The M Group is a full-service commercial architecture firm with a simple mission: To design outstanding facilities that are functional, creative, buildable and affordable. One of the firm’s biggest game changers was moving from Quickbooks® for accounting to Deltek Ajera, an easy-to-use product tailored specifically to the needs of their project-based business.
The M Group is passionate about creating spaces that are comfortable, innovative and meet their clients’ needs. As architects and designers, factors like scheduling, profitability and day-to-day business procedures are requirements of the job, but the more efficient they can be with those tasks, the more time they have to design for their clients.
Deltek Ajera has helped The M Group drive business success through increased team efficiencies, contributing to higher profitability and better utilization. It has also helped them with project-based billing, including invoicing and getting payments more quickly from clients through streamlined processes, which frees up time for their staff to focus their efforts on architecture and interior design.
For this small award-winning architecture and design firm, scheduling, client coverage and employee utilization are critical parts of their business success.
Earlier in the history of this nearly 35-year-old firm, the scheduling process was extremely inefficient. Ten years ago, the staff relied on a combination of Quickbooks® and Excel® spreadsheets; prior to that, handwritten notes were utilized to connect staff resources to what they were working on.
Moving from a product like Quickbooks which does not deliver a project-specific accounting or project management experience, to Deltek, a product specifically designed for project-based architecture and engineering businesses, was a game-changer.
"At The M Group, we consider ourselves a larger small firm that punches way above its weight, meaning that we have the capability, and proven record, to successfully complete numerous large, concurrent projects. But to do that, our bandwidth is something we must closely and accurately monitor" said Michael Timcheck.
With Deltek Ajera, The M Group’s scheduling process is no longer manual and has been significantly improved through automation. Employees now have the ability to update their own schedules and the management team can view and adjust them as necessary. This provides their team with full visibility into the most recent updates and new projects entered into the system.
Achieving Higher Profitability and Staff Utilization with Deltek
Partnership for Growth
Before implementing Ajera, the processes The M Group used did not allow them to fully optimize their growth potential. Now, with Deltek’s project-based software and support, they are able to scale their business and expand their staff’s knowledge into the business side of the architecture world. The company’s designers and architects did not necessarily learn terms like profitability and utilization in school, but with the use of Deltek Ajera, they now have a deep understanding of how tracking these key metrics supports the firm’s growth and profitability.
Through this new solution the team has full access to the status of their projects. They can quickly access the information they need to keep projects on track and on budget, such as hours billed versus hours left to bill. Deltek has helped project managers grow and become more efficient with greater visibility into which phases of the project that might be more time intensive, allowing for a better understanding of when additional services might be required. For invoicing, any employee can go into the software and see what has been invoiced, or needs to be invoiced, and check if the project was invoiced correctly or if scope-creep requires additional billing.
"With Deltek, we're no longer held up with day-to-day scheduling, timesheets and maintenance. Instead, we are doing what we're passionate about – designing spaces for people." −Michael Timcheck, Architect and Partner, The M Group
Not only is The M Group a Deltek customer, but Deltek also happens to be their client; the firm recently designed Deltek’s new Customer Briefing Center at their headquarters office in Herndon, VA. “When working with the Deltek team, they walk the walk and talk the talk. From start to finish, everyone — from executives to staff — were very engaged with the project, very similar to how they handle their clients on their software side,” said Mr. Timcheck.
About The M Group
The M Group Architects + Interior Architects was established in 1987 as a full-service commercial architecture firm with a simple mission: to design outstanding facilities that are functional, creative, buildable and affordable. Since our founding, our commitment to this mission has enabled us to create an extensive portfolio of innovative projects for developers, corporations and institutions.
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