The saying “too many eggs in your basket” is apt for the professional service world.
Juggling multiple accounts, a spread of different team members, and wildly differing client expectations can get out of hand very quickly.
Luckily, with the right professional services software, you can keep processes tight and on track. By providing key features like time tracking, automated invoices, and handy checklists, you have the space you need to actually do the work.
So, what exactly defines professional service software from all of the various solutions out there? Let's break it down.
What is professional services software?
Professional services software offers an all-in-one space for providers, consultants, and agencies to manage client projects from start to finish.
Typically, your professional services software will have a handful of features that make it easier to close deals, allocate resources, track time spent on projects, and manage billable hours so you can properly fulfill the lifecycle of every client engagement.
Everything is stored in one place, giving stakeholders and participating team members (and outsourced parties) the chance to get a birds-eye-view of what’s going on at any given time.
OK, but how will professional services software help me?
There are plenty of benefits to using professional services software. Some research shows that companies using professional services software see 143% revenue growth year on year.
To get an idea of how this type of software should work for you, here are some of the biggest perks (but are not limited to):
Fewer mundane and manual tasks. Eliminate the need for multiple spreadsheets and stop using Excel for project management. Instead, keep all relevant assets in one easy-to-access hub.
Optimize resource use. Make resource allocation easy by keeping track of which team members are working on what and ensure you’re making most of the resources you have available.
Get deeper insights. Keep a close eye on profit margins and project spend through detailed reports and greater visibility.
Increase billable hours. Relieve team members from mundane activities like manually tracking their time and writing up reports so you can maximize your billable hours.
Drive revenue growth. Tighter processes mean bigger profit margins.
Finding the right professional services software
The right professional services software for you will depend entirely on your team, projects, and clients. For example, a lone architect is likely to have different needs than a full-scale graphic design agency working on multiple accounts at once.
That being said, there are some key features you should look out for when choosing which professional services software to use.
Ideally, you want the software to:
Include resource availability information (including future availability)
Document skills and areas of expertise
Track financial data around resource costs and project milestone rates
Monitor the time spent on each billable segment of a project
Common features of professional services software
The majority of professional services software has similar features that make tracking, monitoring, and planning projects easier. Some of the most common features include:
Automated project setup
Project planning features (checklists and Gantt charts)
Progress tracking and alerts
Project reports and financial dashboards
Automated invoices and invoice tracking
Time tracking abilities
Let's dive in on the best professional services software options for 2022 and beyond to help you kickstart your year with the features you need:
If you’re using professional service software and a time tracking tool and a project management tool, it might be time to consolidate your toolkit.
While many of the big players offer billable hours, invoicing capabilities, and resource tracking, they don't have a complete suite of features to help you with everything from project tracking to managing customer inquiries.
Teamwork combines professional services software with powerful project management capabilities to give teams a centralized hub to work together, share, and collaborate.
You don't just get time-tracking features, workload views, and billable hours with Teamwork. Instead, you own a full-scale project management solution with Kanban boards, Gantt charts, project templates, in-take forms, project overviews, profitability reports, and so much more.
Choosing Teamwork as your professional services software gives you:
Unlimited client users
Built-in templates to scale high-performing processes
Powerful time tracking capabilities
Custom reports and detailed data insights about each project
Kanban boards that let you visualize each project
Easy-to-use resource allocation and management features
Collaboration capabilities, like file storing, chat, and message threads
Teamwork also works with several professional services agencies around the globe to ensure we're providing the features you actually need and use every day.
Try Teamwork today for free with a 30-day trial and see why so many professional services companies trust us to run their business every day.
Built to help accountants, architects, engineers, IT services firms, and management consultants, BigTime allows you to budget for projects, and track and bill time.
Easy integrations with commonly used finance software make it easy to send automated invoices. Some of the most popular features include resource allocation, workflow management, and task lists.
Users enjoy BigTime's intuitive and user-friendly approach and reporting features. Its integration with Quickbooks is huge for many professional services companies.
Packages start at $10 per month per user.
Accelo offers agencies and teams a client management system with features that track client work, allocate resources, and send invoices. Its biggest selling point is its automation capabilities that help streamline and integrate all the moving parts that come with project work.
Key features include automated timesheets, custom reporting, and alerts that chime in when a project goes off track. All in all, this is a powerful software option with plenty of features.
Users can track sales, projects, invoices, and CRM while saving time on admin work. Some of the issues are around its flexibility and ability to find data quickly. You can get started at $39 per month.
Web-based software Clarizen helps agencies and professional services to connect up their employees and stakeholders in one central place. Through the dashboard, teams can create documents, build reports, and automate the project workflow using the suite of powerful features.
It was made specifically for multiple teams who work across a company to help manage task allocation and tracking. The intuitive interface makes it simple to get started with quick access to project visibility features.
This is ideal for those who want to measure the efficiency of a project's resources. But it does have some issues with generating longer reports and has limited custom fields.
As of now, prices are based on the unique needs of each user.
Mavenlink combines features that aid operational management, resource optimization, workflow automation, and key integrations with other cloud-based apps and software.
Its goal is to help services businesses find the best team for a project and track real-time progress against pre-set timelines and budgets to ensure projects run smoothly and profitably.
Users tend to enjoy its simple reporting structure, automated emails, and pre-filling capabilities to speed up time logging. Some concerns are around the lack of a daily total hours view and difficulty searching for tasks.
Prices are based on industry, company size, and country.
Kimble is more of a professional services automation software, which helps organizations make better decisions with intuitive, data-led insights.
Its features come together to improve team collaboration and make projects more efficient through granular time tracking, automated invoices, and intelligent resource allocation and management.
Users love Kimble's customer support, detailed timesheets, and powerful automated reporting features. Some might consider the interface too complex to navigate and challenging to adopt.
Prices are available on request.
7. FinancialForce PSA
Like Kimble, FinancialForce is a professional services automation software that leverages the ever-popular Salesforce platform.
Users can easily manage teams, clients, projects, and finances all from one integrated app. It comes equipped with all the key features of professional services software, but with the added bonus of automated workflows and reporting for extra insights and efficiency.
This makes it easy to manage projects and resources in one place. Its powerful reporting features help teams visualize the impact of data accuracy. But its limited invoice capabilities and complex interface make it challenging for some to adopt.
Prices are available on request.
Choosing the right professional services software means asking the right questions
There are plenty of professional services software out there to choose from. The key is to pick one that meets your needs as an organization and is equipped with features that enhance your team’s efforts to increase project efficiency.
Consider asking yourself:
Does this software meet my team’s requirements?
Would my team enjoy using this software every day?
Does the software allow stakeholder access?
Does the software integrate with the other apps my team uses?
What can I track with the software and how well can I track it?
How easy is it to build custom reports?
How does the software display information?
For the sake of simplicity, look at these five deciding factors when choosing the right software for your needs.
Look at whether the price increases with the number of stakeholders who have access to the software. Consider what features you get for the price as well. Some software is geared specifically towards enterprises with high-level features that a lot of smaller organizations don’t need.
What do you need the software to do for you? Check out the features available on each software and decide how relevant they are to your needs. In particular, look for time tracking features, project management, invoicing capabilities, and reporting.
You’re probably already using a number of other tools and apps to manage other parts of your business. Determine whether the professional services software you choose integrates with those tools for ease and simplicity.
Ease of use
It won’t be just you using the professional services software you choose. It’ll likely become a key tool for stakeholders, team members, and clients. This means it’s important that it’s easy to pick up and use.
Professional services software can be a great addition to your tech toolkit. Their powerful time tracking capabilities and resource allocation and management features make it easy to streamline projects and make every process as efficient as it can be.