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By Michelle Bournstein
Consultant at CFS
Note from the editor: This blog is part of a series of articles crafted by Autotask customers. Insights and best practices were initially shared in an Autotask Community Live presentation, and the opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author.
Are you struggling to manage the cost of recurring services and unsure of true profitability? If so, you’re not alone. Many variables can impact profit, and connecting total costs to capture all of those variables can be difficult.
Have you experienced any of these?
• You paid a vendor for services, but the client has cancelled their contract.
• A vendor increased what they are charging you, but you weren’t aware of it.
• Someone installed an endpoint at a client, but a bill for it was never sent.
In each of these scenarios, undocumented or disconnected cost details are eating into profit margin.
Now ask yourself one more question: Am I using Autotask’s full capabilities to help me manage recurring-services costs? I presented on this topic at Autotask Community Live and here offer a recap of three steps to help ensure you are optimizing Autotask to improve managed-services cost tracking.
Step 1: Review your vendor bills in detail and configure your Autotask Services to match.
This configuration helps to make sure you are using correct data when you structure Contract Pricing, i.e., quoting for contracted services. (Important tip: Verify that the services have a default unit cost to maintain accuracy.)
Configuring for detailed services also makes auditing easier when comparing vendor and client charge quantities. Most importantly, detailed services allows for Quickbooks integration to impact multiple revenue accounts upon transfer of an invoice.
Step 2. Review your recurring service contracts and confirm they reflect each service and billing amount accurately.
List the individual services that you are providing to the client and match these services to the vendor bill. Determine that the quantity that the vendor is charging you matches the units listed on the contract. If they don’t match, find out why. Make adjustments (when needed) and then compare the vendor bill monthly details to verify accuracy of cost and quantities. A custom audit report like this one can help with this process:
Step 3: Leverage Autotask to obtain critical business information specific to recurring services.
One area where Autotask users are finding a lot of value is trend reporting—for example, revenue by client or profit by client. You can get a view for each month of services or billings that have happened. When leveraging trend reports, be sure to look at the overall totals to be certain your goals are met as well as exceptions.
In the case of revenue trend reporting, if a month of revenue is not reflected for an active client, this could indicate an issue occurred during the billing process.
Reviewing a profit report like the one shown below will help to ensure that your services are profitable as well as indicate any issues with profitability.
Better Control at Your Fingertips
Autotask can be used in many ways to get a better control of cost management for recurring services. You will have these benefits by following the steps outlined in this blog:
• All costs identified at the detail level.
• Detailed reporting that can be an input on the P&L for managed services.
• Accurate information in contracts and quotes, as well as insight on how profitable a contract is.
• Invoices that have what they need to pass information through to Quickbooks.
• Trends and other analytical reporting tools that help identify missing data and mismatches.
Consider utilizing some or ALL of these processes to help your business succeed.
Michelle Bournstein is an Autotask consultant and certified CCP at CFS. She focuses on business processes, system configurations, efficiencies and innovative practices. Michelle provides in-depth support, training, LiveReports development, and tangible deliverables that ensure success. She has been consulting in the industry for 16 years.
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