Leading Design and Architecture firm Fender Katsalidis transforms finance with Deltek ERP
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For large companies juggling numerous projects, resource planning is an integral part of business success. This makes having real-time information on what’s being spent when and where a must.
Fender Katsalidis (FK) is an award-winning design and architecture firm based in Australia. The company specialises in commercial, residential, hotel and cultural projects across architecture, interior design, urban design and masterplanning. Its portfolio includes two of the tallest buildings in the Southern Hemisphere: Australia 108 and Eureka Tower.
Merdeka118; photo by wordsearch
Its many awards aside, one of the things FK is most proud of is its collaborative working culture, which enables its talented team members to learn and grow in their roles. The company therefore wanted a project management system that could encourage further collaboration and put everyone on the same page.
In particular, its Finance Department wanted to improve the way information was shared across teams, and set out to overhaul resource planning, reporting and other key processes.
“We really wanted our project leaders to have better visibility into our finances,” says Quinn Xi, Associate Director and Head of Finance at FK. “Our previous system limitations meant that the finance team had to perform workarounds to gather information and share it with people in a timely manner.”
FK wanted to bring in new reporting capabilities, analytics tools and, crucially, access to real-time data.
The long-term goal was to improve both the financial operations and the way the company operates overall, incorporating innovative new processes, mobile applications, business intelligence and dashboards to modernise processes. It also wanted a scalable future-proof solution that could grow alongside the business.
“Project leaders need a nice, savvy interface,” says Quinn Xi. “We were previously limited in the way we could share information and what other platforms we could connect to. So, it was another reason for change.”
Industry Best Practice Guide For Financial Management
Recommendations for Architecture, Engineering and Consulting Firms
A difficult choice made easy
In the search for a replacement solution, FK looked at several options, but initially found that none provided a comprehensive enough set of features to take the company to the next level.
“We didn’t want to have to add on bits and pieces for extra functionality,” says Quinn XI. “We wanted a core system with a good roadmap that could provide everything we needed in one place.”
After an extensive search, the company found itself impressed by the capabilities of Deltek Vantagepoint – and, importantly, its vision for the future.
“When we looked at what was on the roadmap in terms of developments and enhancements coming, Deltek was the one that impressed us most. It aligned with our own goals, which made the decision easy in the end.”
A whole new vantagepoint
With Deltek Vantagepoint, FK now has real-time reporting and smart, customisable forecasting tools that make it far easier to get important information to the right people at the right time.
Previously, sharing information would involve a number of time consuming steps including creating a PDF and sending that information to the people who need it. Now, reports can be complied in a matter of minutes, which means important decisions can be made at crucial moments, based on more in-depth, timely and accurate data.
The finance team also uses a series of bespoke dashboards to check billings and revenue and quickly share important information in team meetings.
“Those dashboards have proven to be a real game changer,” says Quinn Xi. “We’ve found that using charts really resonates with people with creative minds. It’s much more powerful for illustrating things like forecasting than a report full of numbers.”
FK has now further enhanced its level of transparency in financial matters, with complete visibility into audit trails, workflow matters and other key factors all made available to everyone who needs them.
Vantagepoint has also made it easier for the company to win new work, providing the flexibility to meet the specific invoicing and reporting requirements of various government bodies and new clients.
“We’re very excited to have this new system,” says Quinn XI. “Adoption across the company has been strong – which isn’t always the case with changes like this.”
" When we looked at what was on the roadmap in terms of developments and enhancements coming, Deltek was the one that impressed us most. It aligned with our own goals, which made the decision easy in the end"
Three tips for implementing new systems
We asked Quinn Xi what advice she’d give other organisations migrating to a new ERP or project management system.
1. Look ahead
“I’d say look at what your company objectives are in six to seven years. By the time you implement the system and really familiarise yourself with it, technology may already have moved on. That’s why Deltek’s roadmap was so important to us.”
2. Don’t fear change
“One of the biggest challenges is recognising the need for change and encouraging others within the company that it’s the right thing to do. It’s a lot of work for all team members involved, but the rewards and efficiencies gained easily outweigh the journey of implementing a new system.”
3. Consider your approach to change management
“Know your audience in terms of the end users and consider all the change management aspects. Your success is probably 75 per cent down to which platform you choose and how the implementation goes, and 25 per cent the way you handle change management and getting everyone up to speed.”
Power Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint
Deltek Vantagepoint is a leader in project and financial management solutions for A&E firms around the world. See how it can help you maximise productivity, boost collaboration, improve efficiency and drive business success.
About Fender Katsalidis
Fender Katsalidis is a multi-disciplinary international design firm with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The practice’s work influences built environment thinking across the globe with projects spanning multi-residential, cultural, commercial, aged care and hotel typologies. Delivering holistic solutions in architecture, masterplanning, urban design and interiors, all Fender Katsalidis projects imbue the practice’s core philosophy; innovation through collaboration.
Industry Best Practice Guide for Financial Management
Recommendations for Architecture, Engineering and Consulting Firms
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