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We speak to our co-founder and CTO, Sundi Balu, about the administration pressures faced by specialist consultancies.
Q: What administration pressures do small consultancies face?
A: Initially, as you’re building the business for your specialist consultancy, one of the things you primarily focus on is how to win more work. You want to create enough demand to drive more work. But what tends to happen is that work tends to be project or outcome driven and it generally has a lot of people involved, a fundamental task you need to deal with.
But even before people there is the proposal generation, and after proposal generation, when the work has been won, consultancies need to set up the project. They need to track the timesheets of the people within the project and then keep track of that with your client. Then you need to be able to generate an invoice and bill the client and receive the payment. That is just a quick flavour of the type of admin activity that you need to do.
On top of that you have to take care of taxation and accounting as well, in general, you partner with somebody to do that. And then you might have some contractual obligation that you have to work with etc.
Q: Operational issues can be time consuming. So, will this unbalance their business in a way that it might not have been if they’re working in a bigger consultancy?
A: What tends to happen in the bigger consultancy is that you have a lot of support, right. For all these sorts of activities, they will pretty much be done manually as well, even in the bigger consultancies. But you can leverage other teams to do some of the outcomes. What tends to happen when you’re building your own business and you’re scaling up, especially consultancies, that it does take time away from business development that takes time away from you engaging with your clients and ensuring that they’re satisfied with the outcome. It takes away time from your own people, you know, in terms of growing your practice, as well. So, if there was a way to offload and automate these activities, naturally, any specialist consultancy will be eager to have the conversation.
Q: How does that fit into the context of what is being built into the platform?
This is the platform of choice for specialist consultancies because it has three facets. The first is “win more work” – because naturally you want to grow your business and generate more revenue. The other two facets are exciting for me. The first is fundamentally smarter delivery, and then the ability to manage your business for profitable growth.
The smarter delivery comes back to how you’re engaging the clients on the platform, through automated project management, time sheets and tracking. The ability to manage your business really comes from the perspective that you can do invoicing and billing and collect payments from your clients. Everything is done on the platform, so you don’t have to go offline to keep track of multiple spreadsheets and then different folders and so on and so on. All that is on the platform so that really relieves the pressure on specialist themselves who can focus on winning more work.