How Draper Aden is Reinvesting $1M in Cash Flow Back into their Business with Deltek
An Interview with Tim Cretney, CFO of Draper Aden Assoc., Deltek Customer
Summary: Deltek recently had the opportunity to talk to Draper Aden’s CFO, Tim Cretney, to discuss how Deltek has helped them increase cash flow by more than $1Million. Draper Aden is a 300 person engineering firm that provides engineering, surveying, and environmental services to a wide variety of industry sectors.
Q: How did Draper Aden Associates get its start?
Tim Cretney: In 1972 Joe Draper and Bill Aden, both Virginia Tech graduates, formed the partnership of Draper Aden Associates in Blacksburg, Virginia and began a civil engineering firm with six employees. Since that time the partnership has flourished and grown into a multi-location, full service consulting engineering firm. We have over 40 years of experience in facilities planning and engineering design for municipalities, state agencies, cultural institutions, and private clients. With nine locations in two states, central Virginia and North Carolina, many of our employees are remote or working on-site at project sites—so cloud technology is really important to us. It lets us more easily share real-time information with our remote workers and scale to our company’s fast growth.
Q: How has Deltek had an impact on your business?
Tim Cretney: We first implemented Deltek in 2010. Since that time our company has grown substantially—we’ve doubled our employee size and revenues. Not only has Deltek has provided us with a platform for growth, but it has also enabled us to integrate, streamline and automate many of our processes. With Deltek we’ve been able to combine our financial accounting and CRM processes into one system—which has helped us eliminate data redundancy, data inaccuracies and process inefficiencies. It has also allowed us to streamline the process of tracking new opportunities right from the start with auto numbering and new project number sequencing, and has helped us implement cool, innovative technologies like GIS tracking for tracking opportunities and projects by locations.
Q: What type of benefits have you seen in your business?
Tim Cretney: Deltek has allowed us to more effectively track our time and allocate it to the projects and tasks we’re working on. This really helps us with resource management and saves us a substantial amount of time during our month-end process.
We've been able to streamline the month-end closing process from about ten days down to five. At a more tactical level, that means we get paid faster. Draper Aden has seen an improvement of approximately ten days in its DSO—day sales outstanding. And with that improvement, we've seen up to a million dollar improvement in cash flow per year. That’s a million additional dollars in our bank accounts that we can then reinvest into new equipment, new innovation and new development to keep us on the cutting edge of technology!
$1M in Increased Cash Flow Helps to keep Draper Aden on the Cutting Edge of Technology
Q: That’s amazing! So $1M in increased cash flow – any other benefits you’d like to highlight?
Definitely - we are working smarter and faster. Before implementing Deltek, our accounting staff were working late hours and weekends just to keep up with invoicing, payroll and data entry. Deltek has helped us move towards automation and paperless processes, so we’ve been able to reduce our administrative work by two salaries, or approximately $120K per year. Plus, everyone in our company has access to Deltek ERP for time and expense entry—so there is less dependency on our accounting staff.
Q: What type of additional innovations are you looking forward to implementing?
Tim Cretney: One thing we’re really looking forward to implementing is electronic work tickets. A significant portion of our business is related to surveying. So when our survey technicians are out on site, they will have a computer tablet where they can log into Deltek, do their time sheets and tie those time sheets directly to an electronic work ticket. That work ticket can then be printed out—where the client can sign on site—and then be immediately emailed back to the client and our back office for processing. It goes back to being smart with our time and technology.
Deltek helps us with all of this. We’re tying all of this efficiency back to the planning template in Deltek—which allows us to schedule and plan our days for folks that are out in the field. Crews no longer have to process handwritten tickets or have to come into the office to speak to a supervisor to find out which jobs they’ll be working on. We can actually use the planning template to have that information flow right through to the timesheet which then goes to the electronic ticket.
Being able to remotely access the Deltek solution on the go, from anywhere, gives us a tremendous amount of efficiency. We can track our time more accurately and share that information with clients. We’re really excited about it.
Q: What’s on the horizon for Draper Aden and Deltek?
Tim Cretney: Draper Aden is always looking for innovation and improvement—and that’s one reason we really like working with Deltek. It’s a fantastic partnership. We’re really excited about Deltek Vantagepoint! The improvements in the solution are going to keep us on an exciting path of growth!
Deltek just really knows the market and the efficiencies AEC firms require. It’s as if they were sitting in our company’s conference rooms when we were having discussions about the ability to include time tracking, opportunities and proposals—all in one integrated Deltek system. One database allows us to provide faster and better quality information for our clients, internal and external. We’re getting all of that in Vantagepoint – and we’re excited to see the efficiencies it will bring to our teams!
About the Author
Tim Cretney is Chief Financial Officer at Draper Aden. He has more than 30 years of experience in multi-bank credit facilities, strategic planning, annual budgeting, forecasting, monthly reporting and annual audit and tax preparation. To learn more about Draper Aden visit their website at https://www.daa.com/.
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