Increase Profitability by Eliminating Duplicate Data Entry

Hana Huber

What is your time worth to you? Or perhaps the question should be, what are your staff’s billable hours worth to you? Because if you can’t bill for the time, your staff is performing routine duties, then you should make sure those duties are essential for the business.

Most architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms are equipped with modern business applications, including ERP, CRM, and HR. However, for many firms, these systems are not cloud-based, which means data must be entered by hand at the office.

What’s more, these systems typically do not share information between and among them easily, so important data is kept siloed in each specific business system. The result is that critical business insights are frequently overlooked, and non-billable time is spent making sense of whatever data is there by creating reports with Excel spreadsheets that are outdated once the report is created.

For example, a typical scenario has the staff member go out into the field, record their observations, then come back to the office and enter the data by hand into the system. In this example, the person enters the same data twice – once in the field and again at the office. Not only is this process tedious for the staff member, but it is also prone to errors. If they want to verify a measurement or observation in their notes, they must return to the site to get them.

Then there is a similar issue with completing timesheets. Entering billable hours should be performed as soon as possible to maintain the accuracy of the hours spent on the project. But if employees in the field must come back to the office to report their billable hours, they might not remember the exact times spent on each project. Underreporting their billable hours has a direct impact on the profitability of your firm.

The case for the cloud

Having a cloud-based system alleviates most of these issues.

Employees can enter field notes and data directly into the system while in the field using a phone, laptop, or tablet, eliminating the issue of duplicate entry. If they need to verify a measurement, they are still on site and can collect the data again.

In the same way, time can be entered from wherever they are, helping to ensure their timesheets are always up-to-date and accurate.

By having cloud-based, interconnected CRM, HR, project management, and ERP systems, field personnel no longer have to return to the office to enter data into business applications, which results in significant time savings and reduces the increased chance of human error. Plus, it frees up your staff to perform more billable work.

Real-time reporting at the touch of a button

Another advantage of integrated cloud-based business systems is that data exchange gives management visibility across all areas of the firm, from project management to business relationships to profits and losses. Gone are out-of-date Excel spreadsheets. Instead, firms can glean actionable insights from real-time reporting on the business areas that matter the most.

Secure, flexible, and configurable

Having access anytime, anywhere, from any device is a significant advantage for your staff. But there’s more.

Modern cloud-based applications are also more flexible than rigid, legacy systems. They offer more options that allow internal employees to configure the system to match how your firm does business rather than employing an outside consultant to come in and make the changes for you. Access can be granted to remote and on-site workers as needed.

Cloud hosting providers have the staff and resources to employ better security and backup and failover capabilities than most firms can accomplish independently.

aec360 is cloud-based software leveraging proven Microsoft technology and designed specifically for AEC firms and their staff to help win business, deliver excellent projects, and optimize revenue. With aec360, you get a comprehensive industry-specific suite AND a best-in-class cloud platform to manage your processes, insights, productivity, relationships, and tools.

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