Professional Services Automation (PSA)

Professional services automation (PSA) is a type of software that allows users to manage and track their professional services work more easily. Learn about how PSA software works and some of the top vendor solutions in this definition.

What Is Professional Services Automation?

Professional Services Automation refers to a suite of software enabling IT service organizations to manage people, skilled resources, and project portfolios.

PSA software helps streamline business processes with a unified contact management system, task management, time tracking, and reporting. It’s designed for service-based businesses that need to keep track of their clients’ documents across multiple platforms or projects.

How Does Professional Services Automation Work?

PSA software helps companies manage their portfolio of clients, projects, and tasks. They can save time and money and improve efficiency in their businesses by automating a range of business processes through PSA.

Professional services automation software works by giving companies access to their customer data in a centralized platform. Users can gain insights into existing client relationships because PSA solutions allow them to track project milestones and manage recurring revenue streams. ​​PSA helps to deliver consistency, quality, and efficiency in professional services businesses.

PSA solutions provide many helpful features for various departments within a company; human resources (HR), accounting, sales, marketing, project management, and service delivery teams can all benefit from the process management support for time tracking, client contact, and invoicing tasks in particular. Simplifying and automating these tasks allows businesses to focus on what’s important: building relationships with clients and growing their business. 

Features of Professional Services Automation Software

The most important features of professional services automation include time tracking, project management tools, CRM integration, billing capabilities, and expense tracking. Some of these features will vary depending on enterprise-specific needs, but it’s always best to choose a solution with all of these essential features in one platform.

Time tracking

Companies want to make sure that their employees are focusing their time appropriately on client-driven tasks. With the time tracking feature, managers can see how much time is spent on which projects and how much time is spent on non-billable tasks. This ensures that clients get their money’s worth from the firm’s billable hours while also helping employees stay focused on meaningful work. 

Project management tools  

PSA solutions usually include a project management tool for organizing the team’s workload. These tools allow project managers to assign tasks, set due dates, create milestones, and track progress toward completion. They may even help enterprises manage client expectations by giving clients a real-time view of what’s being worked on. 

CRM integration 

A CRM tool helps organizations collect, store, and distribute information about customers. PSA software frequently allows users to integrate a CRM system with automated workflow processes. This integration makes it easier for service providers to keep track of customer data across multiple systems without reentering information manually when switching between programs. 

Invoicing and billing 

PSA software gives users options to automate invoicing and billing processes. The tool also provides report generation to show detailed invoice history over specified periods. 

Expense tracking 

Some PSA solutions offer integrated expense tracking capabilities that let users easily record business expenses, categorize them appropriately, and generate reports based on those expenses. 

Reporting 

Most PSA software includes reporting capabilities that provide valuable insights into how a business is performing overall. They can also check performance against specific metrics, such as revenue per employee or profit margin per product line. 

Knowledge base 

The knowledge base provides a central repository where teams can document best practices, share tips and tricks they’ve learned along the way, and troubleshoot issues as they arise. This feature alone can save firms countless hours otherwise spent searching through old emails or sifting through files stored on individual computers for answers to common questions. 

Team collaboration

PSA solutions typically offer collaborative features that allow users to work together on common files and documents, either in real-time or asynchronously. In addition, many PSA solutions include chat features so users can communicate quickly and easily via text or voice chat, regardless of what program they’re using at any given time.

Who Uses Professional Services Automation?

PSA systems are designed for enterprises with professional services teams and clients. Professional services automation technology aims to automate repetitive processes and tasks to free up time for professionals to focus on higher-value activities. 

PSA technology can be applied across various business areas, including accounting, contract management, financial analysis, human resources, legal operations, marketing strategy development, implementation, operations management, performance measurement, and reporting processes. Any business that provides client-facing services is a good candidate for PSA software.

The specific applications a company will need vary depending on industry verticals, but there are some common themes among all types of PSA software solutions. Most include invoicing and billing, payments and receivables tracking, project management, client and vendor contract management, billable hours monitoring per project, and employee/partner productivity levels.

Key Benefits of Using PSA Software

Most professionals agree that juggling various projects can become an arduous task, even with dedicated teams or partners. This is where PSA comes in. With PSA, professional services providers can get faster results without compromising on quality and accuracy. It also ensures that processes are managed accurately—from quoting and contract management to project delivery and invoicing.

There are many benefits of using PSA technology to help businesses grow and thrive. Here are some of the most important:

  • Time savings: With PSA software, users can streamline their business processes and make sure everything runs smoothly, allowing them to save valuable hours every day. 
  • Cost savings: Providing professional services is expensive, but with PSA software, service providers can keep costs down by eliminating repetitive tasks and making sure their clients receive exactly what they need.
  • Workflow management: PSA software means that all team members have access to critical information at all times. This helps project workflows stay on track and run smoothly from start to finish. 
  • Collaboration: The best way to ensure success on any project is through effective communication between team members. PSA software makes it easy to share files, chat with colleagues, and update task lists in real-time.
  • Reporting: Good reporting is crucial for keeping companies organized and efficient over time. PSA allows enterprises to easily compile reports so they know how they’re performing across different business metrics. 

Top Professional Services Automation Solutions

Mavenlink

MavenLink Logo.

Mavenlink is a cloud-based business management solution for service-based companies to manage everything from IT projects to time tracking to invoicing. It allows users to track projects in real-time, as well as automate repetitive tasks and integrate with other popular tools like Jira or Salesforce. Users can create custom workflows and reports based on their unique processes. 

Features 

  • Task management, which includes task creation and assignment, due dates, task prioritization, to-do lists, and dependencies
  • Project management features for project planning, mapping, budgeting, templates, time management, and expense management
  • Resource management

Pros

  • Built-in project template
  • Easy-to-use user interface
  • Several available customizations

Cons

  • Editing task comments on project boards is not possible
  • Users report bad user experience with the mobile app

Accelo

Accelo Logo

Accelo is a cloud-based platform for professional services firms to automate and scale their workflows, project management processes, and accounting functions. It’s designed specifically for small or medium-sized businesses (SMBs) but can also be used by large enterprises.

Features

  • Integrates with an extensive list of applications such as QuickBooks, Salesforce, Jira, Stripe, Mailchimp, and PayPal
  • Automated notifications
  • Project management 
  • Access controls and permissions

Pros

  • Users can manage and automate mission-critical business activities
  • Robust resource management
  • Customizable for specific business requirements

Cons

  • Long learning curve
  • Somewhat complicated user interface

Scoro

Scoro Logo.

Scoro is a cloud-based solution that offers time tracking, project management, collaboration, invoicing, reporting, and professional services automation. The platform allows users to manage all of their projects from one location and gives them real-time access to information that helps them make better decisions. 

Features

  • Project management
  • Time management
  • Reporting and dashboards
  • Billing automation
  • Integrated CRM capabilities
  • Real-time Gantt charts

Pros

  • Intuitive and easy-to-use platform
  • User-friendly control features
  • Automated invoicing and budget tracking
  • Workload management with a drag-and-drop planner and Kanban task boards

Cons

  • Some users find the mobile app difficult to use
  • Integrations with popular third-party applications such as Outlook and QuickBooks can be improved
  • Some users find the platform to be cost-prohibitive

Sometimes PSA software natively integrates CRM capabilities, but in other cases, enterprises must find and integrate a separate CRM solution. Learn about the Best CRM Software and Tools here.

Aminu Abdullahi
Aminu Abdullahi
Aminu Abdullahi is an award-winning public speaker and a passionate writer. He writes to edutain (Educate + Entertain) his reader about Business, Technology, Growth, and everything in between. He is the co-author of the e-book, The Ultimate Creativity Playbook. Aminu loves to inspire greatness in the people around him through his actions and inactions.

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