote sales. This isn’t new. States have been working to tax out-of-state sellers for years, but their efforts have been hampered by Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992) — the landmark Supreme Court ruling that a state can only tax businesses physically located within its borders.

In recent years, states have found creative ways to work around the physical presence precedent upheld by Quill. They’re taxing businesses with ties to in-state affiliates and those that generate a certain amount of business through links on in-state websites (commonly known as click-through nexus). Increasingly, they’re also taxing companies with a certain amount of economic activity in the state (economic nexus). Unfortunately for states in need of additional sales tax revenue, these affiliate, click-through, and economic nexus laws are difficult for states to enforce.

Therefore, many states are looking to different and more aggressive approaches. Two methods, in particular, have been gaining steam this year: use tax notification and reporting requirements, and taxes on online marketplace providers such as Amazon and eBay.

Use tax notification and reporting requirements

Colorado paved the way for states to impose use tax notification and reporting requirements on non-collecting out-of-state sellers. After spending years stuck in court, its policy takes effect July 1 — the same date a similar policy starts in Puerto Rico. Vermont recently passed one and made it effective retroactively, on January 1, 2017. Other states, including Pennsylvania and Texas, are considering use tax notification and reporting measures.

Sending annual reports of consumer purchase activity to consumers and state tax authorities is more work for remote retailers, and Colorado and the other states could be using their policies as a back-door approach to getting out-of-state companies to register and collect. Even if companies choose to not take that route, use tax reporting should help states increase their use tax collections.

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Taxing online marketplaces

Minnesota is the first state to enact a tax on marketplace providers. HF 1 will take effect at the earlier of July 1, 2019, or when the Supreme Court modifies its decision in Quill — though the effective date could change if Congress passes legislation allowing states to tax remote sales.

North Carolina, Texas, Washington, and a number of other states are also interested in taxing marketplace providers, and their efforts are likely to continue or resume as 2017 wanes. But not all agree it’s a good idea: New York lawmakers blocked Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to tax them earlier this year.

Congress could tackle online sales tax

Federal lawmakers are much preoccupied with tax reform and repealing or revamping the Affordable Care Act. Allowing states to tax remote sales transactions, or definitively preventing them from doing so, seems to be low on their list of priorities. However, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Washington, so a federal solution to the problem of untaxed remote sales should not be entirely ruled out.

Two bills have been introduced that would authorize states to tax certain interstate sales: the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 and the Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2017.

A bill that would codify the physical presence standard set by Quill and further limit states’ ability to tax interstate sales has also been introduced: the No Representation Without Representation Act of 2017.

Other sales tax changes

Many of the trends seen at the start of the year are continuing as 2017 progresses. Florida has enacted a tampon tax exemption, Seattle a soda tax. Tennessee is lowering the state sales tax rate on food and food ingredients, there are calls to add a statewide sales tax in Alaska, and although he failed to achieve it this session, Governor Jim Justice has been pushing to raise the state sales tax rate in West Virginia. The taxation of services — including online music and movie streaming services — remains a hot and hotly contested topic. And, as always, a plethora of local sales tax rate changes take effect at the start of each new quarter.

Don’t be lulled into complacency during the dog days of summer: There’s a lot happening in the world of sales tax right now. Staying on top of these and other changes will allow you to prepare for them. Download Avalara’s 2017 Sales Tax Changes Mid-Year Update to learn more.

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SBS Group Achieves the 2017/2018 Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics

The company is honored by Microsoft for achieving outstanding sales achievement and innovation.

SBS Group, a leading information technology services and consulting firm, has achieved the prestigious 2017/2018 Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics. Membership in this elite group is based on sales achievements that rank SBS Group in the top echelon of the Microsoft global network of partners. Inner Circle members have performed to a high standard of excellence by delivering valuable solutions that help organizations achieve increased success.

2017/2018 Inner Circle members are invited to the Inner Circle Summit, taking place in fall 2017 where they will have a unique opportunity to share strategy and network with Microsoft senior leaders and fellow partners.

This recognition of Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics came during Microsoft Inspire (formerly Microsoft WPC), the annual premier partner event, running from July 9-13, 2017 in Washington, D.C.. Microsoft Inspire provides the Microsoft partner community with the opportunity to learn about the company’s road map for the upcoming year, establish connections, share best practices, experience the latest product innovations and learn new skills.

“Each year we recognize and honor Microsoft Dynamics partners from around the world for exemplary business performance,” said Frank Holland, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions Sales & Partners. “ These award-winning partners represent the top 1% of Microsoft Dynamics partners in terms of sales performance, but their critical impact on the success of our shared customers is what truly stands out. Microsoft is honored to recognize SBS Group for their achievements this past year and for their dedication and support of Microsoft Dynamics solutions.”

SBS Group is dedicated to supplying valuable solutions that help customers realize business value faster by working with them to identify the best solutions and services that accommodate their business needs while excelling in customer satisfaction. By collaborating with the teams at Microsoft, the SBS team maintains a strong expertise of Microsoft cloud services and technologies to provide innovative solutions, strong services, and positive business impact to their customers. This is the fifth time this decade that SBS has achieved Inner Circle.

“We are pleased to once again be recognized as part of this exclusive group,” said James R. Bowman, SBS Group’s President and CEO, “This achievement is a result of the tremendous efforts and deep commitment of everyone at SBS Group to delivering great solutions and excellence in serving our employee, partner, and customer communities.”


To read the full release, click here.

Minimize Seasonal Resource Management Challenges with Cloud PSA

Summertime equals family poolside vacations and fun for most, but summer vacations can represent instability in resource management for delivering customer projects. Employees are on vacation, and a decrease in available resources can be challenging.

Progressus-Logo-Transparent

Progressus is next-generation PSA and ERP software, mobile-enabled and architected for the intelligent cloud. It adds advanced project accounting, project management and resource management to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Business Edition to provide the most advanced business management solution for small and mid-sized professional services and project-based businesses.

What professional services businesses need during summer months is to maximize resources and streamline projects. With Progressus, you can:

  • Define resources and setup different skills to plan out the labor budget against a project
  • Setup individual forecasts on resources and measure their performance against the budget
  • Enter project resource budget in the Gantt tool to work with the resource allocations and submit changes to Progressus
  • Securely impersonate another user in order to report hours/expenses for other resources if they have jetted out to Tahiti again

Progressus provides a familiar, easy-to-use interface for forecasting and managing resources or associated project costs.

Common professional services scenarios illustrating benefits of a cloud-based PSA for a business owner:

 

> Responding to a Sudden Influx of Work

When the summer lull is over, small and midsized businesses need to respond quickly when an opportunity presents itself such as onboarding a new client or tackling a new project. Cloud computing can meet these increasing demands in real-time without the burden of purchasing and deploying new software. In addition, it provides new levels of productivity to remote workers or contractors, allowing them to access the system from any location, at any time.

> Difficulty Managing Complex IT Demands

Let’s face it, managing an IT infrastructure can be both complicated and time consuming, especially if it’s not your ‘day job.’ Cloud computing can liberate business owners by removing IT burdens such as upgrading software, addressing integration issues and optimizing performance of the network. It frees up more time to allow business professionals to focus on what they do best – servicing their clients – not managing IT.

In professional services, the only thing constant is change; what happened in the previous quarter does not dictate the needs of the next one. This perpetual state of flux is the primary reason that so many small and midsized businesses are moving to cloud-based PSA systems.

Learn more about Progressus cloud solutions here. Let me know 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 products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investRobbie-2017ments.

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

Business Intelligence – the Missing Piece of the Puzzle for Professional Services Automation

I recently completed a 1,000-piece puzzle on a family beach vacation. It’s a good way to unwind, spend time together accomplishing a task, and escape the hot sun or rain. We finished the puzzle and it was rewarding, but have you ever reached the end of a puzzle and there is one missing piece or more? You placed 999 pieces but the picture is not complete. It reminded me that sometimes there are missing pieces when it comes to integrated ERP and Professional Services Automation (PSA). And most often that missing piece is Business Intelligence (BI).

BI Missing Piece of the Puzzle

PSA systems can measure utilization, backlog, and profitability. But most users report that there is plenty of room for innovation in analytics and BI. And you don’t want to be forced into integrating a third-party BI tool. You need it baked directly into your system. The key is to be able to drill into backlogs, trends, and accounts in real time.

Large professional services firms can find advanced project management functionality and enterprise BI in solutions like AXIO Professional Services, but small and mid-sized firms need something that better fits their needs, like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition.

Dynamics 365 for Professional Services SMB and Enterprise Editions

Enter Progressus for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Business Edition

Progressus is next-generation PSA and ERP software, mobile-enabled and architected for the intelligent cloud. It adds advanced project accounting, project management and resource management to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition to provide the most advanced business management solution for mid-sized professional services and project-based businesses.

Project reporting, analytics, and forecasting are built right into Progressus in the form of:

  • KPIs – PM provides automatic access to project factors, where it is possible to see client rate, invoice rate, earning rate and efficiency rate per resource
  • Dashboards – Different windows to follow up on more projects in one window so each project does not have to be opened separately.
  • Extensive Data Views – View project data in a project summary, drilling down to view underlying information and get specific details about project transactions.
  • Easily Understandable Information – Enable project managers to analyze information more effectively by presenting project and task data in familiar profit and loss (P&L) formats
  • Income Analysis – Using Income analysis you can create forecasts of your cash flow, pipeline, turnover, expenses, etc.

Learn more about Progressus and that missing piece of the puzzle here. Let us know 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 products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.  Robbie

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

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