Financial management can be complex and challenging for any business owner. Architecture and engineering (A&E) firms, like any business, can implement several best practices to retain maximum financial growth. Here are some key strategies to consider.
Attention to Client Relationships
According to the latest 4th Annual EMEA and APAC Clarity Industry Study, 72% of A&E firms surveyed report measuring client satisfaction for all projects. To build strong, long-lasting client relationships, it’s critical to measure the success of your projects. Industry experts, such as Michael Bourgeois, Vice President of Solution Engineering at Deltek, see project managers paying more attention to client feedback. “Today 60% of your revenue stream is coming from somebody that already knows you, on average, so when you think about next year and the fact that your revenue stream is coming from most of the clients who know you today, firms need to take client feedback seriously or you are doing a disservice to your firm.” Happy clients are more likely to return for future projects and refer your services to others, helping firms continue to grow.
Efficient Project Management
Respondents from the Deltek Clarity Study reported that top project management challenges include developing the right knowledge and skills, keeping pace with client expectations and managing highly bespoke services. By investing in project management tools and creating practices to improve efficiency, projects are more likely to be delivered on time and within budget. It’s important to have a 360-view of projects to consistently monitor and manage costs to identify areas where to cut unnecessary expenses without compromising quality. Deltek Vantagepoint is built specifically for the needs of A&E firms and can help firms be more efficient and increase project visibility, reducing delays and leading to higher profitability.
Developing a Plan for Talent Retention and Development
Talent acquisition and management are significant challenges for A&E firms and the notion of what employees want in an employer is evolving. Firms that can successfully differentiate their culture and employ the right tools and technology to enhance their talent management efforts will be poised to come out on top.
Firms should plan to develop and launch the necessary internal cross-training and upskilling programs to fully support their employees and their careers. Only 5% of A&E firms surveyed for the Deltek Clarity Study listed investing in workforce skillsets as their biggest growth opportunity. However, this needs to be a focus for firms if they are to attract and retain top talent. Now that fewer employees are working on-site and more employees are interacting remotely, learning management systems (LMS) have never been more important. These tools benefit both the employee and employer. Helping to upskill staff provides a path to career growth, and increasing retention rates save firms the cost of recruiting brand new candidates.
Learn How to Choose the Right Projects
With current staffing shortages, firms need to pick the right projects to be profitable. At the minimum, a firm should consider a few standards, such as project scope, budget, timeline, design quality, and profitability. In addition, firms should look for projects that match their expertise, vision and goals, as well as their available resources and capacity.
Firms should be applying a go/no go process to projects based on information such as similar project history data. By using a CRM solution, like Deltek Vantagepoint CRM, firms can keep track of project data and proposals all in one place. This helps a manager to look at similar project successes and help determine whether the project will be profitable for the firm.
Choose the Right Technology Upgrades
A&E firms are continuing to evolve their use of technology, looking for ways to not only improve how they run their business, but leverage it as a competitive advantage. There are many options when it comes to tools and advancements in technology. By prioritizing the right investments that align with key business goals, firms will be able to increase productivity, control costs and increase employee satisfaction. From improving productivity to attracting talent, to delivering better client experiences, smart investments in technology can yield far-reaching dividends that empower firms to be more competitive, profitable and better protected against emerging cybersecurity threats.
Establish Company Benchmarks with KPIs
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable values that demonstrate how effective a firm is in achieving business objectives that have been outlined by company leadership or within different business groups. They help measure the success of the company in various areas and often align with strategic objectives. The process of tracking KPIs delivers many benefits to the business. For example, it allows team leads to have a shared understanding of what's happening across the board. When sharing top KPIs with leadership, stakeholders will start to understand the impact one metric has on another and how their part of the business can directly affect another team member’s success. Setting KPIs also gives firms a shared understanding of the goals and targets for the year and beyond. In addition, by monitoring KPIs, firms can determine a clear and consistent way to evaluate performance.
Regularly Access Goals and Be Open to Change
By implementing these best practices, A&E firms can enhance their financial growth potential while maintaining a strong reputation in the industry. Keep in mind that these strategies should be tailored to a firm's specific goals, market conditions and client base. Regularly assessing and adjusting the approach is essential for long-term success.
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