Roth Sheppard Streamlines Operations and Boosts Profitability with Ajera

June 27, 2024
Roth Sheppard Architects

Roth Sheppard Architects, founded in Denver in 1983 by Jeff Sheppard and Herb Roth, specializes in hospitality (restaurants, retail, residential) and municipal projects (police departments, court facilities, city halls) nationwide. The firm has received numerous industry recognitions, including: " Firm of the Year; Award of Honor, AIA Colorado” in 2021.

Jill Joseph, CPA, began consulting for Roth Sheppard Architects in 2020 and joined full-time in 2022. With a diverse background working for marketing and manufacturing firms, she trained as their controller, handling accounting, finance and operations. She played a key role in implementing Deltek Ajera for the firm.

When Jill started consulting for Roth Sheppard in 2020, the team used QuickBooks,, Gusto and various spreadsheets for financials and time tracking. Although Jill created workarounds to maximize their efficiency, she recognized these tools were not sustainable long term as the company was growing in revenue and employees. They needed a more suitable solution to support growth with consistent processes in place.


“It was just too much to manage, we had many disparate systems and were cross-checking to ensure everything matched across all the platforms. We needed a streamlined system to simplify and standardize our operations.”

– Jill Joseph, Controller


Transforming Project Management and Financials with Ajera

In addition to needing one system to manage all the financials, they also needed a tool for project management. ArchiOffice was purchased for that purpose, but the team was slow to adapt it and use all the functions, using it mostly to just track their time. The software was just not working for what it was intended to do. “Between trying to bring all the systems together and trying to have a process and system that was sustainable for our future growth and then trying to manage our projects better, we knew we needed to look for something else,” said Jill.

She added “We looked at a few systems, including and NetSuite, but those solutions were not specifically designed for A&E firms. Plus, after hearing positive reviews from staff members who had a history using Deltek solutions at other firms, we decided to implement Deltek Ajera. With the help of Deltek Professional Services, we went live in May 2023.”


“We quickly saw success, with billing timelines reduced from over ten days to two.”

– Jill Joseph, Controller


Jill’s team quickly benefited from implementing Ajera. Billing timelines were reduced from over ten days to two, from creating the draft invoice to sending the bill to the client. Ajera streamlined and detailed their project time tracking significantly because employees began regularly entering their timesheets, providing clearer and more accurate data.

Project managers (PMs) are now able to proactively manage their projects, better-controlling profit margins. Previously, they could reach the end of a project and realize that the project would break even. Now, PMs can react to ever-changing conditions to continually work the plan to protect their profits while delivering a successful project to the client. Additionally, Ajera allows PMs to track projects at each phase level, something that was not available in QuickBooks or ArchiOffice. “The data from Ajera has helped us be more proactive with our projects instead of being reactive. Before Ajera we didn’t always have the data in a timely manner and sometimes we could only determine profitability after the project was completed. Now we can course correct in time to fix issues and become more profitable,” said Jill.

The firm's accounts payable process also became smoother with Ajera. Previously, using ACH payments required initiating payments in and reconciling with QuickBooks. Now, accounting can make payments with one click and payments are automatically reconciled between their bank and Ajera.

Tracking consultant payments has also improved, saving the firm hours of manual labor. The commitment management feature in Ajera automatically tracks invoices and payments, eliminating manual tracking, which is particularly beneficial for projects involving numerous consultants.

Ajera Dashboards Aid in KPI Tracking and Boost Efficiency

Jill finds Ajera dashboards valuable for tracking key performance indicators (KPIs). Previously, the team manually tracked data using spreadsheets. With Ajera, they can now monitor metrics like net labor multiplier and utilization rate in real time which is valuable for the firm as those metrics are a big focus right now.

Since implementing Ajera, Roth Sheppard has improved key metrics due to increased visibility and real-time data tracking. “Being able to drill down into those metrics has improved our net labor multiplier because now we are being intentional about how we’re staffing projects in terms of the level of the person in the organization, whether it’s a project manager or an architect or a designer,” said Jill. The firm has grown from 12 to 20 employees, prompting principals to delegate tasks and assume leadership roles and Ajera has helped identify areas where other staff can take these tasks. Jill is now considering creating a project management boot camp to help staff maximize the use of Ajera's tools.

Increasing Transparency for Clients

Roth Sheppard is also using Ajera to enhance client communications. One way they are doing this is by emailing weekly updates on project status, outstanding accounts receivable and upcoming invoices—all information easily accessible in Ajera. Clients have responded positively to this increased transparency according to Jill. Additionally, this practice helps project managers understand both the financial performance and status of projects, allowing them to effectively plan their work for the upcoming weeks.

Enhancing Efficiency with Ajera and Other Deltek Products

Roth Sheppard recently upgraded to Ajera 10.0, noting the modern user interface and added features. This release allows for emailing vendor remittance advice when making vendor payments, saving a significant amount of time.

The firm is also considering additional Deltek solutions, such as Vantagepoint CRM, as the firm aims to establish a centralized source for project opportunities. With 40 years of operation but lacking unified business development tracking, they seek to address challenges in opportunity tracking, aiming to capture data points like building sizes, project outcomes and competitors' bids. Jill anticipates that a comprehensive client relationship management (CRM) system will provide a valuable single source of truth for the firm.


“With the Ajera system you can do so many amazing things for your organization. It is highly customizable, and I feel has unlimited potential.”

– Jill Joseph, Controller


Advice for A&E Firms

Jill praises Ajera's versatility, highlighting its high level of customization and vast potential and recommends the solution to other A&E firms looking to improve financial and project management processes.

In addition, she has the following advice for implementing the solution. “Begin with the end in mind; identify your biggest pain points and focus on solving those issues first. Don’t think about just using the solution for accounting because it can do so much more and can benefit everyone in the firm. I would suggest thinking about how everyone has a role to play using the software and if the goal is to help the firm operate better, Ajera is a tool that can get you there.”


Better Manage People and Projects

Deltek Ajera helps firms improve project visibility, improve cash flow and make better, faster business decisions.

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