Go global


Challenges and Opportunities for Your Services Business

Building and operating an international project-based services business is one of the most exciting jobs any C-team can have. Understanding different cultures and business practices and growing the business is truly stimulating.

It is also not without its challenges. But when you address them effectively, you can turn these into fantastic business opportunities.

Challenges and opportunities

In this overview, we have listed the most common challenges that executives face - especially CFOs and COOs - when growing their project-based business internationally.

We believe that technology can help solve these challenges. In fact; we have made it our mission to ensure that you can turn these challenges into opportunities for your business.

Here are 6 common challenges and how we believe you can turn these into opportunities that enable and support your international growth:

Challenge 1: Many local accounting tools

You will be dealing with variances in accounting and local tax practices. With that comes a myriad of local accounting tools that are perfect for dealing with these variances. But how do you keep central control of your projects’ Accounts Receivable and Payables?

Opportunity: One platform, one integrated process

Imagine one platform that can hook into multiple local accounting systems.

Regardless of the local currency of that platform. A platform that you share with local finance-, account- and project managers.

Just add the correct invoicing method to the project deliverables for any operating country in the world. Then let the platform take care of syncing the A/R record and the payment information.

Whether it’s fixed price with invoicing schedules, time & materials invoicing, monthly recurring or subscriptions-based. Supplier costs, markups and Accounts Payable are handled in the same way.

Challenge 2: Distributed resource teams, lack of visibility

Each of your operating countries has it’s local teams. Resource- and capacity planning are handled in a variety of tools. These resource pools are siloed and matching demand with available talent is cumbersome. The same goes for bench time resolution and skills matching generally.

Opportunity: One Unified Resource Pool

A unified resource pool will let you find the best available resources at the best possible rates, with skills to match.

The cost and sales rates for these resources can be managed by the operating country in their local currency. Likewise, the individual’s unique skills are locally maintained - based on your common framework.

Each individual is planned on project activities or soft-booked on future opportunities. Their company and personal holidays are planned, as are their non-billable activities.

Now your platform can recommend resourcing choices based on their availability. And their margin implications. Regardless of where the resource is located.

Challenge 3: Operating countries not sharing resources

All too often, walls are thrown up between operating countries’ teams because there are no ‘rules of engagement’ for when resources from one country are deployed on another country’s project.

You’ll need to establish inter-company rates and revenue recognition rules to cope with this potentially stifling dilemma. And then enforce and support this common way of working. So that resource ‘owners’ open up their pool of resources for the good of the entire firm.

Opportunity: Inter-company rates and automated revenue attribution.

When your unified resource pool holds inter-company rates for each individual staff member, then everyone knows upfront what the impact on the project margin will be.

If that resource is free from other engagements or other scheduling conflicts then a booking is easily made. The hours are tracked in the same platform and the rate is applied, giving both operating countries a clear financial view at any time.

When it's easy to administer these cross-charges via account statements in your platform then you are paving the way to free sharing of resources.

Even more so when it comes to sharing revenue on projects. Imagine you can have a project that is broken into different ‘projects within a project’. Each contributing country is assigned their work package. And individuals were planned and tracked time on those projects.

The revenue is attributed to the operating company in charge of their piece of the project. Based on the work performed. All automatically and within one platform.

You will be maximizing the revenue potential for each of your operating countries. All the while optimizing resource utilization across the group. And delivering the best expertise to your clients. It’s a no-brainer.

Challenge 4: Lack of control over targets and budgets. Locally and globally.

Every executive knows those rolled-up, never-on-time, abstract financial reports. The ones that don’t give you the information you need to take action. And even when they do, you’re too late. Because you cannot correct what happened last month.

Now zoom out to an international scenario. A growing number of operating countries, all with local management, different business practices and accounting standards. It can be tough to agree on control practices and then enforce and monitor them. Your operating company may feel overwhelmed by procedures.

At a central level, you’ll be tempted to focus on a few high-level KPIs so that you don’t get bogged down in miles of sheets each month. Effectively, you’ll be flying blind and without radar.

Opportunity: One real-time operations reporting platform.

Enter VOGSY - one reporting platform that shows you if you are hitting your targets, and making your budgets. From the nitty gritty individual project deliverable level all the way through to consolidated group targets.

This is true operational data. Live and based on timesheets, invoices, people’s cost rates, and project budgets.

Being the fittest in the services industry means having true operational data, as and when it happens. So that you can pro-actively steer clear of potential losses and maximise profits from your projects and from your resources.

You can zoom in and out from one project to one client or one department in one operating country. Or one service line. Either per country or for the group.

When having these insights was the goal of a platform from the get-go, then it is built for its purpose. This is what VOGSY is, fit for purpose and with the smallest possible onboarding effort.

Challenge 5: Keeping your stakeholders on board

In order to keep your stakeholders satisfied, you’ll have to provide them with dependable and timely reporting. Both periodically and ad hoc.

The more you grow internationally, the more complex your administration and management information system can become. Your efforts to run good quality and lean processes may suffer a similar fate.

Opportunity: 24/7 KPI Monitoring, anywhere

When your operations platform and your reporting dashboard are one and the same tool, then your data source quality is guaranteed. Then you’ll add the KPIs that you agree with your stakeholders with little to no effort. Easy.

Now you’ll simply give your stakeholders 24/7 secure cloud access to the KPI charts.

They are updated in real-time from the operational data. So whenever there is a question; the answer is already there; dependable and fast. Your process quality is demonstrable as well, shared throughout the operating countries.

Challenge 6: The cost of doing nothing

Traditional monolithic ERP packages require prohibitive amounts of money and time to implement and maintain.

Allowing each operating country to maintain their own quilted IT landscapes is equally uneconomical. It is virtually impossible to integrate processes, project planning, and resource pools in this scenario.

You end up with a tough choice between two unattractive scenarios. However, if you do nothing, you are losing your ability to scale. Which is likely the most costly option of all.

Opportunity: Simple, secure, and scalable services platform

Benefit from the best of two worlds; an Enterprise-grade product on the one hand with an agile approach and a much lower price tag on the other.

Your platform is robust, fit for purpose and easily scalable. Made specifically for projects-based services businesses like yours.

That goes for the infrastructure; Google Cloud is infinitely scalable and highly secure.

And the product itself is easy to learn and manage. Adding a new country takes no time at all, the same goes for new staff.

Scalability also means sharing data where needed and collaborating through cloud technology. Integrating with your productivity tools so that you use what you already have.

Let your new Services ERP platform remove barriers to growth and go international with confidence and ease.

What does the solution look like?

Your single international platform schema would look like this schema below. All your operations are shared and accessible securely from anywhere.

From capturing and closing deals, to client data, all your projects, resources, invoices and quotes

Centralized yet localized. Integrated with your CRM, your multiple finance systems, your Google Workspace or Office 365 apps, Jira, Trello or other applications.

Local project accounting and reporting as well as consolidated G/L and company-wide KPI monitoring on your operations.

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