An Interview with Makayla Cates, Contract Performance Manager, Emma Pires, Business Analyst, and Chad Rahmani, Director of Financial Services at Surf to Snow Environmental Resource Management, Inc.
Surf to Snow Environmental Resource Management, Inc (S2S) is a family-owned business established in 2008. A California-based environmental firm, they are a Department of Veteran’s Affairs-verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and state-certified Small Business Enterprise/Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (SBE/DVBE) founded on a mission is to provide natural resource and regulatory expertise to help their clients and partners build projects and succeed in business while protecting and managing the shared environment for today and future generations. As Makayla Cates, Contract Performance Manager at S2S explained, “We have the expertise to support all project phases in establishing and maintaining project compliance with local, state and federal laws and regulations while also ensuring that our clients’ project objectives, costs, and schedule goals are achieved.”
As a growing business with new contracts, S2S realized they needed a more efficient way to manage projects, perform invoicing, and track time and expenses. At the time they were using a myriad solutions including spreadsheets, QuickBooks,® and an outdated PSA/ERP system. According to Emma Pires, Business Analyst at S2S, “We interviewed a lot of different vendors and we ultimately landed on Deltek Vantagepoint because we felt it could integrate all of our needs in one solution.” Vantagepoint is a project and financial management solution built for the way project-based businesses work. Chad Rahmani, Director of Financial Services at S2S explained, “We talked with some similar firms who were a bit larger and found those companies were successfully using Deltek Vantagepoint, so we knew it could scale with us.”
Another major reason for choosing Vantagepoint was the flexible project invoicing design options. As Emma described, “Some of our clients have very specific invoicing demands with three+ levels of information. For example; project name, task, order number, and location. Deltek is able to get to a very granular level of detail when it comes to projects.”
Project Management and Financial Management Software for Consultancies
Project Insights & Efficiencies
A big benefit of utilizing an integrated project and financial management system is the ability to proactively manage projects by consistently monitoring project performance. With Deltek Vantagepoint, S2S can access company and project data quickly, including key performance indicators for employee utilization and project billing. As Makayla explained, “An important function for S2S is project management and visibility. The ability to have insights into our projects, ensuring we are hitting our goals, and the capability to track better was a huge improvement for our project management team.” With critical business information at their fingertips, S2S is able to make informed decisions about their projects faster.
Cross Department Visibility
As a relatively small firm, the staff at S2S wear a number of hats. After implementing Deltek Vantagepoint, they can more easily share information across the company, and spend less time manually pulling reports. “Vantagepoint helps us get information across different departments and has been a significant timesaver for our administrative team,” according to Emma. “Instead of having to pull or create custom reports, we can inform the team that it’s already on their dashboard and they have access in real-time.”
Setup for Future Success
Overall, Deltek Vantagepoint has helped S2S become more efficient and helped set up the company for future growth.
"Vantagepoint has added a lot more efficiency to our process. More procedures are automatic and with that added efficiency we can maximize the utilization of our staff."
– Chad Rahmani, Director of Financial Services, S2S
And as Emma Pires describes, “Vantagepoint will help us with scalability by giving us the ability to take on more contracts, because we have a better system to manage and report on our projects.”
Advice for Firms Implementing an ERP or PSA Software
The team at S2S has some advice for other professional services companies who are evaluating and implementing an ERP or PSA system. Makayla advises, “One of the big things we learned was to make sure to communicate and have buy-in from leaders across the company. Make sure everyone is aware and prepared so there are no delays and efficiencies can reach their full potential as quickly as possible.”
About Surf to Snow
Surf to Snow (S2S) is a full-service environmental consulting firm working in the electric, gas, and hydroelectric utilities; transportation; telecommunications; green infrastructure; federal; state and local services sectors. Their areas of expertise include stormwater, water quality, permitting and compliance, environmental planning, natural and cultural resources, and restoration support. They are also a GSA Federal Supply Schedule contract holder (47QRAA21D000B).
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