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Four Software Applications for your Professional Service Firm

In a recent Webinar, Software Shortlist explored key factors that make Professional Service Firms unique. What distinguishes service firms from any other business? What is unique about professional services? And what software is really critical for an owner of a service firm?

Out of this analysis came a concise presentation that business owners are able to use as a ‘guide to navigating the landscape of software options for service firms’.

The analysis took a top down approach to looking at software. We answered key questions such as:

  1. What makes a service firm different?
  2. What are the typical needs of a service firm?
  3. How do the available solution options align with these needs?
  4. How should a business owner go about choosing the most relevant options for them?

Key aspects of service businesses include a focus on time (Time is Money), and the need to manage work through projects (project activities are common). Billing tends to tie directly back to time used and/or projects delivered. Of course, being all about ‘people’, relationships are critical – both before and after the service experience. In line with this, knowledge is usually shared, both inside and outside professional service firms. And finally, the workforce may be mobile (on client sites).

With this in mind, one key application that comes out of these needs includes the ability to check accounts and generate invoices to customers from anywhere. This application becomes more important as the business grows and management spreads across regions. In line with this, having a remote pool of staff members means that timesheet capture and real time utilisation tracking becomes an issue- unless staff members are able to enter time remotely and quickly. Giving staff the ability to enter time online from anywhere is a big benefit.

The same rule applies for sales staff, who are communicating with customers daily and need a coordinated approach to managing a sales pipeline across the business. Software as a Service (Saas) CRM has made it a lot easier for businesses to get going quickly, even if there are disparate global staff offices.

This document discusses four sample software applications that address these needs. It is not an exhaustive list of products, and is not necessarily the best for you specific business needs. Rather, it is an illustration of ‘what is possible’ given today’s technology.

If you would like more information about how Software Shortlist can help you with your software requirements, please Contact Us.

About the Author

Craig Westcott is a co-founder of Software Shortlist and also works as a consultant within the software and technology sectors. His experience includes consulting, sales, management and strategy for blue chip organisations and tier 1 consultancies over the past 15 years. Most recently he was responsible for launching two businesses for a fast growing consulting company, Fusion5.