Professional services firm cuts costs and improves productivity with integrated software system.
"I could satisfy the government, but I couldn’t give managers the information they needed to do their jobs," says Shannon Winston, Controller for Apex Environmental.
Apex Environmental, like many professional services firms with a competitive edge, offers a widely diverse group of services to both government and commercial clients. Managing and accessing data is critical with every contract. Recently after years of using multiple software systems, supplemental spreadsheets, and manually transferring data from one incompatible system to another Apex Environmental purchased and deployed a single software system (developed by Wind2 Software [http://www.wind2.com]) that handles the entire operation and serves both public and private sector clients with an integrated package. The new system streamlines planning, management, and reporting requirements for the entire company. It also helps contract managers win more contracts, manage them more efficiently, and make them more profitable because it automates the entire process addressing everything from the initial technical proposal to the DCAA close-out audit with greater efficiency and reliability.
As a comprehensive health, safety, and environmental services firm, Apex Environmental specializes in consulting and remediation work. The firms professional, technical, and field experts are located in 10 offices across 25 states, and services include compliance, environmental assessments, remediation, health and safety, program management, energy management, and information technology.
All clients, of course, require careful tracking, reporting, and invoicing of actual labor and direct project expenses. The companys government clients, however, also demand strict adherence to a host of requirements as defined by CAS, FAR and DCAA. In working with their government contracts, Apex staff members must meticulously account for allowable overhead expense (which can vary considerably from contract to contract); they must follow strict guidelines for time and expense entry; and they must report project direct and overhead charges on pre-approved government forms.
Apexs new software is fully equipped to meet the 17 contract and billing types defined by DCAA, including fixed price, cost-plus, and time and materials. It addresses Other Transaction Authority (OTA) contracts and handles timekeeping practices, direct and indirect costs, overhead and G&A rates, unallowable costs, pre-award costs, incurred cost proposals and invoicing properly.
Within two months of installing the new software, Apex was able to reduce its accounts payable staff through attrition from six people to five. Staff members no longer need to manually calculate expense rates or enter data into two systems to prepare reports. And they have immediate access to financial and project data that has been unavailable to them in the past.
Winston explains it this way: When a vendor calls asking about a payment, staff members can now query the database to find the answer. Instead of searching through old hard copy reports and files, we simply find the vendor record and drill down into the database to see all the related invoices and payments.
According to Winston, Apex Environmental now has the system it needs to handle its complex spectrum of government and private sector work. And company leaders know that as their business continues to grow and evolve, the Wind2 systems inherent flexibility and scalability will let them expand its functionality in any direction they chose to go.
Case study provided by Wind2 Software, Inc. in conjunction with Virtual Contract Manager, LLC (www.virtualcontractmanager.com). Wind2 has more than 3,000 client companies in North America, Wind2 delivers software solutions for government contract management, timekeeping, contract costing, billing, project management, financial accounting, customer relationship management, and marketing automation. Contact: Nicholas T. Bettis, Tel: 800-779-4632. Fax: 970-493-4578. E-mail: . [http://www.wind2.com]