Data Visualization: Storytelling with Deltek to Create a More Profitable Future
An Interview with Rudy Navor, Controller, Thermal Engineering Corporation
Summary: Thermal Engineering Corp is a 21-employee operation founded in Hawaii that specializes in mechanical and fire protection engineering. Implementing Deltek enabled them to have “ah-ha” moments with better data analysis, insight into key performance indicators and visibility into cash flow.
Q: Tell us how you got started with Deltek
Rudy Navor: When I started at Thermal Engineering seven years ago, I was new to our industry. Although I was knowledgeable about the accounting aspect of the business, I knew nothing about our projects. The company had just implemented Deltek and when I began working in it I was amazed at how much data it captured—information about projects, timesheets, accounting/finance and personnel. It was a collaboration tool that brought all of this data together to create a network of information. There’s an abundance of information Deltek collects—but it’s how you use that data that can create a whole new world for companies.
Q: Can you tell us how Deltek has helped Thermal Engineering?
Rudy Navor: One of the first things I did when I started using Deltek was to provide the ability for the owners to see the company’s cash flow—how it works, where it was coming from, where we spend it and how much we have left. Rather than simply showing them numbers, I wanted to present the data in such a way that it told a story. Seeing it in a visual way – with graphs and context would give them a much better understanding of what it all meant. When I showed this to the owners they were amazed. Prior to this, because they weren’t able to see or to visualize the company’s cash flow, it made it difficult to be profitable.
The graphical cash flow information allowed the owners to better project revenue and expenses, and to determine our tax outlook for the coming year. Based on that, we became profitable, and have had positive cash flow since implementing Deltek. In fact, it allowed the company to give employees cash incentives and performance bonuses, which it never had before. It was transformative. Most importantly, however, is the sense of calm and less worry our principals have experienced by having cash-on-hand.
Billing is another area where we’ve seen a huge improvement with Deltek. It takes a lot of information—and often information gathering—to create a single invoice. To add to that complexity, most projects consist of five or six phases, that each must be billed separately. Deltek has made the entire process so much easier because all the information we need is in one system—the project information, the time sheets, the financial data and more—everything is there.
Being as Deltek collects all of this data and gives us the ability to customize invoices, we’re incorporating more detail into our invoices that shows our clients where the project is at and what they’ve paid to date. Many clients prefer specific terms for billing, which we can now easily accommodate. Clients can be billed on a “regular cycle”, and can also be billed “on-demand”. Timelier billing for projects means faster payments for us.
We used to get a lot of calls and emails from customers wanting additional clarification or more detail on their invoices. We don’t get them anymore. Our customers really appreciate the additional detail they are getting and instead are sending simple “thank you” emails.
Simply put, Deltek has enabled us to organize and streamline our processes. We’re capturing projects from start to finish, and incorporating the accounting/finance aspects of the project, saving us a ton of time.
Q: What advice would you give other companies that might be looking to implement Deltek?
Rudy Navor: For any company considering Deltek my advice would be: just get it. It will organize you—and it will organize your company. You have so much data. Deltek puts everything in one world and makes the organization a much better place. There’s a lot of benefit in that. You just have to get it.
About Rudy Navor
As the Controller at Thermal Engineering Corporation, Rudy Navor manages the company’s Financial Accounting, Payroll, Time and Billing. For more information on TEC visit their website at http://thermaleng.net/1.html
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