In the simplest terms, profit on your cases is determined by the amount you bill your clients (i.e. invoices) less any costs incurred while working these cases (i.e. expenses). As with any business, making sure your product turns a profit is an important metric that should be routinely monitored.
Trackops offers several features, that when used in conjunction with each other, will help you manage profitability across all your investigations. In addition, Trackops offers various reports that will allow you to track historical statistics and identify trends.
Have a look at the following topics, and make sure you're using Trackops to its full potential when it comes to tracking costs and billing your clients:
1. Expense & Invoice Item Setup
Before you can start to capture expenses and generate invoices, you'll need to make sure that you've properly configured the system so that it knows which products and services you perform. Most importantly, you'll need to tell Trackops how much you typically reimburse your investigators for these services (i.e. expenses), and how much you typically bill your clients for these services (i.e. invoices).
2. Staff & Client Price List Configurations
Now that you've configured your expense and invoice items, the next step is to adjust any custom rates you may have. By default, employees will be setup to be reimbursed at your default rates (as defined in step 1 above).
If you reimburse investigators at different rates for the same services (e.g. surveillance hourly rate), you'll want to update their employee price lists to reflect their accurate rates. Adjusting these rates allows Trackops to automatically apply the correct rates when an investigator submits their time and expenses.
Likewise, if you charge your clients different prices for the same services, you'll want to adjust each client's price list to match. This allows Trackops to automatically apply your clients' rates when generating an invoice, which will save time and increase accuracy - a key component to profitability!
3. Submitting Time & Expenses
At this point, the configuration is complete and you're ready to start capturing data. Before you can generate an accurate invoice to your client, you'll need to know what services were performed on a given case. To do this, investigators (and other employees) will submit their time and expenses.
Note: To achieve accurate reporting, it's important to make sure your employees report everything that is reimbursable, even if it's not billable to the client. This includes submitting time and expenses for every day of work. Have a look at the following article for more information on how to submit time and expenses:
4. Budget Auditing
As expenses roll in on a case, the system will now be able to generate an Estimated Invoice amount, visible in the Snapshot section of the case overview. This estimate provides a projection of what the invoice would be if you were to generate it today with no changes.
Having a general idea of what an invoice will be before it's generated is a great feature, but even more importantly is to make sure that invoice is within your client's budget. After all, if you run over budget, and your client cannot pay for the additional costs you incurred, this can put a big dent in your profitability.
While you could view the profitability via the snapshot on a case by case basis, this is cumbersome for companies juggling many cases at once. For these situations, using reports is a great option:
- Budget Audit Report - This report compares your clients' budgets to the expenses incurred on their cases. This is a great way to make sure case expenses don't exceed the client's budget without your knowledge. It's also a great opportunity to find active cases where an additional budget increase could produce more results for your client, which in turn increases your bottom line.
- Budget Distribution Report - This report allows you to break down your case budgets by a number of criteria, which for example, allows you to determine which employees are generating or managing the most projected scheduleable hours or potential revenue.
- Budget Threshold Notice - When enabled, this notification email template will alert you when the budget on your case is nearing the designated threshold. This valuable communication will give you a heads up when it's time to stop work and/or contact the client to ask about a budget increase.
- Budget Threshold Dashboard Widget - If you want to see the overall budget availability on your dashboard, enable this widget to see total case budgets across all of your active cases in both hours and money.
5. Generating Invoices
When it's time to invoice your client, you'll be surprised at how simple the process is. By this time, you've already captured and approved all of the time and expenses that have taken place, and all that's left to do is let the system create an invoice for you from those expenses and send it to your client. The whole process is very quick and easy to do, and if you need to make last minute changes to the invoice, you can do so without affecting the expenses that were billed. Most importantly, the system will now be able to determine an accurate profitability on this case.
6. Reporting on your Profitability
Reporting is where all of your hard work culminates into an easy to mange reporting system that gives you a clear picture of your costs, revenues, and overall profitability. Executives can aggregate numbers monthly, quarterly, annually, or for any other period.
- Profit Distribution Report - This report compares your expenses (costs) versus your invoices (sales) to determine your profit margin. This report can be broken down by a variety of criteria such as client, case type, and even by manager or investigator. You'll quickly be able to determine which clients and resources generate the most profit, and which are costly to work.
- Profit Trends Report - After you've been properly capturing expenses and invoices for awhile, you can use the profit trends report to compare how well you're doing now vs past periods. This will help you ensure that your profits are steadily rising over time.
- Profit by Invoice Report - In the situation that you want to evaluate specific cases to determine which cases were the most profitable and which were the least, use this report to browse your case load and identify the outliers that may be inflating or deflating your margins.
In summary, using these features in conjunction with one another will help you track detailed and accurate metrics about your case load, while all the while, becoming more agile in terms of budget allocation and utilization. If you have any questions regarding your budget utilization or workflow, please don't hesitate to contact us for a one-on-one look into how we can help streamline your operations!