Professional Services Billing
A software client offered customers professional services for installation and training, along with the software itself. These services were tracked and billed upon delivery, which required a more complex process than invoicing for the software. The process was being handled by the Services Manager, but management wanted to delegate the process so that the Services Manager could focus on higher value-add activity. When J Cline Consulting was brought in, the process was too informal to delegate to another employee.
In order to delegate the process, we had to formalize it: what event(s) triggered billing, what information was required, what systems contained that information, and how could accuracy be verified?
- The two requirements for invoicing professional services are that the service agreement had to be in place, and the work had to have been performed. When the process was informal, the documentation trail for these two events was primarily in the Service Manager’s email.
- Documentation of service agreements with the customers was already happening in the CRM. By using the CRM as a primary source, all agreements could be tracked through the fulfillment process.
- Documentation of the work was sometimes done through Workzone (used for time tracking), but not consistently. We changed the policy so that all time spent on all projects was recorded. This allowed Workzone to become the system of record for all hours worked.
- Additional checks and balances were put in place to ensure the data sets were accurate and that the billings were correct. Billings could now be done by an administrative team member rather than requiring the Services Manager to initiate and facilitate the process.
- Services were billed timelier and more accurately
- Projects sold, not yet delivered, became clearly visible
- Billable hours on projects without an agreement in place quickly identified
- Less management involvement in minor details
- Increased utilization of the Services team