U.S. The president of FEH Design, Denny Sharp, AIA, is a soft-spoken Midwesterner. So when he says the weekly report to all his PMs is a “gentle reminder” about the financial status of their projects, you assume he may be underplaying its significance.
“Financials are my responsibility, and this is one of the most important tools I have,” Sharp explains. “At a glance, it answers some really key questions, like whether invoicing and receivables on are time.”
Sharp says the “Friday Report,” as the firm calls it, goes out to every PM in the form of a spreadsheet that covers key financial metrics. It is built from Deltek Ajera, a familiar software tool to many in the A/E/C industry, which is designed to help firms increase profitability, improve utilization and provide visibility into all aspects of a project.
Sharp says the regularity of the report is one reason it is so effective for the Iowa-based firm, a member of the PSMJ Circle of Excellence.
“Everything we do is cloud-based, so our PMs can find this information in the system any time they want to,” he notes. “But they know to expect it on Friday. It gives them a little nudge to think about whether they’ve got any issues they need to address.’”
CONSISTENT AND EASY-TO-READ
The firm’s financial manager compiles the report, which pulls information from the Ajera system and presents itin an easy-to-read format. Sharp says preparation of the report takes very little time since it is updated weekly. And while details about each of the firm’s projects are visible to all recipients, Sharp says privacy is not a problem: “Everybody gets the full report, and you can see where every project is. We’re not concerned about sharing that information. There are no secrets here.
“This kind of transparency is engrained in our process – it’s how we do business. They were doing it when I joined the firm 28 years ago, and we do it the same way today.” Sharp says the firm explains the process to new hires during the onboarding process and has never received any push-back from candidates.
Kevin Eipperle, AIA, LEED AP, is a vice president at the firm. He says the process is convenient and effective. “Yes, you could get the information from the cloud, but it’s in a software not everyone is fluent with, so it would take a little time,” he explains. “The Friday Report means there’s one less thing you have to worry about. It’s good to know that every Friday afternoon the information is waiting for you in your in-box.
“There’s no hiding anything about your projects – it’s there for everyone to see. But that’s never caused a problem; if anything, it makes you work harder and fosters a little friendly competition.
“And no one ever gets called onto the carpet by management, because they don’t have to. The information is right there - everything is being tracked. And that means there are no surprises.”
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