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Best Professional Services Automation Software You Should Consider Using in 2022

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Professional services automation (PSA) software helps companies in professional services manage most or all back-office and front-office activities. PSA systems are used to track operations and related costs, as well as the revenues they generate. These products are used by consultants, lawyers, marketing account managers, and other professional services industry roles that conduct business on a client-project level.

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1 Listing in Professional Services Automation Software Available.

1. FinancialForce PSA

SellerFinancialForce PSA
HQ LocationSan Francisco, California
Company WebsiteFinancialForce PSA
LinkedIn Page1,033 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoFinancialForce PSA Deals Page
Year Founded2009

Manage your professional services team, customers, projects & financials all in one integrated app built native to Salesforce. Project management that allows you to grow revenue, improve margins & deliver on customer promises.

Choose Your Professional Services Automation Software:

Choosing Professional Services Automation Software can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The best thing to do is make a list of your must-haves and compare the possible tools on SaaSDekho to select the right software for your team.

Or, Schedule a Call with our SaaS Consultant and they’ll guide you in your SaaS Discovery and Buying Journey.

Spotlight Categories in ERP Software:

Billing Software | Accounting Software | Travel & Expense

What is Professional Services Automation Software?

Professional services automation (PSA) software provides all or most features needed to manage a professional services company. This allows services companies to manage demand, sales, and service delivery, and track costs and profitability. PSA is mostly beneficial to medium and large companies with complicated portfolios of services and often an international presence.

Key Benefits of Professional Services Automation Software

  • Provide a single data repository for all departments of a professional services company
  • Manage projects, tasks, and activities in a collaborative manner, which increases employee productivity and efficiency
  • Improve customer satisfaction by matching customer demand with the capabilities of the company, thus ensuring that the services sold can be delivered successfully

Why Use Professional Services Automation Software?

PSA replaces multiple disparate systems used by different departments of a professional services company, such as accounting, project management, or customer relationship management (CRM). PSA is beneficial to service companies that used to rely on enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that wasn’t designed for their industry and required customization or integration with other software.

Optimize resource management — Human and material resources represent the most important expenditures for professional services companies. Therefore, these companies must optimize resource allocation to avoid waste, deliver high-quality projects, and be profitable at the same time.

Monitor costs and profitability — A unified system allows services companies to track the costs of the resources used to deliver projects. PSA also helps accounting teams manage revenues and compare them to costs to determine the company’s profitability.

Who Uses Professional Services Automation Software?

All employees of a services company benefit from using PSA, as well as its partners and freelancers. PSA software usually provides portals for customers to access certain types of information such as the progress of their projects or to submit customer service requests.

The departments that need PSA the most are the project management office, sales and marketing, and accounting.

Project and portfolio managers — Project managers and the project management office (PMO) team define the tasks, resources, and activities required to deliver the services sold by the company. Similar services are usually grouped in portfolios and can share resources for better efficiency. PSA also provides features to monitor projects across multiple teams and portfolios, identify bottlenecks, and provide corrective actions.

Sales and Marketing — Services markets are very competitive, so companies need to differentiate themselves from their competitors. To do so, marketing teams need to personalize campaigns to attract prospects that are more likely to become customers. Salespeople use PSA to maintain relationships with prospects and customers, thus improving their satisfaction and ensuring their loyalty. PSA also provides upsell opportunities and valuable information on which services are the most profitable.

Accounting teams — Accountants use PSA software to track costs such as consulting hours and travel expenses, and ensure that projects and services are generating profit. The accounting team also needs to ensure that invoicing is done accurately and that customers pay for the services they received. At the same time, accountants process payments to partners, contractors, and internal payroll. For large companies, accountants use PSA to consolidate financial data from multiple business entities. Finally, PSA helps finance professionals with the month and year-end closing, and to generate financial statements.

Kinds of Professional Services Automation Software

PSA software varies in scope, functionality, and the way it is implemented by buyers.

All-in-one PSA — As the name implies, all-in-one PSA delivers all the features needed to manage a professional services company, from project and portfolio management to sales and marketing, accounting, and sometimes HR or payroll. All these features are provided as an integrated system or suite of solutions that buyers may buy separately.

Best-of-breed PSA — This type of PSA focuses mostly on project and portfolio management and related features such as resource management. While it may include functionality for billing, CRM, and marketing, these features are usually limited, and companies need to integrate with other systems for advanced needs. The companies providing these products usually partner with one or a few partners to provide tighter integration with their CRM or accounting software.

Industry-specific PSA — Most PSA software can be used in any services industry, but some vendors specialize in one or a few niche sectors. For instance, agency management software caters to the needs of marketing and PR agencies, as well as marketing departments or large companies. Other than PSA features, these solutions also provide functionality specific to marketing, such as online proofing and content management.

Professional Services Automation Software Features

Most PSA products provide the features listed below but their robustness varies significantly from one product to another. It is therefore essential that buyers understand which features are included and how they are delivered (out of the box or through integration and customization).

Project management — Projects are the core of any service-oriented business. Each type of service is delivered through one or more projects which define and track resources, schedules, deadlines, and deliverables. PSA defines, implements, and monitors all these projects, individually or by the group.

Portfolio management — Services companies tend to specialize in only one of a few industries, such as marketing, IT, or business consulting. For each of these industries, companies provide multiple types of services, such as software development and technical support for IT. Each service may be delivered in multiple ways, such as different levels of support, or at different frequencies (one-time vs. ongoing). All the projects related to a type of service are grouped in portfolios, so they can be managed and tracked together. Since these projects are very similar, they share resources, knowledge, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Resource management — Human and material resources constitute an important part of the operational costs of a services business. To deliver projects on time and within budget, PSA users need to know which resources are available and when, and how to allocate them to projects to avoid bottlenecks. Since projects often change, resource utilization and planning need to be flexible to adapt.

Project accounting — Standard accounting software manages financial data at the company level only, not by project or portfolio. To fill this gap, PSA software provides functionality for project accounting and for tracking the costs and profitability of each portfolio, sometimes by the project.

Sales and marketing — Most PSA products include features for sales and marketing, such as customer and communications management. PSA also helps users define and manage pricing and discounts for the services offered by the company. For advanced features such as lead management, PSA software usually integrates with CRM and sales software.

Collaboration — Collaboration makes employees more productive by allowing them to share knowledge, and content, and to work together on tasks and projects. This is particularly important for complex projects and difficult tasks that can only be delivered by a team of multiple employees. External users, such as freelancers, also benefit from using PSA features like workspaces to collaborate with the employees of the company.

Professional Services Automation

Additional Professional Services Automation Features

HR and payroll — A complete PSA software should include functionality to manage employees and their pay. This ensures that the company allocates employees to projects based on skills and experience and that they get paid fairly for their work.

Risk management — Delivering complex projects and portfolios can be compromised by various types of risks that have the potential to disrupt the operations of the company. Some risks, such as lack of resources, may be prevented through better planning. Unpredictable risks such as changes in customer demand are difficult to predict, but companies may define contingency plans to limit their negative impact on their operations.

Trends Related to Professional Services Automation Software

PSA software is constantly evolving in multiple ways: some vendors still focus on all-in-one suites, while others prefer to specialize in industries such as IT, construction, or marketing and PR. Other important trends are described below.

Remote work — As an increasing number of employees are working from home, and companies increasingly work with freelancers, PSA software has adapted to support remote work. For instance, external users can access the PSA software to collaborate with the company’s employees but have limited access to avoid data breaches and expose sensitive information. Also, PSA software offers advanced features for collaboration such as workspaces, discussions, and online meetings or events, making it easier for users to work from home.

Strategic portfolio management — Large service companies require advanced features to optimize their product portfolio. Some PSA products offer functionality for strategic portfolio management, allowing enterprise customers to define and implement strategies for portfolio optimization. While these features aren’t critical for most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that are services companies, they are crucial for medium to large companies in project-based industries such as architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC).

Potential Issues with Professional Services Automation Software

Complexity — As PSA software aims to cover all or most business needs of a professional services company, it may be difficult to adopt and maintain, especially for SMBs. While it may be tempting for smaller companies to use PSA for everything, this type of software may provide features they don’t need.

Cost — Since PSA provides robust advanced features, its cost may be prohibitive to some companies. The subscription delivery model made PSA more accessible, but buyers may need to make additional investments in product configuration or integration.

Industry specialization — While PSA is used as a generic term for any type of service, some vendors specialize in one or a few industries such as marketing and PR, IT, or AEC. One example is software products specifically designed for managed service providers (MSP) which cannot be used to manage other types of services because they provide features for help desk or IT asset management.

Two-tier implementation — Not all PSA solutions deliver robust features for all departments of a services company. For instance, accounting or CRM functionality may be insufficient for companies with advanced needs. As a result, buyers may need to acquire separate systems for CRM or accounting, and integrate them with their PSA software.

Software and Services Related to Professional Services Automation Software

Depending on the level of functional support of PSA software, integration may be required to complement it. Some of the most common types of software that integrate with PSA are described below.

ERP systems — Companies that provide a mix of products and services may need to use an ERP system in addition to PSA. For instance, a manufacturer of industrial equipment would use ERP for production and PSA for services like equipment installation and maintenance.

Accounting software — Advanced accounting features such as financial consolidation aren’t always included in PSA software, which is why companies may need to use separate financial packages. Accounting may also be needed for global companies to manage transactions in multiple currencies.

Project and portfolio management (PPM) software — PPM software is used to complement PSA, which doesn’t always include advanced features for portfolio management. Functionality for portfolio risk and strategic portfolio management is usually not part of PSA software but is delivered by most PPM products.

Travel and expense management software — While PSA software tracks project costs, it does not always include robust features for travel and expense management. In some markets such as business consulting, travel represents a considerable cost, which significantly impacts the company’s profitability. Also, booking travel and accommodations are usually not supported by PSA software.

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