Over the past year I have spent a lot of time looking into how architects do bookkeeping. My focus was on small firms of less than 15 people. I have interviewed about 75 firms and received almost 1500 survey responses.
For most of my career, my firm was seven people or smaller. For about 20 years we used Deltek Advantage and liked it. It is only in hindsight that I realized what gross overkill that software was. That is the problem that everyone in the small firm category has:
Finding a bookkeeping solution that doesn't cost too much money and TIME.
After a year I know that solution does not exist. I continue to look for programs that could be the solution - even if it means "tricking" them into being what is needed. Along the way I have learned a lot about what small firm architects use and how things could be better, even if perfection remains elusive.
These six articles describe what I have discovered.
Harvest is the best solution for timekeeping and pays for itself in this area alone. Harvest has the potential to become the ideal solution. Invoicing for hourly projects works well, and the ability to track project profitability is a crucial feature that many firms have difficulty with.
Are you spending too much time on accounting?
One of the late realizations that I had after 20 years of using a powerful accounting program is that it was costing much more per year than it should. It wasn't the $1,000 per year subscription that cost too much; it was the time required to USE the accounting program.
You have probably heard it before, and it is true. You need to fill out, and submit, Daily Time Sheets for:
How Much Are You Worth an Hour
Here is a dependable way to determine your hourly rate as a consultant. This works whether you are a freelance consultant or have a firm with employees.
I think there are several reasons for knowing your project profitability.
Profit Planning wasn’t a concept I was familiar with. I distinctly remember our first profit and not knowing what to do with it. I didn't have a plan. I didn't even know I needed one. That’s probably one of the best problems to have. I don’t remember what I decided to do, but I know that was the start of many efforts to come to grips with profit planning in case the miracle happened again. I can’t claim to be an expert on the topic of ’Profit Planning’, but here are my thoughts.