Businesses are often managing multiple jobs or projects at any one time. It’s almost never the case that one project ends, and another starts, in a nice linear order. And that’s great, because that shows growth, and success which is what we’re all here for.
Multi-project management isn’t without its complexities, however. Ramping up the jobs also means dialling up on admin, on financial management, and on resources.
But it doesn’t have to be an uphill struggle. We’re sharing our top tips to help you organise your finances across projects.
Create a budget (and stick to it)
This might be obvious, but you’d be surprised to learn that not every business assigns a clear budget for every project. We get it. Time is money and getting started on a job quicker can seem like the biggest priority, even if it is at the expense of proper planning.
But trust us, taking the time to break down how much you estimate a project or job will cost, will save your business money in the long term.
- Don’t forget to assign value to your own time! Small businesses are often guilty of offering up time without assigning a value to it. Work out how much your time is worth, and ensure it’s properly budgeted for.
Setting a budget is the easy (easier) part. Sticking to it is another challenge that businesses face, but transparency is key.
If the scope of the work has changed for whatever reason, don’t absorb that cost. It’s crucial to recalculate the cost to the business, and then provide an updated estimate to the client.
Decide on a tracking tool
Excel might seem like a low-cost option, but let us stop you right there. Excel is great for analysts and those who are genuinely proficient, but it takes time (and your time is valuable, read above!) to set up correctly and requires manual management.
Okay, so you’re sold on upgrading to a tracking tool. But what to look for in a tool? Decide on what’s most important to you and your business. There are lots of considerations here, including:
- Functionality – do you need something for a one-off project or to use for wider business purposes?
- Design – a tool that’s well-designed means you’re spending less time working out how to use it, and more time on driving revenue.
- Accessibility – always on the move? Look for a tool that has a mobile app.
- Cost – budget effectively (again, see above!) to understand pay-off versus spend so you don’t end up spending over the odds for an all-singing, all-dancing system when you don’t need all that added complexity.
We can’t talk about tracking tools and not mention Pandle. If you’re looking for intuitive, easy to use accounting software that’s MTD compliant and is available via an app, then look no further. Find out more about Pandle’s features here.
Choose your metrics
This is key not just for multi-project financial management but is best practice generally. For businesses that need to understand the progress and therefore success of a project at a glance, get your metrics up front.
Think of what the purpose of the project is. Is it to drive revenue or profit? We recommend using 2-3 metrics to give a complete picture of progress and success. Try looking at budget, spend and profit as a healthy mix.
This also provides cross-team and cross-function visibility of how a project is performing, without needing to dive into the details. It also enables businesses to easily compare performance across projects, providing valuable insight into what works for your business, and which areas need improvement.
Categorise financial items
One of the most common mistakes to trip businesses up is lumping all project costs into one category. Yes, it’s useful to see all the costs associated with that project. But, simply labelling them with the project name prevents drilling down further. Doing so might help draw attention to patterns of chronic overspend occurring at the same point in each project.
Financial data should be one of a business’ most valued assets. Agree on standard categorisation to use across projects and stick to it. It’s that simple.
That way businesses are able to not only pull detailed, consistent reports per project, but it allows for simple and effective cross-project reporting.
Spending too much on a particular financial category? It’s going to show up by looking at performance across projects.
These are invaluable insights that will lead to project optimisation and ultimately mean increased profit margins achieved through data-driven efficiencies.
Implement a process
It’s easier to manage and plan finances if it’s down to just one person. But the likelihood is that’s not why you’re here. Whatever the size of the team and the variety of roles involved in each project, set out early on who is responsible for tracking spend, and set up a process for capturing financial information.
Once a process has been established, roll it out across the business to use for multiple projects. That way everyone knows what their role is and what is expected of them.
Who is responsible for the budget? What about tracking spend vs budget? What’s the agreed timeframe to input that information? These are all key questions that businesses need to answer to set up a repeatable process that becomes fail-proof.
How can Pandle help?
Pandle is designed to make managing multi-project financial management easy. How? Pandle allows users to view financial reporting for individual projects in just a few clicks. But more than that, Pandle is all about keeping it simple. It’s designed by expert accountants and software developers especially for small businesses:
- Track project finances – keep an eye on how you’re spending against your budget for any given project, and check in on whether your invoices have been paid on time. Pandle can also do the chasing for you on unpaid invoices with automatic reminders to recover late payments.
- Easy to use – Get up to speed with your project’s financial performance at a glance. All project reports are colour coded to make it easy to find the information you need.
- Stay organised – Keep the rest of your business transactions separate from project transactions, to make single and multi-project reporting simple.
- Keep track on the move – download the mobile app to check in on business finances, even when you’re away from your desk.
The best part? There’s no hefty fee to get started. Pandle offers all businesses a free trial so you can give it a go, and see if it’s right for your business. No strings attached, and no card details needed.