Project management software is a major plus to all businesses that need to have their jobs set out over a specified period.
Finances Online defines project management software as software that manages the budget, scope, and time for a particular project. Small businesses, in particular, stand to benefit from incorporating project management software into their day-to-day activities.
Project management software can help a company balance its incoming jobs, the time set aside for those jobs, and the payments that come into and go out of the company’s records from a single location. While planning software like this is standard fare for larger companies, technology has only made this type of in-depth planning available to small business recently. Companies that capitalize on planning software are likely to make their administrative processes a lot easier.
Why use project planning software systems?
Chron mentions that project planning software offers a lot of benefits to small or medium business. Aside from necessary planning and implementation, project management software can even help to provide communication for clients and vendors alike.
Collaboration and delegation get more manageable, as well as management of finances on the whole. Project management, as a profession, is still in its infancy, and while there are professional project managers with skills to whip a company into shape, the fact remains that hiring one of them is usually out of a small to medium business’ budget.
Software systems are the obvious answer to this puzzle, offering a way for businesses to benefit from project management with the lowest level of investment necessary. For any small business project management software, there are a few key elements that must be present for the system to be worth using:
1. Job management and scheduling
Information is an integral part of a contractor’s job. Getting any job done means knowing what needs to be done and having a gauge on how much time and money is available for a particular task. Having a system that allows for note-keeping and attaching photographs to show the extent of work done is an essential addition to any company’s job planning software. Status updates can be retrieved and given to a client quickly.
2. Estimates, invoices, and payments
The foundation of a business’ profitability comes from being able to account for how it spends and makes its money.
When a company sends out assessments, the system should automatically update records to show they were created and sent. Invoices received can be logged into the system and the same for when the company submits an invoice. The company should be able to quickly register payments on the system and update the company’s records when materials or goods are acquired, and when clients pay off their outstanding balances.
3. Customer database management
Being aware of what customers the business is working for is essential. The software should be able to order these jobs by location or by estimated duration, or even by a subcontractor if the company employs any of them.
All contracts associated with the clients should also be easily stored and recalled. Additionally, if the company generates leads through word of mouth or advertising, the software needs to have a method of managing those potential leads and reminding the company to follow up with them.
4. Tracking time
The ability to deal with timesheets electronically is a feature that many project management software systems should incorporate. Time tracking is an essential part of determining the amount that the business should charge for a particular job. It also has the added benefit of covering the workers’ hours so that payment is a simple method of determining worked hours by wage rate.
New rates can be added for overtime work if necessary, making for a more flexible system. The updated payment system can then be tied to the financial management sector of the software to show payments being made to workers and balance the company’s books as soon as banks clear those payments.
5. Payment integration
Many businesses offer emoluments through several different means. Regardless of how a company generates those payments, they all come back to the accounting software being used to keep the business’ books in order.
Integration between your project management tools and accounting software can save the business hours in processing time for paychecks. This integration should also enable the business to operate with less personnel in the accounting department, and streamline the payment process for both the workers and the company.
6. Flexible usage
Business project management software should be adaptable for use in a variety of operating systems and hardware configurations. Ideally, it should be usable on both a desktop computer as well as on mobile devices.
The added portability ensures that any worker can have current information streaming from what the business is currently doing at any minute of the day. Thanks to fast connection speeds, workers can update job completion in real time and have the system automatically update every single client as that data comes in and the application processes it.
Project management in the twenty-first century
Salesforce mentions that if a small business isn’t using project management software, then it’s very likely wasting time on little things. Automation is the way a small business can compete with big corporations and having the right project management software offers companies the chance to grow, while still sticking to a reasonable budget. Project management software doesn’t need to break the bank to be useful, but it does need to be able to bring different parts of a business together.
The integration of project management software with financial aspects and customer management has been the aim of business information systems from their initial concept stages.
Today, thanks to the increased processing power of mobile devices and a high-speed connection network, a company can capitalize on the innovations of the past by using project management software that can bring the different departments of a business to work seamlessly through automation. An accurate twenty-first-century approach to business project management software needs that level of integration to guarantee clients’ success.
Author Bio: Marie Erhart is a Success Manager at FieldPulse, creators of field service software that lets you run your entire contracting business from a single app. She works with contractors to help them grow their business using best practices.