How Walker Consultants is Achieving Their Business and Productivity Goals With Deltek
An Interview with Maggie Browning, System Analyst and Jodi Bauman, Manager of Project Accounting, Walker Consultants
Walker Consultants, a 55-year-old consulting firm, specializes in parking design, restoration and consulting for a wide variety of clients, including hospitals, universities, and airports. Walker has been a customer of Deltek for over 15 years, and was one of the first clients to use Deltek’s Vantaqepoint ERP solution to manage their people, projects and resources for their mid-sized firm of 335 people.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with two key members of the Walker Consultants team who both believe that Walker and Deltek are “all in this together” when it comes to achieving Walker’s business and employee productivity goals.
Q: What is your role within Walker Consultants and your familiarity with Deltek?
Jodi: I've been with the company for over 20 years, and I've been working with Deltek since 2005. I'm responsible for five project accountants who essentially manage all of the accounting for the projects in their assigned offices where they handle those responsibilities.
Maggie: And I'm in charge of our Deltek system. So I spend a lot of time within the system, trying to research and understand future capabilities and managing the current applications we have in process across our 23 offices.
Q: What is it about Deltek’s software that helps support your ongoing business needs?
Maggie: It's highly customizable and can meet any of our needs. That's what I really love about working with the software. Every challenge we come up with internally, there's a way that we can meet it and there's a way that we can solve the issue. It's just a question of figuring out exactly what customizations we need to put in place. And that just speaks volumes about Deltek and the highly customizable applications that they give us, because it allows us to do our best job out in the field, with our employees.
Q: How has the use of Deltek’s software impacted Walker’s business processes? Can you share an example of something that used to be difficult that is now easier?
Maggie: I can give you a list! I remember when I started at Walker, we had to approve expense reports by literally taping receipts to pages, and having to go through and checking each one. Now everything is done online. So for instance, if I am traveling for a conference, my expense report is always up-to-date, because every time I do anything I just take a picture, upload it, and fill it out. It takes 20 seconds and I'm on my way. So as the technology evolves it is making our lives very easy.
The usability within the interface is also becoming so tremendously different and what used to seem very complex, very cumbersome, is now very simple. Our employees really enjoy that simplicity.
Jodi: We used to have a manual accrual process for our consultants that required project accountants to figure out their journal entries from Excel and manually transfer all the data into our accounting system. Now the consultant accrual process is automatically run from Deltek and entered into the system. The system knows when accounts payable invoices from the subcontractors come in, so it automatically knows whether to take money out of the accruals or put money into the accruals. We now have a streamlined process that can ensure that the numbers are ultimately more accurate.
Q: What differentiates Deltek from the competition and how does that impact how you work together?
Maggie: Their commitment. I really don't think anyone can argue with the commitment that Deltek has to their clients. We can't argue that they want to get it right and that when they miss the mark, they say "We missed the mark" and go back to the drawing board and work to see it through. They have a renewed, committed focus on quality, on product, on innovation, and I think that that's just huge. That takes time. That takes money. That takes energy.
Jodi: There are a lot of features in the system and they continue to enhance them and make them better and continue to listen to their clients and ask for feedback. They always want our feedback on what they can do to make the system better.
Q: What is it about this software journey that keeps you in lockstep with Deltek?
Maggie: Walker Parking Consultants, as they were originally called, were one of the real, true, early adopters of Deltek software, one of the first and they wanted to be on that forefront of change. So we continue to partner with Deltek to make sure we're seeing what's happening and invest the time in being leaders on the new platform.
Because we decided to be the forerunners, we have got to stay the forerunners. And Deltek told us, “We're going to make it better for teams that want to lead the way with this change and innovation". It meant a lot.
Q: What makes Deltek and the Project Nation community so unique?
Maggie: I think that Deltek has made it apparent that we're all in this together – by choosing to focus on quality, by choosing to focus on getting it right, by choosing to take a step backwards and say "What do our clients need?" It just proves over and over again this community believes that we're all in this together. And I believe that's what really makes this community that Deltek has created so unique.
About Maggie Browning
Maggie Browning is the Systems Analyst for Walker Consultants. In the past three years in this role, she’s been responsible for researching, understanding, and implementing the current and future capabilities of Deltek, while managing the customized applications currently in use across Walker’s 23 offices. Most recently, Ms. Browning managed Walker’s migration from Vision 7.6 to Vantagepoint.
About Jodi Bauman
Jodi Bauman is Manager Project Accounting for Walker Consultants. She has over 20 years of experience in management and accounting and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the department. Ms. Bauman was actively involved in Walker’s conversion to Deltek in 2005 and has continued to explore and utilize the advanced capabilities of Deltek to meet her firms expanding requirements.
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