Resource management maturity plays a pivotal role in the overall success and efficiency of a firm. It is, or should be, so much more than putting suitable people into gaps in a schedule. With the accounting sector facing a talent shortage, the ability to effectively manage and allocate resources while retaining this talent is a distinguishing factor between thriving firms and those struggling to keep up.
Take a moment to consider how being reactive in resource management might be holding you back. Maturing your resource management is the overarching strategy to align operating models with commercial goals. It unlocks growth by providing increased efficiencies, optimized workforce allocation, stronger engagement performance, and better client and employee experiences.
Why reactionary resource management is holding you back
1. Not allocating the right person to the right work
A lack of visibility into resource availability and suitability, siloed software and data, and different approaches to scheduling leave resourcing teams buried in endless emails, spreadsheets, and meetings. Not only is this inefficient and stressful, but the likelihood of making suboptimal allocation decisions is high; delivery quality, engagement profitability, and employee satisfaction all suffer as a result.
2. Lost revenue through under-utilization
Reactionary, inefficient resource management directly leads to missed revenue opportunities:
Poor visibility into resource capacity and an inability to share staff across teams results in under-utilization
A lack of foresight into demand creates a culture of hoarding resources on the bench. Revenue is impacted when those ‘just in case’ staff don’t get deployed.
Fee-earners are wasting time doing heavily manual scheduling instead of billable work.
3. Write-offs from poor engagement management
A common complaint from firms using practice management alongside legacy scheduling solutions is the inability to monitor engagement performance as it compares to the budget. Engagements rarely go to plan and the financial impact of inevitable changes and over-runs aren’t known until it’s too late, meaning difficult conversations with clients, or more likely, write-offs.
4. Lagging data impacting performance
Multiple disconnected systems, data discrepancies, limited accessibility, and a lack of real-time data are a recipe for inefficient reporting and hours of wasted time. The manual nature means the data is always out of date, which leads to ineffective resource allocation and the risk of hurting your firm’s performance.
5. Poor talent retention
Developing and retaining talent is more crucial than ever in today’s accounting industry labor shortage. Treating resource management as an admin function leads to an increased risk of employee burnout, as well as diminished morale through a lack of relevant and distributed development opportunities.
Unlocking growth with specialized resource management software
Many firms are limiting themselves by doing resource management in practice management software alongside spreadsheets or legacy systems. Once firms realize that resource management is more than just scheduling, they quickly see the limitations of their existing systems. No automation, utilization reporting, or capacity planning functionality leads to lost revenue, employees, and clients.
The good news is that the issues above can be addressed by:
a) Making the culture shift from teams’ owning and hoarding resources to a firm-wide view of resources alongside consistent resourcing processes – this is called centralized resource management
b) Implementing and integrating technology to support this approach
Centralizing resource management saves a lot of time by introducing streamlined and consistent resourcing processes, especially when supported by dedicated, automated resource management software. But leveling up your resource management brings much more than just efficiency gains; unlocking revenue, talent retention, and client satisfaction improvements to help your firm compete and grow. Here’s how:
1. Optimized resource allocation
With a specialized resource management solution, resourcing decisions are more objective and optimal. AI-powered technology such as Dayshape makes it easy to allocate work with a big-picture viewpoint, at scale, using configurable criteria such as margin, availability, skills, and preferences.
Engagement and resource data (including skills) is all in one place, rather than in multiple systems and spreadsheets. This is not only more efficient, but the resourcing decisions are optimized across the firm, and engagement delivery quality improves.
2. Increased revenue
Firm-wide visibility into resource availability has the immediate impact of increasing utilization; partly because you have a view of where there are pockets of under (and over!) utilization, but also because the improved capacity planning prevents resource hoarding.
If your firm has delivery teams doing the resourcing (rather than a centralized resourcing team), a more efficient and streamlined process frees up the chargeable time of these fee-earners.
As these resourcing processes mature, your firm becomes better equipped to capture and monitor KPIs, align operational models with strategic objectives, and drive success through efficient and effective operations.
3. Engagement performance control
Mature firms empower resourcing teams to make strategic decisions because they can see the financial impact of changes to the schedule. Even more critical to mitigating financial risk is the ability of engagement managers to monitor performance in real-time.
Dayshape offers unique real-time engagement financials functionality by integrating with your timesheet and billing system. This gives a live view of budgets to actuals in the same system where the scheduling is done. Custom controls will alert engagement owners if a project is going off-track – for example, the margin or delivery center utilization drops below a threshold – and even prevent plans from being approved if they don’t meet them in the first place. These workflows help firms monitor and automate consistent resource management practices.
4. Data-driven decision-making
Mature resource management systems use data to optimize resource allocation but also provide powerful reports and real-time data to assist with operational decisions and strategies.
“Tools should be able to give you more data than you put in. With Dayshape, we know the data we input will provide us with valuable insights such as utilization rates and powerful reports.” Allison Hovey, Resource Management Leader at Pinion Dayshape offers powerful data mining and reporting, along with reliable engagement management information, in one place. It’s easy to export data to your existing firm-wide reporting such as Power BI or data lake.
5. Improved talent retention and training
A dedicated resource management tool positively impacts talent retention in several ways. Busy periods come with the territory of the accounting industry, but this doesn’t need to mean negative work environments. Proactive planning provides workloads that are as stable and balanced as possible.
Work can be allocated to develop specific skills, and training plans created based on known gaps or upcoming client requirements. CPAs can request work and changes to their schedule, giving more autonomy to their careers. Firm-wide allocation opens up learning and development opportunities that aren’t possible when working in a single team. Modern, easy-to-use technology makes work a breeze, rather than a time-draining stress.
These aspects collectively contribute to a people-inspired environment aligns operations with employee skills and career aspirations, so they stay and grow with the firm.
Levelling up resource management
Transforming resource management is an essential strategy for firms in today's competitive landscape. Learn how two Boomer Clients, Wolf & Company, and Pinion, have made that journey:
1. “We realized we needed resource management, not just scheduling. We needed a comprehensive tool with reporting, forecasting, and utilization data – and Dayshape’s ability to integrate with our existing systems gives us that.” Allison Hovey, Resource Management Leader at Pinion
2. Before we had no idea who was working on what, and what capacity everyone had. We’d send manual emails around the teams to ask who had availability when new work came in.” - Kristann Phelan, RMCP Resource Manager, Wolf & Company
Maturing your resource management to be more than scheduling will enhance your firm performance by enabling you to make faster, more optimal decisions, maximize profitability, mitigate quality risks, and retain top talent.
Embracing specialized resource management is not merely an option; it's a necessity for firms aiming to thrive.