psa_and_pm_softwareFor small-to-medium-sized firms, it’s common for the leadership staff to not only manage the business but also still be the executors, heavily involved in day-to-day client projects. This leaves little time for managing the overhead of the business and adds stress to the pressures of running a successful firm. Most likely, you’re also then the person tasked with finding a solution, but where do you even start? 

PSA (Professional Services Automation) and PM (Project Management) software are often confused because at their core they offer the same key values of getting your business more organized and increasing productivity. Where they differ is in the way they get this done and the resulting benefits. 

In this helpful blog, we’ll break down the difference between the two software and how to evaluate your existing needs to see which solution is the best fit for your firm. 

What is Project Management Software? 

Project Management (PM) software is all about keeping projects running smoothly internally. Helping your individual employees to work smarter, the  primary features of PM software include project task management to set deadlines, deliverables, and to assign team members responsibilities, as well as file sharing, and communications tools. 

As a result of improved internal project workflows, you can expect to meet deadlines more efficiently and increase your clients’ happiness with your work. This, in turn, may lead to higher profits if your team is more productive and creating stronger client relationships. 

Any company can be a fit for the PM tool, regardless of industry, target market or project types, since the technology is built with employees in mind, rather than servicing a client. Because of this, most software has a one-size-fits-all model that your company will then have to tweak and customize to your exact use case. Another downside of using just a PM software is that your firm will be missing out on important financial management capabilities and external-facing project reporting. But that’s where PSA software comes in.

What is PSA Software? 

Professional Services Automation software helps build a smarter business strategy. Going a step further than just tracking the success of a project, PSA software is built to ultimately track and manage the success of your business. 

Features include some of the PM basics like project/task management and resource allocations, layered with time/expense tracking, budgeting, and invoicing and payment processing. Custom reporting can then be built off of the data captured within the tool to measure the KPIs that are important for evaluating the success and growth of your business. Examples of this include: if your budgets are on track, where to allocate your team, what projects are turning the highest profit, and what gaps need to be filled to avoid a low revenue period. 

If used every step of the way, PSA tools will benefit not only your employees’ internal workflow struggles, and give you company insights, but also improve your client relationships. Invoices will be more likely to be generated and paid on time, with accuracy, and in a customized format. 

Designed with professional services firms in mind, PSA tools are best suited for firms that are looking for a solution ranging from time tracking and project management to collecting payments and allocating resources. With PSA software, companies can reap the benefits of having access to a ton of well-thought-out features that make things easier for everyone involved on the team.

The benefit is, if you are a professional services firm that meets the needs set for a PSA tool, the product will already be tailored to your use case with minimal time spent customizing. 

PSA & PM Software Working Together

Now that you know the difference between the two types of software, it’s also important to know that it could be an advantageous move for your firm to have both, PM and PSA software. The name of that game is integrations. A PSA tool like BigTime allows you to go a step further in its project management capabilities by being able to integrate with the tools you use and trust like QuickBooks, HubSpot, Slack, Jira, and lots more. When you use both types of software together, you’re covering all of your bases — internally and externally, providing your clients and your firm with the tools they need to thrive. 

To learn more about BigTime’s PSA solution and project management capabilities, and to see if it’s the right fit for your firm, contact our team today