12 financial indicators to follow for project management

March 23, 2023

Are you a project manager, planning manager, working in the PMO or other project portfolio management functions? Are you in charge of a team? You must surely notice that monitoring the performance, progress, workload and execution of projects in real time is far from simple.

  • What are the most useful indicators in the financial monitoring of projects?
  • What KPIs should you focus on when you are a project manager?

Here are 12 financial indicators to follow when managing projects and project teams. 

A. Project management and accounting indicator

The performance of a project, whether internal or billed to a client, has a cost for the company. To monitor the performance of a project, there are several metrics that provide visibility into aspects of progress and good financial execution.

Completion rate

The explanation of this indicator in video:

Often used in projects sold as a package, it is the ratio between the theoretical valuation of the time to be spent on the entire project, compared to the valuation of the time actually spent on the project.

  • If a project provided for a 10-day charge at €800 per day of ADR , but in reality the project took 12 days to complete, the completion rate is equal to 8000 / 9600 = 83.3%.

Objective: this indicator makes it possible to situate the actual performance of the project in relation to the budget. It is of great interest when it is a project sold on a fixed price basis and the sale price is directly linked to the estimated cost of the project.

So when the sale price is decided, it is common to do so by calculating the time to spend to achieve it and multiplying this time by the Average Daily Rate or ADR (if the unit is the day).

  • Selling price: (Time to spend on a project) * (Average Daily Rate (unit = day))

Project managers' objective : to maintain this planned number of days, or even to improve the organization in order to achieve it with identical quality in less time than what was planned and/or with more profitable collaborators for the project. That is to say, less senior than those who were initially staffed on this project.

–> The difficulty is obviously to ensure in these conditions that customer satisfaction is at least as good as what was expected.

How to follow this indicator? It is interesting to look at the completion rate at the end of the project by comparing it to what was initially planned. But also and above all during the project it must be monitored, because it is an excellent indicator of the projected performance of projects.

To be able to monitor the current completion rate of the project, it is necessary to have established the budget, but above all to monitor what remains to be done in this project. It is therefore necessary to take into account the times already completed on the project, as well as those that remain to be produced to complete the work.

When resource planning employees are tracked, the data is already present to calculate this completion rate. Ideally, changes to resource planning will display an immediate re-evaluation of the completion rate, so that you can check the project's forecast performance and take corrective action before it's too late.

Stafiz is a project management tool that offers you more visibility on the workload of your employees , the progress of your projects and their profitability thanks to complete forecast reporting in real time .

Discover project management with Stafiz

Margin at completion

This is the forecast margin of the project at its completion . The margin at completion therefore takes into account not only the costs already spent on the project, whatever their nature (subcontracting, staff, costs, etc.), but also those to come and deducts them from the total forecast turnover. of the project.

  • Past costs + future costs
  • To be deducted from the total forecast turnover

Objective: monitoring the margin at completion is essential for several reasons.

First to ensure that the forecast margin of a project is not negative. Beyond the aspect of “good management” which encourages ensuring that projects finish with a positive margin, this verification is obligatory in accounting terms in order to be able to make provisions for losses upon completion if necessary.

Furthermore, monitoring margins at completion makes it possible to better manage costs: there are numerous levers for improving the margin of a project: reorganizing the resource planning , reduce planned travel costs, pick up an additional order, etc.

How to monitor this indicator? To reliably monitor margins at completion, it is necessary to re-estimate both your forecast turnover, but above all to be able to establish a forecast of future costs.

  • Re-estimate of forecast turnover
  • Establishing a forecast of future costs

It is generally the role of the project manager to calculate the initial budget and then re-estimate during the project, all of these costs of staff, subcontracting, fees, purchases, etc.

It is strongly recommended to carry out regular reviews of all projects to identify those which deviate from the budgeted margin in order to carry out corrective actions as quickly as possible.

Production carried out not invoiced

Monitoring of uninvoiced production and percentage of progress (above)

More useful in a project under management (billed by time spent), this metric allows you to calculate, as its name suggests, the production produced (either in value or in time) which has not yet been invoiced to the client.

To calculate this uninvoiced production produced in value, the number of units of time already spent on the project is multiplied by the invoicing rate applicable to this unit, an Average Daily Rate for example, and this value is then compared with the amounts billed to date.

  • (Number of units of time spent on a project) * (Billing rate applicable to this unit)
  • Comparison of the result with the amounts invoiced to date

Objective: knowing the value of uninvoiced production produced is above all useful for cash flow management purposes. Whatever the payment terms, this represents cash that can be recovered in the short term. Of course, it is not always possible to immediately invoice this production according to the deadlines planned with the client. However, it is an excellent indicator of future cash flow, especially when viewed in a consolidated manner.

How to monitor this indicator? : it is easier to monitor this indicator when you have an integrated solution which tracks the time spent on a project, the Average Daily Rates (or Average Hourly Rates) assigned to each of the resources, and which also manages invoicing . Because it is these elements that are compared to each other. A review of uninvoiced achievements by division or overall makes it possible to analyze good practices in invoicing . The explanation of this indicator in video:

Percentage of completion

Monitoring of production carried out not invoiced (below) and percentage of completion

This indicator allows you to check the progress status of a project. Progress can be analyzed with the time unit or if the project is associated with a turnover with the value unit.

  • Project progress status
  • Unit of time or unit of value

This percentage of progress can also be analyzed in relation to the initial budget or in relation to the latest estimate. When your management tool calculates a turnover based on progress, it is also possible to know the progress as a % of the turnover.


Objective: it is important to monitor the percentage of progress to ensure that the objectives are achieved. Completing deliverables on time is a major objective of project management.

This objective is also often analyzed with another metric, On-Time-Delivery, which calculates the number of projects completed on time in relation to the total projects. The project manager must therefore always keep an eye on this important metric of project management.

How to follow this indicator? : here we must therefore compare the budget in terms of time and value, with the actual results which are based on the activity reports of the employees. When the project management tool you use also allows you to reestimate project costs, progress can then be measured in relation to the last forecast, so it is more precise.

B. Indicators related to team management

utilization rate (or TACE)

The explanation of this indicator in video:

utilization rate :

Objective: Ensure that teams produce work that will bring profitability at the expected level.

When projects are billed to clients as in service companies, such as consulting companies, IT Services or even agencies, turnover depends directly on project invoicing.

It is therefore essential that the company's main resources, namely its employees, use their time working on projects that are billable, i.e. revenue generating, rather than on internal projects, although the latter can have a favorable impact on profitability (deployment of an ERP solution to generate productivity gains, simplification of processes, commercial activity, etc.).

It is not uncommon to set different workload rate objectives depending on the different employee populations. For example in a consulting company, it is often expected that junior employees have a utilization rate very high, often above 80%. On the other hand, directors spend more time developing the activity and therefore have objectives of utilization rate lower.

How to follow this indicator? : monitoring employee activity must make it possible to allocate time not only to chargeable projects, but also to all projects and activities on which the employee is required to spend time: training, internal projects, working on commercial proposals…

The activity monitoring software (Activity Report) must make it possible to allocate time to all these categories and provide consolidated reporting, to have visibility on the utilization rate past and future (the latter depend on the resource planning ), by employee, team or type of employee population. With this visibility it is much easier to identify issues that prevent you from improving profitability.

  • Activity tracking software: Visibility on utilization rate past and future), by employee, team or type of employee population

Rate resource planning

Monitoring the rate of resource planning or occupancy rate

Rate resource planning (or occupancy rate):

Objective: unlike utilization rate , the rate of resource planning will make it possible to monitor the overall workload of employees, whether on projects sold to clients or on any other type of activity.

Some employees, even if they have utilization rate weaker, do not necessarily have less intense activity: a financial manager, for example, will work more on internal projects than other employees, with an often heavy workload. They will then have a rate of resource planning pupil.

  • EX: A financial manager will focus more on internal projects and will have a significant workload = rate of resource planning important

Depending on the peaks and troughs of activity, have good visibility on the rate of resource planning of employees makes it possible to better distribute the workload of the teams.

How to monitor this indicator? : it is particularly interesting to have a forecast view of this metric. Seeing the workload of employees in the coming periods, not only on projects but also possibly on other categories of activity makes it possible to identify problems of overcapacity or undercapacity which are in the process of materializing. He will thus be able to react and correct the situation by hiring, for example, in the case of undercapacity. To learn how to optimize resource management at the project level, see our article on project governance.


Production, when defined within the framework of a project, can be monitored in value or in time (generally in days or hours).

When we look at the production carried out per day for example, this is the total time spent on a project to date.

  • Production carried out per day: total time spent on a project to date

When we look at the production achieved in value, it is the total number of days spent on the project multiplied by the value of a day (often called Average Daily Rate).

  • Production achieved in value: (Number of days spent on a project) * (Value of one day)

Objective: it is often interesting to monitor production and production capacities at the level of a team or a company. Depending on the number of employees and their availability, it is possible to read production capacities in days or in value. A well-organized and optimized company will always seek to align its production capacities with its turnover and growth objectives. So, being able to track this metric helps ensure that business objectives are aligned with available resources.

  • The JAVA company has 100 developer employees, including ADR is set at €800 as standard, and 50 consultant employees who have a ADR of 750€. On average all employees work 217 days. The total production capacity is therefore:

[100 x 800 + 50 x 750] x 217 = €25,497,500.

Theoretically, if the teams remain at the same level, we must obtain at least a contract amount of €25.5 million.

How to follow this indicator? In an activity management solution, you often have the possibility to monitor the production carried out, but also sometimes the production planned. When forecasts are also available, this makes it possible to know what capacities remain in the coming periods, that is to say the commercial effort required to cover at least the company's resources.

C. Indicators linked to the overall management of project financial monitoring

If you are in charge of several projects or you are a manager, you must also monitor metrics that give you a more holistic view of the activity's performance. It is then interesting to monitor the following metrics:

To find out, see our article on The Guide to Effective Project Monitoring .

Commercial pipe

Commercial pipe tracking

Commercial Pipe : pipe (“tube” in French) commercial corresponds to opportunities identified but not yet won. Monitoring of pipe commercial makes it possible to anticipate future turnover linked to these opportunities.

  • Opportunities identified and not yet acquired

Objective: monitoring the pipe Sales is crucial in any company, not just those that work in project mode and sell services. Beyond anticipating commercial performance and being able to forecast future turnover, this monitoring makes it possible to anticipate resource needs to respond correctly to future projects.

It is in this context that it is crucial for team leaders and managers to have good visibility on the maturity of opportunities and the associated resource needs.

How to follow this indicator? : it is imperative to have a project management tool to centralize all opportunities, and if possible segment them by maturity or chance of success.

  • Centralize opportunities
  • Segment them by chance of success and stage of advancement

Ideally, it is possible to identify the stage of advancement of the opportunity (prospecting, offer sent, negotiation in progress, etc.) and to apply a percentage of chances of success which allows the associated amount to be weighted and to provide a more realistic vision of future turnover.

When the CRM is adapted to resource management, it also allows you to edit an associated workload plan: what types of roles will work on this project if it is won, for how long, at what Average Daily Rate, and what skills will be needed?

Depending on the maturity of the offer, it is possible to "push" the needs to planning managers or team managers so that they identify the employees who will be able to meet the need, or, on the contrary, can alert to identify external candidates or subcontractors.

Linking the commercial pipe to team planning is therefore a best practice for starting projects on time and ensuring that the right “casting” is carried out to meet the needs of the project.

Cost of customer acquisition

These are all the commercial costs that are necessary to sell the projects. This is the time spent by teams writing proposals, the time spent on commercial activity or even traveling to exchange with prospects. It is also the travel costs in the pre-sales phase or all other expenses incurred as part of a call for tenders for example.

  • All commercial costs requested to sell a project
  • Time spent by teams writing proposals, time spent on commercial activity, travel costs to prospects before and during the pre-sales phase, etc.

Objective: Monitoring customer acquisition costs is another crucial indicator to ensure the profitability of the commercial activity. This is, in a way, the investment necessary to land projects.

It is necessary to ensure that the value generated by the contracts associated with the activity is much greater than this commercial investment. The ratio of 3x the value in relation to the acquisition cost is often the minimum to achieve to maintain good profitability.

  • The cost of the acquisition must be around 3x lower than the value subsequently generated by the contracts.

Well monitored, this indicator also makes it possible to compare the performance of salespeople with each other . This is an excellent indicator that goes beyond the amount of turnover achieved by the salesperson.

How to follow this indicator? To be able to track business activity and costs, it is necessary to have a solution that allows you to track time spent, costs and expenses and allocate them to each of the opportunities, or to more general activities, such as prospecting by email or participating in a trade show for example. Having knowledge of the cost of each salesperson, it is then possible to calculate the total sales cost spent on each opportunity and on other commercial activities, per employee.

Depending on the project management tool you use, you will then be able to follow reports which give more precise acquisition costs overall, by team or by salesperson, and the profitability of this cost in relation to the amounts of turnover earned.

Realized and forecast turnover

Calculating revenue for projects can be quite complex because several methods are used, such as the completion method or the completion method for example.

The percentage of completion method will allow revenue to be recognized in the income statement based on the percentage of completion. This percentage of completion is generally calculated as a percentage of the costs allocated to the project compared to the total costs planned for the project.

Via the completion method, revenue is recognized only at the end of the project.

Objective: There is no doubt that monitoring project turnover is a key KPI. Whether projects are billed internally or to clients, applying a turnover allows you to give a value to the time spent by resources on the project.

Even if you work on internal projects that are not invoiced, it is interesting to apply an Average Daily Rate to your resources, to identify the equivalent in turnover that could have been generated by the resources if the project had been sold.

How to follow this indicator? : tracking turnover can be quite complicated depending on the size and duration of the projects. The financial teams in charge of this subject often use Excel models, but the use of an ERP solution which makes it possible to automate and secure the calculation is an asset, not only for the time savings that it brings to the support teams. , but also because this metric is so important that it must be able to be monitored in real time by the financial teams but also by project managers and other managers.

Profitability of the activity

Monitoring the profitability of the activity

Monitoring the profitability of an entity that carries out projects involves being able to monitor the profitability of different projects and being able to analyze the different types of costs: team costs, subcontracting costs, costs and other types of expenses, etc. .

Objective: this monitoring ensures that the activity generates profits at the expected level. Not all project activities are intended to generate profit, but when this is the case, it is important to have an overall view of the profitability of the activity by monitoring the past and future profitability of projects and to compare it to the budget.

How to follow this indicator? : here too monitoring on an Excel model can do the trick when there are not many projects, but the use of a dedicated solution brings a large number of advantages which range from the automation of monitoring to the security of calculations through monitoring dashboards which make it possible to immediately identify budget overrun issues, their reasons and to locate discrepancies.

Project invoicing

Monitoring of project invoicing

This involves monitoring the progress and completeness of invoicing compared to what was envisaged. This monitoring must extend to monitoring payments to have good control of your cash flow.

Objective: the performance of the activity does not stop at completion, it is necessary to ensure that the amount sold is collected and, if possible, as quickly as possible in order to have the healthiest possible cash flow. It is therefore necessary here to ensure that:

  1. Invoicing deadlines, i.e. the deliverables that will trigger invoicing, are monitored and communication between project managers and the teams in charge of invoicing is excellent to enable invoicing as soon as possible. is possible.
  2. All billable elements have been invoiced and nothing is forgotten: in a project, not only are the deliverables billable, but it is also common to re-invoice costs, for example. It is important to follow these elements otherwise the chargeback is forgotten and money is left on the table.
  3. Payment terms are respected by customers

How to follow this indicator? : it is necessary to follow project by project what has been invoiced, what remains to be invoiced, what has been paid and to be able to easily identify invoices that have not been paid when they should have been.

It's always simpler if invoicing tracking is linked to project tracking.

When the elements of progress monitoring and invoicing are linked, for example, it is possible to let the project manager confirm the achievement of a deliverable which triggers an invoice. The teams in charge of invoicing then see this due date appear as an invoice to be issued, and can send it to the customer as quickly as possible. By accelerating the cash cycle, the entire activity's cash flow improves.

Stafiz helps service companies gain visibility and better manage the progress of their projects thanks to real-time data. Stafiz is a SaaS for resource planning management, project management and Business Intelligence. So budgets and margins are always respected and you make better decisions for your business. To find out more about project financial monitoring with Stafiz, visit this page!

Project accounting & management