Specificities of an ERP systems for consulting firms

November 23, 2022

There are several online solutions that are successful because they offer a large number of features, covering almost any function you need. They are a good foundational platform, but consulting firms have specific issues that need to be addressed more precisely.

But, how is an ERP dedicated to consulting firms different?

Specific functionalities

All of the features are adapted to consulting firms, to varying degrees. For invoicing, for example, the invoice models offered will be more specific and may include summary tables of the days spent last month on a mission, for example.

The management of opportunities and proposals in the CRM will also be adapted to the problems of consultants, to provide turnover forecasts and manage the “ pipe ” to anticipate dips in activity.
But two areas particularly stand out and offer solutions that are very different from generic software:


Resource planning

This is a crucial issue for consulting firms; several aspects must be taken into account:

  • The availability of consultants: you need to know which senior is available immediately to submit a proposal, and which junior will be available for 3 months for the new mission that you have just signed. Good software must present this information clearly, and allow it to be easily modified during management meetings. resource planning Monday morning (or Wednesday if you do this on Wednesday.)
  • Skills: it is not always easy to remember everyone's skills, and it may not even be possible to meet everyone if the firm is large. A good ERP should, therefore, record everyone's skills and make it possible to search for employees based on said skills.
  • Desires: in order to help your consultants grow through challenging, engaging projects and to encourage their retention by assigning projects based on interest, it is necessary to record these desires and have constant access to them when making decisions.

In short, specific ERPs allow you to easily find an answer to this type of problem: “I am looking for a senior consultant available for 2 months starting next week, I want it to be a crack at Excel because there will have a lot of modeling to do, and if we can avoid Jean, it's because he wants to change clients” => the software must present you with some options.

The Stafiz platform offers a management module for resource planning primarily dedicated to consulting firms and more broadly to professional services and service companies. More than 10,000 employees in 10 countries use it to manage their projects.

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Project management

The second important aspect of consulting firms is project profitability, which can take shape in two forms: 

  • "Pay-as-you-go" mode: the client is billed for the number of days worked after a certain amount of time (e.g. the end of each month). It is, therefore, important that the software counts days (a pretty basic feature) and makes precise follow-ups on what has been invoiced and what remains to be invoiced (fees and expenses). Clear time summaries and billing alerts simplify managerial jobs. 
  • "Fixed price" mode: when you sell on a fixed price basis, you sell a result, and it is up to the manager to manage the balance between customer satisfaction (more days spent) and profitability (fewer days spent). The software must support managers with transparency of the total number of planned project days and forecast project financials. 


A manageable amount of options

A second very important point is the right balance between a sufficient (and even large) number of functionalities, and ease of use which necessarily comes from a reduced number of functionalities.

Consultants have enough work to build the future of their clients, and administrative tasks are sometimes neglected, in any case concentrated on a very limited number of functions (fees, confirmation of days, etc.). Even associates, who could have access to a large number of reports, only consult a very limited number of indicators.

A good ERP for a consulting firm must therefore make it possible to manage all the functionalities deemed essential by the company (plus some additional functionalities with good added value), select the few major indicators on each subject, and remain simple, intuitive and fast. use.

Great flexibility is important so that larger cabinets have all the features they care about, but smaller ones aren't cluttered with buttons they don't care about.

All in one

The last important element is the completeness of the modules offered. Consulting firms, not finding a complete solution, are often forced to deal with incompatible solutions, one for time confirmation, the other for CRM, to make exports to payroll, etc.

Working in a single system ensures a consistent environment that saves everyone's time (especially support functions who would otherwise have to do all the file transfers between systems). When all information is immediately available, discussion is easier and teams are directly focused on tasks with real added value.

To go further, discover our white paper on operations management:

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Stafiz is a modular or all-in-one ERP allowing you to manage your portfolio of projects and clients even more efficiently and profitably. Stafiz is primarily dedicated to consulting firms and more broadly to professional services.

Discover Stafiz's ERP